ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Waterfowl - Ducks, Geese, Brant, Swans

Updated on December 10, 2016

Ducks, Geese, Brant, Swans

This page has information on waterfowl of North America, including ducks, geese, brant and swans.

North American ducks include mallards, black ducks, green-winged teal, American widgeon, gadwall, pintail, wood ducks, canvasbacks, scaup, redheads, ring-necked ducks, ruddy ducks, bufflehead, shovelers, goldeneye, mergansers, old squaw, scoters and others.

North American geese, brant and swans include trumpeter swans, snow geese, Canada geese and Atlantic brant.

Most waterfowl migrate across the continent along four major routes - the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific Flyways.

pintail drake duck
pintail drake duck

Pintail Ducks

Pintails are found throughout much of North America. These regal birds are related to mallards, black ducks and teal. They have long necks and long stiff tail feathers.

redhead drake duck
redhead drake duck

Redhead Ducks

The redhead, a diving duck is another beautiful migrant of the Atlantic Flyway.

Once hunted until their numbers were dangerously low, these stunning ducks have rebounded in numbers.

In recent years, North American populations of redheads have been as high as 1 million birds.

Shoveler Duck photo
Shoveler Duck photo

Shoveler Ducks

Shoveler ducks are identified by their unique shovel shaped bill. They feed by swinging their bill from side to side while straining food from the water.

Male shovelers are marked with green, white, black, and chestnut.

Wood Ducks

Wood duck drakes are one of the most beautiful of all birds. The wood duck is the only North American member of the group of ducks called perching ducks.

Wood ducks are found in wooded river bottoms, flooded hardwood forests, potholes and lakes. These unique ducks nest throughout the United States and southeastern Canada.

Wood ducks winter in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Florida, California and other southern states. Wood ducks eat acorns, weed seeds, berries, insects, and plants.

Virginia is one of the premier bird watching states in the mid-Atlantic region of the USA. Virginia has a wide variety of environments and is visited by several species of ducks, geese and swans.

In some wildlife refuges, geese and swans take up residence year round. Other full time residents include black ducks, wood ducks and mallards which raise their young on the marshes of Chincoteague Island, Wallops Island, and much of the Chesapeake.

As autumn arrives, ducks and geese migrate into the refuges and surrounding areas of Virginia. Shoveler ducks, pintails, mallards, widgeons, teal, ruddy ducks, canvasbacks, redheads, ring necked ducks, bluebills, and others fly in.

Mergansers, buffleheads, goldeneyes and other diving ducks show up in the bay waters as cold weather sets in. Off the coast, rafts of sea ducks and small groups of long tailed ducks forage along the shoals over the winter.

National Waterfowl Week at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge

Bird watchers, photographers and nature lovers pour into Virginia during National Waterfowl Week at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge. Chincoteague and Assateague Islands are along the Atlantic flyway, on the eastern shore of Virginia.

The islands are popular summer vacation spots, but are year round attractions for bird watchers and nature lovers. Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge, Assateague National Seashore and Chincoteague Island are located within a few hours of Baltimore Maryland, Washington DC, and Hampton Roads Virginia.

The annual event is extremely popular among birders and travelers to the area. The star attractions are the snow geese, which arrive by the thousands just in time for the event.

Visitors drive, bike or walk onto the wildlife loop, where a road encircles a large lagoon. Vehicles are quickly abandoned as camera tripods go up, and families find the trumpeting and antics of the geese too irresistible to remain inside.

During the late fall the refuge is also visited by Canadian geese, swans, brant, ducks, herons, egrets, oyster catchers, loons, grebes, plovers and other birds. Much of the waterfowl remain at Chincoteague Wildlife Refuge throughout the winter.

Photographers take pictures by the hundreds during this dramatic event. The refuge layout allows photographers of all skill levels to have an opportunity to capture wildlife on film or digital media.

The snow geese and many of the visiting ducks migrate north in early spring. A few ducks and a sizeable population of Canada geese remain and raise young on the island.

Other year round residents include egrets and herons which occupy every stretch of canal, pond and marsh.

In addition to the wildlife loop, naturalists can spot birds and other wildlife along the beaches, around the hiking trails. The island has a nice array of sites to see and photograph in addition to waterfowl.

brant geese
brant geese

What are Brant?

Brant are small geese that are found along both coastlines of North America. Brant breed in the high Arctic tundra, migrating southward along both coasts in winter. Brant along the Atlantic have light gray bellies, while those off the Pacific Coast have black bellies. Birds with either coloration are considered to be the same species.

Groups of geese are called a variety of names including blizzard, chevron, knot, plump, and string of geese.

Waterfowl of the Atlantic Flyway

The Atlantic flyway is known as a migration path for dozens of species of ducks, geese, waterfowl and shorebirds. The following list includes some of the more common waterfowl found along the flyway:

Mallard Duck

Black Duck

Green-winged Teal

American Widgeon



Greater Scaup


Ring-necked Duck

Ruddy Duck


Lesser Scaup


Lesser Snow Goose

Common Goldeneye

Common Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Red-breasted merganser

Old Squaw

Black Scoter

White-winged Scoter

Surf Scoter

Tundra Swan

Canada Goose

Greater Snow Goose

Atlantic Brant

Waterfowl Poll

Which North American duck or goose do you think is the most beautiful?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great Photos. Nice lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Enjoyed the many photos of ducks I have spotted and those I haven't seen yet! Good lens!

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 

      7 years ago

      I enjoyed the pictures on your page.

    • annieangel1 profile image


      7 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      wildfowl are my passion - I loved your lens (except the hunting bit ) Angel blessed

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful lens! I used to live in Washington State and we enjoy mallards and Canada geese every year. Once we got a snow goose.

    • Tyla MacAllister profile image

      Tyla MacAllister 

      7 years ago

      I live on a lake in the Deep south so I get to observe many ducks and geese on a daily basis. I would love to take some birdwatching trips so I can view and photograph even more types of waterfowl.

      *Squidangel blessings for this informative and beautiful lens.*

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely lens! I did feature it in Why I Won't Eat Goose for Christmas

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful pictures and lots of information! great lens...

    • WebIsFun profile image


      7 years ago

      I love going to the park and feeding the ducks. I'm a kid at heart who loves birds

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I love watching the birds over at our local bird sanctuary. Loved your lens.

    • LoKackl profile image


      7 years ago

      I no longer see the little family of ducks on a pond near where I live since the pond has dried in the past two years. Two years. That's all it took. Lovely photos. Blessed.

    • KarenHC profile image


      8 years ago from U.S.

      I'd love to visit Chincoteague and Assateague areas for watching the waterfowl. A number of the birds on your list "Waterfowl of the Atlantic Flyway" also come through the midwest area, but not all.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Welcome to the Wildlife Photography Group


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)