Ducks are found throughout the world, including in the state of Florida. In fact, Florida is home to around 30 different duck species, some of which stay in the state for the entire year, while others come and go depending on the season. One thing that all the ducks in Florida have in common is that they stay near a water source. In this article we look at 14 ducks that call the state of Florida home for at least part of the year!
14 Ducks in Florida
The waterfowl found in Florida range in size and appearance, and are even found in different habitats. Some of the ducks in Florida are sea ducks, sticking close to the coastline, while others prefer freshwater areas. Keep reading to learn more about the ducks in Florida and how to identify them.
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
Mallards may be one of the most common ducks seen in Florida, and can have a body length of between 20 and 26 inches. The males of the species have stunning green heads, while the female mallard does not.
Mallards migrate to Florida during the fall and winter. When the seasons change, these birds will leave the state and head to northern areas during the spring to breed.
2. White-Cheeked Pintail
Scientific Name: Anas bahamensis
As its name suggests, the white-cheeked pintail duck has distinctive white feathers on its cheeks. Their bodies are various shades of brown and their gray beak is lined with red. Unlike a lot of other duck species, both the male and female white-cheecked pintails look about the same.
3. American Wigeon
Scientific Name: Mareca americana
Both the male and female American wigeons have short necks, round heads, a palish blue bill with a black tip, white bellies, and gray legs and feet. They also have vibrant green behind their eyes, which stands out against their white and brown heads.
4. Cinnamon Teal
Scientific Name: Spatula cyanoptera
The cinnamon teal duck is named after its cinnamon-colored body, red eyes, and dark bill. Like most other duck species, it is the males that have the more attractive coloring. The female has a mottled brown body, brown eyes, a pale head, and a gray-colored bill.
5. Ring-Necked Duck
Scientific Name: Aythya collaris
The ring-necked duck lives in freshwater throughout the state of Florida. Males of the species are a bit larger than the females, and have shiny black heads and backs, a white chest, and bright yellowish orange eyes. Females are not as shrinking in their appearance with their gray-colored heads and bodies, dark eyes, and dark bill.
6. Greater Scaup
Scientific Name: Aythya marila
The female greater scaup is an unassuming bird, producing a body that is covered in brown feathers. The male of the species, however, is much more attractive in its appearance with its dark head adorned with green iridescence that shines in the sunlight. They also have a black chest, a white underside, and a blue bill.
7. Harlequin Duck
Scientific Name: Histrionicus histrionicus
If you want to see a striking duck, look no further than the Harlequin duck. It was named after the harlequin characters of the 18th century, and the male is covered in a colorful pattern with rust, slate blue, black, and white markings. Females are not nearly as impressive-looking with their brownish plumage.
8. Long-Tailed Duck
Scientific Name: Clangula hyemalis
This sea duck with its long tail will breed in the taiga and tundra regions and then migrate to warmer waters in the winter. Long-tailed ducks are not as commonly seen in recent years, thanks to their dwindling numbers. This waterfowl has a conservation status of vulnerable, which means this species has the potential to go extinct.
Scientific Name: Aythya valisineria
Not only are canvasbacks one of the least common ducks in North America, but they are also the largest of all the diving ducks found in North America. They breed in prairie marshes, and the males have a chestnut red head, black chest and rump, grayish back, and a dark brown tail. The female canvasback have a darker chest and underside, and a lighter brown head and neck.
10. Common Goldeneye
Scientific Name: Bucephala clangula
The common goldeneye is named for its golden eyes, which both the male and female of the species have. These eyes stand out against its dark head, making it even easier to notice. These birds migrate to Florida in the fall, and often signal the start of the new season for bird watchers.
11. Surf Scoter
Scientific Name: Melanitta perspicillata
Surf scoters, as its name suggests, is a common sight along the coasts during the winter months. These birds are large and heavy, and the males have a black velvet-looking body, while the females are brown.
12. Muscovy Duck
Scientific Name: Cairina moschata
Muscovy ducks are rather unusual in their appearance thanks to the bright red caruncles that are found above their beak and eyes. Despite being a common sight in the state, these waterfowl are not native to Florida and are actually listed as an invasive species.
13. Ruddy Duck
Scientific Name: Oxyura jamaicensis
The ruddy duck is fond of marshy ponds and lakes throughout the state of Florida, and it is their pale blue bill that makes this species stand out from the crowd. The males of the species are dull gray with white cheeks and a black cap, while the females are a vibrant rust brown.
14. King Eider
Scientific Name: Somateria spectabilis
The king eider duck gets its name honestly. This large, impressive waterfowl has a body length of almost 30 inches with a wingspan of up to 40 inches.
The males have a large, rounded head and thick neck, and has black and white plumage, light green cheeks, a pearly blue crown, and a reddish orange bill. Females are a bit smaller in size with a marbling-like pattern in hues of black and rust brown.