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12 Species of Ducks in Michigan (Pictures)

Ducks are waterfowl that are members of the family Anatidae, which also includes geese and swans. There are over 160 species of ducks in the world. Different duck species have a variety of plumage colors and patterns that make them stand out. There are several duck species that call Michigan home. This article discusses twelve ducks in Michigan.

12 Ducks in Michigan

1. Mallard

Mallard duck standing
Mallard duck standing

Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos

Mallards are perhaps the most recognizable ducks in Michigan. Male mallards are characterized by an iridescent green head with a white ring around the neck. The body’s feathers are gray, and the feathers on the chest are chestnut brown.

The females are more muted brown and white to help them blend in with their surroundings when nesting. Mallards have waterproof outer feathers, and in the winter months, they migrate to warmer areas.

2. American Wigeon

American wigeon swimming
American wigeon swimming | image by Fyn Kynd via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Anas americana

This medium-sized duck has a round head and short beak. Male American wigeons have a white cap on their heads with a bright green band that starts at the eye and runs toward the back of their head. The rest of the body is a light brownish color with black under feathers

The females lack the white cap and the bright green band and have more mottled brown and white feathers. American wigeons live near lakes and wetlands in Michigan, where they spend their time eating aquatic plants.

3. Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-winged teal tends to fly
Blue-winged teal tends to fly | image by fishhawk via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Anas discors

Blue-winged teals are small, dabbling ducks, meaning they submerge the top half of their bodies underwater to eat vegetation. The tails remain above the surface of the water.

The name comes from the powder blue patch of feathers on the upper part of their wings that becomes visible during flight. This species can be found in calm waters around Michigan, like small lakes and marshes.

4. Green-Winged Teal

Green-winged teal
Green winged teal | Image by SajeevBhaskaran from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Anas carolinensis

This small duck is slightly smaller than the blue-winged teal, which is around the same size as a crow. Male green-winged teals have grayish feathers on their bodies with brown heads. A band of bright green swoops from their eyes to the back of their heads.

Females are brown and white all over. Both males and females have bright green patches on their wings that are most visible during flight.

5. American Black Duck

American black duck swimming
American black duck swimming | image by Fyn Kynd via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Anas rubripes

The American black duck is a larger duck species with a rounded head. The males have yellowish-green bills, grayish heads, and dark brown bodies.

The females have brown heads, and their bills are a more muted olive green. Since the American black duck is a dabbling duck, they up-end to reach submerged vegetation rather than dive.

6. Redhead

Redhead duck swimming
Redhead duck swimming | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Aythya americana

The male redhead duck has a striking reddish brown head, black chest, and gray body. The females are a duller brown all over with a dark gray bill.

The redhead is a diving duck, meaning it completely submerges itself in a dive to reach underwater vegetation. This species can be found in Michigan’s lakes, reservoirs, and bays.

7. Northern Shoveler

Northern shoveler
Northern shoveler | image by Jim Bahn via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Anas clypeata

The Northern shoveler is a dabbling duck with a shovel-shaped bill. The males are mostly white and brown with an iridescent green head and yellow eyes. The females are mottled brown and white with an orange bill and brown eyes.

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The males have blue and green feathers visible on the wings in flight, while the females have flashes of powder blue wing feathers. The Northern Shoveler can be found in shallow wetlands and marshes in Michigan.

8. Bufflehead

Male bufflehead swimming
Male bufflehead swimming | image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region via Flickr

Scientific Name: Bucephala albeola

The bufflehead is a unique-looking duck with a rounded head and small body. The males have a large patch of white on their heads, along with purple and green feathers around the neck and face. The male’s body is primarily white, with dark feathers on the back.

The female bufflehead is brownish-gray all over, with a white patch of feathers on each cheek. Buffleheads are diving ducks that go beneath the water’s surface to catch invertebrates and aquatic vegetation.

9. Gadwall

Gadwall foraging
Gadwall foraging | image by Bengt Nyman via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Anas strepera

Gadwalls are dabbling ducks that can be found in ponds, city parks, as well as fresh and saltwater marshes. The male gadwall is grayish brown with black tail feathers.

The females look a lot like female mallards with mottled brown and white feathers. Males and females have a patch of white feathers on the wings that is most visible during flight.

10. Canvasback

Canvasback swimming
Canvasback swimming | image by Judy Gallagher via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Aythya valisineria

Canvasback ducks are large diving ducks with big heads. Their sloping foreheads make their heads resemble that of a goose. Male canvasbacks have brown heads, white bodies, and black chest and tail feathers.

The females are soft brown. Another main difference between the two is that the males have red eyes while the females have dark eyes. This species can be found in deep freshwater lakes and ponds in Michigan.

11. Ring-Necked Duck

Ring-necked duck swimming
Ring-necked duck swimming | image by 5thLargestinAfrica via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Scientific Name: Aythya collaris

The ring-neck duck has a short, round body and a long, thin neck. The males are black with gray feathers on the sides and a light-colored ring around the base of the neck. The females are a more muted brown color with white circles around the eyes.

Both sexes of this species have a white ring around the bill with a black tip. Ring-neck ducks live in pairs or small flocks, spending their time diving for vegetation, mollusks, and other aquatic invertebrates.

12. Wood Duck

Male wood duck swimming
Male wood duck swimming | Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

Scientific Name: Aix sponsa

Wood ducks can be found in small groups in wooded wetlands. While they spend time in the water, they can also be found perching or nesting in the trees.

The male is a gorgeous, brightly colored duck with a rich brown chest and green, purple, brown, black, and white head. The females are brownish with beautiful blue feathers on the wings.