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Anas platyrhynchos


Mom with ducklings... 10 of them!!


Spotted in a mosquito ditch in Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina. Primary habitats include shallow waters such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and flooded fields; in migration and in winter mostly in fresh water and cultivated fields, less commonly in brackish situations


The third photo was taken exactly two weeks after the first spotting in the same location. I am not a bird person, so I don't know how fast these ducklings grow, but if anyone can help I'd like to know if this is possibly the same mom and ducklings. There were only these 2 ducklings the second visit.

No species ID suggestions


marylou.wildlife 7 years ago

Thanks everyone for the ID help! The last thing I want to do on this site is incorrectly identify something... luckily there are lots of smart people in every field on Project Noah!

alicelongmartin 7 years ago

Nice pictures of a big family!

1Sarah2 7 years ago

I know that the range maps say that there should not be mallards in FL in summer. But they are here all year long. The eBird site does not even question it when I enter them.

marylou.wildlife 7 years ago

Thanks Liam and Sarah... it does look more like a mallard referring to Sarah's link. But that site also shows North Carolina as the Mallards wintering range. In fact, according to the range maps of the two on this site, it looks like it's more likely to have black ducks as year-round residents than mallards in the Outerbanks. Any thoughts??

Darwin26 7 years ago

i was fooled :) ! i'm leaning to Mallard after comparisons with the link you sent Sarah. The bill did fool me but still not enuff info on the Am Blk Duck to discount it. But more probably it is a Mallard.
Yes indeed the young grow fast because they have to. In the Arctic birds are weaned in 12 days ~ the fact that they are all daylight helps but the growth factors of hatchlings to 'fly south' is pretty rapid.

1Sarah2 7 years ago

Try looking here.
If you zoom in on the images at the bottom you can click through until you have a side by side comparison of the Mallard and the American Black Duck. (Bill colors vary, so don't left that bother you too much.)

Liam 7 years ago

There is way too much mottling on this bird for it to be an American Black Duck. The bill is a bit odd for a female Mallard, but variation among Mallards is very high. Also, American Black Ducks don't breed in North Carolina; it's their wintering range. These are Mallards. Cute family. :)

1Sarah2 7 years ago

I have been hoping for a picture of these!!

marylou.wildlife 7 years ago

Thanks for the info William! I knew that the predation rate was high for these birds, but it's sad to see how many she apparently lost. Also, it's hard to imagine the chicks growing so quickly!!

Darwin26 7 years ago

Interestingly enuff the book on the American Black Duck says it has been extirpated in WA and British Columbia & in many parts of its range, replaced by the Mallard for which the ABD is heavily hybridized.
As for the unseen ducks at the location, my guess is they became a meal for some other critters somewhere along the chain... 10 ducklings and maybe one or two survive isn't all that unusual. Mama duck seems very alert in the 3rd pic... Danger lurks!

North Carolina, USA

Lat: 35.67, Long: -75.49

Spotted on May 13, 2010
Submitted on Aug 27, 2011

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