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Mixed flock of duck species on the mudflats

Ducks

Ducks are a group of birds usually associated with park ponds however many of the duck species listed here won’t be spotted in your local park because they prefer the food available in estuaries, on beaches and in rivers. Some of the ducks seen during the winter months around our coast will have travelled thousands of miles to call our shore their home.

Eider duck

Eider

A male eider is black and white, with a black cap, and a pale green patch on back of its neck, and a yellowish bill. Females are brown with a black bill and look so different that they were originally thought to be distinct species.

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A gadwall duck

Gadwall

Gadwall are a lot less common than other ducks such as mallards, wigeon and teal: one great place to spot them is at Hill Head beach, near Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve.

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Mallard

Mallards are large, heavy looking ducks with long bodies and long broad bills. The male of the species has a dark green head, a yellow bill with a white ‘scarf’. The females are mainly brown with an orange bill.

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Pintail

This elegant dabbling duck is easy to identify due to their extra long, pointed tails, from which it gets its name.

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Red-breasted merganser

Red breasted mergansers can fly at speeds of around 80mph, making them the fastest flying duck.

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Shelduck

A large, colourful duck, bigger than most ducks at around 65cm but generally smaller than geese so a bit of a intermediate species.

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Shoveler

Shoveler

This duck really lives up to its name, with a huge shovel-like bill, which it uses to feed by sweeping it to-and-fro in the water.

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Teal

Teal

Teal mostly eat seeds in the winter, but you might spot them snacking on a tasty bug or two. They mostly feed in shallow water at night. If you see a large flock of ducks, you’re likely to find a teal hidden amongst them.

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Tufted duck

You can probably spot me in your local park pond, clearing up after all the other ducks by eating the food that sinks to the bottom. You might be able to track me underwater by watching for a trail of bubbles.

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Wigeon

Wigeon

The male has a chestnut head with a characteristic creamy-yellow ‘punk’ crown stripe, grey back and sides with a pink chest and white wing patches that can be seen when they fly.

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