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DIVING DUCKS
Scaups (Lesser & Greater)
- Also called Bluebill & Broadbill, for obvious reasons, bill is blue & broad
- Two tone; dark head, neck & tail.  White in middle.  Head dark and glossy.
- Broad white stripe on trailing edge of wing, seen in flight
- Female dark brown with white patch at base of bill
Ring-Necked Duck
- Ring around base of bill and at tip
- Neck ring hard to see and purple in color
- Very Scaup-like in appearance, but with black back
- Sharp vertical white mark in front of wing
- Broad gray wing-stripe seen in flight
- Female is brown with white eye ring and ring on bill
Canvasback
- Fastest & biggest diver
- Triangular red face and red neck, with red eye
- Broad bill sloping down from face with no curve
- Black breast, white back & sides, black tip on tail
- Notice red head, pointy bill & long neck in flight
- Female grayish brown
Redhead
- Similar to Canvasback in color, except not as white, more grayish tinge to white body
- Bill bluish in color and slightly curved  upward
- Smaller than Canvasback
- Female brown
Common Goldeneye
- Mid Size Duck
- White round cheek patch,  obvious in flight
- Yellow eye, greenish/blackish head
- Body black & white on back, white on sides.  Black & white pattern visible in flight also.
- Female, gray body, brown head, white neck ring
Bufflehead
- Male has high white crown/crest,
even obvious when not erect
- White underbody, black on back
- Small, blue bill
- Female gray/brown in color with
white cheek patch and white breast
- Smallest Diver
Ruddy Duck
- Cinnamon body in breeding color, gray in winter
- Large white patch from bill to back of head, under eye
- Dark head, blue bill
- Holds tail stiffly erect, called "stiff tailed" duck
- Small & chubby in size
- Female grayish in color with dark line crossing cheek patch.
- Shows breeding colors in spring, unlike other ducks which are in breeding colors in winter.
Mergansers
There are three types of Mergansers on LI:
Hooded:
- White crown/crest (obvious even in flight)
- White chest, black back & rust colored sides
- Small in size
- Black face, razor sharp and pointed bill
- Female brown in color, same profile, with dark crest
Red Breasted
- Sharp orange/red bill,
- Large white neck ring, mottled red breast
- Black & white body
- Head glossy greenish/black
- Crest ragged, looks like "bad hair day"
- Female pale gray with reddish head crest & head
Common
- Not seen as often
- Sharp orange/red bill
- Dark green/ black back, white sides
- Same Merganser profile but appears much whiiter than other Mergansers
- Female gray body with reddish head & chest
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Greater Scaup
photo copyright Tim Zurowski
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Lesser Scaup
photo copyright Tom Vezo
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Canvasback
Photo by Dianne
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Ruddy Duck
photo copyright G.C.Kelley
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Red-breasted Merganser
photo copyright Mark F. Wallner
Redhead
photo copyright Chuck Gordon
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Common Merganser
Photo by James Galletto
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Ring-necked Duck
Photo by James Galletto
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Common Goldeneye
Photo by Mike Farina
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Bufflehead
Photos by Mike Farina
Diving Ducks:  Basic Characteristics
- Legs placed closer to rear of body, walks on land with some difficulty
- Dives to feed; up to 40' in depth, wings tucked when diving
- Feeds in deeper water than Dabblers
- When swimming, sits low with tail in water
- Less colorful than Dabblers
- Takes flight by using feet to propel forward; appears to be running on the water
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Hooded Merganser M&F
Photo by Bob Levine
For more information on ducks, go to ENature.com