Ducks at a Distance

Identifying waterflowl is easiest in the fall and winter seasons. Here is a free guide to make identification easier — Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide by Bob Hines. The book was originally published by the Department of the Interior.

Identifying waterfowl gives many hours of enjoyment to millions of people. This guide will help you recognize birds on the wing—it emphasizes their fall and winter plumage patterns as well as size, shape, and flight characteristics. It does not include local names.

The book, as the subtitle indicates, is geared toward identifying ducks in-flight.

Differences in size, shape, plumage patterns and colors, wing beat, flocking behavior, voice, and habitat—all help to distinguish one species from another.

Flock maneuvers in the air are clues. Mallards, pintails, and wigeon form loose groups; teal and shovelers flash by in small, compact bunches; at a distance, canvasbacks shift from waving lines to temporary V’s.

Closer up, individual silhouettes are important. Variations of head shapes and sizes, lengths of wings and tails, and fat bodies or slim can be seen.

Ducks at a Distance

With that in mind, a few other nice features of this book include:

  • Color images.
  • Written descriptions.
  • Flight pattern of both drake and hen.
  • View of wings.
  • An at-a-glance chart with 21 different ducks to help tell the differences between them.
  • Another at-a-glance chart with to-scale sizes of 19 different ducks.

Great way to learn about ducks! And free!

Free eBook

Additional Resources
Make Way for Ducklings {Free Video & Activities}

Make Way for Ducklings {Free Video & Activities}
Fun way to round out your duck study!

Free Bird Studies: Nests & Eggs
You’ll find a couple of ducks in our free bird study!

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