Thursday, January 21, 2016

Another Day, Another Duck

My personal laptop is acting up on me.  I wanted to write a long interesting post last night, but the wireless antenna decided to stop working. 

So instead, here is another photograph from the past.  This photograph was taken on June 12th 2009 at Mill Pond Park in Mt. Pleasant.  This image shows a pair of Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) on the tip of a small island in the Chippewa River.  I realize that this is not a "glamour shot" of these ducks but the majority of my photographs aren't.  However it serves a useful purpose - this image shows the differing appearances of the drake or male duck (left) and the hen or female (right). 

Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos) along the Chippewa River - 12 JUN 2009

Species that have an obvious difference between the male and female are exhibiting a property known as sexual dimorphism.  In birds this property is often expressed as a difference in coloration.  Most birds that are sexually dimorphic will have males with bright plumage and females with dull feathers.  Bright colors on a male bird will indicate that he is healthy and a suitable mate; the drab colors of the female are useful camouflage when she is most vulnerable, sitting on the nest incubating her eggs.

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