Monday, January 14, 2013

Confus(c)ion Spot-billed Ducks

Originally posted as "Chinese Spot-billed Ducks in Boeung Prek Lapouv"

Darn! These ducks can be difficult to determine!

Having gone to the Boeung Prek Lapouv wetland in Takeo province for a combined Black-faced Spoonbill and Asian Waterfowl Census, our group encountered several groups of Spot-billed Ducks. Close views, clear enough photographs (below) and dutiful consultation of the field guide led us to consider that these must be Chinese Spot-billed Ducks, as they lacked a red loral spot and had dark blue secondaries. However, it appears it is the moustachial stripe that distinguishes Chinese from Indian Spot-billed Ducks! Thanks James, for pointing this out. So, hopefully a lesson learnt for not only us, but others as well. The pictures below are Indian Spot-billed Ducks of the race haringtoni. See the closest match on Oriental Bird Images by using the following link

Also a group of 12 Long-toed Stints were seen and photographed
Participants: John Kennedy, Vanna, Sitha and Chea (BPL rangers), Robert van Zalinge


  1. The photos seem to suggest that the Spot-bills lack the diagnostic dark, upturned moustachial stripe of Chinese Spot-bill.
    Worth looking at -

    Great that you're all getting out to these areas, keep up the good work!


  2. Hi Robert,
    When on the upper Mekong last year with Andrea and Jeff, we were also puzzled by the mixed features shown by these ducks. Jeff had good photos and Andrea's sent them with her comments to RobT for expert advise (I haven't seen his answer though). I'll forward you the message trail FYI.