Can you identify the bird from the feathers?

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday, 4 January 2011 19:06

I found these feathers in the valley field at Woods Mill today. I can usually ID birds from primary feathers if it's a non-passerine but this was all I could find of the kill and it stumped me. The wing feathers (I'm not sure even what wing feathers they are, secondaries?) look to me like a duck or a wader, I'm not certain on that either. The wing feathers are about 9 cm long but have had the shafts cut off suggesting a Fox or some other mammal killed the bird. Is there anyone out there that recognises this bird as it's doing my head in? I bet it turns out to be something really obvious, I have tried to eliminate the birds I see at Woods Mill but have failed to come up with anything realistic. 'Tracks and Signs of the Birds of Britain and Europe' didn't help much either.

10 Response to "Can you identify the bird from the feathers?"

Ray Says:

Wild guess - Green Woodpecker ?

Graeme Lyons Says:

Thanks for the guess ray but Green Woodpecker wing feathers are pretty distinctive and the black-tipped body feathers do not match either. I think this one might never be solved.

J Everitt Says:
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J Everitt Says:

I would suggest it is definitely a duck sp. My guess would be a fem type of one of the following; Gadwall, Teal or Pochard.

Cheers Jake

Graeme Lyons Says:

I think the black tips would build up to an appreaciable area of black, not just speckles, so I'm leaning towards a drake Pochard but I'm not convinced yet!

Graeme Lyons Says:

Could be but I think it's too small. I am going to include some photographs of mounted Mallard feathers I found from when I was a kid for a size comparsion tonight and try to estimate the full length of the feathers. I'm amazed how many hits this post got, my third most visited entry! For those that asked about Bittern and Green Woodpecker feathers, I'll show you what they look like too!

Mark Telfer Says:

Baffling but my guess is that the larger, very pointed feathers are tail feathers, not wing-feathers. Perhaps juv Shelduck which combines black areas of plumage and dirty, speckly areas?

Lucy Says:

I know nothing of birds but the arrangement for the pictures is very, very attractive.

Lucy

Lucy Says:

Have asked a bird watching friend and he says it's almost certainly a grey heron.

Hope that helps.

Lucy

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