Common Waterfowl of the West (17 species!)

I made this Identification guide for our most common pond and lake denizens. It starts with our most common duck, the Mallard then goes on to other nice dabbling ducks that can look similar to the female mallard. All ducks have some sort of distinguishing field mark, and I tried to point out each one here. Some ducks, like the glorious Wood Duck, are much easier to identify in the field than the subtly beautiful Gadwall.

After we look at dabblers (ducks that tip their butts in the air to find a tasty morsel while floating) we go on to diving ducks, geese, and then a few common pond co-habitants.

I know there are more ducks, more plumages, I’m missing, but if you master these, you’ll know to be on the lookout for more uncommon ducks!

11 thoughts on “Common Waterfowl of the West (17 species!)

  1. What about Cinnamon Teal? is it not very common in PDX? The females are similar to Mallards and I’m not sure how to distinguish them. Thanks in advance! I love this guide BTW. I’m using it to help with bird id from a wildlife camera that faces a wetland.

      • I’m very new to birding (especially trying to id ducks), so sorry if this is a silly question. What makes them advanced birds? are they advanced because the females are visually similar to mallards or that they’re similar to each other perhaps? I think your response might help me to distinguish them, thanks.

      • Only thing that makes them advanced is they are migratory. I was being silly. Harder ducks are scaups: greater/lesser. I’ll have to do a graphic on them too.

      • And the Pacific Northwest ducks breed from like April May to July August now that we’re in September lots of the ducks that go north for breeding season are starting to return like wiggins and Scott and ducks that come to Oregon and breed like cinnamon and gluten teal are going south

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