Re: [BIRDCHAT] Common Goldeneye x Hooded Merganser hybrid (photo)

Hilary Powers <hilary@...>
 

Offlist, someone wrote:
Hi Hilary,

Just wondering, if "all the Aytha ducks egg drop", how does that
explain a Bucephala sp. X Lophodytes hybrid.
Heh - you're right, it doesn't follow. But the error is in the genus name; I shoulda said "all the cavity-nesting ducks egg drop." Doesn't pay to get too clever without looking things up....

On what's a species - when I was in school (in the 1950s), we learned that the defining point was the inability to produce fertile offspring. But that line has gotten a lot shakier over the years, especially with birds; don't a lot of the white-headed gulls produce fertile young?

And I've heard - from a scientist running a polar bear research center, who certainly ought to know - that polar bears and grizzly bears produce fertile offspring....

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