IHEA logo Guide to Wildlife Identification

What You Should Know | Finding Wildlife | Game or Non-Game | Techniques | Signs | Distribution | Warning for Hunters | Final Quiz | Over 100 Wildlife Fact Sheets

Migratory Game Birds: Waterfowl

(note – to learn more about Waterfowl identification, you can get "Ducks at a Distance" free from www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/tools/duckdist/duckdist.htm  This colorful guide is full of tips and illustrations to help identify ducks and geese on the wing.  Every duck hunter should have it!)

list bullet Swans: tundra swan, mute swan

list bullet Geese: Canada goose, snow goose, Ross' goose, white-fronted goose, black brant.

list bullet Dabbling ducks: Surface-feeding ducks that inhabit marshes, ponds, lakes, slow rivers and sometimes bays. Feed by tipping up or dabbling; "spring" into the air on take off and can walk more easily than diver ducks because legs are closer to center of body. Most have an iridescent upper wing patch — mallard, pintail, American wigeon, northern shoveler, gadwall, wood duck, green-winged teal, blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal.

list bullet Diving ducks: Dive for food usually in large, deep lakes, rivers, ponds, coastal bays and inlets. Feed primarily on fish, shellfish, aquatic plants and mollusks. Run or fly low across water to takeoff. Many have legs toward back end of body, making walking difficult. Most have whitish-gray upper wing patches — canvasback, redhead, bufflehead, greater scaup, lesser scaup, ring-necked duck, ruddy duck, common goldeneye, Barrow's goldeneye.

list bullet Mergansers: common merganser, red-breasted merganser, hooded merganser.

list bullet Sea ducks: harlequin, common eider, king eider, oldsquaw, white-winged scoter, surf scoter.

list bullet Shorebirds and wading birds: common snipe, American woodcock, purple gallinule, common moorhen, rails, American coot, sandhill crane.

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