Ducks, Geese & Swans

Common Goldeneye

Look For The common goldeneye is a medium-sized, large-headed diving duck with a spectacular eponymous yellow eye visible even from a considerable distance. Its forehead slopes into its bill, which often is punctuated with a yellow tip. Males are white on the throat, back and flanks, dark above, and have a brilliant green head featuring… Read more

Greater White-fronted Goose

A pair of adult greater white-fronted geese in water.

Look For The greater white-fronted goose is a medium-sized waterfowl with a plumage that is mostly grayish-brown. It has a variable level of barred black streaks across its belly. It has a white rump and undertail coverts, as well as a white patch on the front of its face. Its bill and legs are pinkish-orange… Read more

Tundra Swan

An adult tundra swan floats on blue water.

What Does a Tundra Swan Look Like? The tundra swan is a large waterfowl that is the most common swan species found in North America. It has a distinctive thick body and a long, elegant neck. Its entire plumage is pure white while its legs, feet, and bill are solid black. It typically, but not… Read more

Hooded Merganser

A male hooded merganser glides across a pond.

What Does a Hooded Merganser Look Like? Of the three mergansers—ducks with narrow, serrated bills—the hooded merganser is the smallest and has the shortest bill. Both male and female hooded mergansers can be easily identified. The male is in gaudy plumage much of the year. Its head is an odd shape, either extremely round like… Read more

Redhead

Redhead duck

Look For A medium-sized diving duck named for its deep rust-red head. The male redhead’s black breast contrasts with a pale gray back. His gray bill is tipped in black, and the eyes are yellow. Female is uniformly gray-brown overall with a pale eye-ring and a pale area surrounding the base of the bill. Listen… Read more

American Wigeon

A male American wigeon swimming on a pond.

Look For The white crown stripe of the male American wigeon has earned this species the nickname “baldpate.” This field mark contrasts with the dark eye patch and can be seen from great distances. Both male and female appear round-headed and have a pinkish chest and body. The light blue-gray bill has a black tip… Read more

American Black Duck

American Black Duck

Look For The black duck is a medium-sized dabbling duck with a dark charcoal body. Males and females are very similar, though the male has a yellowish bill while the female’s bill is dull gray. In flight, black ducks show mostly white underwings and mostly dark upperwings. This contrast gives a flashing appearance to their… Read more

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler, male and female

Look For From a distance the northern shoveler looks like a mallard with a big nose. It’s this bird’s large, shovel-like bill that earned it its name. The male has a solid dark green head, large black bill, white chest, and rusty sides. The female is plain light brown overall with a large orange and… Read more

Wood Duck

Male and female wood ducks floating on water.

Look for The male wood duck takes its colorful plumage to an extreme. In breeding plumage, it has a green crown and black face offset by white slashes reaching up from its white throat. The bill looks painted, a bright red-orange with black and white touches. Breast and undertail are chestnut, while the sides are… Read more

Subscribe & Save!

ONE YEAR (6 ISSUES) of Bird Watcher's Digest magazine
GET FREE AND INSTANT ACCESS to our digital edition
SAVE 33% off newsstand prices
PAY ONE LOW PRICE of $19.99!