Wisconsin Hunter Safety Course

 

Diving Ducks

Unlike puddle ducks, diving ducks are usually found in deeper lakes and ponds, and they dive through the water for their food.  Their legs are farther back and they have wider feet, making it dificult to walk on land. When taking flight, they have to get a running start on the water.

Diving Ducks in Delaware

Canvasback

Canvasback
  • Large diving duck, maximum length is 23 inches.
  • Wingspan up to 35 inches.
  • Sleek duck, with a sloping profile that distinguishes it from other species.
 

Redhead

Redhead
  • Medium duck, up to 21 inches in length.
  • Its bill is blue with a black tip.
  • Females often lay eggs in nests of other ducks instead of making its own.
 
 

Ringneck

Ringneck
  • Maximum length is 18 inches.
  • Dull purple color around the neck.
  • More easily recognized by the white ring around its bill.
 

Scaup

Scaup
  • Two sub-species: Greater Scaup (left) and Lesser Scaup (right).
  • Greater scaup has max. length of 22 inches, lesser is slightly smaller at 18 inches.
 
 

Goldeneye

Goldeneye
  • Two sub-species: Barrow's Goldeneye (left) and Common Goldeneye (right).
  • Both species are similar in length, about 20 inches.
  • Nests in trees, often in another female's nest.
 

Bufflehead

Bufflehead
  • Smallest diving duck in North America, with a max length of 15 inches.
  • Black and white duck, distinct white patch covers the back of the head.
 
 

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck
  • Length is a maximum of 17 inches.
  • Rare "stiff-tailed duck", its tail usually holds straight up when on the water.
  • Bill is a bluish color, cheeks are patched white.
 

Red Breasted Merganser

Merganser
  • Large and thin diving duck.
  • Max. length is about 26 inches.
  • There are two other species of merganser, however this one is most common and found mainly in salt water.

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks

 
 

Long-Tailed Duck

Long-tailed duck
  • Bill-to-tail length about 24 inches.
  • Breeds in the very high arctic and summers primarily along the North Eastern coast. 

Photo courtesy of Chris Bennett, DE State Parks

 

 
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