Migratory Bird Program
Conserving the Nature of America
Focal Species

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)  

The American Black Duck (Anas rubripes) has been identified as a focal species of management concern because of major population declines over the last half century.  American Black Ducks were once one of the most abundant freshwater ducks in eastern North America, particularly in northeastern United States where they are year-round residents.  The number of Black Ducks wintering in the United States has declined by more than 50% since the 1950s, with the sharpest decline occurring in the Mississippi Flyway. 

Over-hunting, degradation and loss of habitat, and competition with Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) have been hypothesized as potential causes of the historic decline.  Current limiting factors are not known.  The current breeding population of American Black Ducks in North America is estimated at 700,000 birds.


Longcore, J. R., D. G. McAuley, G. R. Hepp, and J. M. Rhymer. 2000. American Black Duck (Anas rubripes). The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.) Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved June 2009 from http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/481.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2008. Waterfowl Population Status, 2008. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.


American Black Duck

American Black Duck

American Black Duck - Photo by Todd Boland

Action Plan  in development

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Last updated: December 1, 2011