18 Types of Ducks in Michigan

Most individuals are familiar with a few duck types, but I’m sure you’d be astonished at how many duck species may be found across Michigan.

This manual will assist you in identifying each of the duck species that could be found across Michigan, including picture IDs and characteristics, their voices, amusing facts, and much more.

Also, towards the conclusion of this post, you may download a document that will help you recognize ducks by employing cues like “where is the white?” 

Ducks are classified into several subfamilies that also contain geese and swans; however, there is significant disagreement and shifting of family groupings for certain species.

Ducks are opportunistic feeders, meaning they consume both animals and plants, including insects, crustaceans, and small fish. They might consume vegetation both on land and water.

Male ducks, known as drakes, are much more colorful than females. Female ducks are referred to as ducks or hens. The mallard is the ancestor of all domestic ducks.

This guide will assist you in identifying the sorts of ducks found across Michigan that are classified as frequently appearing by the American Birding Society and avibase.

Wood DuckWood Duck
Common MerganserCommon Merganser
Green Wings TealGreen Wings Teal
Common GoldeneyeCommon Goldeneye
American WigeonAmerican Wigeon
Barrow GoldeneyeBarrow Goldeneye
Black ScoterBlack Scoter
White-Winged ScoterWhite-Winged Scoter
American Black Duck American Black Duck 
Lesser ScaupLesser Scaup
Long-Tailed DuckLong-Tailed Duck
Red-breasted MerganserRed-breasted Merganser
Ring-Necked DuckRing-Necked Duck
King EiderKing Eider

Types Of Ducks In Michigan

1. Wood Duck

Wood Duck

The Wood Ducks, which are native to North America, are sometimes known as “Carolina Ducks” because they construct their nests in tree holes.

Wood Ducks have significant sexual dimorphism, especially males, distinguished by their vivid coloring. They possess red eyes, a white throat spot, and a striking appearance exhibiting blue and green iridescence.

Females, in contrast, possess a drab brown to the grey body, having striped upper parts and a bland rump. Both males and females, however, possess crests upon their foreheads.

2. Common Merganser

Common Merganser

The Common Merganser, sometimes known as “Sawbills” because of the serrated edges around its bills, is one of the bigger species of the ocean duck family. Such ducks may be located across wooded rivers and lakes across Asia, Europe, and North America.

Male Common Mergansers are bigger than females and are sexually dimorphic. Non-breeding males and females have a similar look, but breeding males are distinguished apart.

They get a black skull with a greenish gloss, a whitish body with a greyish tail, a salmon-pink tint, and a rear. Their wings appear white on the inside and black on the outside.

Females and non-breeding males get a dark red forehead with a white face, a greyish body, and white plumage. The legs and bills of both males and females range from crimson to dark red.

3. Green Wings Teal

Green-Winged Teal

The Green-winged Teals are among the tiniest of the dabbling ducks found across North America. During the mating season, these migrating ducks are quite common across northern areas of North America, and they migrate too far southward, mostly during winter.

Sexual dimorphism exists among Green-Winged Teals. Breeding males possess a chestnut forehead featuring an iridescent eye spot, a greyish back and sides, and a lighter rump.

They also feature a white-green-etched speculum that can be seen even when they aren’t moving. Females, on the other hand, possess a light brownish body and feathers comparable to female Mallards. Male eclipses resemble females’ overall appearance.

4. Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneyes are often a type of territorial sea duck species that live inside the snowy woods of northern sections of Canada, Scandinavia, northern Russia, the Baltic States, and the United States.

Male Common Goldeneyes exhibit substantial sexually dimorphic, with males being somewhat bigger and heavier as compared to females and having a distinct look. The males possess a black forehead and back, a white face band, and a whitish neck and abdomen.

Females, in contrast, possess a dark brown forehead, while the remaining of their bodies are grey-brown. The feet and legs of both sexes are orange to yellow.

5. American Wigeon

Credits – ebird

Because of the white spot mostly on males’ heads, American Wigeons are sometimes termed “Baldpate.” Almost all of North America is home to these medium-sized dabbling ducks.

American Wigeons are typically sexually dimorphic, with mating males looking different. While females and non-breeding males look quite similar.

The mating males possess a black head featuring an iridescent greenish eye patch on top and a creamy-white bare crown. When they fly, you can see conspicuous white wing spots on their buff-colored feathers. Females and eclipsed males both possess a light brown forehead and greenish-brown feathers.

6. Barrow Goldeneye

Barrow Goldeneye

The Barrow’s Goldeneyes is a type of ocean duck that’s also titled after the English naturalist Sir John Barrow. They are distinguished by their bulbous head.

People frequently mistake these ducks for Common Goldeneyes because they have a similar look. On the other hand, the male Barrow Goldeneyes get a white circle around their beak, as opposed to the radiating patch of the Common Goldeneye.

They also have a larger bill than the previous one. Female Barrow Goldeneyes, in contrast, possess a rounder head compared to the Common Goldeneyes.

7. Gadwall


The Gadwalls are unquestionably the most common among the dabbling ducks across North America. These migrating ducks nest in Northern Europe, North America’s core regions, and the Palearctic. They migrate all of the way toward Central America throughout the winter season.

Male gadwalls are somewhat bigger and heavier as compared to females, indicating strong sexual dimorphism. Non-breeding males and females seem distinct from breeding males and females.

Their body is greyish, with faint chestnut plumes, a black rear, and bright white speculum plumage that are visible in both flying and at rest.

While eclipse males possess a comparable wing design, their upper portions are a considerably duller greyish color. Females, in contrast, possess a light brown speckled body, a dark orange beak, a white abdomen, and a speculum.

8. Black Scoter

Black Scoter
Credits – Wikipedia

The Black Scoter, often called the “American Scoter,” is a huge sea duck species that are found in the northern sections of the U. S. and migrates to the extreme south during the winter season.

The males of Black Scoters are typically bigger and heavier as compared to the females. The males possess a totally black body with a big, golden beak, but the females appear brown with whiter faces.

9. Mallard


Mallards seem to be medium-sized dabble ducks with a large range in both the northern and southern regions. Despite their size being unremarkable, these ducks are bigger than any other dabbling ducks discovered across North America.

Mallards have sexual dimorphic feathers. Males possess an iridescent greenish head, a white throat, a purple-tinged brown chest, lighter underparts, a grey back, and grey to brown wings.

Their beak is yellowish to orange, with a black rump and darker tail plumage. Female Mallards, in contrast, have a speckled brown body, a black eye line, and a dark crest. Both males and females possess iridescent bluish speculum plumes having white borders.

10. White-Winged Scoter

White-Winged Scoter
Credits – Wikipedia

The White-Winged Scoters are named for French ornithologist Come Damien Degland. These ducks are indeed the biggest of the three scoter species that exist in the United States.

Adult males are generally bigger and heavier as compared to their female counterparts because of sexual variation in a population. They do, however, seem similar, with the exception that males possess brighter feathers and a white spot near their eyes.

These ducks, as the name implies, have white wings that are barely apparent if they’re not in flight.

11. American Black Duck

American Black Duck

The American Black Ducks are primarily indigenous throughout Eastern North America, as their name suggests. These ducks are indeed the biggest members of the dabbling duck genus, and their look is comparable to that of female Mallards.

American Black Ducks have relatively minimal sexual dimorphism, with just their bills differing. Males possess yellow bills, while females bear dull green bills containing black specks.

Both sexes get a brown body and head, with their bodies being single-tone brighter. They feature violet speculum plumage and orange legs, as well as stripes on their cheeks and neck.

12. Canvasback

Credits – Animals.net

Canvasbacks are perhaps the biggest of the diving ducks found across North America. These migrating species are distinguished by their unusual wedge-shaped heads, which are seldom observed among other diving ducks.

Canvasbacks appear physically dimorphic while having the very same beak and foot. Males have a rich chestnut brown head that is edged with black.

Their back appears greyish, their breast and rear are black, and their tail looks brown to black. Females, on the other hand, have mainly dark bodies having lighter undersides.

13. Bufflehead


Buffleheads are indeed a tiny species of sea duck native to North America, identified for their distinctive head shape.

The mature Buffleheads seem dimorphic, with males being somewhat bigger than females. Although both males and females have blackheads, males’ heads are typically darker and feature a green iridescence.

Furthermore, males possess a large white spot on their forehead, but females just have a little white stripe. Both males and females have black eyes and backs, while males have dazzling white bottom parts and females have grey underbelly.

14. Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaups species are tiny, migrating diving ducks that really are unique throughout North America, as its name suggests. These ducks are named “Scaup” since they enjoy eating mussels, clams, and oysters, which are termed “Scaup” in Scottish. These are also called “Broadbill” as well as “Little Bluebill” across the U. S.

Lesser Scaups seem to be sexual dimorphism ducks, with males being bigger and heavier as compared to females. Males possess a dark colorful head, a grayish-brown back, a black chest, and whitish underparts.

Females possess a notable white spot on their bill, and the remainder of their body is a gloomy tone of brown, excluding a whitish abdomen. Grayish feet and a blue-to-grey bill are shared by both males and females.

15. Long-Tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck
Credits – Wikipedia

Long-tailed Ducks species are medium-sized ocean ducks that belong to the family Clangula and are known for the males’ unique long tails. These ducks are commonly referred to as “Oldsquaw” by North Americans.

Long-tailed Ducks have sexual dimorphism. Males get a white body and head with a black chest and a dark spot on their face throughout the winter, whereas females possess a white head with only a dark crest above it.

Nevertheless, during the summer season, the males’ heads and backs are black, and their face spots turn white, while the females have black foreheads too. Throughout all seasons, the underparts of both males and females seem to be white.

16. Red-breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser

The Red-breasted Merganser, which belongs to the sawbill genus, is a medium-sized diver duck with distinctive crests.

Males have a black back and head, scarlet chest, white throat, and underparts, while females have a white throat and underparts. Their black head also possesses a green sheen to them.

Females, in contrast, get a reddish brown forehead and a drab, grey body. Both males and females have distinctive spiky crowns and a bill having serrated edges, although males get a darker bill.

17. Ring-Necked Duck

Ring-Necked Duck

Ring-necked turtle Ducks are a type of medium-sized swimming duck that is only found across North America. They get their name from the two whitish circles on the males’ bills.

Ring-necked Ducks are generally dimorphic, with females typically much smaller than males. Males possess whitish feather bars, a black forehead and back, and a white rump.

Females, in contrast, possess a brownish body plus a grey-to-brown forehead and white circles around their eyes. Both males and females possess distinct colored eyes, with males bearing yellow eyes and females possessing brown eyes resembling the remainder of their bodies.

18. King Eider

King Eider
Credits – Wikipedia

The King Eiders seem to be a big type of sea duck with a vast breeding range, distinguished by the male’s distinctive head and exquisite coloring.

These ducks exhibit sexual dimorphism. The males are generally bigger than the females and have magnificent feathers during the mating season. Teal, orange, sky blue, and black colors may be seen on their forehead, with a pink foundation to their delicate beak.

With the exception of their exceptionally toned breast, the remainder of their body looks mainly dark. Females with a lighter skin tone get a light brown neck and head, whereas the remainder of their body appears speckled and deeper in tone.

Check out this article on Types of Ducks in Ontario.


All duck types may be generally classified into three groups: diving ducks, dabbling ducks, and sea ducks. There seem to be four diving ducks, five dabbling ducks, and eight sea ducks across Michigan.

These ducks each have unique looks, ecosystems, and features. You will have to be capable of distinguishing among them effortlessly the subsequent time you have to.


What kinds of ducks may be found throughout Michigan?

American wigeon, redheads, green-winged teal, gadwalls, northern shovelers, canvasbacks, northern pintails, and ruddy ducks seem to be the least frequent Michigan breeding waterfowl.

Which duck is the more desired duck?

The foremost sought-after duck across North America is indeed the drake mallard. He’s basic but lovely. On a frigid morning, the weight of a maximum of greenheads dangling from a sports bag is a terrific sensation. Pintail – The sprig on some adult bull pintail is just so simple to discern that even novices can identify this bird in flight.

Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

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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