23 Ducks in Texas (With Pictures)

23 Ducks in Texas (With Pictures)

Ducks are a familiar and enchanting sight in the vast landscapes of Texas, where diverse habitats and abundant waterways provide refuge for a wide array of waterfowl species. This article delves into the fascinating world of ducks in the Lone Star State, exploring their seasonal behaviors, migratory patterns, and breeding habits.

From the iconic Mallards and American Wigeons to the elusive Harlequin Ducks and Long-tailed Ducks, Texas hosts a diverse avian population that captures the hearts of both avid birdwatchers and casual observers. Join us on a journey through the wetlands and reservoirs of Texas as we uncover the intriguing lives of these water-loving birds.

1. Mallard

  • Scientific name: Anas platyrhynchos
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 50-65 cm (20-26 in)
  • Weight: 700-1600 g (1.5-3.5 lb)
  • Wingspan: 81-98 cm (32-39 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The Mallard is a familiar sight in both rural and urban settings, gracing ponds, lakes, and rivers across North America, Europe, and Asia. Males are unmistakable with their glossy green heads, yellow bills, and white collars, contrasting against their grey bodies. Females are mottled brown, adept at camouflage, with orange bills.

Close-up photo of a Mallard

Mallards are architects of the bird world. In Texas, they often choose a cozy spot in dense vegetation near water. The female weaves a nest from grass and lines it with her own down, creating a snug haven for her eggs.

In the shimmering waters of Texas, Mallards are opportunistic feeders. They dabble in the shallows, foraging for aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates. Occasionally, they might treat themselves to grains in nearby fields.

Once facing declines, Mallards in Texas have rebounded thanks to wetland conservation efforts. These initiatives have preserved crucial habitats, ensuring that the melodic quack of the Mallard continues to echo across the Lone Star State.

2. Blue-winged Teal

  • Scientific name: Spatula discors
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 40-47 cm (16-19 in)
  • Weight: 280-420 g (9.9-14.8 oz)
  • Wingspan: 58-63 cm (23-25 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

These small dabbling ducks breed across North America and winter as far south as South America. Males are noted for their bold white facial crescent and speckled brown body, while females are uniformly brown. Both sexes have striking blue patches on their wings, visible in flight.

A male Blue Winged Teal

Blue-winged Teals in Texas are discreet nesters. The female chooses a concealed spot on the ground, often far from water, weaving a simple yet secure nest for her offspring.

In the Texan wetlands, Blue-winged Teals feast on a varied diet. They dabble for seeds, aquatic plants, and small invertebrates, showcasing their versatility as foragers in diverse ecosystems.

These small ducks have benefited from wetland conservation efforts in Texas. While their populations are relatively stable, ongoing habitat preservation remains key to safeguarding their future in the state’s diverse landscapes.

3. Gadwall

  • Scientific name: Mareca strepera
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 46-56 cm (18-22 in)
  • Weight: 800-1,350 g (1.8-3 lb)
  • Wingspan: 81-95 cm (32-37 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

Preferring the calm waters of marshes and ponds across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Gadwall is a study in understated elegance. Males have a subtly patterned grey body, black rear, and a black bill, while females have a mottled brown appearance, blending seamlessly with their surroundings.

A male Gadwall in flight

Gadwalls in Texas are secretive nesters. They prefer the solitude of dense marsh vegetation, where the female meticulously builds a nest, disguising it artfully to protect her brood from predators.

In Texas, Gadwalls are the underwater gardeners, primarily feeding on aquatic vegetation. They gracefully dip and dive, plucking plants from the water, playing an essential role in the aquatic ecosystem.

The tale of the Gadwall in Texas is encouraging. Conservation efforts focusing on wetland restoration have positively impacted their populations. However, ongoing efforts are crucial to ensure these graceful ducks continue to thrive.

4. Bufflehead

  • Scientific name: Bucephala albeola
  • Life span: 12-15 years
  • Size: 32-40 cm (13-16 in)
  • Weight: 270-550 g (9.5-19.4 oz)
  • Wingspan: 46-54 cm (18-21 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

This small sea duck is found in North America, breeding in Canada and wintering in the U.S. and Mexico. Males have a striking black and white pattern with a large white patch on the back of the head, while females are more subdued with grey-brown plumage and a smaller white cheek patch.

Close-up photo of a male Bufflehead

Buffleheads are cavity nesters, often occupying old woodpecker holes. These small ducks demonstrate an affinity for tree-lined lakes and ponds, where their nests stay hidden from predators.

Aquatic invertebrates dominate their diet, along with some plant material. Diving beneath the surface, they are skilled hunters in their underwater realm.

Their dependence on specific nesting sites makes them vulnerable to habitat loss. Conservation efforts focus on preserving forested wetlands and monitoring tree cavity availability.

5. Cinnamon Teal

  • Scientific name: Spatula cyanoptera
  • Life span: 7-10 years
  • Size: 15-16 in (38-41 cm)
  • Weight: 12-15 oz (340-425 grams)
  • Wingspan: 24-26 in (61-66 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and rare

Breeding in the western Americas and migrating to South America, the Cinnamon Teal is a sight to behold. Males have rich cinnamon-red plumage with dark bills, while females are mottled brown. Both sexes have distinctive red eyes, adding to their allure.

A Cinnamon Teal swimming in a body of water

Cinnamon Teals are ground-nesting connoisseurs, often choosing sites near water, concealed by vegetation. Their nests, simple yet functional, are a testament to their instinctual craftsmanship in nurturing their brood.

Primarily herbivores, these ducks enjoy a diet rich in aquatic plants. They also dabble in small invertebrates and insects, showcasing a diet as varied as the waters they inhabit.

Cinnamon Teals, while not critically endangered, benefit from wetland conservation. Efforts to maintain and restore their habitats ensure that their cinnamon splendour continues to adorn Texas wetlands.

6. American Wigeon

  • Scientific name: Mareca americana
  • Life span: 12-15 years
  • Size: 42-59 cm (17-23 in)
  • Weight: 600-1200 g (1.3-2.6 lb)
  • Wingspan: 76-91 cm (30-36 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

This dapper bird, with a breeding range across much of North America and wintering down to Central America, is a feast for the eyes. The male American Wigeon boasts a striking white forehead and green stripe running from the eye to the nape, set against a warm brown body.

Close-up of a swimming American Wigeon quacking

The American Wigeon’s nesting story is one of seclusion and simplicity. They nest far from water, hidden in tall grasses, crafting simple ground nests where the female incubates her precious clutch.

American Wigeons in Texas are like aquatic grazers, favoring lush, green vegetation. They also exhibit a quirky behavior – stealing food from other ducks! This adaptability in their diet aids their survival in varied habitats.

Conservation efforts for American Wigeons in Texas focus on maintaining wetlands and grasslands. Their story is one of cautious optimism, with populations stable, but ever reliant on the preservation of their natural homes.

7. Green-winged Teal

  • Scientific name: Anas crecca
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 33-38 cm (13-15 in)
  • Weight: 150-400 g (5.3-14.1 oz)
  • Wingspan: 53-59 cm (21-23 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

The smallest of North American ducks, the Green-winged Teal breeds across the northern regions and winters in the southern U.S. and Central America. Males are ornate with chestnut heads, green eye patches, and grey bodies, while females are a subtle brown, adept at blending into their marshy homes.

A swimming Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teals are architects of secrecy. They prefer nesting in dense cover near water, crafting their nests on the ground, hidden among tall grasses or under shrubs. Their nests, cozy bowls lined with down, cradle their precious eggs.

These small ducks are opportunistic feeders. They dabble at the water’s surface, sifting through mud for seeds, aquatic plants, and insects. Their diet is a smorgasbord of nature’s offerings, reflecting the richness of their habitats.

Green-winged Teals, with their resilience and adaptability, face fewer threats than other waterfowl. Conservation efforts focus on preserving wetlands, ensuring these ducks continue to grace Texas with their presence.

8. Harlequin Duck

  • Scientific name: Histrionicus histrionicus
  • Life span: 5-12 years
  • Size: 15-18 in / 38-46 cm
  • Weight: 1.2-1.4 lbs / 550-650 g
  • Wingspan: 26-29 in / 66-74 cm
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Native to the coastal waters of North America and eastern Russia, the Harlequin Duck is a true spectacle. Males are adorned with a striking blue, black, and white pattern with chestnut highlights, while females are a more subdued grey-brown, designed for blending into rocky coastlines.

A close up of a Harlequin Duck

Harlequin Ducks seek the solace of fast-flowing streams for their homes, often in the nooks of riverbanks or under the shelter of overhanging rocks. These ducks craft their nests with a blend of moss and down, creating a cozy haven for their ducklings.

Thriving in turbulent waters, they feast on aquatic insects, small fish, and crustaceans. These ducks dive with grace, navigating the swift currents to catch their prey.

Conservation efforts for Harlequin Ducks are like preserving a piece of art. Once threatened by habitat loss and oil spills, these ducks have become symbols of successful conservation stories. Efforts include protecting their breeding and wintering habitats and monitoring populations.

9. Black-bellied whistling-duck

  • Scientific name: Dendrocygna autumnalis
  • Life span: 8-15 years
  • Size: 17-20 in (43-51 cm)
  • Weight: 18-35 oz (510-990 grams)
  • Wingspan: 28-30 in (71-76 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

Standing tall and slender, this bird is a common sight in the southern U.S., Mexico, and Central America. It has a striking appearance with a bright pink bill, black belly, and rich chestnut plumage. Its red legs and distinctive whistling call make it a unique presence in wetlands.

A close up of a Black-bellied whistling-duck

Unique among their kin, though quite like the Wood Duck, Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks often nest in tree cavities or in nest boxes. They adapt to urban environments, bringing a touch of wildness to human-dominated landscapes.

These ducks are predominantly herbivores, feasting on a variety of seeds and grains. In agricultural areas, they’re often seen foraging in fields, a testament to their adaptability.

While not currently endangered, the preservation of their nesting habitats, especially in urban areas, is crucial. Conservation efforts focus on habitat enhancement and monitoring population trends.

10. Ruddy Duck

  • Scientific name: Oxyura jamaicensis
  • Life span: 6-8 years
  • Size: 36-43 cm (14-17 in)
  • Weight: 430-790 g (0.95-1.74 lb)
  • Wingspan: 61-74 cm (24-29 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

These small, stout ducks are found across North America, wintering in Central America. Males are notable for their bright blue bills during the breeding season, contrasting with their chestnut bodies and blackish heads. Females are more unassuming, with mottled brown plumage and a darker bill.

A pair of Ruddy Ducks

Ruddy Ducks build their nests among dense marsh vegetation. These compact nests, often anchored to plants, float on the water’s surface, a hidden cradle for their eggs.

Their diet includes a variety of aquatic invertebrates and plant seeds. Diving and dabbling, they are active foragers, thriving in the rich wetland ecosystems.

Conservation efforts for Ruddy Ducks focus on protecting wetlands from pollution and encroachment. Their well-being is closely tied to the health of these ecosystems.

11. Fulvous Whistling Duck

  • Scientific name: Dendrocygna bicolor
  • Life span: 5-7 years
  • Size: 5-7 years
  • Weight: 5-7 years
  • Wingspan: 91-106 cm (36-42 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Preferring warmer climates, this duck inhabits parts of the southern U.S., Central and South America, and parts of Africa and Asia. It is notable for its rich, fulvous (reddish-brown) plumage, long neck, and legs, and distinctive whistling call, echoing across its wetland habitats.

Close-up photo of a Fulvous Whistling Duck

Preferring the dense cover of marshes, Fulvous Whistling-Ducks create nests on the ground. Their nesting sites, often reed-lined, offer a sanctuary amidst the waters.

Their diet is a mosaic of seeds, grains, and aquatic plants. These ducks are often found foraging in flooded fields, displaying their ecological versatility.

Conservation for these ducks revolves around maintaining wetland ecosystems. Their populations fluctuate, making habitat preservation key to their continued presence in Texas.

12. Northern Shoveler

  • Scientific name: Spatula clypeata
  • Life span: 10-15 years          
  • Size: 43-53 cm (17-21 in)
  • Weight: 400-1100 g (0.88-2.4 lb)
  • Wingspan: 74-86 cm (29-34 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

Inhabiting wetlands across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Northern Shoveler is easily recognized by its oversized, spatula-like bill. Males have a striking appearance with green heads, white chests, and chestnut sides, while females are a subdued mottled brown, with an orange bill tip.

A Northern Shoveler looking for food in the evening

In Texas, Northern Shovelers nest on the ground, hidden in tall grass or reeds. The female meticulously constructs the nest, a hidden gem amidst the wild landscape.

With their unique, oversized bills, Northern Shovelers in Texas are like nature’s strainers. They skim the water’s surface, filtering out tiny aquatic creatures and plants, a testament to nature’s ingenuity.

Conservation efforts for Northern Shovelers in Texas have centered on preserving wetlands. While their populations are currently stable, continuous efforts are needed to ensure these unique-billed ducks continue to grace Texas waters.

13. Ring-necked Duck

  • Scientific name: Aythya collaris
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 39-46 cm (15-18 in)
  • Weight: 680-1,360 g (1.5-3 lb)
  • Wingspan: 63-76 cm (25-30 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

A frequent visitor to freshwater lakes and ponds across North America, the Ring-necked Duck is subtly handsome. Males have a black head, grey sides, and a barely visible brown neck ring, while females are a mottled brown with a white eye ring, providing them with effective camouflage.

A female Ring-Necked Duck in flight

Ring-necked Ducks nest near water, often in dense vegetation. These well-hidden nests ensure the safety of their ducklings, a silent promise of protection amid the reeds.

Their diet consists mainly of aquatic vegetation and invertebrates. They are skilled divers, plunging into the water in search of sustenance, a dance of survival and grace.

These ducks benefit from efforts to preserve freshwater habitats. Conservation strategies include monitoring populations and protecting critical nesting and feeding areas.

14. Common Merganser

  • Scientific name: Mergus merganser
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 22-28 in (56-71 cm)
  • Weight: 2-4 lbs (0.9-1.8 kg)
  • Wingspan: 26-29 in (66-74 cm)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

These large ducks are widespread across the Northern Hemisphere, favouring rivers and lakes. Males are sleek with dark green heads, red bills, and crisp white bodies, while females have grey bodies and cinnamon heads with a distinctive shaggy crest, adding to their regal appearance.

A Common Merganser standing on a rock

Preferring tree cavities or nest boxes, Common Mergansers demonstrate a love for forested waterways. Their high nesting sites offer a panoramic view and safety for their ducklings.

Fish dominate their diet, reflecting their skill as underwater hunters. These ducks are adept at navigating both rivers and lakes, a fluid mastery of their aquatic domains.

Conservation strategies focus on preserving riverine and lacustrine habitats. Efforts include ensuring clean water and protecting nesting areas from human disturbance.

15. Long-tailed Duck

  • Scientific name: Clangula hyemalis
  • Life span: 6-12 years
  • Size: 43-58 cm (17-23 in)
  • Weight: 430-1,160 g (0.95-2.6 lb)
  • Wingspan: 61-84 cm (24-33 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and rare

Inhabiting the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere, the Long-tailed Duck is unique for its elongated tail feathers. Males have a dramatic black and white winter plumage with long central tail feathers, while in summer, they turn mostly dark. Females are more subtle, with brownish plumage and shorter tails.

A Long-Tailed Duck swimming

Preferring the open tundra’s barren beauty, they nest in shallow depressions lined with plant material and feathers. Their nesting behavior relies on the vast, open landscapes and the warmth of their down to protect their eggs from the Arctic chill.

Their menu ranges from small fish to mollusks, diving deep into icy waters with impressive endurance. They are changing their diet with the seasons and demonstrating remarkable adaptability in their foraging habits.

They face challenges from habitat changes due to global warming and oil pollution. Conservationists are tirelessly working to understand these impacts and create strategies to mitigate them.

16. Northern Pintail

  • Scientific name: Anas acuta
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 56-66 cm (22-26 in)
  • Weight: 450-1150 g (1-2.5 lb
  • Wingspan: 80-95 cm (31-38 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

With a range spanning across the Northern Hemisphere, the Northern Pintail is a graceful bird with a long, pointed tail. Males exhibit a chocolate-brown head, white breast, and greyish body, while females are a mottled brown. Their slender shape is distinctive among ducks.

A pair of Northern Pintails swimming in a body of water

Northern Pintails in Texas opt for the open fields or marsh edges for nesting. The female artfully camouflages her nest among the vegetation, a serene cradle for her eggs.

These slender ducks forage in the fields and waters of Texas. Their diet is a buffet of seeds, aquatic plants, and invertebrates, showcasing their adaptability to both land and water-based feeding.

In Texas, Northern Pintails are a conservation success story. Through wetland conservation and agricultural policy changes, their numbers have seen a resurgence, painting a hopeful picture for their future.

17. Canvasback

  • Scientific name: Aythya valisineria
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 48-56 cm (19-22 in)
  • Weight: 1,270-1,800 g (2.8-4 lb)
  • Wingspan: 84-89 cm (33-35 in)
  • Status: Vulnerable
  • State status: Migratory and common

Breeding in North America and wintering as far south as Mexico, the Canvasback is known for its distinctive sloping profile. Males have a striking red head and neck, black chest, and light grey body, resembling canvas, while females are a more subdued brown.

Close-up photo of a male Canvasback

Canvasbacks prefer the seclusion of marsh vegetation for nesting. Their large, well-concealed nests are often found floating in shallow water, a testament to their adaptability.

They primarily feed on aquatic tubers, supplemented by insects and small fish. Their specialized bill allows them to uproot plants, reflecting their niche as bottom feeders.

Threatened by wetland degradation, Canvasbacks are a focus of conservation efforts aimed at preserving and restoring aquatic habitats. Their status serves as a barometer for wetland health.

18. Wood Duck

  • Scientific name: Aix sponsa
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 48-54 cm (19-21 in)
  • Weight: 454-862 g (1-1.9 lb)
  • Wingspan: 66-73 cm (26-29 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

This spectacular bird graces wooded swamps and streams across North America. Males are striking with iridescent green and purple heads adorned with long crests, red eyes, and patterned bodies. Females, in contrast, are elegant with grey-brown plumage and distinctive white eye-rings.

Wood duck standing near a body of water

Wood Ducks are artists of arboreal nesting. They seek out tree cavities near water bodies to lay their eggs. These natural or excavated hollows in trees provide safety and warmth for their future ducklings.

With a palette as varied as their vibrant plumage, Wood Ducks feast on seeds, fruits, insects, and small fish. They are adept foragers, both in the water and on land, showcasing their dietary versatility.

Once facing severe population declines, the Wood Duck is a conservation success story. Nest box programs and habitat restoration efforts have significantly boosted their numbers, showcasing human impact at its best.

19. Hooded Merganser

  • Scientific name: Lophodytes cucullatus
  • Life span: 6-12 years
  • Size: 40-49 cm (16-19 in)
  • Weight: 400-700 g (0.88-1.54 lb)
  • Wingspan: 63-76 cm (25-30 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

This small duck inhabits rivers and ponds across North America. Males are dramatic with a large white crest on their black heads, contrasting with their brown sides and white chests. Females are more subdued, with mottled brown plumage and a smaller crest.

Two Hooded Merganser males

Hooded Mergansers are another species that opt for tree cavities. They add a unique flair to their nests, lining them with feathers, creating a soft, warm environment for their eggs.

Fish, crustaceans, and insects make up their diet. Their specialized serrated beaks are perfect for catching slippery prey, showcasing their adaptation to a piscivorous lifestyle.

Conservation for these birds centers on protecting their nesting habitats. Their reliance on tree cavities makes them sensitive to forestry practices, highlighting the importance of sustainable habitat management.

20. Red-breasted Merganser

  • Scientific name: Mergus serrator
  • Life span: 9-14 years
  • Size: 54-62 cm (21-24 in)
  • Weight: 700-1,600 g (1.5-3.5 lb)
  • Wingspan: 66-81 cm (26-32 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Found in North America, Europe, and Asia, this sea duck is known for its thin, pointed bill. Males have a striking appearance with a dark green head, reddish-brown breast, and grey body, while females sport a greyish body and rusty head, crowned with a shaggy crest.

Extreme closeup of a Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Mergansers nest on the ground, often in concealed locations near water. Their nests, though simple, are fortresses of solitude, safeguarding their next generation.

These birds primarily feed on small fish, showcasing their expertise as divers. Their slender, serrated bills are perfect for gripping slippery prey, a testament to their evolutionary niche.

Their conservation involves protecting coastal and freshwater habitats. Efforts include monitoring population trends and advocating for clean, pollution-free waterways.

21. Redhead

  • Scientific name: Aythya americana
  • Life span: 10-15 years
  • Size: 42-49 cm (17-19 in)
  • Weight: 850-1,600 g (1.9-3.5 lb)
  • Wingspan: 76-84 cm (30-33 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Inhabiting wetlands across North America, the Redhead is a medium-sized diving duck. Males are recognizable by their vibrant red heads and necks, black chests, and grey bodies, while females are a more subtle brown, perfect for blending into their marshy homes.

Close-up photo of a Redhead

Redheads often nest in marshes, using reeds and grasses to build their nests. These floating structures, anchored to vegetation, are masterpieces of avian architecture, safeguarding their precious eggs.

They predominantly feed on aquatic plants, diving to reach their food. This diet showcases their adaptability to different aquatic environments, from shallow marshes to deep lakes.

Conservation efforts for Redheads include wetland preservation and restoration. As indicators of ecosystem health, their thriving populations signify the success of these conservation measures.

22. Common Goldeneye

  • Scientific name: Bucephala clangula
  • Life span: 6-12 years
  • Size: 40-51 cm (16-20 in)
  • Weight: 800-1,550 g (1.8-3.4 lb)
  • Wingspan: 66-81 cm (26-32 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Migratory and common

Widespread across the Northern Hemisphere, the Common Goldeneye is a striking sea duck. Males have a glossy green-black head with a prominent white spot near the bill, contrasting with their white body. Females have a chocolate-brown head and a mostly grey body, offering a muted elegance.

A pair of Common Goldeneyes

Common Goldeneyes favor tree cavities for nesting, showcasing a preference for wooded lakeshores. Their choice of high nests helps protect their young from ground predators, a strategic move in the game of survival.

These ducks are avid consumers of aquatic invertebrates and fish. Their diet reflects their prowess as divers, navigating the underwater world with ease and efficiency.

Habitat conservation, especially preserving old growth forests near water bodies, is vital for their survival. Efforts include monitoring nest box use and forest management practices.

23. Mottled Duck

  • Scientific name: Anas fulvigula
  • Life span: 5-10 years
  • Size: 48-56 cm (19-22 in)
  • Weight: 600-1,070 g (1.3-2.4 lb)
  • Wingspan: 91-102 cm (36-40 in)
  • Status: Least Concern
  • State status: Breeding and common

A resident of the Gulf Coast and Florida, the Mottled Duck blends seamlessly into marshes and coastal prairies. Its plumage is an unassuming mix of brown and buff, providing excellent camouflage. This subtle patterning is consistent in both males and females, making them a challenge to spot.

Two Mottled Ducks resting in the high vegetation

Mottled Ducks are secretive nesters, preferring dense marsh vegetation. Their nests are well-concealed havens, ensuring safety for their eggs amidst the marsh’s whispering reeds.

These ducks are generalists, feeding on a mix of aquatic plants, seeds, and small aquatic creatures. Their diet reflects the diversity of the marshlands they call home.

With habitat loss posing a threat, conservation efforts for Mottled Ducks focus on preserving coastal marshes and prairies. Advocacy and habitat management are key in sustaining their populations.

Where to find Ducks in Texas

Finding ducks in Texas, a state known for its diverse wildlife, can be a delightful experience for bird watchers and hunters alike. The key to locating ducks in Texas lies in understanding their habitat preferences and migration patterns.

  • Coastal Wetlands: The Gulf Coast of Texas is a prime location for duck spotting. Places like the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge and the San Bernard Wildlife Refuge offer rich, marshy habitats that attract various duck species, especially during the winter migration.
  • Central Texas Lakes: In Central Texas, large lakes such as Lake Travis and Lake Buchanan are hotspots for ducks. These freshwater bodies provide ample food and shelter, making them ideal for both resident and migratory ducks.
  • East Texas Pineywoods: The Pineywoods region in East Texas, with its numerous swamps and ponds, is another excellent area. The Caddo Lake State Park, known for its cypress swamps, attracts a variety of duck species.
  • Panhandle Playas: In the Texas Panhandle, the playa lakes are unique and vital habitats for migrating ducks. These shallow, seasonal wetlands in areas like the Muleshoe Wildlife Refuge are crucial stopovers for ducks traveling along the Central Flyway.

To successfully find ducks in these areas, it’s important to visit during the right season. Fall and winter are the best times, as this is when migratory species pass through Texas. Early morning or late afternoon are ideal times of the dday, as ducks are more active during these periods.


Texas’ varied landscapes, from coastal marshes to inland lakes, provide a haven for ducks. These regions offer unique opportunities for birdwatchers to observe and appreciate the rich diversity of duck species, highlighting the state’s importance in the migratory patterns of these captivating waterfowl.

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  • Just saw this duck minutes ago in Palestine Tx. A tall long neck/orange been, grayish with some white on its wings-a large duck I’ve never seen. Tested about 30 minutes in dead tree then flew making a whistling sound. Got a photo and similar to the black bellied whistling duck but taller and slender