Are There Any Red and White Duck Species?

Yes, there are indeed red and white duck species that you can find in your local area. Ducks come in various colors and sizes, with some as vibrant as your color palette.

While these red and white duck species are not rare, at least most of them aren’t. Several preventive measures have been taken to conserve their populations. Let’s dive right into the world of these red and white duck species.

10 Red and White Duck Species

1) Mandarin duck

Scientific Name Aix galericulata
Size 41–49 cm in length, with a wingspan of 65–75 cm
Geographic Location Native to the East Palearctic
Identification Males have distinctive red and white plumage, with a vibrant red bill and a white crescent above the eye

The male mandarin duck has a vibrant and eye-catching appearance. It has a petite, red bill and a striking white crescent above his eye, giving him an elegant “eyebrow.”

In many Asian cultures, mandarin ducks symbolize love, fidelity, and married bliss.

In Chinese culture, they are known as “yuan-yang,” representing a loving couple, and are often featured in art and weddings.

Mandarin ducks are a bit secretive when it comes to their nesting habits. They choose to nest in cavities in trees near water, making their homes in densely wooded areas.

2) Muscovy duck

Scientific Name Cairina moschata
Size Approximately 76 cm
Geographic Location Native to America
Identification They have distinctive caruncles (fleshy, warty growths) on their faces, particularly in males

Muscovy ducks are elegant birds with contrasting black and white plumage. Males have glossy black feathers with white wing patches, while females are more modestly colored.

While they are native to tropical regions, they can thrive in cooler climates, enduring temperatures as low as 10°F (-12°C).

The name may have originated from the birds’ distinctive musky odor, which is especially noticeable in males.

Muscovy ducks are prized for their meat, which is known for its robust flavor and is often compared to roast beef. Their lean and tender meat makes them a preferred choice for culinary purposes.

3) Wood duck

Scientific Name Aix sponsa
Size 47 to 54 cm in length, with a wingspan of 66 to 73 cm
Geographic Location Various parts of North America
Identification Adult male wood ducks have red eyes, and a white streak running down their neck.

Adult male wood ducks sport deep red eyes, and a white streak down their neck. Females have a more understated appearance with a white eye ring and a whitish throat.

Both genders have distinctive crests on their heads, and the speculum on their wings is iridescent blue-green.

They typically build their nests in tree cavities close to water. These nests are carefully lined with feathers and soft materials for comfort and warmth.

While some stay in the southern part of America, others migrate south for the winter.

If nesting boxes are placed too close together, females may lay their eggs in their neighbors’ nests, leading to an unusual scenario called “nest dumping.”

4) Redhead

Scientific Name Aythya americana
Size 37 cm long with an 84 cm wingspan
Geographic Location Across North America
Identification Male redheads have copper heads and bright blue bills

Adult males have copper-colored heads and bright blue bills which are even more prominent during the breeding season.

Redheads take courtship seriously, engaging in intricate rituals to find their perfect match. Males go all out with neck-kinking, head-throwing, and cat-like calls to woo their potential partners.

During the breeding season, they indulge in an animal diet like gastropods and insect larvae. However, when they migrate south for the winter, their preferences shift to a more vegetarian diet, which includes pondweeds, wild rice, and other aquatic plants.

During winter, the redhead leaves breeding grounds in North America for warmer winter destinations.

5) Red-breasted merganser

Scientific Name Mergus serrator
Size Approximately 51–64 cm long, with a wingspan of 66–74 cm
Geographic Location Native to North America
Identification Males have dark heads, a green sheen, a white neck, and a rusty breast.

During the breeding season, males flaunt their dark heads with a green sheen and a white neck adorned by a rusty breast.

They have a serrated bill that helps them hold onto slippery fish.

The red-breasted merganser is known for its superspeed. One individual set a record by reaching a top airspeed of 100 mph while being pursued by an airplane.

When it’s not breeding season, they form flocks, sometimes reaching up to 100 members.

6) Harlequin duck

Scientific Name Histrionicus histrionicus
Size About 15–17 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 26 inches
Geographic Location Northwestern and northeastern North America, Greenland, Iceland, and eastern Russia.
Identification Adult males have striking slate blue, white, and chestnut coloration with a unique white crescent by their eyes.

While the males are flamboyant, adult female harlequin ducks have a more understated coat with brownish-grey coloration.

Harlequin ducks are found near pounding surf and white water. When it’s time to dine, they’re skilled swimmers, diving underwater to catch mollusks, crustaceans, and insects.

Their feathers are exceptionally buoyant that not only keeps them afloat but also makes them bounce like corks on the water’s surface after their dives.

7) Ruddy duck

Scientific Name Oxyura jamaicensis
Size 13.5–17 inches in length, with a wingspan of approximately 18.5 inches
Geographic Location North America
Identification They are blue-billed appearance during the breeding season

Ruddy ducks have rich chestnut bodies with contrasting bright blue bills in the summertime and a duller gray-brown look in the winter.

With their stout, scoop-shaped bills and long, stiff tails they hold cocked upward, they are known for being impressive underwater swimmer.

They build their nests in dense marsh vegetation near water, with the female taking the lead in constructing the perfect home.

Interbreeding the Ruddy duck with native white-headed ducks in Europe has made them an invasive species.

8) Lesser whistling duck

Scientific Name Dendrocygna javanica
Size About 13.5-17 inches in length with wingspans around 18.5 inches
Geographic Location Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia
Identification Unique chestnut brown coloration

Lesser whistling duck has a brownish-red coat with white feathers scattered in random spots.

They’re nocturnal feeders and enjoy catching their prey late at night.

When in flight, they produce a distinctive and prominent whistling sound hence their name.

They often nest in the hollows of trees and sometimes might even consider reusing an old nest from a kite or heron.

9) Common Mergansers

Scientific Name Mergus merganser
Size 23-28.5 inches in length with wingspans of 30.5-38 inches
Geographic Location They inhabit rivers and lakes in forested areas of Europe, Asia, and North America.
Identification Males are black-headed with sawbill beaks

Common Mergansers have a distinct black head with red beak and orange-red feet.

These ducks are known as the “sawbills” because of their serrated bills, which help them grip their prey.

When in the air, common mergansers exhibit some impressive aerial skills.

Common mergansers are known for their nocturnal habits, hunting, and fishing during the night.

10) Freckled duck

Scientific Name Stictonetta naevosa
Size 50-60 cm in length
Geographic Location Mainly found in the inland regions of Eastern Australia
Identification Easily recognizable by their unique freckled coat

Freckled ducks have a freckled look with dark grey to black coat adorned with small white flecks.

They are usually seen hanging out in flocks ranging from 10 to 100 individuals, and occasionally breaking into smaller groups during the breeding season.

Freckled ducks have a huge appetite, feasting on aquatic vegetation, insects, algae, larvae, crustaceans, and more.


This brings us to a colorful conclusion of another article in our journey to uncover the incredible ways in which the world reveals its mysteries. Stay tuned for more of these enlightening articles.

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