American Black Duck

American Black Duck
Anas rubripes

Ducks don’t have much sense of smell, but a black duck’s hearing is very acute, and it only takes a faint unfamiliar noise to spook them.

In flight, and even in hand, blacks are often confused with hen mallards, though their bodies are generally darker and their wing specula have a decidedly more violent cast. The best way to tell a mallard from a black is to look for the white bars both in front and behind the specula on a mallard’s wing. A black duck’s bars are dark and narrow, not white.

Although low hatching numbers and hybrid mallard breeding have plagued the black duck species, it seems unlikely that they will disappear. Relatively few mallards breed in Northeastern Canada and the Maritimes, so unless one species or the other makes a radical shift in its ancient patterns the two will never wholly meet.

*Text sources provided by Michael McIntosh, Wild Fowl of North America, published by Brown & Bigelow Inc. St. Paul Minnesota.
Species Identification compiled by George Austin McCurry