Blog Archive: Ducks

Birdorable Common Goldeneye

2013 Bonanza Bird #8: Common Goldeneye

July 8th, 2013 in Birdorable Bonanza 2013, Ducks 2 comments

Our Bonanza hits the water today with our 477th species, the Common Goldeneye.

Birdorable Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneyes are sea ducks with a broad global range. They breed across northern forests in Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and China. They winter across much of North America and in parts of Europe and Asia south of their breeding range.

Knipa / Common Goldeneye
Common Goldeneye by Stefan Berndtsson (CC BY 2.0)

Common Goldeneyes nest in tree cavities. They will also use nest boxes. When it is time to fledge, the ducklings leave the cavity nest and fall to the ground. Sometimes duckling goldeneyes may be raised by unrelated adults. This can happen one of two ways. First, female goldeneyes may lay eggs in the nests of other goldeneyes. Another familial mix-up can occur when females with ducklings get into territory fights with other families. As the adult female ducks fight, the ducklings can get mixed up. Once the fight is over and each family swims away, ducklings may end up with a different brood.

common goldeneye

Tomorrow we'll add a colorful species, named for the flower-like color of the male's head, found in India and Southeast Asia.

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Birdorable American Wigeon

2013 Bonanza Bird #4: American Wigeon

July 4th, 2013 in Birdorable Bonanza 2013, Ducks 2 comments

Happy Independence Day to our American readers! Our 2013 Bonanza rolls on -- we're adding new birds each day in July until we reach our 500th Birdorable species! Today's Bonanza bird is the American Wigeon.

Birdorable American Wigeon

Male American Wigeons have beautiful breeding plumage, which includes a shiny thick green eyestripe at the cheeks and a white stripe running from the top of the bill up to the crown of the head. This stripe gives the bird a "bald" appearance. The species was previously known as the Baldpate (pate means head).

American Wigeon
American Wigeon by Tony Hisgett (CC BY 2.0)

American Wigeons are dabbling ducks, which means that they feed by grazing vegetation at the bottom of shallow waters. They are almost 100% vegetarian.

american wigeon

Our next new Birdorable species is an over-sized kingfisher! Come back tomorrow to find out what it is!

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Birdorable Bufflehead

Did you know? Cavity-nesting ducks

May 22nd, 2012 in Ducks, Did You Know...? 5 comments

With their special water-resistant plumage, ducks are made for water. But did you know that several species of duck actually require trees when it comes to breeding? Some ducks are cavity nesters. We've recently added one of these cute little cavity-nesting ducks to Birdorable. The Bufflehead is one of the smallest species of duck to live in North America. They're just about 14 inches long, and they use cavities excavated by Northern Flicker woodpeckers! They also use nestboxes, as in the photo below.

Bufflehead ducks

Besides the Bufflehead, some other ducks that nest in cavities or nest boxes are: Hooded Merganser; Black-bellied Whistling Duck; Wood Duck; Common Goldeneye; and Common Merganser.

Birdorable Wood Duck

Baby Birdorable: Wood Duck

January 10th, 2012 in Ducks, Baby Birds No comments

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Wood Duck. You may be surprised to learn that Wood Ducks nest in trees! They are cavity nesters, and will use old tree cavities dug out by other birds, or nestboxes built just for them. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, the mother duck flies out and coaxes the babies to jump down from the nest and join her in the water.

 
Incredibly Cute Baby Wood Ducks
Incredibly Cute Baby Wood Ducks by New Jersey Birds
Incredibly Cute Baby Wood Ducks
Incredibly Cute Baby Wood Ducks by New Jersey Birds
Wood duck and chicks
Wood duck and chicks by John Picken
Baby wood duck
Baby wood duck by Ducklover Bonnie
Wood ducks on a log
Wood ducks on a log by Ducklover Bonnie

Pretty cute, right? Be sure to check out our Birdorable Wood Duck t-shirts and gifts!

Birdorable Common Eider

Baby Birdorable: Common Eider

March 21st, 2011 in Ducks, Baby Birds 10 comments

If you think our Birdorable birds are cute as adults, what about when they are babies? Below are some baby photos (shared via Flickr) of the Common Eider. Common Eiders line their nests with fine, soft down. The eggs are incubated for about 25 days and the baby ducks leave the nest within about 24 hours of hatching. The babies can dive for food on their own after about an hour in the water! Young families may form crèches consisting of several mother/chick groups together for feeding.

Common Eider nest - 2010-07-06 - Bathurst Inlet
Common Eider nest - 2010-07-06 - Bathurst Inlet by Blake Maybank
Eider_chick_1806
Eider_chick_1806 by Mikko Vihtakari
Common eider ducklings
Common eider ducklings by GZA1970
Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima)
Common Eiders (Somateria mollissima) by Frode Jacobsen
Common eider duckling
Common eider duckling by GZA1970
baby eider ducks
baby eider ducks by headharbourlight
Common Eider ducklings.
Common Eider ducklings. by birdyearken
baby eider ducks
baby eider ducks by headharbourlight
Common Eider Chick
Common Eider Chick by Eleanor Briccetti
2009 Norway / Noorwegen 090613 01
2009 Norway / Noorwegen 090613 01 by rob.bremer

Pretty cute, right? Be sure to check out our Birdorable Common Eider t-shirts and gifts!

Birdorable Northern Shoveler

Fun facts about the Northern Shoveler

January 29th, 2011 in Ducks, Fun Facts No comments
Birdorable Northern Shoveler

1. Northern Shovelers use their uniquely-shaped bills to strain the water for crustaceans when feeding.

2. Northern Shovelers are fairly widespread, with populations living and breeding across parts of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

3. There are three other species of shoveler in the world, all closely related to the Northern Shoveler: Cape Shoveler; Australasian Shoveler; and Red Shoveler.

4. Northern Shovelers have been known to hybridize with several other duck species, including Blue-winged Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, and Wood Duck.

5. The wings of Northern Shovelers make a rattling noise when the birds take off.

6. Northern Shovelers are somewhat territorial - at least more so that other dabbling ducks. Males will defend territory more fiercely during nesting season.

7. The Northern Shoveler is one of our cute Birdorable birds! The Northern Shoveler was added to Birdorable on December 7th, 2010.