Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Chinese Spot-billed Ducks

It might be the commonest duck in Japan, but it's quite a special one for Beppu. I've seen this duck many times elsewhere in Japan, including the nearby city, Oita, but I've only seen it once in Beppu at Sekinoe flying over my head. Last winter I saw photos from Furuso-san taken at the river near Hamawki. She photographed a small flock of Spot-billed and a female Falcated Duck, another species that is surely among my top wishlist. Even though I've seen a small number of Falcated Ducks both at Kitsuki and Oita River, I've still yet to get a decent shot of this extremely beautiful duck. So on November 26, I went to Hamawaki to check if there's any interesting ducks around. I found no Falcated Duck, which was not surprising, but at least there were 6 Chinese Spot-billed Ducks (Anas zonorhyncha) presenting at the river.
Chinese Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha)

The ducks were relaxing and bathing in the river. They are super tame just like any other Spot-billed Ducks I've seen elsewhere. Well, maybe except the ones in Oita River where they are not very accustomed to human. I had fun taking photos of them bathing with high speed. The results look quite funny as you can see from the pictures above. I especially like the one where the bird puts its legs up splashing the water. I also took lots of videos the birds. Below is a compilation of the videos I took.

Chinese Spot-billed Ducks bathing and resting

Chinese Spot-billed Duck (Anas zonorhyncha)

The bird was once treated as a subspecies of the Spot-billed Duck (Anas poecilorhyncha) which is now called Indian Spot-billed Duck. The Indian Spot-billed has a much different facial pattern, lacking the dark line at the base of the lower mandible, with bright red spot on the lores. I also believed that the speculum of the Chinese Spot-billed is much bluer than the Indian Spot-billed, which is typically greenish, but from what I saw, the colour of speculum is hugely affected by angles and light. The late afternoon light really made the speculum look genuinely green. At least a visit to Hamawaki gave me a chance to get some decent photos of this common duck in a kind of light that I want.

1 comment:

Phil said...

What a gorgeous little duck - that yellow is so yellow.