Bird & Wing ID

Identification Tools

Bird ID

Waterfowl ID : A Guide to Identifying North American Waterfowl

We provide illustrations, full-color photos, and video footage of each species. Learn more about their behavior, migration patterns, and the sounds they make. Study flock patterns and wing characteristics. Our Waterfowl ID guide has everything you need to recognize ducks, swans and geese in the field or on the fly!

 Dove Identification for Hunters (1.1MB)

The Branch of Harvest Surveys created this identification guide that shows common dove and pigeon species in the United States. It includes photos, identifying characteristics unique to each species and range maps.

Cranes

The FWS produced this page that provides waterfowl and sandhill crane hunters with information that will reduce their likelihood of shooting illegally at migratory birds that may look like Sandhill Cranes, but for which there is no open season and are protected by Federal law.

Wing ID

Ducks

 Species, Age and Sex Identification of Ducks Using Wing Plumage (11 MB)

The most widely known book used to help people speciate, age, and sex duck wings can be found below. It was developed by Samuel M. Carney in 1992.
As indicated by former U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Director John F. Turner, “Procedures have been developed over the past 30 years for managing the take of waterfowl by hunters. Wings of ducks contributed voluntarily to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service by hunters are examined each year by experts. This procedure involves the determination of species, sex, and age of ducks through an examination of these detached wings. Many persons skilled at examining wings of ducks have retired in recent years. We became concerned that these skills might be lost to future generations if not properly documented. Documenting such skills is difficult. Subtle differences in feather color and feather texture are used to distinguish young ducks from adult ducks and males from females. Printed words and pictures have their limitations, but we hope this publication captures the technique and preserves it. “

USFWS Video Series on Duck ID using Wing Feathers

Learn more about the different feather groupings of a wing that are key to identifying duck species and also view videos about duck species identification using wings.

Woodcock

The Michigan DNR put together a poster that shows you how to assign gender and age to a woodcock wing.

 Sexing and Aging American Woodcock (2.3 MB)

Last Updated: December 23, 2020