Ducks are familiar and widespread birds that can be found in nearly every river, lake, pond, and even ocean in the world, missing only from Antarctica. While most ducks share many characteristics and they are all members of the Anatidae bird family, the exact number of species varies depending on how each bird is classified. How many wild duck species have you seen?
Even more confusion sets in with these birds’ common names, many of which are called “geese” while genetically they are actually ducks. Furthermore, in different parts of their range, the same duck species may be referred to by several different common names.
This makes learning bird scientific names a good idea for any birder interested in these wacky waterfowl. Further creating confusion with duck species are domestic ducks raised for meat, eggs, or simply their exotic flair, though they are not considered independent duck species. In addition to the wild duck species that are officially recognized by birders and ornithologists, there are dozens of domestic duck breeds that might show up in urban or suburban areas, such as:
Aylesbury ducks Bali ducks Blue Swedish ducks Indian runner ducks Magpie ducks Muscovy ducks (domestic stock) Pekin ducks Saxony ducks Many ducks hybridize easily and when domestic escapees or Easter ducklings are introduced to wild populations (an irresponsible act), exact species bloodlines get even more confusing. Birders can keep track of the duck species they see, however, and the list below can help you determine just how many pure ducks you have added to your life list.
Illustration: The Spruce / Mary McLain
The marbled teal is just one of the world’s duck species. Photo f.c.franklin /Flickr/CC by-SA 2.0 * – Considered threatened or vulnerable due to population decreases and growing survival threats** – Listed as endangered and in critical danger of extinction if conservation is not implemented (Classifications by BirdLife International ) African Black Duck ( Anas sparsa ) African Pygmy-Goose ( Nettapus auritus ) American Black Duck ( Anas rubripes ) American White-Winged Scoter ( Melanitta deglandi ) American Wigeon ( Anas americana ) Andean Teal ( Anas andium ) Asian White-Winged Scoter ( Melanitta stejnegeri ) *Auckland Islands Teal ( Anas aucklandica ) Australasian Shoveler ( Anas rhynchotis ) Australian Shelduck ( Tadorna tadornoides ) Australian Wood Duck ( Chenonetta jubata ) **Baer’s Pochard ( Aythya baeri ) Baikal Teal ( Anas formosa ) Barrow’s Goldeneye ( Bucephala islandica ) *Black Scoter ( Melanitta americana ) Black-Bellied Whistling-duck ( Dendrocygna autumnalis ) Black-Headed Duck ( Heteronetta atricapilla ) **Blue Duck ( Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos ) *Blue-Billed Duck ( Oxyura australis ) *Blue-Winged Goose ( Cyanochen cyanoptera ) Blue-Winged Teal ( Anas discors ) **Brazilian Merganser ( Mergus octosetaceus ) Brazilian Teal ( Amazonetta brasiliensis ) **Brown Teal ( Anas chlorotis ) Bufflehead ( Bucephala albeola ) **Campbell Islands Teal ( Anas nesiotis ) Canvasback ( Aythya valisineria ) Cape Shoveler ( Anas smithii ) Cape Teal ( Anas capensis ) Chestnut Teal ( Anas castanea ) Chiloe Wigeon ( Anas sibilatrix ) Cinnamon Teal ( Anas cyanoptera ) Comb Duck ( Sarkidiornis melanotos ) Common Eider ( Somateria mollissima ) Common Goldeneye ( Bucephala clangula ) Common Merganser ( Mergus merganser ) Common Pochard ( Aythya ferina ) Common Scoter ( Melanitta nigra ) Common Shelduck ( Tadorna tadorna ) Common Teal ( Anas crecca ) Cotton Pygmy-Goose ( Nettapus coromandelianus ) Crested Duck ( Lophonetta specularioides ) **Crested Shelduck ( Tadorna cristata ) Eastern Spot-Billed Duck ( Anas zonorhyncha ) *Eaton’s Pintail ( Anas eatoni ) Egyptian Goose ( Alopochen aegyptiaca ) Eurasian Wigeon ( Anas penelope ) *Falcated Duck ( Anas falcata ) Falkland Steamerduck ( Tachyeres brachypterus ) *Ferruginous Duck ( Aythya nyroca ) Flightless Steamerduck ( Tachyeres pteneres ) Flying Steamerduck ( Tachyeres patachonicus ) Freckled Duck ( Stictonetta naevosa ) Fulvous Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna bicolor ) Gadwall ( Anas strepera ) Garganey ( Anas querquedula ) Greater Scaup ( Aythya marila ) Green Pygmy-Goose ( Nettapus pulchellus ) Grey Teal ( Anas gracilis ) Hardhead ( Aythya australis ) Harlequin Duck ( Histrionicus histrionicus ) Hartlaub’s Duck ( Pteronetta hartlaubii ) **Hawaiian Duck ( Anas wyvilliana ) Hooded Merganser ( Lophodytes cucullatus ) Hottentot Teal ( Anas hottentota ) Kelp Goose ( Chloephaga hybrida ) King Eider ( Somateria spectabilis ) Lake Duck ( Oxyura vittata ) **Laysan Duck ( Anas laysanensis ) Lesser Scaup ( Aythya affinis ) Lesser Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna javanica ) *Long-Tailed Duck ( Clangula hyemalis ) *Maccoa Duck ( Oxyura maccoa ) **Madagascar Pochard ( Aythya innotata ) **Madagascar Teal ( Anas bernieri ) Mallard ( Anas platyrhynchos ) Mandarin Duck ( Aix galericulata ) *Marbled Teal ( Marmaronetta angustirostris ) Masked Duck ( Nomonyx dominicus ) **Meller’s Duck ( Anas melleri ) Mottled Duck ( Anas fulvigula ) Muscovy Duck ( Cairina moschata ) Musk Duck ( Biziura lobata ) New Zealand Scaup ( Aythya novaeseelandiae ) Northern Pintail ( Anas acuta ) Northern Shoveler ( Anas clypeata ) *Orinoco Goose ( Neochen jubata ) Pacific Black Duck ( Anas superciliosa ) Paradise Shelduck ( Tadorna variegata ) *Philippine Duck ( Anas luzonica ) Pink-Eared Duck ( Malacorhynchus membranaceus ) **Pink-Headed Duck ( Rhodonessa caryophyllacea ) Plumed Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna eytoni ) Puna Teal ( Anas puna ) Radjah Shelduck ( Tadorna radjah ) Red Shoveler ( Anas platalea ) Red-Billed Duck ( Anas erythrorhyncha ) Red-Breasted Merganser ( Mergus serrator ) Red-Crested Pochard ( Netta rufina ) Redhead ( Aythya americana ) Ring-Necked Duck ( Aythya collaris ) Ringed Teal ( Callonetta leucophrys ) Rosy-Billed Pochard ( Netta peposaca ) Ruddy Duck ( Oxyura jamaicensis ) Ruddy Shelduck ( Tadorna ferruginea ) *Salvadori’s Teal ( Salvadorina waigiuensis ) **Scaly-Sided Merganser ( Mergus squamatus ) Silver Teal ( Anas versicolor ) Smew ( Mergellus albellus ) South African Shelduck ( Tadorna cana ) Southern Pochard ( Netta erythrophthalma ) *Spectacled Duck ( Speculanas specularis ) Spectacled Eider ( Somateria fischeri ) Spotted Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna guttata ) *Steller’s Eider ( Polysticta stelleri ) Sunda Teal ( Anas gibberifrons ) Surf Scoter ( Melanitta perspicillata ) Torrent Duck ( Merganetta armata ) Tufted Duck ( Aythya fuligula ) **Velvet Scoter ( Melanitta fusca ) Wandering Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna arcuata ) *West Indian Whistling-Duck ( Dendrocygna arborea ) Western Spot-Billed Duck ( Anas poecilorhyncha ) White-Backed Duck ( Thalassornis leuconotus ) White-Cheeked Pintail ( Anas bahamensis ) White-Faced Whistling-duck ( Dendrocygna viduata ) **White-Headed Duck ( Oxyura leucocephala ) *White-Headed Steamerduck ( Tachyeres leucocephalus ) **White-Winged Duck ( Cairina scutulata ) Wood Duck ( Aix sponsa ) Yellow-Billed Duck ( Anas undulata ) Yellow-Billed Pintail ( Anas georgica ) Yellow-Billed Teal ( Anas flavirostris )
How do I identify my duck?
Size: How large is the duck?.Head: What markings are visible on the head?.Bill: What is the size and color of the bill?.Neck: What is the neck length?.Plumage: What are the most prominent colors on the back, rump, neck, breast, and flanks?
How many varieties of duck are there?
Identifying the 12 Types of Ducks.
What are common duck names?
What is the prettiest duck?
Meet the Mandarin duck, which is known as the most beautiful duck in the world and usually only found in East Asia.
Most breeds of duck derive from the wild mallard, Anas platyrhyncos, while a small minority are descendants of the Muscovy duck, Cairina moschata. Duck breeds are normally officially recognized and described by a national body such as a ministry of agriculture. In some countries they may be recognized by groups of enthusiasts or breeders’ associations, which may also draw up a breed standard. Among these are:
 Most breeds of duck derive from the wild mallard , Anas platyrhyncos , while a small minority are descendants of the Muscovy duck , Cairina moschata .
In some countries they may be recognized by groups of enthusiasts or breeders’ associations , which may also draw up a breed standard .
This page contains over 100 types of Duck Species from around the world. The pictures are useful for quickly identifying an unknown duck. These ducks are also grouped under the following:- Dabbling Ducks, Diving Ducks, Perching Ducks, Stiff-tail Ducks, Sea Ducks, Shelducks, and Whistling Ducks.
Hartlaub’s Duck (Pteronetta Hartlaubii)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Ringed Teal (Callonetta Leucophrys)Photo: Dave Key Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta Jubata)Photo: Dave Key Comb Duck (Sarkidiornis Melanotos)Photo: Dave Key Maccoa Duck (Oxyura Maccoa)Photo: Dave Key Ruddy Duck (Oxyura Jamaicensis)Photo: Dave Key White-headed Duck (Oxyura Leucocephalia)Photo: Dave Key Blue-billed Duck (Oxyura Australis)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Lake Duck (Oxyura Vittata)Photo: Nigel Key Musk Duck (Biziura Lobata)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Bufflehead (Bucephala Albeola)Photo: Dave Key Common Eider (Somateria Mollissima)Photo: Dave Key King Eider (Somateria Spectabilis)Photo: zaskoda and Animal Photos! Spectacled Eider (Somateria Fischeri)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Steller’s Eider (Polysticta Stelleri)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Barrow’s Goldeneye (Bucephala Islandica)Photo: Dave Key Common Goldeneye (Bucephala Clangula)Photo: Dave Key Harlequin Duck (Histrionicus Histrionicus)photo by Neill Smith Long-tailed Duck (Clangula Hyemalis)photo by Neill Smith Brazilian Merganser (Mergus Octosetaceus)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Common Merganser (Mergus Merganser)Photo: Nigel Key Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes Cucullatus)Photo: Dave Key Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus Serrator)photo by Neill Smith Scaly-sided Merganser (Mergus Squamatus)photo by Neill Smith Black Scoter (Melanitta Americana)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Common Scoter (Melanitta Nigra)photo by Neill Smith Surf Scoter (Melanitta Perspicillata)Photo: mikebaird and Animal Photos!
Velvet Scoter (Melanitta Fusca)photo by Neill Smith White-winged Scoter (Melanitta Deglandi)Photo: Wikimedia Commons Smew (Mergellus Albellus)Photo: Dave Key Australian Shelduck (Tadorna Tadornoides)Photo: Dave Key Common Shelduck (Tadorna Tadorna)Photo: Dave Key Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna Variegata)Photo: digitaltrails & Animal Photos! Radjah Shelduck (Tadorna Radjah)Photo: Dave Key Ruddy Shelduck (Tadorna Ferruginea)Photo: Dave Key South African Shelduck (Tadorna Cana)Photo: Dave Key Black-bellied Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Autumnalis)Photo: Dave Key Fulvous Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Bicolor)Photo: Dave Key Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Javanica)Photo: Dave Key Plumed Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Eytoni)Photo: Dave Key Wandering Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Arcuata)Photo: Dave Key West Indian Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Arborea)Photo: Dave Key White-faced Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Viduata)Photo: Dave Key Spotted Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna Guttata)Photo: Dave Key Steamer Duck (Tachyeres Brachypterus) Wikimedia Commons Torrent Duck (Merganetta Armata) Image: Wikimedia Commons Pink-eared Duck (Malacorhynchus Membranaceus) Wikimedia Commons Patagonian Crested Duck (Lophonetta Specularioides Specularioides)Photo: Dave Key Freckled Duck (Stictonetta Naevosa)Photo: Nigel Key White-backed Duck (Thalassornis Leuconotus)Photo: Dave Key Black-headed Duck (Heteronetta Atricapilla)Photo: Dave Key Masked Duck (Nomonyx Dominicus) Wikimedia Commons White-winged Duck (Asarcornis Scutulata)Photo: Dave Key
Commercially, ducks have been bred for their meat, down, foie gras and eggs, and this history has contributed to the domestic breeds of duck we still have today. I have tried to capture their history in the linked breed profile pages and have consulted and collaborated with many breed experts. The photos of these duck breeds mainly come from poultry and waterfowl shows in the UK that I have attended over the last 12 years.
There are different species of ducks found in the wild (wildfowl) and by specialist breeders in captivity (ornamental ducks or ornamental wildfowl). It is used to describe domestic animals that have been artificially bred for specific qualities and characteristics for several generations until they breed true.
For example, the Indian Runner and Pekin are breeds of duck descended from the Mallard ( Anas p. platyrhynchos ). Since all of our domestic duck breeds (except the Muscovy) are descended from the same species (the Mallard), they can interbreed with one another and any wild Mallards that fly into the breeding pen! We can see an example of this interbreeding on many lakes and ponds worldwide, where domestic ducks have been released and bred with the local Mallard population.
Why Ducks Can Be Confusing
There are many different types of ducks, and the geese and swans in the same family are closely related, hence the confusion and variation when classifying waterfowl. Even more confusion sets in with these birds’ common names, many of which are called “geese” while genetically they are actually ducks. Furthermore, in different parts of their range, the same duck species may be referred to by several different common names. This makes learning bird scientific names a good idea for any birder interested in these wacky waterfowl.
This is a list of the breeds of domestic duck which have official recognition at national or international level.Most breeds of duck derive from the wild mallard,