|Mallard, Campbell River estuary. Against the light, so the glow of the head is muted.|
And sometimes, a purple head.
|This one is half purple, half green.|
I looked for an explanation of the colour shift, and found various theories:
- It's due to interbreeding with other species. And mallards are notorious for this.
- It's really just green, but it looks purple because of light interference and diffraction.
- Some mallards are just purple-headed. That's it. And why not? Just enjoy!
- The colour depends on the structure of the feathers.
An interesting discussion follows this photo of a strongly purple-headed mallard on Flickr. I have no theory, other than #3 above.
While we're on that shore, here's a sparrow, not shiny, not showy, but just happy, bouncing around in the weeds along the bank, finding goodies to eat.
|Lots of yummy seeds among that broken, dried grass!|