Ducks, Geese and Swans
The family Anatidae includes 61 species found in North America.
Swans. Large, long-necked birds with strong bills; sexes alike in plumage. Herbivorous; forage for water plants from the surface, using the long neck to reach the bottom. Swans do not dive. The nest is a bulky structure on the ground. Incubation is 34-40 days. Maturity is reached at 2-3 years of age.
Geese. The plumages of the typical geese are alike in the sexes and lack iridescent colors.; downy young do not have complex plumage patterns. Geese reach sexual maturity at 2-3 years of age.
Ducks, Teal, Scoters, Pochards, Eiders, Mergansers. Most species are sexually dimorphic in plumage. Males have bold and/or colorful patterns while females are cryptically colored with buff and brown markings. Most species have iridescent wing patches. The bright nuptial plumage of the males is replaced by a dull "eclipse" plumage during the period of flightlessness when the flight feathers are being replaced. Downy plumages are conspicuously patterned, usually dark brown with buffy or yellow markings on the back and head. The bills of most species are broad'. The dabbling species forage from the surface or edges of ponds, streams or saltwater. The bills of the mergansers are slender and serrated for grasping fish. The diving ducks (pochards, scaup, eiders, scoters, goldeneyes, mergansers, etc.) have large feet placed far back.
Whistling Ducks. Sexually monomorphic with long necks and legs and relatively large feet. They sometimes perch in trees. The voice is a high-pitched whistle. They dive for food which is mainly aquatic plants and feed at night. Adults engage in mutual preening and may pair for life, as in geese. Whistling Ducks nest on the ground, rarely in tree-holes. Both sexes incubate the roundish eggs for 27-30 days and lead the young when they leave the nest.
Greater White-fronted Goose
Lesser White-fronted Goose
American Black Duck
Ducks at a Distance
Ducks Unlimited - USA
Ducks Unlimited - Canada
Ducks of the World
Ducks - Patuxent Bird ID Center