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Most Viewed

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

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

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

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

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

Length--24 Weight--2 lbs. The mallard is our most comm...

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

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

Common Eider
Length--23 in. Weight--5 lbs. Thick-necked stocky bird...

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

Least Viewed

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

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

Length--19 Weight--1 lbs. Shovelers, 'spoonbills' to ...

Blue-winged Teal
Length--16 Weight--15 oz. Their small size and twisting...

Black Duck
Length--24 in. Weight--2 lbs. A bird of the eastern St...

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

Length--20 in. Weight--2 lbs. Range coast to coast, wi...

Whistling Ducks
Length--18-19 in. Weight--1 lbs. The trailing legs and...

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

Surf Scoter
Length--19 in. Weight--2 lbs. Like all scoters, these ...

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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