Tags: Birds, North America, ducks
American black duck in flight. Photo by Maslowski Photo, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
What do American black ducks look like?
The American black duck is a large dabbling duck. They do not dive, but instead tip their heads down and tails up when they forage for food underwater. They look very similar to female mallards. Black ducks are mostly brown with a purple-blue wing patch. Also, they have reddish legs and olive to yellow bills. Females tend to be slightly paler than males.
What do American black ducks eat?
American black ducks like to eat aquatic plants, grasses, seeds, grains, insects, mollusks, crustaceans, and fish. Therefore, they find much of their food in shallow water. Sometimes they might fly into agricultural fields to eat waste corn and grain.
Where do American black ducks live?
They like to live in wetlands, ranging from beaver ponds to salt marshes. Black ducks are partially migratory. They tend to be in the east-central United States in the winter, especially coastal areas. They nest in eastern wetlands including freshwater and salt marshes. Also, some black ducks live in the Great Lakes region year round.
American black ducks are similar to mallards. After captive-raised mallards were released into the black duck’s range, they have taken over some of the black ducks’ breeding spots. Also, the two species hybridize on occasion.
Black duck swimming. Photo by Nieminen, Gene, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service