possible Goldeneye sp. x Hooded Merganser hybrid, location unspecified but presumed to be shot in North America, date unspecified but presumed to be on or shortly before 4th February 2015 - copyright Billy Hull
(photo ID: 1824)
This is the second of the shot ducks I've been sent photos of in the last few days. The correspondent (Bunn Boddie) wondered about Wood Duck x Goldeneye, but while I can certainly see Goldeneye in it I suspect the thinness of the bill may point to Hooded Merganser as the second parent. This is a more likely hybrid - one that's known to occur regularly in the wild - and the wing pattern is more as I would expect on such a hybrid.
The yellow on the bill is more extensive than on Hooded Merganser or on typical Common Goldeneye, and that makes me wonder if the Goldeneye parent might have been Barrow's Goldeneye. However, as some Common Goldeneyes can show more extensive yellow-orange colour on the bill than normal individuals I suspect they may carry the necessary genes to throw up such a feature in a hybrid.
To my eyes the photos seem to show a hint of green plumage on the head, especially at the rear of the crown. I'm not sure if this is real, but if so that would suggest it is not a female Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid, but it may be ok for a first-winter male (or alternatively it could be an intersex female).
possible Goldeneye sp. x Hooded Merganser hybrid (same bird as in photo ID 1824 above), location unspecified but presumed to be shot in North America, date unspecified but presumed to be on or shortly before 4th February 2015 - copyright Billy Hull
(photo IDs: 1822-1823)
Common Goldeney Bucephala clangula
Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus