Types of Ducks

Types of Ducks

Types of Ducks

When most people think of ducks, they imagine a mallard or something similar, something they've seen. Some people know, though, that there are actually many different types of ducks. Though they all belong to the Anatidae family, the family of ducks has such diversity that you can group them into even smaller divisions by their common characteristics. 

Dabbling DuckMallard Pair Dabbling

The dabbling duck is a duck that tips up in order to feed, going through shallow water and mud in order to find plants and insects. These ducks also eat along the surface of the water, as well as on land. The most common species of dabbling duck is the famous mallard. Some others are the northern pintail and the American wigeon.
  • Diving DuckRing-Necked Duck
  • Diving ducks are quick swimmers, and they dive far beneath the surface of the water, looking for fish, insects, and plants. They prefer to stay in the water and can be a bit awkward on land. Some diving duck species are the scaups, canvasback, goldeneyes, and red head. 
  • EiderKing Eider - Male in Breeding Plumage


    These types of sea-ducks are found in very northern, Arctic habitats. Unfortunately, they've been hunted quite a bit for their feathers, but fortunately, they are currently protected by strong conservation laws. Some Eider species are steller's and king eider.

     MerganserHooded Merganser - Male

  • These ducks have narrow, serrated, hooked bills and are the only duck type that regularly eats a considerable amount of fish and similar prey. Their bills allow them to be keep, ferocious hunters. Species here include the hooded, common, and red-breasted merganser.


  • Perching DuckWood Duck Perching on a Branch

    Perching ducks have talons on their feet to them a better grip to perch. They're typically found perched in trees along wooded waterways, and they nest dozens of feet above the ground. Some popular examples of these are the muscovy, pink-eared, wood, and mandarin ducks. 


    ScoterSurf Scoter

  • Scoters are bulky sea-ducks with darker plumage and patterned, bright colored bills. They can be found in norther regions and along marine habitats, especially in rocky areas that might seem as if birds couldn't live there. Probably the most familiar species of these are the black, surf, white-winged, velvet, and common scoters. 


  • Sea-DuckLong-Tailed Duck

    Sea-ducks are found in coastal habitats but can be found further inland during the migration and nesting season. They have special glands that let them tolerate saltwater without dehydrating. Species include the eiders, scoters, long-tailed duck, goldeneyes, and mergansers. 

    StifftailRuddy Duck

  • Stifftail ducks have stiff tails and are diving ducks. They have compact bodies and colorful bills. Some species are the masked duck, ruddy duck, and the blue-billed duck. 


  • Teal

    Blue-Winged Teal - Male

    Teals are dabbling ducks and typically have bright, distinctive plumage. They prefer to eat along the surface of the water, rather than tipping up, but they do tip up occasionally. Species include the blue-winged, silver teal, cinnamon, and green-winged. 

  • Whistling-Duck

    Black-Bellied Whistling-Duck

    These ducks have long legs and necks, unlike the typical duck, and can often be mistaken for small geese. Their named for their shrill whistling calls, which can be heard for long distances and are known to be confused for other animals. Some whistling-duck species are the fulvous, black-bellied, and white-faced whistling-ducks. 

  • Domestic Duck

    Domestic Crested Duck
    These are ducks that have escaped from farms, gardens, and zoos and are then kept as pets by the people who find them. They often meet up in mixed flocks on local ponds. They often have indistinct plumage, exhibit a wide range of size, and have mottled colors, which shows how much they hybridized with other domestic and wild ducks. 



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