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