Bird Families

Ginger Duck / Dendrocygna bicolor


DUCKS, a group of genera of web-footed waterfowl belonging to the family of duck (Anatidae), which also includes geese and swans. Ducks differ from them in relatively small size, short legs and necks, a somewhat flattened body and usually unequal color of plumage in males and females. Like geese, swans, and also flamingos, ducks have transverse tooth-like ridges - plates - along the edges of the beak, on their inner side, for straining food particles from silt or water. Numerous species of ducks are found in freshwater bodies of water and seas around the world.


The American Union of Ornithologists classifies wild ducks into two subfamilies and six tribes (a tribe is a taxon of a rank lower than the subfamily, but higher than the genus). The subfamily of goose (Anserinae) includes one of their tribes - woody, or whistling, ducks (Dendrocygnini), which are closest to geese. The rest of the species make up the subfamily of duck (Anatinae), which includes five tribes: Tadornini (sheaths), Cairinini (muscovy ducks and their close relatives), Anatini (true, or river, ducks), Aythyini (diving), Mergini (eiders, turpans, and related taxa). Anatini is especially well known as these ducks feed on the surface and are found mainly in fresh water. They get food in shallow waters, submerging their head and front part of the body in water, and leaving the back on top. This tribe includes the common mallard, American black duck, gray duck, pintail, teal, American and common witch, broad-headed duck, caroline duck and mandarin duck. Aythyini are also well known, i.e. diving ducks, which inhabit fresh and brackish waters, foraging or fleeing from predators, they dive and swim underwater. This tribe includes American, long-nosed and common red-headed divers, sea duck and some other species.

Gray duck

(Anas strepera) breeds in southwestern Canada and the northern United States, and winters in the southern states and most of Mexico. The male is slender, mostly gray with a white belly, black upper tail and a white spot on the hind edge of the wing. The female is brownish, variegated. This herbivorous bird is a popular sport hunting object.


(Anas plathyrhynchos) breeds in the subarctic and temperate regions of the Old and New Worlds, and winters much further south - in North Africa, southern China and Mexico, Japan and Florida. It is the ancestor of most breeds of domestic ducks and one of the most studied birds in the world.

American Black Duck

(Anas rubripes) with its dark brown coloration and white lining of the wing is unmistakably determined by its appearance in flight. Both sexes are colored similarly: they have dark plumage with a yellowish-brown head, and on the wing there is like a mirror with a purple metallic sheen. This species breeds in northern Canada and winters in the east and central United States, reaching the Gulf of Mexico.


(Anas acuta) is easily recognizable by its long, finely pointed tail. It breeds in the Arctic and northern temperate zones, and winters in the southern United States, northern South America, and India.


- these are about 15 species of ducks, common all over the world. The best known in the United States is the Carolina Teal Whistle (Anas carolinensis), which nests in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and winters almost throughout the United States and Mexico. The male is a small, beautiful gray bird with a green spot on the chestnut head and a bright metallic green mirror on the wing. The female is motley, brownish, with a green mirror. Brown teal (A. cyanoptera) - chestnut, with a bluish mirror.


make up the genus Bucephala... Just gogol (B. clangula) nests in the northern regions of the Old and New Worlds, and spends winter in temperate latitudes. The male is mostly white, with a black top, white markings on the wings, a fluffy, black, green head and a large white spot between the eye and beak. The female is gray with a dark brown head. Icelandic gogol (B. islandica) breeds in Iceland, Greenland and the mountains of northwestern North America. The males are about the same as those of the common gogol, but their heads have a purple tint, their wings are more white, and the facial spot is sickle-shaped. Small gogol, or tadpole (B. albeola), Is one of the smallest ducks. This species breeds in the subarctic regions of America and overwinters from the Great Lakes and southern Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico.

Red-headed duck

(Aythya ferina), common in the Old World, is a close relative of the long-nosed and American red-headed diving. In appearance, it seems to occupy an intermediate position between them. It nests from the British Isles to central Siberia, and winters in India and along the banks of the Nile. Nests are arranged above water in dense thickets of reeds or other aquatic plants.

American Redhead Duck

(Aythya americana) breeds in southwestern Canada and western United States, and winters in southern states and northern Mexico. Outwardly, it resembles a long-nosed red-headed duck, but its beak is shorter and its forehead is higher. The male is gray, with an auburn head and neck and black breasts. The female is brownish. In the west of the United States, this species is found in swamps and lakes on the prairies, and in the east and in sea waters.

Long-nosed red-headed duck

(Aythia valisineria) breeds in the Northwest of America, where it nests in thickets of grasses or sedges near the water, and winters in most of the United States and Mexico. Popular among game lovers, this species has suffered greatly from sport hunting.


- several types of ducks from the genus Aythya... Male grouse (A. marila) whitish, with a black uppertail, head (with a green tint), neck and wings, along the posterior edge of which there is a wide white stripe. The species breeds in arctic and temperate areas around the world. In the United States, it is found almost exclusively in the west and northwest of the country. Little dock (A. affinis) is colored in a similar way, but the head has a purple tint. Its range is approximately the same as that of the tartar.

- ducks of 4 species, united in genera Sumateria, Polysticta (2 types) and Lampronetta... These are large birds that nest on the arctic and subarctic coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and are so cold-tolerant that they rarely migrate to temperate regions, even in severe winters. Males have beautiful, mostly white plumage with black, pink, azure or grayish-blue markings. Females are brown with black streaks. The females of the common eider inhabiting the North Atlantic (S. mollissima) serve as a source of eider down. Females pluck the fluff from their breasts and line their nests, from where it is collected at the end of the breeding season.


- ducks of several species from the genera Lophodytes and Mergus... They are fish-eating seabirds with a narrow, toothed beak, which, while diving, pursue their prey underwater. Most of them nest in temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and fly south to winter. There are three species in the United States. The male of the great merganser (M. merganser) is mostly white with a black top, a greenish black head and a faint peach bloom on the chest. The female is gray, with a crested reddish-red head. Long-nosed, or medium, merganser (M.serrator) is similar to a large, but not so white, chest of a rusty color, and on both sexes a crest is clearly visible on the head. Male crested merganser (L. cucullatus) black and white, with a large fan-shaped crest, which he can straighten at will. The female is dull brownish, with a small yellow crest.

Muscovy duck

(Cairina moschata) Is a dense, black and white bird from the tropics of the New World, where it is found from Mexico to Brazil.It differs from other ducks in its more developed wings, a stronger skeleton, elongated body and tail, and red fleshy growths on the head. The species is successfully domesticated and produces fine-fibred meat.

Long-tailed woman

(Clangula hyemalis) is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. It nests in the Arctic, and winters along the seashores of the northern United States, occasionally reaching California and Florida. Males are mostly white, with black wings and a wide transverse stripe on the belly. Females are colored in a similar way, but darker and without stripes. Long-tailed ducks feed on crustaceans and are considered inedible.

American duck

(Oxyura jamaicensis) Is the only North American duck that is unable to walk on the ground. Rusty red, with white cheeks and a dark cap, the male has a habit of keeping his long tail upright. The female is brownish gray. The species breeds in the northwest of Canada and the extreme west of the United States, and winters on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of these countries.

Turpans, or singgi,

Are large sea ducks from the genus Melanitta and Oidemia... They nest in the subarctic and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, and winter off the coast of China, Japan, California, North and South Carolina, and the Mediterranean. Turpan (M. fusca) Is a European species. Three species are found in the United States. Their males are heavy blackish birds. Hump-nosed scooter (M. deglandi) is distinguished by a white mark under the eye and a square white spot on the trailing edge of the wing. At the variegated turpan (M. perspicillata) white spots are visible on the head and neck. Black scooter, or xinga (O. nigra), Is the only completely black duck in North America. All scooters are characterized by a brightly colored swollen beak at the base; they feed mainly on marine mollusks.

Peganki, or ogary

(Tadorna) are widespread in the temperate and tropical regions of the Old World. These are large ducks feeding on the surface of the water.


differ in a large, scoop-like beak. Only one type of group, just a broad-bearer (Spatula clypeata), found in North America, the rest in Australia, New Zealand, South America or Africa. Shirokoskos nests in temperate and subarctic zones of the Old and New Worlds, and winters in northern Africa, India, China, Japan, California, southeastern United States and northern South America. The male is black and white, with a reddish belly and sides, a black, shimmering green head and a pale blue speculum on the front of the wing. The female is speckled, brownish, with a blue speculum on the wing.

Ducks steamers

(Tachyeres) Are four species of large diving birds from the southern regions of South America. Three species are incapable of flight, and one of them, T. leucocephalus, described only in 1981.

Woody, or whistling, ducks

(Dendrocygna) Is a genus that unites 8 species, which are probably very close to geese. They are found in tropical areas around the world and locally in the temperate zone. They have long necks and legs, and their paws are able to grasp the branches of trees, to which they rarely fly up. The color combines brown, gray, chestnut, black and white. In the United States, the so-called. autumn duck (D. autumnalis) is found in southern Texas, and the red whistling duck (D. bicolor) - from central California to southwest Louisiana.


(Mareca) Is a genus that unites three types of ducks. American Wig (M. americana) Is a North American species that nests from the subarctic regions of western Canada to the northwest and north of the United States, and overwinters from Long Island to the Gulf of Mexico, Central America and the West Indies. Just wiggle (M. penelope) breeds in Northern Eurasia, and winters in North Africa and India, but can also fly in the United States. The male is gray and resembles the male of the previous species, but is distinguished by a reddish-brown head with a yellow crown. The third type, the so-called. luxurious wiggle (M. sibilatrix), found in the south of South America.

Carolina duck

(Aix sponsa) Is one of the most beautiful birds in North America.In the plumage, the male combines black, white, bronze-blue, green and purple colors. The color of the female is less bright and is complemented by a white ring around the eye. The crest is well developed in both sexes. The Caroline duck prefers small forest lakes and streams, and nests in the hollows of trees and stumps, from which ducklings fly directly into the water or to the ground. It feeds mainly on nuts. The species breeds almost throughout the United States and southern Canada, avoiding only the western prairies and open plains, and winters far in the south.

Mandarin duck

(Aix galericulata) is found in the temperate zone of East Asia. She nests in trees.

Pet ducks

All breeds of domestic ducks are believed to have evolved from either the Mallard or the Muscovy Duck. The mallard was domesticated in Europe around the first century AD, and the musk duck was domesticated in South America, probably shortly before the 16th century. Most modern breeds are obtained from these species by selection and crossing, with the Rouen duck and the Indian runner retaining the colors of the wild mallard.

Breeds and classes.

The American Poultry Association has set standards for 12 duck breeds, which are divided into three classes. Meat includes White Peking, Aylesbury, Musk, Rouen, Cayuga, Buff and Swedish; Egg Runner and Khaki Campbell; Ornamental - Coll, White Crested, and Black East Indian Runner.

White peking duck

- the most commercially important breed of the United States. They are squat, fleshy, sluggish, but fast growing birds covered with white plumage. The breed was imported from China, but has been adapted to the economic needs of the American food industry. Its egg production has been more than doubled, and the efficiency of using feed for growing meat by these birds remains unrivaled among domestic ducks.

Breeding ducks.

Breeding ducks is beneficial on farms of all sizes. They don't need perches or nests, just a canopy and straw bedding. Ducks eat greens, grains, kitchen scraps - just about any feed available on the farm, and thrive on pasture. These birds can be bred even in the absence of a swimming pool, although its presence increases the efficiency of their reproduction.

Egg breeds of ducks, such as the Indian Runner or Khaki Campbell, lay eggs all year round. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, a dozen weigh an average of 0.8-0.9 kg. They are used in baking, in England they are eaten.

In the United States, ducks are bred mainly for meat. Ducklings are hardy and grow quickly. The Peking duck reaches a mass of 2.4–2.7 kg in about 12 weeks, and these "green ducklings" are usually slaughtered.


Duck feathers are used as stuffing material, but only eider down is of significant value in this regard.

Diseases of ducks.

Ducks suffer relatively little from diseases, including infectious diseases. New duck syndrome is one of the main problems, but outbreaks can be suppressed with the antibiotic terramycin. Ducklings are prone to acute viral hepatitis (liver damage), leading to high mortality, but it can be controlled by immunization.