black ducks in michigan

12 Black Ducks in Michigan (ID, Calls, Season Guide) + Pictures

Have you ever wondered just how many species of black ducks call Michigan their home? Are you amazed by the stunning variety of these waterfowl beauties? Prepare to be awestruck as I reveal the mesmerizing world of black ducks in Michigan. From the regal Mallard to the vibrant Redhead, each species has its own unique characteristics and charm. Let’s dive in and explore the 12 species of black ducks that grace the waters of Michigan.

Key Takeaways:

  • Michigan is home to a rich diversity of black duck species, with a total of 12 different types.
  • Each black duck species has its own distinct features, colors, and plumage patterns.
  • Identifying and appreciating the unique characteristics of each black duck species is key to understanding their ecological role and conservation needs.
  • Through vivid images, this article will guide you in recognizing and appreciating the beauty of these black ducks in Michigan.
  • Exploring the world of black ducks in Michigan opens up a fascinating window into the rich biodiversity of the region.

12 Amazing Types Of Ducks Found in Michigan

1. Mallard

The mallard is a common black duck species that can be found in various regions of Michigan. With its distinctive green head and yellow bill, the mallard is easily recognizable and a favorite among bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. It is a versatile species that can adapt to different habitats, including wetlands, ponds, and lakes.


The male mallard, also known as a drake, features vibrant plumage with a green head, white neck ring, chestnut breast, and gray body. The female mallard, referred to as a hen, has mottled brown feathers for effective camouflage. Mallards are known for their wide distribution, both in North America and Europe, making them one of the most recognizable and widespread duck species.

As herbivorous birds, mallards primarily feed on aquatic plants, insects, seeds, and grains. They are capable of foraging in shallow waters, dabbling their heads underwater to find food.

During the breeding season, mallards form pair bonds that typically last until the chicks hatch. They construct nests on the ground, often concealed in vegetation near water bodies. Mallard eggs have an average incubation period of about 28 days. Once hatched, the ducklings are precocial, meaning they are well-developed and ready to swim and forage shortly after emergence from the egg.

Mallards are migratory birds, and populations in Michigan may experience seasonal movements. Some individuals migrate to the southern United States or even Mexico during the winter, while others may stay in Michigan year-round if suitable food and water resources are available.

Interesting Mallard Facts:

  • Mallards have a wide range of vocalizations, including the familiar quack sound often associated with ducks.
  • Male mallards perform elaborate courtship displays, including head bobbing, tail wagging, and vocalizations, to impress females.
  • Commercially raised mallards are commonly used for meat production.
  • The mallard is recognized as the ancestor of many domestic duck breeds.

Mallard Features

Characteristic Description
Size Mallards are medium-sized ducks, with males typically weighing between 2 and 3 pounds (0.9-1.4 kg) and females weighing slightly less, around 1.5-2 pounds (0.7-0.9 kg).
Habitat Mallards can be found in various aquatic habitats, including wetlands, ponds, lakes, and rivers.
Plumage Male mallards have a vibrant plumage with a green head, white neck ring, chestnut breast, and gray body. Females have mottled brown feathers to provide effective camouflage.
Diet Mallards are herbivorous and primarily feed on aquatic plants, insects, seeds, and grains.
Behavior Mallards form pair bonds during the breeding season and construct nests on the ground near water bodies. They are migratory birds, but some individuals may stay in Michigan year-round.

2. American Wigeon

When it comes to black duck species, the American Wigeon is a true standout. With its unique coloration and stunning plumage, this duck is a sight to behold. The American Wigeon can be found in various settings throughout Michigan, from lakes to marshes, adding beauty to the natural landscape.

American Wigeon

One of the notable features of the American Wigeon is its beautiful chestnut head with a striking white crown. This color contrast sets it apart from other black duck species and makes it easily identifiable. The male American Wigeon also sports a flashy green stripe on its wings, adding to its charm.

In addition to its captivating appearance, the American Wigeon is known for its behavior. This duck is a dabbling duck, meaning it feeds by tipping its head underwater while its body stays afloat. This unique feeding habit contributes to the ecological balance of wetland habitats.

3. Blue-Winged Teal

The Blue-Winged Teal is a small black duck species that can be found frequently in Michigan’s wetlands. What sets this species apart from others is its striking blue wing patches. These vibrant patches on their wings make them easily recognizable and add to their beauty. Blue-Winged Teals are known for their swift flight and agility in the water. They are highly adaptable, occupying a variety of habitats, ranging from freshwater marshes to shallow ponds. These ducks primarily feed on plants, seeds, and aquatic insects.

Blue-Winged Teal

During the breeding season, male Blue-Winged Teals display their vivid breeding plumage, which includes a resplendent combination of bright blue, cinnamon, and chestnut colors. This dramatic transformation showcases their courtship rituals to attract mates. Female Blue-Winged Teals, on the other hand, have a more subdued appearance with mottled brown feathers that provide excellent camouflage for nesting.

The Blue-Winged Teal is also known to exhibit complex social behavior during the non-breeding season, often joining large flocks of other ducks. These flocks can include thousands of individuals gathering in wetlands and estuaries. Their ability to blend in with other waterfowl species makes them an interesting subject for bird enthusiasts and photographers.

If you ever have the opportunity to observe Blue-Winged Teals in their natural habitat, you will be captivated by their stunning colors and graceful movements. The images below provide a glimpse into the world of the Blue-Winged Teal, offering a visual feast for bird lovers and nature enthusiasts alike.

4. Green-Winged Teal

Another black duck species commonly found in Michigan is the Green-Winged Teal. With its vibrant green wing patches and intricate feather patterns, this duck is a true beauty. The Green-Winged Teal is known for its graceful flight and agility, making it a delight to observe in the wild.

Green-Winged Teal

The male Green-Winged Teal features a colorful breeding plumage, with a chestnut head, bright green eyestripe, and a stunning mix of gray, buff, and black feathers. In contrast, the female has a mottled brown appearance, helping her blend into her surroundings when nesting.

The Green-Winged Teal is a small dabbling duck, known for its ability to feed by skimming the water’s surface or upending to reach submerged vegetation. It’s often seen in shallow wetlands, marshes, and freshwater ponds, where it forages for aquatic plants, insects, and small invertebrates.

If you’re fortunate enough to spot a Green-Winged Teal in Michigan, take the time to observe its behavior, as it tends to display interesting courtship rituals and social interactions with other waterfowl species. Don’t miss the chance to capture its beauty through photography or simply appreciate its presence in its natural habitat.

5. American Black Duck

American Black Duck

The American Black Duck is a remarkable black-colored duck species that can be found throughout the beautiful state of Michigan. Its elegant body and dark plumage make it stand out in the wetlands, rivers, and lakes where it resides. Often mistaken for the Mallard, the American Black Duck has distinct characteristics that set it apart.

To help differentiate the American Black Duck from the Mallard, consider the following key points:

  • The American Black Duck has a darker overall plumage compared to the Mallard, which may appear more brownish.
  • While both ducks have a yellow bill, the American Black Duck’s bill is usually darker with a greenish-black tone.
  • The American Black Duck has a purple-blue iridescence on its wing feathers, while the Mallard displays a vibrant green iridescence.
  • In flight, the American Black Duck shows a white underwing, contrasting with its darker body, whereas the Mallard reveals a bright blue-violet patch.

6. Redhead

The Redhead is another black duck species that can be spotted in Michigan’s waters. Named after its vibrant red head, this species is a favorite among bird watchers. Redhead captures the attention of both experienced bird enthusiasts and casual observers alike with its striking coloration. This black duck species showcases a mix of reds, browns, and grays, creating a unique and beautiful plumage. The fiery red head of the male Redhead is especially eye-catching, providing a striking contrast to its dark body.

redhead bird

Redheads are known for their impressive diving capabilities, as they can plunge under the water in search of food. Their preferred diet consists of aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates. These ducks can often be found foraging in shallow waters, such as marshes and ponds, where they use their specialized bills to sift through the mud and water to find their next meal.

The breeding season typically begins in spring when Redheads form monogamous pairs. The female builds her nest on the ground and lines it with down feathers from her own body. She lays a clutch of 8-12 eggs, and both parents take turns incubating them for about a month. Once the ducklings hatch, they are precocial, meaning they are able to leave the nest and feed themselves shortly after birth.

Characteristics of the Redhead:

  • Average length: 19-22 inches
  • Wingspan: 33-35 inches
  • Weight: 2-2.5 pounds
  • Distinctive red head and gray body
  • Dives for food, feeding on plants, seeds, and invertebrates
  • Monogamous breeding pairs
Characteristic Redhead
Length 19-22 inches
Wingspan 33-35 inches
Weight 2-2.5 pounds
Main Color Gray
Head Color Red
Feeding Habits Dives for aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates
Mating Habits Monogamous breeding pairs

7. Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler is a unique black ducks species found in the marshes and lakes of Michigan. One of the defining features of this duck is its large spoon-shaped bill, which it uses to filter small invertebrates from the water. The male Northern Shoveler has striking plumage, with a blue-green head, white chest, and chestnut-colored flanks. The female, on the other hand, has a mottled brown appearance.

Northern Shoveler

These ducks are known for their distinctive feeding behavior, often seen swimming in tight circles while rapidly swishing their bills side to side. Their long bills and lamellae, comb-like structures inside the beak, enable them to strain small organisms and plankton from the water. The Northern Shoveler’s feeding habits make it a valuable species for wetland ecosystems, as they help maintain a healthy balance of aquatic life.

Here is an informative comparison table showcasing the key characteristics of the Northern Shoveler:

Characteristics Description
Bill Large spoon-shaped bill
Male Plumage Blue-green head, white chest, and chestnut-colored flanks
Female Plumage Mottled brown appearance
Feeding Behavior Swims in circles while filtering small organisms from the water

The Northern Shoveler is a fascinating black duck species that adds both beauty and functionality to Michigan’s wetlands. Their unique bill and feeding behavior make them a captivating sight for bird enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Bufflehead, Gadwall, Canvasback, Ring-Necked Duck, Wood Duck

I am excited to introduce you to five more fascinating black duck species that can be found in Michigan – the Bufflehead, Gadwall, Canvasback, Ring-Necked Duck, and Wood Duck. Each of these species possesses its unique characteristics and features, making them a captivating sight in Michigan’s diverse bird population.

The Bufflehead, also known as the “butterball” duck, is easily recognizable by its striking black and white plumage and its small size. These agile divers are a delight to watch as they navigate Michigan’s lakes and rivers.


The Gadwall, characterized by its mottled brown and gray feathers, is a common sight in Michigan’s wetlands. Though they may appear plain from a distance, their intricate patterns and subtle beauty become apparent up close.


The Canvasback, renowned for its striking red head and sleek profile, is a true treasure to behold. These diving ducks can often be spotted in Michigan’s larger bodies of water, showcasing their elegance and grace.


The Ring-Necked Duck, named after the faint ring around its neck, is a stunningly attired species that frequents Michigan’s marshes and ponds. Its glossy black plumage and vibrant yellow eyes make it a standout amidst the waterfowl.

Ring-Necked Duck

Lastly, we have the Wood Duck, known for its colorful and vibrant appearance. With its iridescent green head, intricate patterns, and stunning plumage, the Wood Duck is considered one of the most beautiful duck species in the world.

Wood Duck

FAQs About Ducks in Michigan

Q1: What kind of black ducks live in Michigan?

Michigan is home to a variety of duck species, including Mallards, Wood Ducks, Northern Pintails, Gadwalls, and more. The state’s diverse habitats attract both migratory and resident duck populations.

Q2: What do ducks do in the winter in Michigan?

During winter in Michigan, ducks either migrate to warmer regions or adapt to the cold by seeking open water in lakes and rivers. They may also forage for food in ice-free areas and use their insulated plumage to endure the chilly conditions.

Q3: Are black ruddy ducks common in Michigan?

Yes, Ruddy Ducks are present in Michigan, particularly during migration. While not as common as some other species, you can spot them in suitable wetland habitats, such as marshes and lakes.

Q4: Is Michigan a good waterfowl state?

Yes, Michigan is considered a good waterfowl state. Its numerous lakes, wetlands, and water bodies provide essential habitats for ducks. The state attracts waterfowl enthusiasts and hunters alike due to its diverse and abundant waterfowl populations.

Mya Bambrick

I am a lifelong bird lover and nature enthusiast. I admire birds for their beauty, diversity, and intelligence. Birding is more than a hobby for me; it is a way of life. Therefore, I created this website to provide better and quality information about bird species. You know there are many bird species in the world right now. I started a path to introduce you to birds one by one.

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