Ducks are one of the most diverse groups of birds. They can be found worldwide in different shapes, sizes, and colors. Yeah, you read that right! Not all ducks are yellow.
Each of those ducks has its distinct features. Even though some of them might look alike at first glance, they are actually very different from each other.
In this article, we will discuss some of the common types of ducks and how you can distinguish them.
Types of Ducks
Like every other animal, ducks come in different sizes, shapes, and forms. Even if they have some common characteristics like their habitats and diets, they have many distinguishable features that set each kind apart.
Here is a breakdown of some of the most common types of ducks and how one can differentiate them.
- Blue-Winged Teal
Blue-winged teals are one of the smallest species of ducks. They belong to the dabbling group of ducks.
The male species of blue-winged teal have cerulean spots on their wings. They also have a blackish-grey head with a distinctive white arc behind their beaks.
Meanwhile, the female species are primarily brown with a dark brown head and a black bill. Blue-winged teal ducks prefer to reside in wetlands such as ponds, lakes, and marshes.
These ducks are indigenous to the Prairie Pothole Region in central North America and migrate to Mexico, Florida, and South and Central America.
- Wood Duck
The male species of wood ducks are stunning with their remarkable plumage. They have a green tuft of feathers on top of their head with a walnut-colored body.
On the other hand, the female species of wood ducks have a crested head with a mellow brown body. Wood ducks like to live in swamps of woods, forest lowlands, ponds, and marshes.
They choose the eastern and central United States, Canada, Pacific Coast, and the Great Plains region for their breeding grounds, and they migrate to eastern Texas during winter.
Mallards are one of the most commonly seen ducks all over the world. They belong to the group of dabbling ducks.
The male mallards have a head and neck with a peculiar metallic green color and a white border at the bottom of their neck. They have a yellow bill and red feet.
On the contrary, the female species of mallards have a warm brown body with dark brown lines around the eyes. Their bill and feet both are orange-colored.
Like most other ducks, mallards also prefer to live in aquatic environments such as ponds, bogs, marshes, and lakes.
Mallards are very common in the United States. They can be seen from Florida to Alaska.
Buffleheads are one of the smallest species of ducks. They belong to the group of diving ducks.
Contrary to their size, they have a large head with a small but wide bill. The male species of buffleheads have a white body with white spots along with their heads.
However, the female species have brown bodies with white spots on their face. Buffleheads prefer to live in nests built by other birds near the coastlines.
These ducks breed starting from Alaska to throughout Canada.
- Ruddy Duck
The male species have a bright blue bill which makes them quite unique. They have black tufts and white cheeks.
Both the male and female ruddy ducks have a mild bill with a broad but small neck.
Ruddy ducks prosper in both open and closed wetlands. They breed throughout Canada to the United States.
- Harlequin Duck
The male species have a lavish plume with an aquamarine body and a white arc along with their eyes. At the same time, the females have brown bodies with white splotches around their bills and eyes.
Both the male and female harlequins have short grey bills.
Harlequin ducks make nests in holes of trees, the precipice of ledges, and sometimes on the ground. They live across the whitewater rivers of the Pacific Northwest.
- Black Scoter
The male species of black scoters are totally black save for their knob of the bill, which is of vivid yellow color.
On the other hand, the female black scoters are dark brown without any yellow knob.
Black scoters make their nests on the trees or grounds along the coastlines. They can be seen on Pacific Coasts and Atlantic Coasts.
- Torrent Duck
The male species of torrent ducks have white and brown marks along their chests and black almond-shaped markings around their eyes. Similarly, the females also have white and brown lines along their backs and necks.
Both the male and female torrent ducks have dark orange to vivid red beaks.
These ducks reside both in whitewater and calm water throughout South America.
- Cotton Pygmy Goose
Even though they are called geese, cotton pygmies are actually very small-sized ducks. They belong to the group of perching ducks.
The males have heads and necks of white color and white and green wings. They have red eyes and a black collar at the bottom of their necks which is absent in the females. The female species have thin white markings on the wings.
Cotton pygmy goose builds their nests in holes of trees. They hunt for foods in freshwaters and rainwaters and can be found in Australia and several countries in Southeast Asia.
- Mandarin Duck
In Chinese, these ducks are called Yuan-yang and can often be seen in Chinese arts and weddings.
The males have short red bills and yellow faces. They have red whiskers down their neck along with a purple chest and orange back.
The female species are mainly brown with white dots all over their body. They have a white ring around their eyes and a white almond-shaped spot beside their eyes.
Mandarin ducks live in woodlands and shallow wetlands. And trees nearby the wetlands.
These ducks can be found in Japan, China, Taiwan, and Russia. Some mandarin ducks are also inhabitants of the USA and Europe.
So Many Types of Ducks!
Other than these, there are also many types of ducks that can be found all over the world. If one starts to make a list, it will take them a long time to finish it. However, if you are enthusiastic about ducks, you can take the help of the internet and an ornithologist to broaden your knowledge.