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Black Duck

Anas rubripes

Dabbling Ducks Family

Waterfowl Identification

 
Male Black Duck
male
Female Black Duck
female
Similar Waterfowl:
Mottled and female Mallard
Description:
The male and female black duck are similar in appearance, but the male's bill is yellow while the females is a dull green. The head is slightly lighter brown than the dark brown body, and the speculum is iridescent violet-blue with predominantly black margins. In flight, the white under wings can be seen in contrast to the dark brown body.
Typical Size:
The male and female average 24 inches in length and weigh 2 3/4 pounds. They have a wingspan of 36 inches.
Habitat:
Black ducks utilize a variety of habitats, such as marshes, bogs, lakes, stream margins, fresh, brackish, and salt marshes, and estuaries.
Breeding:
The highest breeding densities are found in Maine and Nova Scotia. Female black ducks lay an average of 9 eggs.
Diet:
Black ducks dabble in shallow water to feed on plant material and small aquatic animals in freshwater habitats, and mollusks and crustaceans in coastal habitats.
Migration:
High concentrations are found wintering between Long Island and North Carolina. When away from the coast black ducks use large river valleys like those of the Tennessee, Detroit and Upper Illinois Rivers.
Flyway Patterns:
Black ducks are most common in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, with most distributed along the Atlantic coast from the Maritime Provinces to Florida.
Flight Formation:
Small flocks in "V's" or an angular line. Short rapid wing beats, reaching speeds of 70 MPH.
Voice:
Males have a low KWEK-KWEK and females have a loud QUACK.

Black Duck Flight and Plumage Characteristics

This guide will help you recognize black ducks on the wing - it emphasizes their fall and winter plumage patterns as well as size, shape, and flight characteristics. The shoveler primarily uses the Atlantic Flyway and sometimes the Mississippi. They are shy and regarded as the wariest of all ducks. In freshwater, they are often seen in company of mallards, but along the Atlantic coast they frequent the salt marshes and ocean. Usually in swift small flocks, their white wing lining is in contrast to the dark body plumage and is a good identification feature. The hen's and drake's sounds are very similar to the mallards.

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