The Tufted Duck, Common Eider, Hooded Merganser, and Smew arguably count among the most popular black and white duck breeds. These ducks have a predominant part of their plumage colored in varying amounts of black and white. They largely feed on aquatic invertebrates like mollusks, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. These ducks have large populations distributed across North America as far as Asia and Northern Europe.
Of course, you may have been curious about these black and white breeds. What are their lifestyle and temperature like? How big are they? How about their breeding patterns? Read on to find the answers to these exciting questions.
The tufted duck is small in size, with a length varying from 40-47 cm. The wingspan is averagely 70 cm, and the weight coming around 450-1000g. This bird is predominantly found in Northern Eurasia, where it boasts a sizable population of about 1 million.
You can identify the Tufted duck from its distinctive head tuft, with the male strutting blue-grey bill flanked by eyes tinted in golden yellow. The crest adorning the male head’s back is smaller. For the female, she has a more pronounced brown flank.
Tufted ducks owe their feeding to their diving capacity, with most of their foods derived from insects (that live in water), mollusks, and aquatic plants.
The female breed once annually. They attract mating partners by parading their swimming skills, with partner selection typically occurring during their spring migration. The female’s egg clutch numbers from 8-11 in one brood.
The ring-necked duck’s head is quite unique. The forehead has a sharp inclination, peaking close to the crown. When flying, the ringed-neck duck tends to have bigger heads, with a prominently round body and short neck.
These ducks have a small to medium size of 39-46 cm. Their wings have a span of 62-63cm and barely get heavier than 910g.
Behaviorally, this is a bird that prefers its squad smaller and diving to feed on invertebrates or plants in water. The clutch size for the female ring-necked duck is somewhere around 6-14 eggs.
The Lesser Scaup’s peculiar blue bill explains why this duck is also commonly referred to as the little bluebill.
Its wingspan ranges from 68-78cm. Indeed, this bird’s height oscillates between 39-46cm. Lesser scaups rarely get longer than 46cm.
Contrary to the round Greater Scaup, the region from its neck to the back of its head is flat,.Moreso, the back is decked with a relatively small peak.
You can tell the male from the female by the former’s grey back, which is smoothly barred. The male also has yellowish eyes and darker breasts.
The lesser scaup is a bird accustomed to traveling in large flocks. This is typical during winter. At this time, dominant clusters of lesser scaups are scattered across the North American continent’s marshes. The female has a clutch size of 6-14 eggs.
This is the biggest duck you will see in Europe. In North America, only the Muscovy Duck is bigger than this eider.
In some cases, these ducks can get as big as 71.1cm and as heavy as 2611g. Their wingspan is anywhere from 95-98cm. In addition to its hefty frame, this duck possesses a wedge-shaped bill.
The male is easily identifiable, thanks to its green nape flecking its white and black plumage. Interestingly, the adult male makes an “ah-ooo” display call that closely mimics humans. The female is brown, known for its distinct quacks.
These species court from fall to spring, with the male attracting partners with calm dovelike calls. This duck’s clutch ranges from 3-8.
The long-tailed duck has a slender built, presenting a smaller bill and a reputably round head. Thinking about the origin of its name? The tail plumes on this duck are longer for the larger part of the year.
These ducks are excellent divers and swimmers. Their wingbeats are not the most patterned, with such disorder extending to their flight pattern.
The males are bigger than the female. Commonly, the male weighs between 650-1100g, with an average length of 45cm. The females come smaller, weighing around 500-950g, and an average length of 40cm.
Notwithstanding, these ducks breed in arctic wetland regions, moving into the open ocean (or large lakes) when winter strolls around. The clutch size for this bird is 6-9 eggs.
Scientific examination of fossils from the Middle Miocene seaduck shows that the earliest ancestors of the Snew existed as old as 13 million years back.
By size, the Smew is compact, no longer than 44cm, with its wingspan ranging between 55-69cm. Unless in extreme cases, Smews don’t get heavier than 800g and rarely get lighter than 500g.
The male stands out from the female with its conspicuously black back and mask, while the female is adorned with flecks of white on its cheek and reddish-brown tints on its head.
This bird’s habitats are commonly situated around slow rivers and lakes with enormous fish populations. They breed in trees, with an egg clutch size of 6-9. Incubation takes around four weeks.
Just like the common eider, the King eider is a big sea duck with massive communities spread around Asia, North America, and Europe, specifically the Northern Arctic coasts of these continents.
Concerning its appearance, this duck has a heavy build, comprising a stout bill, a thick neck (which is pretty short), and a rounded head. The King Eider’s length ranges from 50-70cm, while its wingspan is around 86-102cm.
For the bulk of the year, the King eider frequent the seas where its hunting habits are based around diving for underwater invertebrates. When it is the breeding season, this duck moves from the sea to shallower-water regions like ponds and freshwater lakes.
Breeding is done close to the water, with the female partner constructing a ground scrape nest. A clutch can be anywhere from 2-7 eggs. Also, incubation doesn’t take longer than 23 days.
This duck belongs to the smaller-sized category of black and white ducks. It has a length spectrum of 40-49cm, with its weight coming around 453-879g. The Hooded Merganser has an average wingspan of 63cm.
You can’t mention this duck’s distinctive features without including its crest shaped like a fan (which also collapses). Also differentiating this duck is its oblong head which looks too big for the duck’s build.
This duck has a pretty exciting courtship behavior with the male bonding with its female partner by parading extended white crests and lowering them. In other situations, the male attracts his partner by groaning loudly. The female egg’s clutch is about 7-15 eggs.
This is a medium-sized duck with a stout bill and heavy head supported by an equally thick neck. The forehead is well inclined. Also, the bed has a lengthy tail.
There is no substantial size difference between the male and female white-winged scoter, but the male distinguishes itself from the female with a bill base furnished with a knob.
Compared to your regular eider, the white-winged scoter is smaller but is bigger than the American Wigeon. This duck’s wing can be as long as 80cm, but its length comes lower in a range of 48-58cm. This duck is typically not lighter than 950g.
This duck is a keen hunter. It is either diving appreciable depths underwater to scoop its prey with its bill or just snatching them from benthic rocks.
The male and female courts in winter, mating in pairs. The egg clutch size is 5-11 eggs.
This duck has a relatively curious appearance, with a small beak sitting on a seemingly oversized head. This duck’s narrow bill slants down its face. Put all these facial features, and you can get a goldeneye duck with a triangular head.
This duck has an average length of 45cm, a weight ambit of 600-1300g. For its wingspan, they barely get shorter than 77cm. To better visualize its size, the common goldeneye’s size comes between the common merganser (on the smaller side) and the green-winged Teal (on the larger size).
The goldeneye is an avid diver, thanks to its shorter tails and a well-streamlined body. This doesn’t reduce their flying speeds, still retaining its place as one of the fastest-flying docks.
Male common goldeneyes court their partners by extending their heads backward, followed by a front head push. The females can lay 4-9 eggs in one clutch.
The barrow is a “close cousin” of the common goldeneye, only that the former has a steeper forehead and smaller bill. The males are bigger than the female.
Behaviorally, the Barrow Goldeneye enjoys swimming and can dive under for long periods underwater when hunting or foraging. They are fast flyers too.
The females can also make the courtship move in this duck species, giving out soft calls when in flight, commonly during winter. Their clutch size is 6-12 eggs.
The common merganser is a bigger duck. As characteristic of your regular duck, the merganser has a flat bill, which is narrow and straight. The female merganser differs from their male counterpart with the bushy crests embroidering the back of their heads.
Courtship happens during the cold months, in larger flocks spread across rivers and even water reservoirs away from the coast. Clutch size is around 6-17 eggs.