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Mottled Duck

Anas fulvigula

Length: 22 inches Wingspan: 30 inches Seasonality: Non-resident in South Dakota
ID Keys: Brownish overall with dark mottled body, lighter head and neck, yellow bill.  Very similar to female Mallard, American Black Duck.

Mottled Duck - Anas fulvigulaThe Mottled Duck is a bird of the Gulf Coast in the U.S., found from Florida to Texas.  While they have close relatives in the Mallard and the American Black Duck, the Mottled Duck is the only "typical" dabbling duck that summers and breeds in the far South.  Historically, populations were geographically distinct from the closely related Mallard.  However, with domestication of the Mallard, large numbers of Mallard now also oversummer in the South, leading to breeding between Mottled Duck and Mallard populations.  Genetically distinct Mottled Ducks are thus become less common, especially in Florida where Mallard populations are high in the summer.

Habitat: Found in open marshy habitats, typically ponds, lakes, or marshes with extensive surrounding vegetation.  Prefers wet habitats without trees.

Diet: Omnivorous, feeding on a variety of plant and animal matter, including seed and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic and terrestrial insects and their larvae, small mollusks and crustaceans, and occasionally small fish.

Behavior: Forages as do other dabbling ducks, swimming in shallow water and dabbling just below the water's surface with their bill. 

Nesting: The nest of a Mottled Duck is a bowl of wetland vegetation and grasses, typically built in wetland vegetation or grassland surrounding a water body.  The female alone incubates the eggs and tends to the young after hatching, but the young find their own food.

Song: Quacking typical of the genus

Migration: Considered a permanent resident throughout its range.  However, there are some short local movements in response to habitat conditions, and some birds on the western Gulf Coast may move southward into Mexico for the winter.

Interactive eBird Map: Click here to access an interactive eBird map of Mottled Duck sightings

Similar Species: Mallard, American Black Duck

Conservation Status: The IUCN currently lists the Mottled Duck as a species of "Least Concern".  However, populations have been decreasing. 

Further Information: 1) Cornell's All About Birds - Mottled Duck

2) Mottled Duck - Audubon Guide

3) Florida Fish and Wildlife - Mottled Duck

Photo Information: Photo taken by Greg Schneider - Photo licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic License


Click below for a higher-resolution map
Mottled Duck - Range Map
South Dakota Status: Non-resident in South Dakota

Additional Mottled Duck Photos (coming soon!!)