An American Black Duck on the Fox River in Waukesha WI. Photographs were taken on March 16, 2014. Other species present were Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted and ~30 Common Mergansers (m-f), with many Mallards (f-m). A large portion of the river froze up with the cold temps over night, but enough was open to hold most of the duck from yesterday. The Mute Swans in the area were still leading the show with their presence. Lots of sun in the afternoon, but the wind made it feel extremely cold.
American Black Duck
Binomial name: Anas rubripes
Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans
Size: 23” long, 35” wing span
Weight: 2.6 lbs.
Habitat: Breeding habitat for this species are in freshwater wetlands, salt marshes, acid bogs, lakes, stream margins, and sometimes margins in estuaries in the eastern US.
Diet: Mostly plant matter but will also eat insects, crustaceans, mollusks and larvae of dragonflies, caddisflies, beetles. Fish can also be a part of their diet.
Nesting: The female selects a well concealed site and builds a basin shape nest 7-8” across about 1.5” deep. It is usually located on or near the ground usually close to water. The nest is lined with feather down and plant material. Crotches of trees, hollows or large tree cavities can also be a nesting site. The female incubates 8-12 eggs and usually does not leave the nest until the eggs hatch. Once hatched, the chicks can immediately swim and find food by themselves.
Cool facts: Previous known as the “dusky” duck as it is actually dark and not black. The American Black Duck is similar to the Mallard Duck in profile but smaller in size.