A SOUTH American drake with an eye for an English bird has won the right to stay on a village pond – despite ruffling a few feathers.
Bertie, a Muscovy duck, is to be a permanent feature at Bradmore Green pond in Old Coulsdon, following fruitless attempts to rehome him.
The adult male is the leader of an amorous nine-strong flock of mallards, who were mysteriously dumped there last autumn with their wings clipped.
Valerie Dunmore, from Friends of Bradmore Green Pond, said her committee has now decided to let the group stay, despite their disruptive behaviour.
She said: "They were trying to mate with other birds – that has stopped a bit now, but they just harass them and they gang up on them.
"I would like the whole lot to go really because of the disruption to the local wildlife, but unless you can get them properly rehomed they might as well stay because they are settled in now.
"At the moment we are going to leave it and see how it goes – it gives an awful lot of pleasure to the children.
"It is going to be interesting because normally during the season we get the herons coming in."
Potential new owners were reluctant to house a male Muscovy, she added. It was not clear who left the ducks there or why.
She said: "I woke up in the morning and they were all there. Obviously someone had enough.
"It was quite surprising because I had no idea what it was and it is not in any of the bird books because it is not native.
"I call him Berlington Bertie because he has got yellow legs, like spats."
It is unlikely Bertie, whose species is native to Central and South America, will fly away by himself, even though his wings have grown.
"The males are not capable of flying any distance so he flies across the pond but that is about it really," Ms Dunmore said.
"During the winter the pond here can get icy and I was concerned because he could not fly away – he could not fly to safety."
The ducks are not the only animals that appear to have been left at the pond over the years.
"The terrapins swim under the water and take the young birds down by the legs," Ms Dunmore added.
"They move like greased lightening and they grow very big."