Black Duck Hen

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Birds In Flight

Size: 16" long.

Price: $132.99 US


This bird has a sooty brown body and crown, and a lighter brown neck and the rest of the head. Head is heavily streaked; a dark stripe goes through the eye. In flight, the white underwings contrast with the dark brown body. The speculum is purplish blue. Males and females are similar in appearance; the adult male has a yellow bill and orange red feet, while the adult female has an olive green bill and olive-colored feet. 19-22" (48-56 cm).


Marshes, lakes, streams, coastal mudflats, and estuaries. Habitat destruction and widespread interbreeding between American Black Ducks and Mallards has resulted in recent years in a decrease of "pure" Blacks. Actually the bird is not black, but only appears so at a distance; it was formerly more aptly known as the "Dusky Duck." In areas of heavy shooting, these and other dabbling ducks ingest enough lead shot to cause extensive mortality from lead poisoning. If hunters used steel shot such damage would be much reduced.

Feeding Habits:

Black ducks primarily feed by "tipping-up" in shallow water, but have also been known to graze and, when in deep water, dive as much as 10 feet (Clapp et al., 1982). The diet of the adult principally consists of sedges, rushes, grass, pondweed and duckweed. However, egg-laying females, molting adults, young broods, and ducks preparing for migration require an animal diet of small invertebrates and fish to provide high protein energy. Typical prey items include insects, snails, mussels, clams, minnows, and silversides.


9-12 greenish-buff eggs in a ground nest of feathers and down.


Breeds in eastern and central North America, from Manitoba and Labrador to Texas and Florida. Winters from southern Minnesota and Nova Scotia south to southern Texas and central Florida.

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