Masked Duck
Nomonyx dominicus
The Masked Duck (Nomonyx dominicus) is an irruptive and irregular species in the United States. We may go a number of years without any reports, then other years the species may be easily found. It is a tropical duck that prefers warm climates with ponds and waterways that are covered with vegetation. It is a diving duck that submerges to feed. From late 1992 into 1996 there was a significant irruption of this species into Texas. During February, 1993, Charlie Clark and I counted 37 Masked Ducks on two separate ponds on Welder Wildlife Refuge in San Patricio Co., Texas. I believe that this remains as the largest concentration of this species ever observed within the United States. The first two shots shown here show some of those birds. These shots were taken with a Canon T-90 and Sigma 500mm F/4.5 lens and 1.4X extender on Kodachrome 200 film. See below for many more images.
The mid-1990s Texas irruption of this species brought Masked Ducks to a number of locations in the southern portions of the state. The pair shown here was at Attwater Prairie Chicken N.W.R., Colorado Co., Texas, in September, 1994. This shot was taken with the same equipment as above, but on Ecktachrome 100 film.
The next nine shots were taken at Brazos Bend State Park, Fort Bend Co., Texas, in March, 1996. At least half a dozen Masked Ducks spent much of the spring at that location. These shots of males and females were taken with a Canon T-90 and a Sigma 500mm F/4.5 lens and 1.4X extender on Fuji Sensia film.
Note the water drops on the sides of this male's head and neck. The bird has just surfaced after a foraging dive and the water is still running down its head.