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picture of white water bird with black upper head The white bird in this picture, swimming between the ducks, was seen in Beijing, China, in januari 2017. It was cold: the water seen in the picture is liquid, but not far from this, the water was frozen. We also saw it standing on the ice.

It has an orange beak with what seems to be a small black spot at its end. It also has black as the top of its head. We did not find a similar bird when searching ducks, goose or even swans. What species is this?

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting species. I wonder if it is a variant of mallard. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jan 29 '17 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanjukta Ghosh. It is not a species. It is a race/variation/form/etc of the species Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). $\endgroup$ – have fun Jan 30 '17 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ This duck has several features that could put it in a number of variants of domestic duck. It could be a hybird with a magpie duck or ancona duck? Magpie ducks have black caps, similar to the duck in the photo, but also have black backs. Anconas have some black on the face. $\endgroup$ – JC11 Jan 30 '17 at 18:07
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    $\begingroup$ @theforestecologist and JC11 I just want to remark that all the breed that you cite still belong to the species "mallard". Like dalmatian is a bree of the species "dog". I think that at this stage is pointless to assign a specific breed being most likely a mix of different ones (as suggested). $\endgroup$ – have fun Jan 31 '17 at 8:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Sanjukta Ghosh Domestic Mallards can come in a variety of colours including white. I think it we were to pinpoint the origin of the duck in question, it is likely a mix of magpie duck and domestic mallard, but that mix may not be half and half, it could be much more complex. "have fun", The Magpie is not a breed of mallard specifically, it could be an ancestor of an Indian runner which could be a Muscovy. In domestic breeds, the origin species can be many mixtures and complex. I think the best answer for this question is that this is a domestic duck and give possibilities of which type. $\endgroup$ – JC11 Jan 31 '17 at 17:52
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It is a domestic form of mallard. They are bigger, often white or mostly white. Try to google image domestic mallard and you will see the phenotypic variety that domestication has created.

Note the irregular and not symmetrical shape of the "hat" and read the description below from the biggest research center on birds of the world.

Extracted from: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/crows/domducks.htm

(...)lots of white is often involved, including all-white breeds like the popular Pekin Duck (...) Usually these white spots are not symmetrical across both sides, and that asymmetry should tip you off to think domestic influence.

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    $\begingroup$ Please support your claim with citations. A claim not supported with references do not make a good answer, even if you are quite certain of it. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jan 30 '17 at 10:45
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanjukta Ghosh. Google image domestic mallard it's more than enough to prove that is a domestic mallard. There is no wild duck with a pattern of colors remotely similar to the one in the picture. $\endgroup$ – have fun Jan 30 '17 at 16:21
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    $\begingroup$ Google images search is not an authentic reference because it extracts images from different kinds of sources (which include flickr and personal blogs) that may not have the correct information. But the webpage of Cornell Lab of Ornithology you linked is a good reference. $\endgroup$ – Tyto alba Jan 30 '17 at 17:11
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It may be a duck or maybe a swan lets not forget that new species are born every year or decade and so on thanks to 2 different reasons or factors. 1. animal crossbreeding. 2. a change in their DNA. but for this case I am guessing is more the 2 one and this may happen for many reasons perhaps this kind of gene was actually existant the whole time although it wasn't dominant as such it took many generations to appear, perhaps a change in the environnement had been a cause of a mutation. As such this creature may be a in the first factor a hybrid or in the second one a mutant.(https://www.wired.com/2009/11/speciation-in-action/)

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