They are several duck breeds in the world. Some breeds are domestic (kept for eggs, meat, ornamental purposes, feathers, and pets), whereas some are wild (not bred domestically for human use). In this article, we will explore the wild duck breeds.
Ducks are waterfowl that belong to the family Anatidae. They are primarily aquatic and can be found in places where there is water, like ponds, streams, and rivers.
Physically, ducks are smaller and have shorter necks than their relative: swans and geese. One unique characteristic of this waterfowl is that it has highly waterproof feathers.
Even when a duck dives underwater, the underlayer feathers stay completely dry next to the skin. Ready? Let’s take a look at some of these wild duck breeds.
Types of Wild Duck Breeds
1. African Black Duck
African Black Duck is also among the wild duck breeds. It is scientifically known as Anas Sparsa. As the name suggests, these ducks can be found in Africa, and they are black.
They are primarily found in fast-flowing rivers with sufficient wood, ponds, and streams with rocky substrates, particularly in wooded and mountainous countries.
They cover an extensive range and can be found in some countries in the southern, eastern, western, and even central parts of Africa.
Their plumage is dotted with white spots on the back. It has orange legs and black bills. African Black Ducks are omnivorous.
Their diet consists of waterweeds and other aquatic vegetation, grains, fruits, insect larvae, amphibian larvae, snails, crustaceans, and fish.
They are said to be diurnal, i.e., they rest at night and spend daylight hours feeding, sleeping, and preening.
2. Chestnut Teal
They are scientifically known as Anas Castanea. The Chestnut Teal is also among the wild duck breeds. Physically, both males and females look alike.
Both sexes possess deep, dark red eyes, blue-gray bills, green-gray legs and feet, and the signature chestnut color.
Nevertheless, they can be distinguished by some other attributes. The female of this breed has plain grey feathers with a rounded crown. The males, on the other hand, have vibrant feathers.
It comprises a metallic-green head, dark-brown wings, bright chestnut-colored neck, and breast. Their tail is black with a striking glowing white patch on the underside.
The Chestnut teal duck has a peculiar breeding habit, as both parents incubate the eggs. These breeds of ducks are omnivorous, just like most ducks. They eat seeds, insects, grains, mollusks, and various plant and animal matter.
The Chestnut Teals can be found in southern Australia. They are common in estuaries, inlets, mudflats, coastal lagoons, and wetlands. The salinity of the water does not mean much to these wild duck breeds. They can withstand saline water bodies.
3. Mallard Ducks
This is also another wild duck breed. It is scientifically named Anas platyrhynchos. The mallard breed is one of the most common breeds among all types of ducks and pretty popular among wild duck breeds. They are the ancestors of most domestic duck breeds.
Mallard Ducks are primarily found in the Northern Hemisphere around marshes, farms, ponds, lakes, rivers, and artificial habitats such as golf courses, parks, gardens, and even yards.
They are omnivores and eat a wide variety of plant and animal matter. Their diet is heavily dictated by the season. During the breeding season, they usually eat more insect larvae, snails, crustaceans, earthworms, and other animal matter.
While in migrating season, they usually focus more on plant matter, consuming seeds and grains. The males are generally more colorful than the females.
The head of the male mallard is green which stands out against its yellow bill. A white ring in the neck region separates the green head of the male mallards from its chestnut-brown chest. Their feathers are grey with a curled tail.
On the other hand, the female is a bit bland in appearance. This is an adaptation technique as it helps conceal them from predators during the nesting season.
The crown of the female’s head is dark brown, with a dark brown stripe running through the eye. The female mallard is dotted all over with beige and dark brown feathers. The bill is orange and speckled with brown, and the legs and feet are also orange.
They can be found in a variety of habitats, constituting dry agricultural fields, shallow marshes, and oak-dominated forested wetlands.
4. American Black Ducks
American black duck is one of the wild duck breeds considered large. It is commonly found throughout much of Eastern North America.
Contrary to the name, the duck has dark brown plumage instead of the black plumage that comes to mind when one hears the name. It is also referred to as “Dusky Duck” because of its dark dusky plumage.
The males and females of this duck breed are similar in appearance. But, while the female has dull olive beaks, the males have yellow beaks.
Their difference is also seen when they are in flight. For the females, flying reveals brilliant purplish-blue secondary wings highlighted by black margins, while flying for the males shows white underwings.
These breeds of wild ducks are omnivores. Although they mostly eat plants, they also eat insects, fish, mollusks, and crustaceans.
They can be found in Eastern North America in freshwater wetlands such as wooded swamps, ponds, and marshes.
They may be found in winter around salty wetlands, river habitats, and agricultural landscapes. Both male and female American black ducks look similar to female Mallards in size and color, although the American Black duck has darker plumage.
5. Yellow-Billed Duck
The yellow-Billed duck is also one of the wild duck breeds, and its name gives an apt description of this breed. The yellow-billed ducks have yellow bills.
They also have dark-brown plumage, darker heads, whitish underwings, and white-bordered green speculums (distinctive wing patches) on the upper wings.
Both males and females look alike. Nevertheless, the females are smaller, and their bill and plumage have a fuller shade.
Yellow-billed duck can be found in Southern and Eastern Africa, where they are usually seen in freshwater habitats in open country. You’ll find them near coastal lagoons, marshes, lakes, and streams, slow-flowing rivers with pools and adjacent flooded grasslands, permanent and seasonal lakes,
They do not tolerate highly acidic habitats or high salinity waters, but they can abide high concentrations of other salts around pH ten or more.
Unlike some wild duck breeds, the yellow duck is not migratory. But, they may travel short distances in the dry season to find reasonable bodies of water.
They usually nest near water – on the ground in dense vegetation. The Yellow-billed ducks are also omnivorous. They feed on invertebrates and plant matter.
Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, roots, leaves, and stems of aquatic and terrestrial plants, aquatic insects and their larvae, and agricultural grains. They usually feed here by dabbling for plant food, mainly in the evening or at night.
The Yellow-billed duck looks like the African Black duck, but there are a few differences here. African Black Ducks are darker. They have shorter necks and dark bills.
6. Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian Wigeon has Mareca Penelope as its binomial name. The species name for Eurasian Wigeon “Penelope” is an allusion to Greek mythology where Odysseus’s wife, Penelope, was rescued by a duck after being thrown into the ocean.
The physical looks of the male Eurasian wigeon vary with season. In breeding season, most of their feathers are grey. They have salmon-colored breasts and chestnut-colored heads with beige crowns.
Their bills are light blue with a black tip, and they have a white patch on their wings. In eclipse season i.e., July to September, the males look like females.
The Female Eurasian wigeon has dark brown plumage. They have gray-brown-to-russet-brown heads, necks, chests, backs, sides, and flanks.
Their bill is short, colored blue-gray with a black tip and the legs and feet are blue-gray. They have a white belly, which is revealed in flight.
Both sexes of this wild duck breed have a black tip at the edge of their bill. The Eurasian Wigeons are herbivores and can be typically found around ponds and lakes.
They feed on algae, leaves, stems, roots, tubers, seeds, grains, and nuts. The birds are great migrators. They can travel far and be found in different parts of the world based on the season.
Nevertheless, they breed in the northernmost areas of Europe and the Palearctic. In North America, they can be seen sporadically every year but have not been found breeding on that continent.
7. Flying Steamer Ducks
The Flying Steamer duck belongs to the genus Tachyeres and the family Anatidae, a species of South American duck. This duck is large, heavily built, and belongs to the wild duck breeds.
The name Flying Steamer-Ducks brings to mind a duck in flight. But, it is not the case. In fact, the duck is rarely seen in flight. Instead, it is often seen paddling through the water like an old steamer boat, hence the tag “Steamer-Duck.”
They are widespread in Argentina and Chile and can be seen around coastal lakes and seas.
Like most ducks, the male is also bigger and more colorful than the female. They both possess brown-grey plumage. However, the male’s bill is primarily orange while the female is green.
Flying Steamer-Ducks are omnivores. They feed on crustaceans, mollusks, and other marine invertebrates.