These heart-warming pictures show a mismatched duck and goose who have fallen head-over-heels – in LOVE.
Wild bar-headed goose Bart spotted the female mallard, named Molly, paddling around the lake on her own earlier this year.
He pestered her with displays of courtship by spreading his wings in front of her and fighting off rival ducks who came too close.
The love-struck couple are now inseparable and spend hours swimming side-by-side at the Slimbridge Wetland Centre near Dursley, Glos.
Reserve Warden James Lees said it was ”incredibly rare” for two different species of bird to spend time together.
He said: ”I’ve never seen anything like this before.
”It’s really unusual for two ducks to be so close let alone different species of bird.
”I’m not sure whether Bart thinks he is a mallard or whether he thinks Molly is a bar-headed goose but I guess they say love is blind.
”He seems to get most protective over her when he sees another goose come near her.
”She doesn’t seem to mind him following her or else she would fly away from him so I think she likes him too.
”It will be interesting now to see whether she has any offspring.
”Although there has been recorded on very rare occasions goose hybrids, it is extremely unlikely.”
Molly is a residential Mallard who shares the wildlife centre with hundreds of other feathered friends including flamingos and swans.
The feathered couple spend all of their time in the water together while the other ducks bask on the banks of the lake.
Visitors to the centre have spotted them splashing each other in the water and even kissing their beaks together.
It is not known whether she has bred with another Mallard but if she has she could lay eggs towards the end of Spring.
James added: ”If she has chicks then we will be interested to see whether Willie will turn from a jealous admirer to a protective foster dad.”
* Slimbridge Wetlands Centre has a history of odd couples. Four years ago Carlos and Fernando hit the headlines as Britain’s first gay flamingos. The boys later adopted an abandoned chick.
I have a running duck and a goose who lost both their partners by a fox attack at the same time. I bought 3 new geese to make him happy, but he ingnored them and has fallen in love with the running duck. it truly is unbelievable and noisy as he moves everyone out of the way. I am not sure that the running duck is happy about it, but time will tell