The typical mallard or numerous hybrid ducks on local ponds come to mind when most non-birders think about ducks. Birders are aware, however, that ducks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with only a few of them bearing the term “duck” in their names.
While all of these ducks are members of the Anatidae family of birds, the family of ducks is so diversified that certain duck species can be divided into smaller groups based on their common traits. Identification of ducks may be made much easier by learning the various sorts of duck groups and related species, and birders will learn to love all ducks. The following cultivars are suitable for consumption.
Types of Ducks
The mallard is the ancestor of various domestic duck varieties and is one of the most well-known of all ducks. Its extensive distribution has resulted in the emergence of multiple different populations. The gray sides, brownish back, black rump, and black upper- and under-tail coverts contrast with the male mallard’s white neck-ring, which separates the green head from the chestnut-brown chest.
The outer tail feathers are white, and the speculum is violet-blue with black and white borders. The bill is golden to yellowish-green, with coral-red legs and feet. The female mallard has a violet speculum surrounded by black and white and is mottled brownish in color. A dark brown line runs through the eye and over the crown of the skull. The rest of the head is a lighter brown than the rest of the body. The beak is orange with brown splotches, and the legs and foot are also orange.
2. Northern Pintail
Northern pintail ducks are long, thin ducks with long, narrow wings that have earned them the moniker “greyhound of the air.” Pintails get their name from their extended middle tail feathers, which make up a quarter of the drake’s total length.
Northern pintail males have a dark-brown head with a white stripe reaching up from the white breast and abdomen on each side of the neck. The back is blackish-gray, with a white patch on each side of the rump.
Two of the tail’s long central feathers are black, while the others are gray with white margins. An iridescent greenish-black speculum is visible in flight. The bill is slate gray with a black line running down the middle from tip to tip, and the legs and feet are also slate gray.
The upper body of female northern pintails is dark brown, with a buff or gray head and lower body. The speculum is a bronze or drab brown color. The bill is slate gray with black blotches, and the legs and feet are also slate gray.
Gadwalls are medium-sized with a lack of brilliant coloring in general. Gray-brown in color with a white belly and black rump, male gadwalls are gray-brown in color. A white speculum, as well as chestnut and black parts on the wing coverts, are visible in flight.
The bill is slate gray, with yellow legs and feet. Female gadwalls have a mottled brown appearance, a yellowish beak with dark markings, and a smaller white speculum than males.
The bulk of the gadwall’s diet consists of aquatic plants. As a result, they are frequently observed foraging in deeper water than most other dabbling ducks, far from the shoreline. Gadwalls feed on naiad, pondweed, wigeon grass, and algae leaves, as well as pondweed, smartweed, bulrush, and spike rush seeds. They also eat crabs and midges, which are aquatic invertebrates.
4. Wood Duck
Male wood ducks have an iridescent purple and green crested head with a white stripe running from the eye to the crest’s end and a smaller white stripe running from the base of the beak to the crest’s tip. The throat is white, the chest is burgundy with white specks, and the belly is white.
The bill is black, white, and red with a vibrant design. The iris is crimson, while the legs and feet are a dull straw yellow. Female wood ducks have a gray-brown head and neck, as well as a brownish, green crest. The brownish-black eye is surrounded by a white teardrop-shaped patch. The throat is white, and the gray-brown breasts with white stippling fade into the white belly. The back is olive brown with iridescent green glitter. The bill is a dull grayish-yellow color, while the legs and feet are a dull grayish-yellow color.
5. Blue-winged Teal
Male blue-winged teal have a slate gray head and neck, as well as a blackish crown and a black-edged white crescent at the front of the eyes. There is a white mark on the side of the rump, and the breast and sides are tan with dark brown speckles.
The upper wing coverts are mostly blue-gray, with an iridescent green speculum on the secondaries and a whitish underwing. The legs and feet are yellowish to orange, and the bill is black. The head of a female blue-winged teal is brownish-gray with an eye stripe and darker crown.
The breast and sides are brown, the upper body is olive brown, and the upper wing coverts are blue but not as bright as the drake’s. The legs and feet are dull yellow-brown, and the bill is gray-black. A high-pitched squeak emanates from the female.
6. American Wigeon
The bill of both males and females is bluish black with a black tip. A white patch runs from the brow to the middle of the crown on male American wigeons, and an iridescent green band runs from the eye to the back of the head.
They have a brownish-pink breast and sides with white flank feathers that differentiate them from the black undertail coverts. The white shoulder patch is diagnostic in flight. Blue-gray to dark gray is the color of the legs and feet. The female American wigeon has a gray head with a brownish-black crown, brownish chest, and brownish flanks. Blue-gray to dark gray is the color of the legs and feet.
7. Green-winged Teal
With a short neck and a small bill, the green-winged teal is the smallest of the North American dabbling ducks. A chestnut head with an iridescent green to purple patch stretching from the eyes to the nape of the neck distinguishes male green-winged teal. The back, sides, and flanks are vermiculated gray, divided from the chest by a white bar, and the breast is pinkish-brown with black speckles.
With a green speculum, the wing coverts are brownish-gray. The legs and feet are dark gray, and the bill is dark slate. Green-winged teal females have a mottled brown appearance with a dark brown line running from the bill to the eye. The legs and feet are olive-gray to brownish-gray, and the beak is dark gray.
The Muscovy duck is a large domestic duck that is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. It is, nevertheless, available all around the world. The Muscovy duck seems to be the only domesticated duck that is not a Mallard duck descendant.
It’s a tamed version of a wild Central/South American species. It’s a one-of-a-kind duck breed. It isn’t even an actual duck; it is merely known as a duck. It is, nonetheless, a close relative of ducks. The cairina moschata is a completely separate species of duck.
Muscovy ducks are classified as heavyweights. Muscovy ducks have large claws on their feet and a wide flat tail. Domestic drakes are nearly twice as big as ducks. The drakes average 34 inches (86 cm) in length, while the ducks are significantly smaller, with an average length of 25 inches (64 cm).
Muscovy ducks are grown as both a broody and a meat duck breed in the United States. They’re also becoming more popular as backyard pets and show birds. Muscovy duck meat is of excellent quality and flavor.
The Cayuga duck is a domesticated duck breed that originated in the United States. It was a popular breed that was produced in the mid-nineteenth century.
The breed is named after Lake Cayuga, which is located in New York’s western region. The development of this breed has a long history. The Cayuga duck, however, is thought to be the result of a mix between the Black East Indies duck and the Rouen duck.
The breed is now a very renowned duck breed in the United States, and it is mostly used for meat and eggs production as well as decorative purposes. In the sunlight, the ducks are a sight to behold. Cayuga ducks have black legs and a black beak. They normally have a long neck and carry themselves upright. Their eyes are a dark brown color.
In the United States, the Cayuga duck is a very popular duck. They are bred for meat as well as eggs. They’re also popular as a decorative breed and make excellent show birds.
The Duclair duck is a dual-purpose domestic duck breed that originated in France. It was called after the Normandy town of Duclair, where it was developed. In French, the breed is known as Canard Duclair, while in German, it is known as Duclair Enten.
Rouen ducks are known as Duclair ducks. The blue form is said to be comparable to the Swedish Blue duck and exhibits a lot of similarity.
The Duclair duck is regarded by some farmers as a ‘typical manky Mallard’ with a green head and white bibs. A black, solid brown, or even a blue gray-body is also an option. This duck breed’s average body weight is around 2.5 kg. And the drakes weigh roughly 3 kg on average.
The Duclair duck is a breed with two functions. It can be used to produce both meat and eggs. The breed is well-known for being a great roast duck.
11. Golden Cascade
The Golden Cascade is a domestic duck breed that originated in the United States. David Holderread of Corvallis, Oregon, created the breed in 1979. David Holderread sought to produce a breed that was active, laid plenty of eggs, and grew quickly.
The Golden Cascade was originally brought to the market in the mid-1980s as a dual-purpose breed, most likely in 1984.
The breed was called for the magnificent Cascade Range in the Northwest, as well as its golden color. It is mostly raised for egg production, but it is also kept as a backyard bird.
The Golden Cascade duck was primarily created as a dual-purpose breed. They are also good for the production of both meat and eggs. They are now commonly used as backyard birds and are raised as laying birds.
The Pomeranian duck is a domestic duck breed that originated in Germany. The breed was originated in Pomerania, a Baltic seacoast region in Germany, as its name suggests.
The Pomeranian duck, like some other northern European duck breeds like the Shetland duck and Swedish Blue duck, has the same ancestors. It is a landrace that can be found on home farms in the Pomerania sector of northern Europe, near the German-Swedish border.
The Pomeranian duck is a medium-sized bird. Its body is quite long. Their physique, on the other hand, is broad and deep, and they carry themselves more horizontally to the ground. The duck breed is classified as frivolous, and it comes in two distinct colors: black and blue.
The Black variant has a green sheen to its black plumage and wears a white bib. The Blue variation, with its flat light blue plumage and large white patch on the upper breast, is a particularly striking bird. Their beaks are dark, ideally black. Their eyes are dark brown, and their feet are dark.
The Pomeranian duck serves two purposes. They are bred to produce both meat and eggs. They are sometimes also raised to add to the beauty of the yard.
The Elizabeth duck is a beautiful domestic duck breed that originated in Australia. It is a relatively recent breed that was created in 1972 in Merrylands, New South Wales, Australia. Lance Ruting created the breed and named it after his wife, Ann Elizabeth Ruting.
The Elizabeth duck was created by Lance Ruting by crossing Rouen Claire and Mallard ducks. His goal was to create a meat-producing duck breed that would grow quickly.
Elizabeth duck is a really lovely little sized meat duck breed. Its color is similar to that of the Welsh Harlequin. It is, however, a smaller and stockier duck than the Welsh Harlequin.
Elizabeth ducks are only available in one color and have a short body with a large chest and round breast. Their heads are rounder, and their legs are slightly shorter.
The Elizabeth duck was developed as a meat duck breed that was tiny and quick to grow. It’s also a good duck breed for laying eggs. Currently the breed is mostly kept as an interest breed, however in Australia it is recognized as ornamental domestic duck.