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24 Breeds of Ducks in New York (with Pictures)

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ducks in central park

Whether you’re hunting or simply duck watching, there are tons of different duck options to keep an eye out for during every season in New York.

In fact, there are exactly 24 different duck species in the Empire State, and we go over each option for you here. You’ll soon know all about the different duck species in New York and hopefully, even be able to tell them apart from each other.

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The 24 Breeds of Ducks in New York (with Pictures)

1. Mallards

mallard duck on grass

Image Credit: Capri23auto, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population: 19 million
Weight: 1.6 to 3.5 pounds
Length: 20 to 26 inches
Colors: Brown, green, and gray

The mallard is probably the most recognizable duck in the United States, and with a population number close to 19 million, it’s not hard to see why they’re everywhere. They thrive around humans, and you can find them near lakes, rivers, ponds, and just about any other water source.


2. Black Ducks

Black-headed duck in the water

Image Credit: Rob Jansen, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population: 400,000
Weight: 1.6 to 3.6 pounds
Length: 19 to 25 inches
Colors: Black, white, and gray

While mallards are everywhere, the black duck is much rarer. They’re also extremely skittish, and their population numbers are on the decline. Back in the ‘60s, hunters took about 800,000 a year. Today’s conservation efforts limit that number closer to 100,000.


3. Blue-Winged Teal

blue winged teal duck in the water

Image Credit: JackBulmer, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population:  6 million
Weight: 0.75 to 1.25 pounds
Length: 14 to 16 inches
Colors: Dark gray, white, light blue, and green

There are tons of blue-winged teal ducks out there. They’re much smaller than mallards, though they are larger than their green-winged teal cousins.


4. Green-Winged Teal

green winged teal duck paul reeves photography Shutterstock

Image Credit: Paul Reeves Photography, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population: 7.7 million
Weight: 0.5 to 1.5 pounds
Length: 12 to 15 inches
Colors: Gray, white, cinnamon brown, and green

With population numbers just south of 8 million, there are quite a few green-winged teal ducks out there. However, compared to just about any other duck, especially in New York, green-winged teal ducks are tiny. Sometimes, these ducks barely weigh half a pound!


5. Wood Ducks

Wood Duck in the Lake

Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population: 3.5 million
Weight: 1 to 2 pounds
Length: 18.5 to 21.5 inches
Colors: Chestnut brown, green, black, and white

If you’re looking for a puddle duck with a striking appearance, a wood duck has to be near the top of your list. Males have ornate patterns all over their chests, and their coloring is an iridescent chestnut and green hue that shimmers in the light.


6. Pintails

a White Cheeked Pintail duck on river spreading its wings

Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Puddle Duck
Population: 2.3 million
Weight: 1 to 3 pounds
Length: 25 to 29 inches
Colors: White, brown, gray, and black

Pintails have population numbers north of 2 million, so they’re a fairly common sight. They’re smaller than mallards and black ducks but larger than any other puddle ducks in New York.


7. Canvasback

male canvasback duck on the river

Image credit: Jim Beers, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  700,000
Weight: 2 to 3.5 pounds
Length: 19 to 22 inches
Colors: Chestnut brown, black, white, and pale brown

Compared to many other ducks on this list, it’s a bit challenging to spot a canvas back. They hang out in deep lakes, ponds, and coastal inlets and have a clear white body paired with a chestnut brown head and black feathers along their chest.


8. Redhead

a readhead duck on the river

Image Credit: Tom Reichner, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population: 1 million
Weight: 2 to 2.5 pounds
Length: 18 to 22 inches
Colors: Cinnamon red, black, gray, and brown

Redhead ducks are diving ducks and are similar in appearance to canvasback ducks. However, redhead ducks have longer sloped foreheads, with a more angular appearance.

The males do have a bright red head, though, with a white body and black chest.


9. Ring-Necked Duck

a ring necked duck on the river

Image Credit: leesbirdblog, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population: 2 million
Weight: 1 to 2 pounds
Length: 15 to 18 inches
Colors: Brown, white, gray, and black

While you can find ring-necked ducks in New York, they are rarer there. They have boxy heads that make them easy to tell apart from other ducks, and the males are almost entirely black with white wings. They also have a white band around their beak, making them easy to spot.


10. Greater Scaup

male greater scaup duck in the lake

Image Credit: Janet Griffin, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  3.5 million
Weight: 1.6 to 3 pounds
Length: 15.5 to 22 inches
Colors: Black, white, and green

The greater scaup and the lesser scaup are almost identical ducks, with the most notable difference being their size. The greater scaup can weigh up to 3 pounds, and there are roughly 3.5 million of them worldwide.


11. Lesser Scaup

lesser scaup duck on the water

Image Credit: Krumpelman Photography, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  3.8 million
Weight: 1 to 2.4 pounds
Length: 15 to 19 inches
Colors: Black, white, and purple

The lesser scaup is the most common diving duck in New York, but the population numbers are extremely similar to the greater scaup. Some people refer to this duck as the little bluebill or the broad bluebill duck because they have a light-blue bill that is easy to spot.


12. Common Goldeneye

two common goldeneye ducks janet griffin shutterstock

Image Credit: Janet Griffin, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  1 million
Weight: 1.5 to 2.5 pounds
Length: 16 to 20 inches
Colors: Black, white, and green

While the common goldeneye shares James Bond’s nickname, that’s where the similarities end. The common goldeneye gets their name from the actual golden color of their eye, which stands out on their darker-colored head.


13. Ruddy Duck

ruddy duck

Image Credit: Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  650,000
Weight: 0.7 to 1.8 pounds
Length: 14 to 17 inches
Colors: Black, white, gray, and brown

The ruddy duck is the least populous diving duck, and their numbers seem to be dwindling fast. Still, during the warm months, you can see plenty of ruddy ducks frequenting the bays and deep lakes of New York.


14. Bufflehead

bufflehead duck harry collins photography shutterstock

Image Credit: Harry Collins Photography, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Diving Duck
Population:  1.4 million
Weight: 0.75 to 1.35 pounds
Length: 13 to 16 inches
Colors: White, black, green, and purple

The bufflehead is the smallest diving duck that you can find in New York. Most bufflehead ducks weigh about 1 pound, and the males have unique heads that make them easy to tell apart from other ducks. The top of the head is green, followed by a white band, which is immediately followed by a band with a purple tinge.


15. White-Winged Scoter

A Male White Winged Scoter swimming in the open water

Image Credit: Paul Reeves Photography, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:  800,000
Weight: 2 to 4 pounds
Length: 19 to 23 inches
Colors: Reddish-orange, gray, brown, and white

New York is near the south end of the white-winged scoter’s range, so you’ll only see them there during the warm months. They’re not quite as common as mallards, but they’re not rare either.


16. Surf Scoter

Male surf scoter black duck outside by water

Image credit: Mircea Costina, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:  1.3 million
Weight: 2 to 3 pounds
Length: 19 to 23.5 inches
Colors: Black, orange, white, gray, and brown

The surf scoter is a duck that you’ll find along the coastal waters during the winter months. During the summer, they head up to northern Canada to nest and breed, making the winter water around New York feel relatively warm.


17. Black Scoter

Male surf scoter black duck outside by water

Image credit: Mircea Costina, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:  830,000
Weight: 1.9 to 2.5 pounds
Length: 17 to 19.5 inches
Colors: Black or brown

The black scoter is a duck that comes down from the frozen Canadian tundra to visit the coastal waters of New York during the winter months. Males are entirely black except for their beak, which usually has a yellow tinge.


18. Common Eider

a close up of the common eider duck in open water

Image Credit: Per-Arne, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:   4 million
Weight: 3 to 4.5 pounds
Length: 20 to 28 inches
Colors: Black, white, gray, gray, and brown

While the common eider is a winter-visiting duck to New York, they don’t often travel inland.

They have large population numbers, making it much more likely to spot one of these black-and-white ducks if you’re looking at the coastal waters during the winter months.


19. King Eider

a king eider duck swimming in a harbour agami photo agency Shutterstock

Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:  900,000
Weight: 2.6 to 4.6 pounds
Length: 18.5 to 20.2 inches
Colors: Blue, green, orange, black, and white

While the king eider might have a similar name as the common eider, one look at each of their beaks and they’re easy to tell apart. Male king eiders have a bulbous appearance to their beaks that makes them stand out compared to other ducks in New York.


20. Long-Tailed Duck

A Long Tailed Duck swimming on clear water

Image Credit: Jim Nelson, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population: 3.2 million
Weight: 1.5 to 2.5 pounds
Length: 16 to 18.5 inches
Colors: White and black

The long-tailed duck is a small sea duck, and they live up to their name. Their tails are long and protrude upward when they’re swimming in the water. This makes them quite noticeable and easy for you to identify them.


21. Harlequin Duck

an adult male harlequin duck swimming in a harbour agami-photo-agency Shutterstock

Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Sea Duck
Population:  250,000
Weight: 4.5 to 5.5 pounds
Length: 14 to 20 inches
Colors: Blue, white, and chestnut

If you’re looking for the most unique looking sea duck in New York, that title has to go to the harlequin duck. They have white, black, and grayish-blue bands throughout their body, and the coloring around their face is incredibly unique. If you see a harlequin duck, you’re not going to mistake them for anything else.


22. Hooded Merganser

Hooded merganser swimming in the lake bryanhanson1956 Pixabay

Image Credit: bryanhanson1956, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Merganser
Population:  325,000
Weight: 1 to 1.5 pounds
Length: 16 to 19 inches
Colors: Black, white, and chestnut brown

The hooded merganser is a permanent resident in New York, making them one of the rare ducks that you can see in any season. They’re also easy to identify due to their unique head feathers. However, their dwindling population does mean they’re not as plentiful as other ducks.


23. Red-Breasted Merganser

red breasted merganser

Image Credit: GregSabin, Pixabay

Duck Classification: Merganser
Population:  550,000
Weight: 1.75 to 3 pounds
Length: 20 to 25 inches
Colors: Brown and gray

Like most sea ducks, the red-breasted merganser can be spotted off coastal waters in New York during the colder winter months. They have spiked head feathers that give them an unkempt appearance and make them easy to tell apart from other ducks.


24. Common Merganser

Common Merganser Duck

Image Credit: Susan Hodgson, Shutterstock

Duck Classification: Merganser
Population:  2 million
Weight: 2 to 4.75 pounds
Length: 21 to 28 inches
Colors: White, green, gray, and cinnamon brown

The common merganser outnumbers both the red-breasted and hooded merganser combined, making it easy to understand how they got their name.

You’ll only see the common merganser in New York during the warm months, but there are quite a few of them. They have long beaks and longer head feathers, but neither are as pronounced as those of the hooded or red-breasted merganser.

Conclusion

Whether you’re just interested in watching ducks or love watching your dog collect them and you live in New York, there are tons of duck species for you to check out! Hopefully, this guide has armed you with all the information that you need to go out and get exactly what you’re looking for.


Featured Image Credit: PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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