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North Carolina Wildlife Species Information

American Black Duck - Anas rubripes

American Black Duck Anas rubripes

Identification Tips:

  • Length: 16 inches Wingspan: 36 inches
  • Large dabbling duck
  • Pale gray-brown face
  • Dark brown cap and eye line
  • Dark brown breast, belly, back and upper wing
  • Purple speculum without white borders
  • Bright silvery wing linings
  • Immature similar to adult

Adult male:

  • Greenish-yellow bill
  • Legs frequently bright red

Adult female:

  • Greenish bill with black patches
  • Legs generally orange

Similar species:

Female, immature and eclipse male Mallards are much paler, without contrast between head and body and with white borders to a blue speculum. Hybrid Mallard x Black Ducks are often seen and usually have traces of the mallard plumage, with bluer speculum usually bordered with white on one or both edges. Mottled Duck is similar, with broader brown edgings to upperparts and bluer speculum. Female Gadwalls have a steeper forehead, gray bill, white belly, and usually shows white in the wing.

Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.

Above information used courtesy of United States Geological Survey.


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