Sunday’s Duck o’ the Week

It’s time for John Avise‘s weekly photographic effort to educate readers about the ducks of North America. Your job is to look at the photos and then guess the species. After you try, go below the fold for the ID and information.

We have a clue this week:

To help identify this week’s duck, readers should know that my pictures were all taken in Florida, where this species is a common year-round resident.







In flight:

Click on “read more” to see the ID, John’s Duck Facts, and a range map:

ID: Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula)

This species is a close genetic relative of the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), but differs markedly from the latter in lacking strong sexual dimorphism; i.e., both sexes of the Mottled Duck look alike, and closely resemble Mallard hens.  [Thus, this situation provides a striking example of the evolutionary lability of sexual selection and sexual dimorphism].  The Mottled Duck resides in Florida and the adjoining Gulf Coast states, where it frequents shallow ponds and even puddles in roadside ditches.  Drakes have a bright yellow bill, the hen’s bill is more orange, and the blue speculum of both sexes is bordered front-and-back by black stripes, rather than by white stripes as in the Mallard.

A range map from the Cornell bird site:



9 thoughts on “Sunday’s Duck o’ the Week

    1. But the Black Duck was a very good guess (except for the indicated range) because the Black Duck is another close genetic relative of the Mallard; and, like the Mottled Duck, the Black Duck lacks strong sexual dimorphism.

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