The American Coot is in the rail family. They have a short, straight bill that extends to the forehead. They dont have webbed feet, but they have a series of flaps alongside each toe. They can't take off from land, but must run along the surface of the water to attain flight speed. They are 41 cm. (about 16 inches) long and breed throughout North America. Their color is a dark slate that gets darker on the head and neck. Their bill is white, crossed by a dark band near the tip. Their nest is a hollow pile of dead, broken reeds. Their eggs are a clear clay color, dotted with dark brown. They lay about a dozen eggs. The babies are covered with black down with bright orange-red, hairlike feathers on their head and neck.
The wood duck is found in the northwestern and eastern parts of the United States, southern Canada, and Mexico. It lives in muddy ponds like swamps, marshes, woodland ponds, and slow moving rivers. The Wood ducks in Canada migrate south to the southern states of the U.S.
This duck has a very short neck and strange square tail. This bird has a length from 17 to 24 inches. It is thought to have the most beautiful colors of all North American birds. A burgundy red chest and neck and a dark green back describes the male pretty well. He also has red eyes and his head looks like a referee because of its weird patterns of white stripes. His beak has patterns of yellow, white, black, and red. The female has patches of white over her eyes and not as colored as the male, but she is much more colorful than other duck species.
What the wood duck eats changes by each season, but usually it eats seeds from aquatic plants. In the colder seasons it eats rice, pond weeds, acorns, and anything people give them. During the warmer months they eat bugs like beetles, mayflies, and locusts, and snails too. The bird gets these by diving for them.
Canvasback is the common name for a North American diving duck. Males have a reddish-brown head and neck. Their white upper parts have fine wavy , markings. Females are dull brown. Both sexes have a sloping head profile. Canvasbacks nest on lakes and marshes from Alaska and New England to Mexico. Males are about 53 cm. (about 21 in.) long and weigh as much as 1.7 kg (3.75 lb.). Females are slightly smaller. The canvasback is also known as the redhead.
Gadwall is a common name for a large freshwater duck. It is native to North America, Europe, North Africa, and parts of Asia. Males' bodies are grayish, their heads are brown. They have dark bills, and yellow feet. The females are brown. The males and females both have a white wing patch. This bird eats only plants. It is a dabbler duck; it just reaches down to the bottom of the pond for its food. It nests mainly in western and central regions of North America. It has rapidly spread east over the years. It usually spends its winters in the lower part of the Mississippi Valley and Mexico. The Gadwall frequently associates with the American Widgeon and Pintail.
Teal is the common name applied to certain small, freshwater ducks. The Blue-Winged Teal is about 35cm. (14 in.); it is the smallest North American duck. The Blue-Winged Teal gets it name from the blue on its wings. It is found over most of North America, from Alaska eastward in summer, and as far as South America in winter. Males have a dark bluish head with a distinctive white crescent from forehead to chin. Its scientific name is Anas discors.
Mallard is the common name for one of the most domestic ducks in North America. The Mallard is found throughout the northern hemisphere, and is about 60cm. (about 2 ft.) long. The adult male has a chestnut breast and a white collar. The back feathers of the female are dark brown, edged in bluff.
The Ring-necked Duck's beak ring is actually brighter than its neck
ring. It looks like a surface feeder and sits high in the water.
However, they usually feed in water about 4 ft. deep and can stay under for aprox. 12 seconds. They will eat tubers, seeds, pond weeds, etc. They also eat animal food, which accounts for about 20% of their diet. The male is chunky, with a black head, neck, and breast. A close approach reveals it to be washed with purple on the head and neck.
Their short bills are blue-gray and have a black tip. Serrated edges help make grazing easier. The males are colorful during mating season, though much less so in late summer. Widgeons are part of the family Anatidae, and the American widgeons Latin name is Anas Americana. It is also called the baldpate. The widgeon is the pirate of the bird world, and relies on stealing celery from birds more capable of diving for it. It is not shy, and will beg for food anywhere, even places such as parks and golf courses! Its eggs are nine to ten per nest, and are creamy white in color.