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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.