Ducks

Here’s a quick look at some of the Ducks we see in Palm Beach County.  While this is not an exhaustive list it will cover all the more common species seen here regularly.

The most common species we see is the Mottled Duck.  In the above picture the male is the front one.  The males bill is brighter than the females.  These ducks are here year round and can be seen throughout the county.

Both Mottled Ducks shots taken at Green Cay

Mottled Ducks nest and have babies in the Spring and Summer.  I’ve seen mothers with as many as 12-15 babies and they do seem to be very good Mom’s and keep their little ones safe.

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are another of our year round Duck species.  While not as common as the Mottled Duck these guys can be seen and heard at many of the counties wetlands areas.  This is one species whose name is very accurate.  They whistle a lot, in flight, on the ground and just about anytime you have a group of 4 or more.

Both Whistling Duck shots taken at Green Cay

Black-bellied babies are some of the cutest babies we get to enjoy each Summer.  They are often refered to as Bumble-bees for their striking coloration.  The four above are a little older and have lost some of their cuteness.

Wood Ducks taken at Riverbend Park in Jupiter

Wood Ducks are here year round but are much more difficult to see.  They startle very easily and I often don’t know they are there until they are flying away.  The male Wooduck is an incredibly handsome fellow and one you’ll certainly not forget.  These guys breed at Okeeheelee Park and I’ve seen groups of them at Riverbend Park in Jupiter.

Blue-winged Teal taken at Green Cay

Blue-winged Teal are one of the more common Ducks we see in the Winter.  They are migratory so when they first begin to show up in the Fall you know Winter (at least what they call Winter down here) is nearly upon us.  What is pretty cool to see is the change in plumage of the Teals.  When they arrive here they all look like females and as time goes by the males transition to their beautiful breeding plumage.

Both Green-winged Teal pictures taken at Green Cay

The Green-winged Teal is another migrant and the transition of their plumage is even more remarkable.  When these guys get to Florida they all look like the female on the left of the above photo.  Personally I would rate the breeding plumage Green-winged as one of the prettiest birds we generally see in Palm Beach County.

This year at Green Cay Wetlands we had a group of 8 Gadwalls for the last 2 months or so.  This is what birders would call a good species.  It is not that common in Florida and to have such a large group winter here has been quite a treat.

Both Gadwall pictures taken at Green Cay

Gadwall are another species that transitions while on their migration and hopefully this group will stay around until it’s time for them to return North.  The male is quite distinctive in his breeding plumage.

A few of the other species we occasionally see in PBC are Northern Shoveler, Northern Pintail, American Widgeon both species of Scaup and Ring-necked Ducks.

Northern Shoveler taken at Green Cay

Northern Pintail taken at Green Cay

American Widgeon taken at Green Cay

Greater Scaup taken at Green Cay

Ring-necked Duck taken at Green Cay

Believe it or not there are a few more species we see such as Ruddy Duck and Hooded Merganser.  Last year there were Redheads and Canvasback reported in the county.  As you can see if you like Ducks Palm Beach County has a wonderful selection.

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About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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