Duck!

Ducks are a constant source of comedy. If you want to tell a joke including an animal, a duck is the safest choice, followed closely by the elephant.

Here at The Regent’s Park there’s a strange collection of international ducks on display. There’s a Rosy Billed Pochard, Netta peposaca:

Rosy Billed Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

With a head and bill like that it must be a male. Ducks often have pronounced differences in plumage between the sexes. Here it is dabbling beautifully:

Rosy Billed Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s a Pochard, Aythya ferina, with its brilliant red eye:

Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Ducks often have brilliantly coloured eyes. Here’s why:

This Pochard is catching a bit of shut-eye:

Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

But it doesn’t last long:

Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

This male Tufted Duck, Aythya fuligula, is showing its beautiful tuft:

Tufted Duck - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The female is duller:

You can explain the entire theory of evolution by natural selection using ducks alone. Here’s a Hooded Merganser, Lophodytes cucullatus:

Hooded Merganzer - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

How amazing does it look?

There’s also male and female Eider Ducks, Somateria mollissima:

It was at this point that I began looking to see whether their primary wing feathers had been cut. There are plenty of wild ducks flying in to join the permanent display, but these are captive because of wing cutting.

The Northern Pintail, Anas acuta, is one of my favourite ducks. Just look at that incredible plumage:

Pintail - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I prefer them in the wild, although it’s a treat to see them so close; and in the middle of London.

There are between 9 and 33 pairs breeding in the UK.

What’s this exotic creature? It’s a Chiloé Wigeon, Mareca sibilatrix:

Chiloé wigeon - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Isn’t this the most perfectly poised, elegant duck?

Chiloé wigeon - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s another species with a glorious iridescent head here too. It’s a Falcated Duck, Mareca falcata:

Falcated Duck - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Then I spot a male Smew, Mergus albellus:

Smew - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

We only get 180 or so of them in winter in the UK, but this one has no choice, given its lack of primary wing feathers. It’s a winter visitor from Scandinavia and Russia. What amazing plumage. It’s worth two photographs, don’t you think?

Smew - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Finally, a Eurasian Wigeon, Mareca penelope, comes into view.

European Wigeon - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I’ve never seen a duck which looks more like it should be floating in a bath.

More from The Regent's Park

Grey Heron - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Heron portraits It's difficult light in The Regent's Park in central London, but I'm making the most of being this close to… read more
Grey Heron - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Grey Heron and the frankfurter sausage I'm in London for a conference. It's a whole day event, but I'm speaking at the end of the day,… read more
Poplar Gall - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) A fortress on the stalk of a leaf It doesn't look like much. After all, it's just a bulge on a stalk of a leaf, scattered on the… read more
Little Grebe - The Regent's Park - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Little Grebe – big fish I'm thrilled to see a Little Grebe appear in The Regent's Park with a big fish in its bill: It's… read more
Tufted Duck - The Regent's Park - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The reason ducks have such brilliant eyes There's a female Tufted Duck on the lake at The Regent's Park in London. Looking at it I marvel at… read more
Pochard - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Pochard on the pond There's a Pochard on the pond at The Regent's Park. It's a male, with a beautiful brown head and its… read more
Egyptian Goose - The Regent's Park - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Look into my eyes There's an Egyptian Goose at The Regent's Park in London: Its eyes make we want to keep looking into its… read more
Little Grebe - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) The Little Grebe and the little fish There's a Little Grebe in The Regent's Park in London: It has a family. Here it is with one of… read more
Juvenile Great Crested Grebe - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the) Juvenile Great Crested Grebe portraits The juvenile Great Crested Grebes at The Regent's Park are too big to be carried on their parents' backs now.… read more

Feel free to leave a Reply :)