|Conservation status||Draining and destruction of marshland has had serious impact on total population. Also, a major threat to survival of "pure" stock is interbreeding with Mallards. Although breeding range of wild Mallard does not overlap with that of Mottled Duck, released pets have formed large feral populations of Mallard that have hybridized with Mottleds, especially in Florida.|
|Family||Ducks and Geese|
|Habitat||Marshes. Open marshy country, wet prairies, rice fields. Favors treeless country, wide horizons. In coastal areas, usually found in fresh or brackish ponds adjacent to coast rather than in salt marsh.|
forages in shallow water, mostly by dabbling with bill at mud just below water's surface, occasionally by up-ending. Young ducklings frequently dive underwater to feed; adults seldom do.
8-12, sometimes 5-13. Whitish to pale olive. Generally fewer eggs in later clutches. Incubation is by female only, 24-28 days. Young: leave nest shortly after hatching; female leads them to feeding sites, and young feed themselves. Young can make short flights to escape danger at about 50 days; capable of sustained flight at 60-70 days.
leave nest shortly after hatching; female leads them to feeding sites, and young feed themselves. Young can make short flights to escape danger at about 50 days; capable of sustained flight at 60-70 days.
omnivorous. Diet includes seeds of aquatic plants and grasses, insects, snails, occasionally small fish. Young ducklings feed almost entirely on insects and other invertebrates.
Pairs usually formed in fall, with breeding activity beginning in January. Pairs may prospect for nest sites together, flying low over marsh. Nest site is in dense growth in marsh or prairie, sometimes on canal bank or in agricultural field, usually within 600' of water. Where supported in dense clumps of grass, nest may be several inches above ground. Nest is shallow bowl of grasses, reeds, lined with down and breast feathers.
Illustration © David Allen Sibley.
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Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Mostly non-migratory, but makes local movements in response to changes in habitat conditions. Some birds from western Gulf Coast may move southward along Mexican coast in winter.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for over 450 bird species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsA loud quack, like that of a Mallard.
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How Climate Change Will Reshape the Range of the Mottled Duck
Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future.
Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures.
Climate threats facing the Mottled Duck
Choose a temperature scenario below to see which threats will affect this species as warming increases. The same climate change-driven threats that put birds at risk will affect other wildlife and people, too.