Members are invited to take part in a project that aims to monitor the distribution of hybridisation between native Pacific black ducks and introduced mallards.

There is concern that the genetic integrity of Pacific black ducks in Tasmania may be threatened by introgressive hybridisation. The combination of high levels of hybridisation in human landscapes and Pacific black duck (PBD) shooting in remoter areas has led to Pacific black ducks becoming critically endangered in New Zealand, and they are either threatened or extinct on several Australian Islands.

People can help by recording sightings of mallards, Pacific black ducks and Pacific black duck x mallard hybrids to iNaturalist, eBird or birdata.

On iNaturalist, sightings of mallards and hybrids are automatically added to this project: Mallards & hybrids in Australia · iNaturalist.

All records are of use. It’s good to know where healthy populations of pure PBDs exist in large numbers, and useful to know the range of mallard x PBD hybrids. It’s also helpful to know where mallards are commonly fed and/or dumped, as these locations may be the subject of education campaigns and new signage in the future.

Records on eBird and birdata are also very useful and can be added as incidental records (if sighted outside of a regular survey). Including photos where possible is very helpful. Many hybrids are misidentified as pure PBDs and photos can help confirm species.

Anybody looking for more information on the issue, hybrid identification tips or more ways to help is encouraged to join the facebook action group.

28 January 2023