Fun Mottled Duck Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Jan 14, 2023 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read these mottled duck facts about birds that only pair up in the nest during the breeding season near the Texas coast.

The mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) is a bird with a warm brown body and a cute buffy pale head. The males have a bright yellow bill, and the females have an orange-yellow bill.

This species is found along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. These ducks closely resemble American black ducks or female mallards. They are so closely related to these other species that interbreeding or hybridization poses a major threat to their future and could even cause their extinction.

These ducks live in pairs or groups by the freshwater marshes. The oldest mottled duck was found in Florida at 13 years old.

If you like these, then do read our articles on crested pigeon facts and muscovy duck facts.

Mottled Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a mottled duck?

Mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) birds are ducks that feed at the surface or tip up to reach vegetation.

What class of animal does a mottled duck belong to?

Gulf Coast mottled ducks, close relatives of American black ducks, belong to the Aves class of animal.

How many mottled ducks are there in the world?

Partners In Flight, an organization that studies birds, estimates the current breeding population of these birds to be 460,000.

Where does a mottled duck live?

There are two unmistakable subspecies of the mottled duck (Anas fulvigula). One of the subspecies is the Gulf Coast mottled duck (A. f. maculosa) which lives on the Gulf of Mexico's coast near Alabama and Tamaulipas.

During the breeding season, these birds may wander as far south as Veracruz. The other subspecies is the Florida mottled duck (A. f. fulvigula), an inhabitant in the center and south Florida, which occasionally wanders north to Georgia.

What is a mottled duck's habitat?

Mottled ducks love brackish and fresh wetlands for feeding, resting, and nesting from the range of Florida to the rest of the Gulf Coast. Most of these birds prefer areas with grasses, rice cutgrass, and bulrush.

They respond promptly to environmental changes, moving to temporary wetlands that emerge because of heavy rains. In Florida, this species uses the suburban and urban wetlands.

When shedding their feathers, mottled ducks gather in big numbers at temporarily flooded farms. In the dry seasons in the states near the Gulf Coast, especially from Texas to Florida, they prefer permanent wetlands.

Who do mottled ducks live with?

Mallard ducks remain in pairs until the breeding season has passed, towards the beginning of March until late May.

How long does a mottled duck live?

In the wild, mottled ducks live for two to five years. The yearly death rate of the mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) is about 50%.

How do they reproduce?

Mottled ducks breed from February through July. Mottled ducks search for nesting locations by flying low over natural breeding places. The female selects the nest site, which is generally not a long way from water, frequently at the bush base.

The actual nest is on the ground or vegetation under 3 ft (0.9 m) from ground level. The nest can be placed in pastures, cordgrass marshes, pine savannas, fields, marshes' vegetation, sugarcane fields, and citrus forests. These are ideal places for breeding to take place.

Their displays of courting can happen in groups of two or more. It involves movements like shaking the head, dipping and raising the head or tail, and whistles. These birds are monogamous every season, and their bond ends when the eggs hatch. Every season, they form a new pair.

The female then lays eggs in her nest and sits on the eggs until they're hatched. Mottled ducks have an average litter size of ten eggs. These are non-migratory birds, so they don't change their location unless necessary when the ducks hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these North American birds' species is of Least Concern. These Florida mottled ducks are usually mistaken as the American black duck.

Mottled Duck Fun Facts

What do mottled ducks look like?

Mottled ducks are medium-sized ducks that have a dark brown body. They are similar in appearance to female mallards and American black ducks.

The male mottled ducks are not difficult to recognize on the ground and since the plumage of male and female mottled ducks is comparable, the most straightforward approach to differentiate them is by looking at their bills.

The male mottled ducks have a yellow bill, and the female has an orange to brown bill with dull blotches or spots. These dabs are generally pervasive on the underside of the female's bill.

How cute are they?

Mottled ducks are very cute to look at. They are beautiful.

How do they communicate?

According to the Cornell Lab Of Ornithology, the Mottled ducks' species communicate through varying methods. The Cornell Lab states that the species utilize a rough 'quack' call, made in an assortment of notes, pitches, and numbers, to display caution, romance, and hostility or aggression.

How big is a mottled duck?

These birds are 18.5-22.5 in (47-57 cm) long with a wingspan of 31.5-34.3 in (80-87 cm). This bird is bigger than mallards. They can be commonly found from Texas to Florida.

How fast can a mottled duck fly?

This bird can fly up to 40-60 mph (64-97 kph). You can see the mottled duck flying towards the north over the coast of Texas in search of a nesting area along with mallards.

How much does a mottled duck weigh?

This bird weighs as much as mallards, at 24.7-43.8 oz (700-1,242 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no different male or female names for this species of bird.

What would you call a baby mottled duck?

Baby mottled ducks are known as ducklings.

What do they eat?

This bird has a wide range of food sources. They are always in search of food and a nesting area.

Mottled ducks eat an assortment of plants and animal matter, which changes enormously by location and season. Basic plants include the seeds and shoots of grasses, smartweed, paspalum, wild millet, bulrush, and ocean purslane. They also prey on crawfish, snails, zooplankton, bugs, and dragonflies found on the coast.

Are they friendly?

They are not friendly and are not used to being around humans. They might be aggressive as a result of feeling threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

You cannot keep them as pets as per the law Besides, you will like them as ducklings, but people tend to grow weary of them as they grow. Also, duck droppings contain 60 diseases that are harmful to humans.

Did you know...

Between 1966 and 2016, there was a fall of 78% in the population of these ducks.

Despite being listed as of Least Concern by the IUCN, these ducks are present on Partners In Flight's Red Watch List, meaning they are in a threat position.

Florida mottled ducks are endemic to Florida and cannot be found elsewhere.

Gadwalls (M. strepera) are larger dabbling ducks than the mottled ducks and are found across the Northern Hemisphere.

What are the differences between a mottled duck and a black duck?

The Texas mottled duck has a lighter tone than the American black duck. Their range of breeding is also different. Mottled ducks are found near the Gulf of Mexico, whereas, the black duck is located in eastern North America.

What do mottled ducks taste like?

This duck has a solid flavor, nearer to red meat than chicken. It is fattier and, whenever cooked the correct way, it has a heavenly taste that is delicate, wet, and greasy, the ideal protein mix for meat-loving people.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our brant facts and golden-crowned kinglet facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable mottled duck coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

Pradhanya Rao picture

Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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