American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Look For

The black duck is a medium-sized dabbling duck with a dark charcoal body. Males and females are very similar, though the male has a yellowish bill while the female’s bill is dull gray. In flight, black ducks show mostly white underwings and mostly dark upperwings. This contrast gives a flashing appearance to their flight.

Listen For

A nasal, quacking call: whap-whap, whap-whap.


Black ducks and mallards are closely related, and these two species are often found together. Telling a female mallard from a female black duck is difficult: Female blacks are darker overall and have no orange on the bill.

Find It

Almost any body of water can host black ducks, but they seem to prefer coastal salt marshes and, inland, wooded wetlands. They are found year-round across the Midwest and along the Atlantic Coast from Maine to the Carolinas.


Mallards and American black ducks often breed with each other, creating hybrid offspring. Over time, this interbreeding has caused an increase in mallards and a decrease in black ducks.

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