American Black Duck


Common Name:American Black Duck





Species:Anas rubripes





The American Black Duck is a Anatidae or a waterfowl related to other ducks, geese and swans. The American Black Duck is a brown molted duck that looks vary similar to a female Mallard and are also often seen in with a group of Mallards making identification more difficult. There are some noticeable differences between a Mallard and an American Black Duck. First, Black Ducks have a darker overall body and a light brown head and upper neck. Also the speculum or the colorful secondaries on the American Black Duck had no visible white border like Mallards and finding this characteristic is the best way to positively identify an American Black Duck.


The American Black Duck is normally only found on the eastern coast and in the breeding season is one of the first migratory waterfowl found from the coast of Virginia up into Quebec and during the non-breeding season they are found farther south into Florida and into Wisconsin. They can be found permanently in the Western New York area where they are commonly seen in different types of wetlands, shallow lakes, bogs and other smaller bodies of water. These ducks eat a variety of plant and animal matter through skimming the surface of the water or dabbling underneath it by tipping their butts in the air so their beaks can reach the bottom. They will eat anything from roots, seeds, stems and leaves to different animals including aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks and fish.




American Black Ducks are mainly a monogamous species of bird where the male will protect the female from other rival males by flying at them to chase them off. Pair bonds are mostly established in the wintering grounds before they go to their breeding habitat. The nest of a duck only a simple scrape with some grass and twigs from the area on the ground protected and camouflaged by plants. Here a  female will lay 9-10 eggs and will incubate them herself for a little less than a month. When the nestlings hatch their mother will arm them up to help them dry and they will leave the nest within 8 to 36 hours after hatching




American Black Ducks are mainly found near relatively shallow water ways including the wetland network of Iroquois NWR, the Niagara River, very close to shore on Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. These waterfowl are also seen commonly in the waste water plant found in Batavia.


Birds of Western New York is brought to you by the Institute for the Study of Human-Animal Relations at Canisius College in Buffalo, NY.