8 Types of Ducks in Texas

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

The majority of people are familiar with a few types of ducks, but the variety of duck species found in Texas is quite astonishing.

Swans and geese are also members of the various subfamilies that contain ducks.

Ducks consume both animals and plants and are omnivores, preferring bugs, shrimp, and small fish.

They will consume both aquatic and terrestrial vegetation.

Black-Bellied Whistling DuckBlack-Bellied Whistling Duck
Muscovy DuckMuscovy Duck
Mallard DuckMallard Duck
Fulvous Whistling duckFulvous Whistling duck
Blue Winged TealBlue Winged Teal
Ruddy DuckRuddy Duck
Wood DuckWood Duck
Redhead MallardRedhead Mallard

Types of Ducks in Texas

1. Black-Bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck is an exuberant goose-like animal distinguished by its distinctive, long-legged appearance and vivid pink beak.

It has a chestnut body, a face that is grey, and a belly that is somewhat black.

Loud flocks of these garish birds may be seen all throughout Texas and Louisiana.

Typically, you may see them foraging on seeds in large fields and grasslands and watch them relaxing in country club ponds.

The high-pitched whistle of this type of duck makes it simple to tell them apart.

It typically leans its head down when flying and has a large white patch on its upper wings.

The Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, formerly known as tree-ducks because they typically perch on trees and wooden logs above the water, resembles more swans and geese since it lacks sexual dimorphism.

2. Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

The Muscovy Duck, one of the strangest and most warty-faced dabblers, is one of the earliest domesticated waterfowl species.

Its famed Muscovy Company, which sent these creatures to France and England, is where it derives its name.

It’s fascinating to note that the males of this duck frequently breed with ducks of different species, resulting in hybrid, infertile babies.

Muscovy Duck females are just half as big as males, despite being the biggest duck species in North America.

These cautious birds explore shallow marshes.

The farmed ducks may also be found in parks and gardens, where they congregate with some other ducks and eat the food left out by visitors.


The habitat of this duck is marshes and tree cavities. Ponds, small marshes, and lagoons are where it feeds.

In populous parks and farms, you can frequently see a tamed Muscovy duck.

These ducks have pointed claws on their feet. They thus spend the majority of their time perched on tall trees.

Additionally, they voluntarily move in and reside in manufactured nest boxes.

3. Mallard Duck


For many residents of certain regions of Texas, the Mallard Duck is indeed a common sight. In reality, it is widely distributed around the world.

This bumbling duck is distinguished by its broad, yellow beak and rounded green head. Its body is mostly grey, with a black-toned back and a reddish front.

The wings of both sexes have a fair-skinned, blue speculum patch, and the females are speckled.

It bears a large, lengthy body, and the tail rides high above the water. It is typically observed entirely submerging or overturning in the water.

Food & Habitat

This duck seldom ever dives, though, and instead spends its time consuming a diverse variety of vegetation, insects, amphibians, and fish.

In addition to eating grains and grazing when on the land, the mallard also grazes.

This duck can live in both natural and artificial wetlands. Mallards may be found in marshes, rivers, lakes, coastal locations, and even backyards of private residences.

Although they like calm, shallow areas, you may also locate them in brackish and salty regions.

4. Fulvous Whistling Duck

Fulvous Whistling-Duck

With two long legs, a lengthened neck, and a protracted beak, the Fulvous Whistling-Duck is just a huge bird with an unusually shaped body.

This duck’s body has a deep caramel-brown and nearly black color. Its neck has thin white stippling on one side Its beak and legs are greyish, and it has a black tail with a white tail.

In contrast, the black color on the crown distinguishes females from males.

In the United States, particularly in Texas, warm freshwater marshes are where this type of duck is most frequently seen.

This gangly duck generally forages for food, uses rice fields to find the right water depth, and is seldom ever observed from a distance.

At night and dawn, groups of these birds are frequently heard flying over feeding areas. Sometimes, this species of duck plunges into deep water.

They have loud voices and scream out with stuttering whistles that fall. Male voice enunciation is wheezier, whereas female voice is often squeakier.

5. Blue Winged Teal


A little dabbler duck is known as the Blue-winged Teal; it nests all over the state but spends most of its breeding season in the Panhandle. This duck makes a big September appearance in flocks.

It may be identified during the flight from many other duck species thanks to a conspicuous powder-blue patch on its top wing coverts.

A Blue-winged Teal male has a brown body and dark speckles on his breast. A white crescent may be seen at the tip of its beak on its blue head.

On their bodies, females have cooler, more patterned browns.

These ducks swim in pairs and small groups to stand out against submerged foliage. Additionally, they frequently interact with other unique species of wading ducks.

Even when humans are present, you can plainly see them loitering around the borders of ponds.

However, when they have to forage or rest, they prefer to look for a designated place.


The Blue-winged Teal is often found in placid water areas, such as marshes or small lakes.

Their breeding zone is centered in the prairie-pothole region, where they scurry around in marshes and grassland settlements.

If you’re lucky, you could get a glimpse of this bird flying fast through the sky in groups.

6. Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck

The male Ruddy Duck has dazzling white cheeks, a beak with a blue undertone, and an extended, stiff tail that is mainly cocked forward, making it one of the simplest birds to recognize.

The male is well known for its courting antics, which include pouncing on prey and rubbing its breast with its beak. 

This causes a foam of bubbles and an obtrusive droning sound.

The majority of these ducks are reported to fly over Texas from October to April, while some have been known to arrive as early as August.

The Ruddy Duck is incredibly little and small-framed. It has shorter, broader necklines and a head that has a little peak.

It exhibits firmly black wing coverings during flight.

This species of duck frequently dives into the water to hunt for aquatic invertebrates, primarily midge larvae. In the evening, it is vigorously feeding.

As a result, you will frequently see Ruddy Ducks sleeping all day with their heads hidden behind their wings and their tails held straight up.


These ducks typically lay their eggs in marshes next to lakes and ponds. They are primarily found within and around the Plains Potholes region.

They fly to lakes and rivers and often congregate in coastal estuaries as they migrate. They also tend to band together with other ducks, such as the Buffleheads.

7. Wood Duck

Wood Duck

The Wood Duck is a beautifully beautiful bird with a body that is chestnut and iridescent green. Its feathers are decorated with elaborate designs.

The females have delicate white markings around their eyes, giving them a distinctive appearance.

They are more maneuverable due to their crested, boxy head, which narrows to a slim neck with a wide, prolonged tail.


These ducks live in wetlands with trees, where they build their nests in the cavities. They also quickly occupy adjacent boxes placed near ponds and lakes.

They keep their heads up high when flying, often even bouncing them back and forth.

Additionally, keep an eye out for wood ducks near streams and beaver ponds since they prefer to hang out in damp regions with lots of cattails.

Around the turn of the 20th century, this bird was in danger of going extinct due to heavy human exploitation of its meat and feathers, habitat loss from excessive logging, and loss of wetlands and swamps.

However, with the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918, numerous species of waterfowl made a comeback.

The Wood Duck spends most of the year in Texas before migrating to the Southern as winter sets.

From the middle of February through September, it breeds. This bird’s head jerks back and forth while swimming, like a walking pigeon.

These bouncy animals may frequently be seen together in tiny groups.

8. Redhead Mallard

Redhead Mallard
Credits – Wikipedia

The Redhead Mallard is a stylish combination of a cinnamon forehead, a brown or black tail and breast, and a distinct grey body. Its name is appropriate, given its reddish head.

The bodies of their female counterparts are uniformly simple and brown.

According to the Texas Migratory Bird Atlas, Texas has only confirmed one nesting of this duck prior to 1974.

Records from today suggest that these ducks, which enter the country in early September, are a familiar sight to the inhabitants.

These ducks congregate in great groups, illuminating the shorelines and lakes. They migrate in enormous groups and exhibit extreme social behavior, especially near the Gulf Coast.

They can even number in the thousands throughout the winter. They live in croaky wetlands in the West throughout the summer.

These ducks prefer to dive for their prey most of the time. However, in contrast to other varieties of diving ducks, they frequently choose to use shallow water bodies.

They eat by tippling up, which makes them somewhat reminiscent of dabbling ducks. Because they are so sociable, Redhead Mallards are sometimes referred to as “rafting ducks”.

Check out this article on Types of Ducks in Minnesota.


Ducks are species that rely on both animals and plants as they are omnivores, and they rely on aquatic as well as terrestrial vegetation.

However, all these ducks vary a lot when it comes to their appearances, like the Black Bellied whistling duck, which has some extraordinarily long legs, or the Fulvous duck, which has an overall strange appearance besides that, they also show variation in their diets.


What are the most common ducks found in Texas?

The most common ducks in Texas are Wood duck, Mallard, and Northern pintail.

What do ducks eat naturally?

The food items that ducks eat naturally are Grain ‘grasses’ aquatic plants and invertebrates.

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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