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Most Viewed

Cinnamon Teal
In the Pacific Flyway, cinnamon teal are far more common th...

Length--22 in. Weight--3 lbs. Normally late to start so...

Puddle Ducks
Puddle ducks are typically birds of fresh, shallow marshes ...

Length--17 in. Weight--2 lbs. Similar in appearance to...

Common--Length--19 in. Weight--2 lbs. Barrow's...

Length--24-25 in. Weight--3 - 3 lbs. These are sea ge...

Length--14 in. Weight--1 lb. Stragglers migrate south ...

Length--20 in. Weight--2 lbs. A slim, brightly plumage...

Length--26 Weight--1 lbs. These ducks use all four fly...

Length--21 Weight--2 lbs. Gadwalls are most numerous in...

Least Viewed

Red-breasted Merganser
Length--23 in. Weight--2 lbs. These birds winter most ...

Eclipse Plumage
Most ducks shed their body feathers twice each year. Nearly...

Diving Ducks
Diving ducks frequent the larger, deeper lakes and rivers, ...

White-winged Scoter
Length--21 in. Weight--3 lbs. The three scoters on th...

Green-winged Teal
Length--15 in. Weight--14 oz. Quite hardy--some birds s...

Hooded Merganser
Length--18 in. Weight--1 lbs. Often seen in pairs, or ...

Black Scoter
Length--19 in. Weight--2 lbs. In flight, drakes appea...

Length--17 in. Weight--1 lbs. Glossy slate-blue plumag...

White-fronted Geese
Length--29 in. Weight--6 lbs. Migrates chiefly in the ...

Length--21 Weight--1 lbs. These are nervous birds, qui...

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
be seen.

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

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