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If you live in Pennsylvania, you might be surprised to learn that there are several duck breeds that you might find in your local pond or lake. It can be fun to track them down, as many are quite attractive. If you are a bird watcher, keep reading as we list several common breeds in the Keystone State.
|Males||Bright-green head, reddish-brown chest, black rump|
The Mallard is one of the most common ducks in Pennsylvania and much of the United States, partly due to its comfort around humans. You often see these ducks at local parks, ponds, and even swimming pools. The male has a bright green head, making it easy to tell it apart from other breeds. The females are not as colorful and usually have a mottled brown appearance.
|Males||Intricate and decorative plumage, red eyes, brown chest|
|Females||White teardrop eye patch, blue coloring on the wings|
The Wood Duck is a breed that you can find throughout Pennsylvania, and it’s a favorite among bird watchers because of its decorative plumage and red eyes. The males have colorful heads, but the females have blue feathers on their wings and a white teardrop patch around their eyes. When they are still growing, they eat invertebrates, but when they become adults, they switch to eating plants.
|Males||Dark-brown body, pale-brown head, yellow bill|
|Females||Dark-brown body, pale-brown head, olive-green bill|
The American Black Duck is a breed that you can find anywhere in Pennsylvania, but it isn’t seen in most of the country, preferring to stay north. Many people have difficulty spotting these ducks because its name isn’t that descriptive — they are not black, but instead, they have dark-brown bodies with a visible iridescent rectangle on the wings when they fly. Look for these birds by ponds with plenty of vegetation around.
|Males||Brown bodies, green stripe behind the eyes|
|Females||Brown body, grey head|
American Wigeons are compact ducks that like to congregate in groups. The males have a green stripe behind their eyes that makes them easy to identify. Unfortunately, in most of the state, you can only see them as they migrate, but if you live in southeastern Pennsylvania, you can catch them where they stay through the winter.
|Males||Black bill, white stripe in front of the eyes, brown body with black spots|
|Females||Brown body, faint stripe through the eye|
The Blue-Winged Teal is a duck that you are only likely to see in Pennsylvania during the breeding season in the western part of the state. Everyone else will have to hope to catch a glimpse as it migrates through. The male ducks are easy to identify due to the white stripe in front of the eyes. These ducks tend to prefer a wetland with plenty of open space.
|Males||Large black crest with a big white patch on each side and yellow eyes|
|Females||Dark-brown body, dark eyes, a light-colored crest that resembles a mohawk|
The Hooded Merganser is a diving duck that you can find anywhere in Pennsylvania. The male has a black head with a large black crest and a white patch on either side. It’s sure to catch your eye if you see it swimming or diving for food. The females are not as colorful but have a unique crest that closely resembles a mohawk and is just as eye-catching. This is a small duck that’s about the size of a crow, and it uses its thin, serrated bill to eat insects, crayfish, and small fish.
|Males||White body, orange beak, black back, green head|
|Females||Grey body, brown head, orange beak|
The Common Merganser has a light-colored body and an orange beak. The male has a green head, almost like a Mallard, and a black back, and the female pairs its light-grey body with a light-brown head. You can only find this bird year-round in the northern part of the state. The rest of the state will only be able to see them when they are not mating. It’s a little bigger than the Hooded Merganser.
|Males||Blue-bill, white cheek, black cap|
|Females||Brown body, dark cap|
The Ruddy Duck is an attractive duck that you can find throughout Pennsylvania as long as it isn’t the breeding season. The male has a blue bill and white cheeks, so it’s easy to see, even from a distance. Like many other diving ducks, this one is smaller than most dabbling ducks, and it likes lakes and ponds. These ducks are easiest to find at night when they are most active.
|Males||Steep red forehead with yellow eyes, grey body|
|Females||Steep forehead, yellow eyes, brown body|
|Range||Southeast and northeast Pennsylvania|
The Redhead Duck is an attractive diving breed that you can find in Pennsylvania in the extreme southeast and northwest areas when it’s not breeding season. The rest of the state will need to hope that they see one as it passes through during its migration.
|Males||Black head and back, white body and cheeks, yellow eyes|
|Females||Brown head, light brown-grey body, yellow eyes|
The Common Goldeneye is a duck that you can only find throughout Pennsylvania as long as it isn’t the breeding season, as these ducks fly to Canada for that. These birds are attractive and easy to identify, especially the males, with their large black heads and backs with white bellies. Even the females have the yellow eyes that help make them easy to spot.
Dabbling ducks tend to catch their food by sticking their head under the water. They eat the vegetation and invertebrate that they find along the bottom. During the winter, they eat seeds that they find on the ground.
As the name suggests, diving ducks completely submerge themselves when hunting for food. These ducks are likely to be looking for small fish and invertebrates, and they typically have small, pointy wings that are ideal for propelling them underwater.
There are many ducks that make their home in Pennsylvania, even if just for a short while. The Mallard is the easiest to find, and it likes people, so it won’t be hard to get a good photograph of it. Other attractive ducks on this list include the Wood Duck and the Common Merganser.
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay
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Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.
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