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Most ViewedCinnamon Teal
In the Pacific Flyway, cinnamon teal are far more common th...
Puddle ducks are typically birds of fresh, shallow marshes ...
Length--17 in. Weight--2½ lbs. Similar in appearance to...
Length--22 in. Weight--3 lbs. Normally late to start so...
Length--26 Weight--1¾ lbs. These ducks use all four fly...
Common--Length--19 in. Weight--2¼ lbs. Barrow's...
Most ducks shed their body feathers twice each year. Nearly...
Length--24 Weight--2¾ lbs. The mallard is our most comm...
Diving ducks frequent the larger, deeper lakes and rivers, ...
Length--25½ in. Weight--2½ lbs. This species is larger ...
Least ViewedBlack Scoter
Length--19½ in. Weight--2½ lbs. In flight, drakes appea...
Length--20 in. Weight--2½ lbs. Range coast to coast, wi...
Greater--Length--18½ in. Weight--2 lbs. Lesser...
Length--18 in. Weight--1½ lbs. Often seen in pairs, or ...
Length--21½ in. Weight--3½ lbs. The three scoters on th...
Length--17 in. Weight--1½ lbs. Glossy slate-blue plumag...
Length--29-31 in. Weight--6½-7½ lbs. Two races of snow ...
Length--16 Weight--15 oz. Their small size and twisting...
Length--15 in. Weight--14 oz. Quite hardy--some birds s...
Length--24 in. Weight--2¾ lbs. A bird of the eastern St...
What To Look For
Differences in size, shape, plumage patterns and colors, wing beat,
flocking behavior, voice, and habitat--all help to distinguish one
species from another.
Flock maneuvers in the air are clues. Mallards, pintails, and wigeon
form loose groups; teal and shovelers flash by in small, compact
bunches; at a distance, canvasbacks shift from waving lines to temporary
Closer up, individual silhouettes are important. Variations of head
shapes and sizes, lengths of wings and tails, and fat bodies or slim can
Within shotgun range, color areas can be important. Light conditions
might make them look different, but their size and location are positive
keys. The sound of their wings can help as much as their calls. Flying
goldeneyes make a whistling sound; wood ducks move with a swish;
canvasbacks make a steady rushing sound. Not all ducks quack; many
whistle, squeal, or grunt.
Although not a hard and fast rule, different species tend to use
different types of habitat. Puddle ducks like shallow marshes and creeks
while divers prefer larger, deeper, and more open waters.
Next: Eclipse Plumage
Previous: Identification Is Important