Florida is famous for its beaches and hot vacation spots.
If you love hot tropical weather or spending your mornings and evenings basking in the sun, several places in Florida have a Mediterranean-like environment.
However, this place doesn’t just attract people from different parts of the world. Birds are spotted flocking to Florida whenever their migrating season comes.
For instance, ducks are one of the most common birds you can see in Florida.
What Types of Ducks Do They Have in Florida?
There are many types of ducks that you can find in Florida.
Some of them are native to this state while others migrate from different places whenever seasons change. Here are some of them:
1. Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Muscovy ducks are indigenous to South, Central, and North America, especially Mexico. They are also known as Forest ducks or Greater Wood ducks.
These birds are one of the oldest wild waterfowl that have been domesticated by humans, particularly by people in Paraguay and Peru during the Spanish exploration era.
These large-sized birds typically weigh between 4 and 12 pounds with a wingspan of around 64 inches.
They are characterized by their iridescent black plumage, white feathers covering their head, neck, and breast, yellow feet, pink bills, and yellowish-brown eyes.
Drakes also have large red caruncles that look like a mask around their eyes.
Muscovy ducks thrive on an omnivorous diet. They feed on a variety of food ranging from plant materials to small fish to crustaceans and small insects.
Female ducks usually lay between 60 and 120 white eggs per year.
In the wild, they will nest inside large tree cavities but when they are domesticated, simple nesting areas and boxes would be enough for these birds to lay and incubate their eggs.
2. Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
Black-bellied whistling ducks can be found inhabiting aquatic regions like lakes, ponds, swamps, and marshes in the north, south, and middle parts of the United States.
Breeders and farmers in Texas have also made efforts to increase the population of this species since 1950.
These ducks are recognized by their brown or chestnut-black bodies, pink bills, and legs, and striking white stripes on their wings. They also have short tails and long necks and legs.
Black-bellied whistling ducks feed on many things including aquatic plants, grasses, water weeds, snails, insects, and other small critters.
During laying seasons, female ducks can produce around 12 to 16 whitish eggs. However, both males and females are responsible for incubating the eggs, which can take up to one month.
These ducks are also noisy and will produce whistling-like sounds or calls.
3. Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)
They are wild breeds that inhabit slow-moving and shallow water bodies like ponds, lakes, swamps, and marshes.
Both sexes possess assorted colors and patterns on their bodies.
Male ducks have iridescent green and black heads, reddish brown and chestnut plumage on their bodies, white underbellies, black tails, red eyes, and white stripes around their neck and cheeks.
Meanwhile, female ducks have pale brown plumage, gray heads, and white rings around their eyes.
These ducks feed on plants, seeds, grains, nuts, small insects, and crustaceans.
On average, they produce around 6 to 15 whitish eggs per year that take between 25 and 35 days to incubate.
Back in the late 19th century, their population drastically decreased due to deforestation and habitat loss.
Since then, conservation and preventive measures have been taken to increase their numbers.
4. Fulvous Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna bicolor)
These whistling ducks can be found in many regions including South America, Mexico, Africa, and Asia. In Florida, they can be found in central regions, mostly around rice fields.
They are also known as fulvous tree ducks. Fulvous whistling ducks inhabit calm and shallow water bodies like ponds, lakes, swamps, paddy fields, and other wet agricultural areas.
They measure between 18 and 21 inches long and weigh between 26 to 37 ounces. These ducks are distinguished by their dark, caramel-brown plumage, and gray bills and legs.
They also have brownish-black wings that span between 33 and 37 inches wide.
Fulvous whistling ducks can be found flocking in small groups and feeding on things like aquatic plants and weeds, grains, mollusks, crustaceans, and small aquatic insects.
These ducks nest inside tree holes or abandoned nests and lay around 10 to 20 white eggs. Both male and females duck will take turns incubating the eggs for about 24 to 29 days.
5. Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos)
Mallard ducks are probably one of the easiest and most common ducks to spot in places including the Americas, North and South Africa, New Zealand, Eurasia, Australia, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay.
Male Mallards are spotted by their iridescent, dark green head, yellow bills, purplish brown chest, gray wings, pale white underbellies, black tails, and white rings on their necks.
Meanwhile, female ducks have mottled-colored plumage with dark stripes on their eyes and head. These dark stripes can also be found around the eyes and heads of their yellow ducklings.
These medium-sized ducks generally weigh between 1.5 and 3.5 pounds and measure around 20 to 26 inches long. Their wings can also spread up to 12 inches wide.
Female Mallards usually nest on the ground or in hidden areas. They lay around 8 to 13 whitish green eggs that take around 27 to 28 days to be incubated.
6. American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)
American black ducks are commonly found in eastern and central North America, particularly near aquatic regions like lakes, ponds, swamps, and shallow wetlands.
In Florida, they are mostly found near the central region.
These dabbling ducks are characterized by their dark brown plumage, light brown face, and neck, bluish purple plumage on the inner feathers (known as speculum) of their wings, yellow bills, and brown stripes around their eyes.
They dabble and probe in the shallow water to feed on aquatic plants, insects, frogs, tadpoles, crustaceans, and mollusks.
American black ducks will nest in hidden areas near shrubs or tall grasses, inside tree holes, near riverbanks with dense shrubs, or on the ground where they can safely hide.
Female ducks typically lay between 7 and 17 whitish-green eggs before incubating them for 26 to 29 days.
Once hatched, ducklings are led by their mother into the water where they can feed on insect larvae and other small aquatic insects.
7. Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula)
From a quick glance, these ducks might look similar to the American Black duck, but they aren’t from the same breed.
Mottled ducks can be found in North America, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida.
They inhabit freshwater regions, ponds, marshes, rice fields, and prairies.
Mottled ducks possess mottled-brown plumage, bright greenish-blue speculum, yellow bills and legs, and dark stripes around their eyes and head.
Female ducks have slightly paler or grayish plumage with lighter and smaller bodies. These ducks measure around 20 to 24 inches long and weigh around 29 to 47 ounces.
Like many wild ducks, mottled ducks mainly feed on aquatic plants, mollusks, and small insects. Female ducks can produce up to 13 eggs that take around 24 to 28 days to be incubated.
Unlike some species, these ducks rarely migrate and prefer to live in just one place.
8. Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera)
Cinnamon teals can be found in many parts of North America, commonly in the western regions near San Luis Valley, the Great Salt Lake, and Malheur Basin.
Their habitats range from shallow lakes to marshes to fresh ponds and alkaline wetlands.
These small dabbling ducks can be distinguished by their cinnamon-red plumage, red eyes, yellow bills and feet, green speculum, and deep brown tails.
Meanwhile, female ducks have darker but pale plumage with distinct color patterns between each feather.
During the laying season, they produce around 4 to 16 pale buff eggs that take around 21 to 25 days to be incubated.
They feed on various plant matter, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and snails. When winter comes, these ducks will migrate to Central America and Mexico.
9. Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)
Common mergansers can be found in many parts of North America; Alaska, Canada, and as far as northern Asia, and Russia. They are also known as goosanders.
These large-sized waterfowl are considered the largest mergansers in North America.
They typically measure around 21 to 27 inches long and weigh around 37 to 72 ounces. They also have a wingspan that can extend up to 39 inches wide.
Common mergansers can be recognized by their dark greenish-black head and neck, red bills and feet, white plumage, black back, and dark-colored tails.
Female mergansers have reddish-brown heads, red bills and feet, gray necks, breasts, and back, and white underbellies.
Like other dabbling ducks, they feed by diving into the water to catch small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, snails, and frogs. Occasionally, they will also eat aquatic plants and weeds.
Female mergansers usually lay around 9 to 12 white buff or pale-yellow eggs per clutch. Then, the eggs incubate for 28 to 35 days.
Once hatched, ducklings are led by their mother into the water where they will learn how to swim, adapt, and feed on their own.
10. American Wigeon (Mareca americana)
American wigeons are distributed in many parts of the world including North America, Canada, Mexico, Alaska, Central America, as well as Venezuela, and Colombia.
They are also known as the “baldpate”. These ducks can be found flocking in different types of aquatic regions including lakes, ponds, and marshes.
American wigeons are medium-sized and measure around 17 to 23 inches long and weigh around 1 to 3 pounds. Their wings can extend up to 36 inches wide.
Male ducks are recognized by their distinct white top, bright green streaks from the eyes to the back of their neck, white bellies, pale brown plumage, and streaks of white and black around their tail.
Meanwhile, female ducks have a duller appearance with grayish-brown feathers.
These dabbling ducks feed on various things including seeds, grains, insects, snails, and other plant materials.
During the laying season, they will build a nest on the ground far away from the water. Female ducks typically lay around 7 to 9 cream-colored eggs before incubating them for 23 to 25 days.
11. Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)
Ruddy ducks are indigenous to North and South America.
They are commonly found in the western United States, southern Maine, central and south Texas, Baja, California, and as far as central and western Canada.
These ducks also inhabit wetlands, marshes, lakes, ponds, and freshwater areas.
Both sexes possess different appearances. Male ducks have white faces, whitish blue bills, chestnut plumage, and long, deep brown, stiff tails.
Female ducks have duller plumage, dark brown faces, and black bills.
These ducks measure around 14 to 17 inches long and weigh around 11 to 28 ounces. Their wings can also extend up to 36 inches wide.
Ruddy ducks are omnivorous birds that feed on various things including aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, seeds, pondweeds, and other plant material.
Female ducks will nest in hidden places, usually between vegetation near water or wetlands. They can produce around 5 to 10 white eggs that take around 23 to 26 days to be incubated.
12. Northern Pintail Duck (Anas acuta)
Northern pintails are migratory ducks that can be found in the southern United States and Alaska, Canada, and northern Mexico, especially during their breeding season.
They usually flock near shallow water bodies, marshes, lakes, ponds, and coastal wetlands with low vegetation.
These large-sized ducks measure around 20 to 30 inches long and weigh around 1 to 2.5 pounds. Their large wings can spread up to 37 inches wide.
Northern pintails are characterized by their brown head, white neck and chest, gray plumage, dark gray to black speculum, black bills, and pointy long tails.
Female ducks are slightly different with light brown, mottled plumage, gray bills, brownish gray heads, and tails that are much shorter than males.
Northern pintails are dabbling ducks that feed on aquatic plants, seeds, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, snails, and other small invertebrates.
These ducks usually nest on open grounds and away from any water bodies. On average, female ducks will lay up to 12 greenish buff eggs per clutch before incubating them for 22 to 24 days.
13. Ring-Necked Duck (Aythya collaris)
Ring-necked ducks are primarily found near freshwater wetlands, lakes, and ponds in North America and Canada.
In the United States, these ducks usually settle in Arizona, Alaska, California, New York, Idaho, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Iowa.
These medium-sized ducks measure around 15 to 18 inches long and weigh around 17 to 32 ounces. Their wings can spread up to 25 inches wide.
Ring-necked ducks possess shiny black plumage, white underbellies, and yellow eyes, white stripes on their dark gray bills, and distinct white patterns on their wings.
Female ducks have a paler look with dark red heads and plumage.
These diving ducks mainly feed on aquatic plants, insects, worms, and mollusks. You can find them nesting on the ground, usually near lakes, ponds, and shallow water bodies.
On average, female ducks can lay around 8 to 10 eggs that take around 25 to 29 days to be incubated.
14. White-Cheeked Pintail Duck (Anas bahamensis)
White-cheeked pintail ducks are native to Central and South America, specifically in southern Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Galapagos islands.
They are also known as the summer ducks or Bahama pintails. These ducks are commonly found in salty wetlands, swamps, brackish lakes, and estuaries.
White-cheeked pintails usually stay in a group of 10 to 12. However, their flock can reach as large as 100 birds.
These ducks measure around 15 to 20 inches and weigh around 18 to 20 ounces. Their wings can extend up to 27 inches wide.
Similar to Northern Pintails, these ducks possess erect and stiff pointy tails. They also have buff-brown plumage, dark brown heads, grayish-red bills, red eyes, gray legs, and white cheeks.
Female ducks are similar, except for their duller plumage and smaller body size.
White-cheeked pintails are dabbling ducks that feed on aquatic algae, grass seeds, and small invertebrates. They usually nest in hidden areas with thick and tall vegetation.
On average, female ducks will produce up to 12 eggs per clutch before incubating them for 22 to 24 days.
15. Red-Breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Red-breasted mergansers are distributed in many locations including North America, Europe, Greenland, and the Palearctic regions.
They inhabit different open waters, estuaries, coastal bays, and piers, as well as lakes and rivers.
These medium-sized ducks measure around 20 to 24 inches long and weigh around 28 to 48 ounces. Their large wings can spread up to 34 inches wide.
Red-breasted mergansers have a dark green head, black back, dark brown neck with a white ring, gray breast and underbelly, reddish-orange eyes and bill, and white spots on the outer part of their wings.
Female ducks have dull gray bodies and rusty brown heads.
They usually nest on the ground near saltwater regions, but occasionally, they will choose hidden spots with thick vegetation or burrows as their nests.
Female ducks can lay around 5 to 13 olive-buff eggs per clutch. It will also take around 29 to 35 days for their eggs to incubate before the mothers lead their ducklings into the water to feed.
16. Northern Shoveler Duck (Spatula clypeata)
These dabbling ducks can be found in many regions such as North and South America, northern and southern Europe, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, and Australia.
They will flock near shallow wetlands, ponds, estuaries, marshes, and salty lakes.
Northern shoveler ducks are identified by their glossy dark green head, white breasts, light brown or chestnut bellies and flanks, yellow eyes, and large black bills.
Female ducks are slightly different with mottled brown plumage and large gray bills.
These ducks measure around 19 inches and weigh around 1.3 pounds. Their wings can also spread up to 30 inches wide.
Like most omnivorous ducks, Northern shovelers feed on various things including aquatic plants, grasses, weeds, small fish, mollusks, aquatic insects, and crustaceans.
During the breeding season, these ducks will nest near the water. Female ducks can lay around 6 to 14 pale olive eggs before incubating them for 21 to 27 days.
17. Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Hooded mergansers are probably the most unique ducks out of every species on this list.
These small ducks can only be found in North America, particularly in California, Oregon, Washington, and the Bahamas, as well as along the east coast, the Gulf Coast, and southeastern Canada.
They are also considered the smallest mergansers out of all mergansers species that exist.
These diving ducks measure around 16 to 19 inches and weigh around 2 pounds.
They can be recognized by their large, fan-like white and black crest on top of their head, dark gray bills, white chests and sides, yellow eyes and legs, and reddish-brown lower flanks.
Female ducks have rusty brown heads, grayish-brown bodies, white chests, brown eyes, and smaller crests on top of their head.
They will nest in tree cavities or on top of dead tree stumps. Female ducks can produce up to 12 eggs per clutch before incubating them for 27 to 35 days.
18. Long-Tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)
These small ducks are distributed in many regions such as Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Siberia, Russia, Norway, Greenland, and the United States.
They usually spend their time near freshwater lakes, ponds, coastal waters, marshy tundras, bogs, and other shallow water bodies. They are also known as the oldsquaw.
Long-tailed ducks typically measure around 15 to 22 inches long and weigh around 1.5 to 2.5 pounds. They have a wingspan of around 28 inches wide.
These ducks are recognized by their dark brown head, neck, and back, dull yellow eyes, dark gray bills and feet, white patches around their eyes, and dark-colored long tail feathers.
Female ducks possess the same color except for the white patches that extend down their neck.
Like other omnivorous ducks, long-tailed ducks feed on various things including aquatic plants, seeds, nuts, grains, aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and small invertebrates.
Female ducks can lay around 5 to 11 grayish-green eggs per clutch before incubating them for 24 to 30 days.
19. Surf Scoter (Melanitta perspicillata)
Surf scoters are indigenous to North America, particularly on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Alaska, and northern Canada.
They can be found residing near marine environments such as estuaries, coastal bays, marinas, and occasionally in slow-moving rivers, lakes, and tundras.
These large sea ducks typically measure around 17 to 19 inches and weigh around 2 to 2.3 pounds. Their large wings can extend up to 30 inches wide.
Surf scoters possess brownish-black plumage, orange bills with white patches on the side, white eyes, and a few other white patches on their face and the back of their head.
Female ducks are slightly paler with obvious brown plumage.
Surf scoters nest hidden on the ground and away from the water. Female scoters can lay around 5 to 9 pale buff eggs that take around 28 to 30 days to incubate.
These ducks mainly feed on marine creatures such as crustaceans, small fish, aquatic insects, worms, aquatic invertebrates, and occasionally, marine plants and weeds.
20. Green-Winged Teal (Anas crecca)
Green-winged teals can be found in many parts of North America, Alaska, Canada, and the United States. They can be found near shallow waters, rivers, freshwater lakes, ponds, estuaries, and marshes.
These small ducks can be recognized by their gray back and wings, light brown to chestnut head, bluish-white chest and underparts, green speculum, and a green patch that goes from the eyes to the back of the head.
Female teals are much easier to recognize with their mottled dark brown plumage.
Green-winged teals measure around 12 to 15 inches wide and weigh around 5 to 18 ounces. Their wings can extend up to 23 inches wide.
These ducks feed on various things such as grasses, aquatic plants, pondweed, crustaceans, aquatic insects, mollusks, and worms.
Female ducks can lay around 6 to 18 pale cream eggs before incubating them for 20 to 24 days.
21. Canvasback Duck (Aythya valisineria)
These diving ducks can only be found in North America, particularly near Minnesota, Nebraska, Alaska, the Gulf coasts, Pacific and Atlantic regions, as well as Mexico.
They inhabit different types of waters such as marshes, estuaries, freshwater prairies, lakes, and coastal bays.
Canvasback ducks measure around 19 to 22 inches and weigh 2 to 3.5 pounds. Their wings spread around 31 to 35 inches wide.
These large ducks can be recognized by their reddish chestnut, wedge-shaped head, whitish gray bodies, black bills and chest, and red eyes.
Female ducks possess brown copper heads, dark brown bodies and chests, black bills, and brownish-gray backs and wings.
These ducks typically feed on aquatic plants, seeds, pondweed, aquatic insects, small fish, insect larvae, mollusks, and crustaceans.
Female canvasbacks can lay around 7 to 10 olive green eggs before incubating them for 24 days. Their nests are usually built near water surrounded by plants and vegetation.
22. Black Scoter (Melanitta americana)
Black scoters are distributed in many parts of the world including North America, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico, China, the Atlantic and Pacific regions, as well as the United States.
They are also known as American scoters. Some of their preferred habitats are freshwater lakes, open saltwater, rivers, tundras, and coastal bays.
These large sea ducks measure around 17 to 21 inches and weigh around 2.1 to 2.4 pounds. Their wings can spread up to 10 inches wide.
Black scoters can be easily spotted by black plumage, bulky black bills with yellow upper parts, and black eyes.
Meanwhile, female scoters are slightly different with dark brown plumage and yellowish-black bills.
Black scoters mainly feed on marine creatures such as small fish, crustaceans, mollusks, fish eggs, and occasionally, some aquatic plants.
They usually nest on the ground and close to the water. Female ducks can lay around 5 to 10 pale pink eggs before incubating them for 27 to 31 days.
23. Greater Scaup (Aythya marila)
Greater scaups are migratory ducks that can be found in many regions such as North America, northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Europe, and as far as Japan.
Depending on the season, they can be found in many different environments ranging from freshwater lakes to marshy tundras to estuaries and coastal bays.
These medium-sized diving ducks measure around 15 to 22 inches long and weigh around 1.6 to 3 pounds. Their wings can extend up to 33 inches wide.
Adult scaups can be recognized by their iridescent dark green head, black bodies, gray bills, yellow eyes, and white underparts.
Meanwhile, females have dark brown bodies, yellow eyes, and darker bills.
Greater scaups mainly feed on marine creatures such as crustaceans, mollusks, and aquatic insects.
However, they will also eat aquatic plants, pondweed, seeds, tubers, and roots whenever they stay in a freshwater environment.
Female scaups typically lay around 6 to 9 olive buff eggs before incubating them for 24 to 28 days. Their nests are usually built near the water or on any floating vegetation.
What Ducks Are Most Common in Florida?
Out of all the species listed above, Muscovy ducks are the most common species spotted in Florida. These ducks can be found in many cities and suburban areas.
They are considered an invasive species due to the drastic increase in their population. Some of them are also categorized as feral and can pose a threat to humans and other birds.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service also issued a warning and took preventive measures to control the population of Muscovy ducks in 2010.
This is because these ducks are considered a public nuisance, affecting the population of other duck species, and are a carrier of many avian diseases.
As long as there are lakes, rivers, swamps, or any body of water, you can find ducks inhabiting these environments.
Some of them are raised and domesticated for their eggs and meat while others live in the wild amongst their groups.