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10 Breeds of Ducks in Pennsylvania (With Pictures)

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dabbling duck mallard

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.

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The 10 Duck Breeds Found in Pennsylvania

Dabbling Ducks

1. Mallard

two mallard ducks standing on sand

Image Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay

Males Bright-green head, reddish-brown chest, black rump
Females Mottled brown
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.


2. Wood Duck

Wood Duck in the Lake

Image Credit: JamesDeMers, Pixabay

Males Intricate and decorative plumage, red eyes, brown chest
Females White teardrop eye patch, blue coloring on the wings
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.


3. American Black Duck

american-black-duck-standing-on-ice

Image Credit: Paul Reeves Photography, Shutterstock

Males Dark-brown body, pale-brown head, yellow bill
Females Dark-brown body, pale-brown head, olive-green bill
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.


4. American Wigeon

american-wigeon-duck

Image Credit: bryanhanson1956, Pixabay

Males Brown bodies, green stripe behind the eyes
Females Brown body, grey head
Range Southeastern Pennsylvania

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.


5. Blue-Winged Teal

A Blue Winged Teal At Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge Near

Image Credit: James W. Thompson, Shutterstock

Males Black bill, white stripe in front of the eyes, brown body with black spots
Females Brown body, faint stripe through the eye
Range Western Pennsylvania

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.

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Diving Ducks

6. Hooded Merganser

Hooded merganser swimming in the lake bryanhanson1956 Pixabay

Image Credit: bryanhanson1956, Pixabay

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
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.


7. Common Merganser

common merganser duck swimming in the water arttower pixabay

Image Credit: ArtTower, Pixabay

Males White body, orange beak, black back, green head
Females Grey body, brown head, orange beak
Range Northern Pennsylvania

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.


8. Ruddy Duck

ruddy duck

Image Credit: Ondrej Prosicky, Shutterstock

Males Blue-bill, white cheek, black cap
Females Brown body, dark cap
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.


9. Redhead Duck

a readhead duck on the river

Image Credit: Tom Reichner, Shutterstock

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.

Related Read: 17 Birds with a Red Head in North America (with Pictures)


10. Common Goldeneye

common goldeneye duck in the river Ronald Wittek Shutterstock

Image Credit: Ronald Wittek, Shutterstock

Males Black head and back, white body and cheeks, yellow eyes
Females Brown head, light brown-grey body, yellow eyes
Range Throughout Pennsylvania

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.

binoculars 3 dividerWhat Is a Dabbling Duck?

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.

What Is a Diving Duck?

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.

two common goldeneye ducks janet griffin shutterstock

Image Credit: Janet Griffin, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

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

About the Author Ed Malaker

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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