The American black duck (Anas rubripes) is a large dabbling duck in the family Anatidae. It somewhat resembles the female Mallard in coloration but has a darker plumage. The male and female are generally similar in appearance, but the male’s bill is yellow while the female’s is dull green with dark marks on the upper mandible. It is native to eastern North America. During the breeding season, it is usually found in coastal and freshwater wetlands from Saskatchewan to the Atlantic in Canada and the Great Lakes and the Adirondacks in the United States. It is a partially migratory species, mostly wintering in the east-central United States, especially in coastal areas. [Wikipedia]
The American Black Duck hides in plain sight in shallow wetlands of eastern North America. They often flock with the ubiquitous Mallard, where they look quite similar to female Mallards. But take a second look through a group of brown ducks to notice the dark chocolate-brown flanks, pale grayish face, and olive-yellow bill of an American Black Duck. Numbers of this shy but common duck declined sharply in the mid-twentieth century. Hunting restrictions have helped to stabilize their numbers, although habitat loss remains a problem. [All About Birds]
American Black Duck Facts [All About Birds]
- As soon as their down feathers dry, newly hatched ducklings are able to leave the nest, a depression on the ground lined with plant materials. They follow their mother to rearing areas with a lot of invertebrates to eat and plenty of vegetation for cover.
- Normally found in eastern North America, American Black Ducks occasionally show up on the West Coast, Europe, and even Asia. Some of these birds may be escaped pets, but others are known to be wild ducks: for instance, one female banded in New Brunswick, Canada, turned up later in France.
- Pleistocene fossils of American Black Ducks, at least 11,000 years old, have been unearthed in Florida and Georgia.
- The oldest American Black Duck on record was 26 years, 5 months old.
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