Blond gadwall killed in Delacroix

State waterfowl biologist says leucistic grey duck is rare

Prairieville hunter Michael Campo thought his hunting season in Delacroix was wild when he shot a goose the day after Thanksgiving — but things really became weird Jan. 16 when he rolled a gadwall sporting feathers reminiscent of Donald Trump’s signature blond comb-over.

“It looked a little funny but when we picked it up we knew it was different,” Campo said of the leucistic-phase duck.

Campo scheduled the trip because the forecast called for a front to push through that morning, bringing winds sure to have ducks flying around.

But things weren’t exactly promising when the sun broke.

“We got out there and it was flat — a fishing morning,” Campo said. “The forecasters got it wrong.”

Instead of giving up, he and his buddy decided to wait it out.

“Right at 10 a.m., it went from flat calm to blowing,” Campo said. “It was that front coming through — that duck-hunting weather you want.”

Action picked up quickly. Within minutes there were birds flying around.

But Campo almost missed his shot at the weird-looking grey duck.

“We were watching a group of birds, and I looked over and (the blond gadwall) was locked up in the decoys,” Campo said.

The hunter spun and laid the unlucky duck down, having no clue his kill was anything special.

Something didn’t look right when the bird was floating, but when the wind blew the dead bird to their blind, the men realized it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill grey.

“Lionel Serigne (at Serigne’s Landing) said he’d never seen anything like it,” Campo said.

So Campo tracked down Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries’ Waterfowl Study Leader Larry Reynolds, who confirmed the kill was unusual.

“Larry said, ‘I’ve seen it with mallards and I’ve seen it with teal, but I’ve never seen it with grey ducks,'” Campo said.

The coloration is called leucism, where there is a partial loss of pigmentation on an animal, except for the eyes. Unlike albinisim, it is caused by a reduction in multiple types of pigment, not just melanin.

“The bottom part is normal,” Campo said. “It’s just the top of the duck that is blond.”

The hunter plans to have the leucistic waterfowl mounted.

About Andy Crawford 863 Articles
Andy Crawford has spent nearly his entire career writing about and photographing Louisiana’s hunting and fishing community. While he has written for national publications, even spending four years as a senior writer for B.A.S.S., Crawford never strayed far from the pages of Louisiana Sportsman. Learn more about his work at www.AndyCrawford.Photography.