Blog Archive: Ducks

Birdorable Surf Scoter

2019 Bonanza Bird #6: Surf Scoter

December 8th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Ducks No comments
Birdorable Surf Scoter

Today we are introducing a species of sea duck to our Birdorable family: the Surf Scoter!

Surf Scoters feed on a variety of marine invertebrates. They are restricted to North American waters, breeding on freshwater bodies in Alaska and Canada and wintering along both coasts of the continent. After the nesting period, Surf Scoters molt their flight feathers. They find a safe place to do this, because during the process, they are flightless and vulnerable to predators.

Male Surf Scoters, like our cute Birdorable version, have an all-black plumage, with distinctive white patches on the face and an orange-looking bill. Females are brown.

Via bird banding, we know that wild Surf Scoters can live to be at least 11 years old.

Surf Scoter Close-up Photo
Surf Scoter by Becky Matsubara (CC BY 2.0)

Tomorrow's new bird is a colorful species of nuthatch found in Asian forests. Can you take a guess?

Birdorable Black-bellied Whstling-Duck

2019 Bonanza Bird #4: Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

December 6th, 2019 in Birdorable Bonanza 2019, Ducks No comments
Birdorable Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Today's new Birdorable bird joins our duck family! We are introducing the Black-bellied Whistling-Duck!

Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks nest in tree cavities and will use nest boxes. They can often be found perching in trees. In fact, they used to be known as Black-bellied Tree Ducks. There are 8 species of Whistling-Duck in the world. They are named for their unmistakable whistling calls.

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is a striking species of duck with a visually pleasing mix of black, white, and chestnut to its plumage. In addition, they have a bright pink-orange bill and feet, making them easy to distinguish from other species of duck.

Black-bellied Whistling Duck family and Little Blue heron
Black-bellied Whistling Duck family and Little Blue heron

Tomorrow's new Birdorable species is a really new species -- only recently officially described by science. Can you guess this species, first found in Borneo over 10 years ago?

Birdorable Common Pochard

2017 Bonanza Bird #6: Common Pochard

November 29th, 2017 in Birdorable Bonanza 2017, Ducks 1 comment
Birdorable Common Pochard

Today's new bird in our annual Birdorable Bonanza is an Old World species of duck: the Common Pochard!

The Common Pochard is a migratory duck found across parts of Europe and Asia. They are gregarious, found in large (sometimes mixed) flocks during the winter. Common Pochards are known to occasionally hybridize with the Tufted Duck.

Common Pochards look a lot like the Redhead of North America. Adult males have light grey backs, black at the chest, and an unmistakable red head.

Tomorrow we'll reveal a new member of the egret and heron family, known for its active hunting antics and for having two distinct color morphs. Can you guess the bird?

Birdorable Harlequin Duck

2015 Bonanza Bird #17: Harlequin Duck

December 17th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, Ducks, New Birds 9 comments

Our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues today with a beautiful and colorful sea duck: the Harlequin Duck!

Birdorable Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Ducks are very beautiful sea ducks found along coastal waters across North America and eastern Asia. The species prefers fast-moving water and will frequently breed near fast-flowing streams.

The male Harlequin Duck has a striking plumage for which the species is named. Harlequin was a colorful masked character from an Italian style of improvisational comedy theater called "commedia dell'arte". Harlequin was a relatively late addition to the art form, and was popularized when the theater movement gained success in France.

The Harlequin Duck's colorful plumage gives it a lot of interesting alternative local names, including Painted Duck, Totem Pole Duck, White-eyed Diver, and Blue Streak. They have also earned the nicknames Sea Mouse and Squeaker from one of their more un-ducklike high-pitched vocalizations.

Harlequin Ducks feed by diving or by dabbling. They will take marine invertebrates, fish, and aquatic insects as prey. Algae and seeds may also be consumed.

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Harlequin Duck by peggycadigan (CC BY 2.0)
Harlequin Duck
Harlequin Duck by Matt Tillett (CC BY 2.0)

The Harlequin Duck is our 633rd Birdorable bird. Be sure to check out our collection of apparel and gifts featuring the Birdorable Harlequin Duck!

Our Bonanza continues tomorrow with the largest bird of prey of Australia. Can you guess tomorrow's species?

Birdorable Mandarin Duck

2015 Bonanza Bird #4: Mandarin Duck

December 4th, 2015 in Birdorable Bonanza 2015, New Birds, Ducks 5 comments

Today our Birdorable Bonanza: 2015 Advent Edition continues with a beautiful species of dabbling duck from eastern Asia: the Mandarin Duck.

Birdorable Mandarin Duck

Male Mandarin Ducks, like our cute Birdorable cartoon version here, are strikingly beautiful, with a unique colorful plumage. The flanks are ruddy, with a contrasting purple breast outlined in black and white. The forehead is teal and the dark eyes stand out against a white crescent-shaped stripe. Two orange sail-like tufts appear at the back.

Mandarin Ducks are closely related to the Wood Duck of North America. Mandarins nest in trees, often in dense woods, near fresh water.

Because of their beauty, Mandarin Ducks are popular in waterfowl collections. Escaped birds have established populations outside of their native range of eastern Asia. In Europe, there are large Mandarin Duck populations in Britain and Germany; in the United States you can find Mandarin Ducks living in the wild in parts of North Carolina and California.

Mandarin duck
Mandarin Duck by Tambako The Jaguar (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Mandarin duck, Hall Drive Pond, Salhouse
Mandarin Duck by Michael Button (CC BY 2.0)

Mandarin DuckMandarin Duck by thecrypt (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Tomorrow's bird is a great woodpecker that can be found in Europe and north Asia. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable White-headed Duck

2013 Bonanza Bird #23: White-headed Duck

July 23rd, 2013 in Birdorable Bonanza 2013, Ducks 3 comments

Our Bonanza rolls on! We're adding new birds each day until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the White-headed Duck.

Birdorable White-headed Duck

White-headed Ducks are diving ducks. This means that they dive under the water for food. They are omnivorous, though they often prefer vegetation to taking prey. They are found in freshwater habitat in North Africa, Spain, and across central Asia.

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White-headed Duck by Ferran Pestaña (CC BY-SA 2.0)

White-headed Ducks are in the "stiff-tailed" duck subfamily. This grouping includes the Ruddy Duck and the extinct New Zealand Stiff-tailed Duck.

White-headed Duck sample products

Tomorrow's new species is considered to be a specialty for birders visiting south Texas. The name of this bird is an onomatopoeia for its loud song.

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