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American black duck

American black duck (Anas rubripes) Photo provided by hstiver/

Features and Behaviors

The American black duck is about 22-23 inches long (bill tip to tail tip in preserved specimen). It has white wing linings that are apparent in flight. The body feathers are brown-black with lighter-brown feathers present on the head and neck. There is a purple wing patch with a very thin, white edge at the back. The feet are red or brown. The male has a dull yellow bill while the female's bill is dull green.

The American black duck lives at marshes, lakes, ponds and rivers. It eats aquatic plants, seeds, grasses, small invertebrates and grains. In the water, it feeds by tipping up or reaching under water with its bill. This species may feed on land, too. It is a common migrant and winter resident as well as a rare summer resident. This species does hybridize with the mallard.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae

Illinois Status: common, native