Wild Weds. 12/52 Duck, Duck, Goose!

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

A couple of weeks ago when I shared the Snow Leopard  images here 

I mentioned that my friend and I went birding before we visited Sacramento Zoo. We went to Sacramento, CA to find special ducks, and geese.  The Ducks were some of the most colorful ducks here in the States.  Wood Ducks, and a Mandarin Duck which I’ll save for another post, and a new Goose for me the African Goose.

There were a couple pairs of Woods Ducks, and quite a few African Geese making the day very successful.

Wood Ducks can be found here all year long, but we see them mostly in Spring.  They have sharp, strong claws that allow them to climb branches. They will nest in boxes if they’re provided, but if not they’ll nest in holes in  trees.  The Wood Duck is the only North American duck that regularly produces two broods in one year.  The Wood Duck is considered one of the prettiest of all waterfowl.

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Male

Wood Duck Female- She’s looking up at a nesting box that the Wood Ducks kept taking turns flying up to.  They’re paired up now so brooding is on their minds no doubt. 🙂

Wood Duck Female

Wood Duck pair-  I was focused on the male, and shooting at f/8, but the female isn’t as sharp as I would have liked her to be.  What do you think he’s talking about? Traffic on the pond? Or how beautiful she is? Or how wonderful he is at nesting, and fathering chicks? 🙂

Wood Duck Pair

The African Goose- Isn’t really from Africa they think it’s really from China and related to the Swan Goose from China.  It’s most distinguishing feature is its knob on its bill/face front.

I’d never seen this Goose before. We don’t have many knobbed fronted birds here, but it’s a beauty.  It’s not listed in either of my Bird books for North America so, I turned to Wikipedia for information about it. See below the images.

This one might be a mix of white and brown because of the orange in its knob, or maybe it’s breeding colors? IDK? 🙂

African Goose in the Pond

Several came out of the pond to forage on the lawn. I liked the way this one stopped foraging to give me “the look”.   I didn’t get any closer.  🙂

African Goose

Here’s an image of what I think is a male African Goose. It was HUGE, and you can see the Dewlap (the hanging bit under the chin) that is mentioned below as a distinguishing feature.

African Goose Male

The African Goose is a breed of goose. The African goose breed most likely originated in China, despite the name. They may possibly be related to the wild swan goose a smaller species of goose, just like their close cousin the Chinese goose. Though they share some similar characteristics (such as colour variations), the two can be distinguished by the African’s larger dewlap and different knob shape. African geese are also quite a bit heavier than Chinese, and are better known for their docile temperaments. Also, they are known to lay far fewer eggs than Chinese geese, 25-40 eggs per year for the African goose vs. 40-65, or, in extreme cases, up to 200 eggs per year for Chinese geese.

Two origin theories persist for the fowl: the first purporting that Africans are the result of crosses of swan geese and Chinese, while the other asserts that they are pure derivations of the swan goose, and their unique traits are simply the result of selective breeding. Whichever the case, it has existed as a distinct breed since at least the middle of the nineteenth century, and was admitted to the American Poultry Association‘s Standard of Perfectionin 1874.

Ganders often have a higher pitched call than the geese, and are taller, while the females are shorter and stockier, with larger keels or lobes.

African geese appear in three color varieties: Brown, Buff and White. Browns have black bills and knobs, and plumage with irregular shades, from a very light to dark brown. Whites have all-white plumage and orange bills and knobs.” ~https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_goose


It was an outstanding morning at the pond seeing these and several other species.

I hope your week is going well, and it’s easy going til Friday!

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| San Disk Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…


48 thoughts on “Wild Weds. 12/52 Duck, Duck, Goose!

  1. I raise Wood Ducks and Mandarins. They are beautiful ducks. It is Spring now so there should be a new burst of life coming in the next few months. With one male and two female Woods (Teak, Holly and Rose) and two pair of Mandarins paired (Jack, Jackie, Junior and Joy) their 600 sq ft habitat may fill up quickly. I love your photos. They are amazing.

    1. OMG! How wonderful to raise such beautiful ducks! I wouldn’t have a clue how.
      You must have a big pond? I hope you get a nice brood/a lot chicks of both types.

      What do you do when you get too many of them? Do they fly away? Could that be how the Mandarin ended up here? I’ve wondered when they show up where they made that left or right turn? 🙂

      Thank you so much for the lovely comment and visit!

      1. Thank you, too. Every Spring I sell/trade the young. You can’t keep the bloodlines inbred or there is trouble. Most times for me, the male sex are the greatest number in a clutch. That means I’ll have to trade for females to pair up with males not related. I sell pairs for $100 or $50 per duck whether male of female. That is quite common in this area of Texas. In other areas they sell for twice that much.
        I believe the Mandarins were probably shipped here from Asia much like we got our domestic ducks from Europe and other areas. The Wood ducks are natives to the Americas and Canada so they are tracked by Game Wardens and we who raise them must keep paperwork. That’s not necessary with foreign ducks like Mandarins.
        I do admire them so much. I live on a huge lake in NE Texas. I do have a very large aviary where they are protected. There is a pond and small pools for them. I make it very close to their natural environment with tree limbs to perch, raised nest boxes mimicking their natural nests. They lay usually between 8-12 eggs each Spring. I have had one Mandarin lay 16, but strangely out of season in Winter when they did not have a chance to hatch.
        As you can tell by my long answer, I am committed to these adorable creatures.

  2. Very pretty specimens. The wood ducks are gorgeous! We don’t have those ducks here. We have mallards. In truth, we have more than mallards, but to see anything more than mallards is a rare treat. I don’t even think our zoo has any rare ducks. In the ponds, I see mallards. Perhaps I will make inquiry. In the south, we had mud ducks — sorta fancy black, grey, with white bills — but still, mostly saw mallards.

    1. Aren’t those wood duck pretty! Wait til you see the Mandarin!

      I had a laugh out loud moment when I read your description of a Mud Duck and knew straight-away you were talking about a Coot!
      At least I think that’s what you’re calling a Mud Duck is. We have them too; they’re as common as Mallards here. They’re the first to arrive of the Wintering ducks here. They’re so brave or stupid and don’t seem bothered by photographers or birders. I wish all birds would take lessons from them. 🙂
      I’m always amazed to think that in Hawaii the American Coot is a rare duck!! It makes me appreciate em cause I forget to a lot.

  3. The colors on that male duck are gorgeous, Deborah. Not a huge fan of geese, having had to walk around all their droppings or try to hiss louder than they when attempting to get them off the path without attacking me. Off to bed with me now. Hope you had a happy Wednesday.


  4. Those wood ducks are gorgeous. I think the male was saying, “You know I got to meet one of those African Geese once and those guys are intense let me tell you. I don’t think they know how to relax.”

  5. I’ve never seen either before and the Wood Duck is particularly interesting. Now I know where the design for the cyclist’s racing helmet originated 🙂 It looks so much better on him than many cyclists I’ve seen 😉
    … and a duck with claws that can climb trees? Wow – I wouldn’t have believed it.

    Beautiful shots, Deborah. The 3rd one looks like he’s on high alert, deeply engrossed in his story, while she looks like she’s settled into a long listen.
    Love the 2nd last photo of the African Goose. He doesn’t have much wiggle room before that belly starts to drag on the ground 😆

        1. I’ve seen some aerodynamic ones, and different ones, but can’t say I’ve seen these. I see how you thought of Wood Ducks seeing them now.

          Do you wear a traditional design or a new aerodynamic design helmet?

  6. Wood ducks are my favorite. Last summer we saw a whole flock lift off from a small lake in a forest preserve. Apparently a man owned the land, and he carved out the little lake and planted it all around with evergreens and weeping willows, and called his place “Paradise”. Then when he died he left it to the forest preserve district! How wonderful. It is an incredibly lovely spot.
    LOL the goose certainly was giving you the stink eye 😀

    1. How cool to see a whole flock of them. I can almost here them running across the lake and taking flight!

      That’s so cool of that man to leave the lake to the preserve for all to enjoy!

      That look was enough for me. 🙂

  7. What a flock of lovelies, Deborah. An outstanding morning indeed! I thought the image (you said could have been sharper) was perfect.
    Snowing here… happy spring. :/ I hope someone will help me shovel out my car because I’ve already hurt my back trying to do something for a neighbor. (eye roll) I’ll go virtually visit your ducks and geese again. 😀 Hugs on the wing.

  8. Wow! These guys are so pretty. I have never seen either species. The wood duck certainly is colorful. I’m guessing Mrs. Duck is wondering if the nest will be ready on time. I think she’s pleased with the progress. Geese have a way of saying “that’s close enough, Deborah.” I go too close to a group of goslings on a bike path (I really didn’t have anywhere else to go) and Mrs Goose gave chase, pecking at my feet.

    1. Thank you so much Dan! They are beautiful aren’t they.

      I’m sure it’s on Mrs. Wood Duck’s mind about getting a proper nest ready. I hope they have one!

      Geese are so territorial! I’ve been hissed at more than once crossing a lawn where they like to forage at a local park.

      I don’t imagine getting pecked at while on bicycle would be fun! I’d be afraid I’d crash trying to avoid it, then get a worse pecking for landing in the very spot said goose was trying to get me out of. 🙂

      1. It was on the bike path on the Windsor Locks Canal. The path is 10’ wide. The bank on the left falls into the canal. On the right, you fall into the CT River and Mrs Goose is pecking at my peddles. Very not good. I stopped and waited until her babies were off the path, but apparently they weren’t out of harm’s way.

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