Ducks exhibit sexual dimorphism in vocal anatomy. Asymmetrical ossification of the syrinx (bulla syringealis) is discernable at about 10 days of age in male Pekin duck (Anas platyrhynchos domestica) embryos, but information is lacking on the early development of the bulla in wild ducks. To evaluate the reliability of this characteristic for sexing developing embryos, we examined the syrinx of dead embryos and compared results with molecular sexing techniques in high arctic nesting Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima). Embryos 8 days or older were accurately (100%) sexed based on the presence/absence of a bulla, 2 days earlier than Pekin duck. The use of the tracheal bulla can be a valuable technique when sex identification of embryos or young ducklings is required.
Additional Publication Details
Sex determination of duck embryos: observations on syrinx development