The American Black Duck is a close relative of the Mallard,
but is more often found in wooded habitats. Competition with Mallards,
along with habitat loss caused by forest clearing, has steadily eroded their
range. Their stronghold has now been reduced to the Northeastern U.S., and
they are becoming less and less common on the interior of the country.
in a wide variety of aquatic habitats, but usually prefers woodland ponds and
coastal salt marshes.
Diet: Omnivorous. May feed on seeds, leaves, roots,
berries, and aquatic plants, as well as crustaceans, mollusks, and insects.
Behavior: A dabbling duck, nearly always feeding
by upending, only very rarely diving. They will also forage on land by
waddling around, grazing on plant material and sometimes digging for roots.
Breeding: Non-breeder in South Dakota
Song: Typical quack from
female, lower croaking from the male.
Migration: Summers through much of the Northeastern U.S., the Great Lakes region, and
eastern Canada. Winters in the eastern United States. Inland birds
and those in Canada migrate fairly long distances, but those along the coast and
in the southern part of their range may migrate very little.
Conservation Status: They are still common in many locations,
but forest destruction has decimated their populations inland, as the
current landscape in many areas favors Mallards
over American Black Ducks. Hybridization with
has also taken its toll.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - American Black Duck"
American Black Duck
Photo Information: Photo
courtesy of Richard Ettlinger.