The native grey duck looks similar to the mallard. The main differences are that mallard drakes have green heads, while pure grey ducks have grey rather than orange feet, pronounced eye stripes, and a green wing speculum without a border of white lines. As the two species interbreed, it can be difficult to identify a pure grey duck. Hybridisation and loss of habitat have led to a decline in grey duck populations. Pure strains are most likely to be found in remoter areas with native forest, large natural wetlands, or in the high country or back country.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by C. D. Roderick
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