American Black Duck

Waterfowl Identification

The Black Duck, Anas rubripes, is primarily found in Eastern North America. Its size, body structure and flight characteristics closely resemble the Mallard.

The Black Duck is dusky brown with a paler head. The drake and hen look very similar except for their bills. The drake's bill is greenish yellow while the hen's bill is an olive green. Both sexes have a dark blue wing patch and a white under wing visible in flight. They both have a dark eye line.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS

A bird of the eastern States, primarily the Atlantic Flyway and, to a lesser extent, the Mississippi. Shy and wary, regarded as the wariest of all ducks.

Often seen in company of mallards, but along the Atlantic coast frequents the salt marshes and ocean much more than mallards. Flight is swift, usually in small flocks. White wing lining in contrast to very dark body plumage is a good identification clue.

Length: 24"
Weight: 2 3/4 lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS


 Distribution Map

Similar Species

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS

The hen's quack and the drake's kwek-kwek are duplicates of the mallards.

Last Updated: November 14, 2018