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BIRD OF THE WEEK
AMERICAN BLACK DUCK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Anas rubripes
POPULATION: About 1 million
HABITAT: Breeds in a variety of fresh and brackish wetlands; winters in coastal salt marshes and inland wetland habitats.
The American Black Duck isn’t actually black. A closer look reveals that its plumage is a medley of dark brown, beige, and tan that gives it the folk name “Dusky Duck.”
While the male Black Duck could be mistaken for a very dark female Mallard at first glance, several clues make clear that it’s a distinctive bird. The Black Duck has a dark brown body contrasting with a pale brown head and yellow bill, as compared to the female Mallard’s paler body and orange-and-black bill.