Audubon Collection: Hybrid Duck

Plate 296

Hybrid Duck

(Bemaculated Duck)

Audubon agonized over the proper identification of this male duck. He wrote, very faintly, at the bottom of his drawing "Bemaculated (spotted] Duck?" Ultimately he named it "Brewer's Duck," in honor of his friend Thomas M. Brewer, "... as a mark of the estimation in which I hold him as an accomplished ornithologist." Yet he observed in his text that it "may possibly be an accidental variety," a hybrid of mallard and gadwall. This, indeed, is the case; hybridization does occur in ducks. Audubon used pencil, water color, pastel, and oil in making this painting, which is inscribed "New Orleans Feby. 1822."

Source: The Original Water-Color Paintings by John James Audubon. Copyright 1966 by American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc.

Learn more about this print on the National Audubon Society's website.

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