Ducks in Connecticut are common throughout the state and have become popular among tourists and locals. These birds can be found in various water bodies such as ponds, streams, lakes, and rivers. They are known for their distinctive quacking sound that echoes through the air when they’re in groups.
Connecticut’s diverse habitats provide excellent feeding grounds for these birds. They feed on aquatic plants, insects, fish, crustaceans, and mollusks. These ducks come in many colours and sizes, ranging from the small Bufflehead to the larger Mallard duck.
Apart from being an attraction to bird watchers and photographers who take pleasure in capturing photos of them amidst beautiful scenery or while feeding along river banks, Connecticut Ducks also hold cultural significance to some communities.
20 Species of Ducks in Connecticut
There are different species of ducks in Connecticut. But we see the top 20 species of ducks in Connecticut:
Mallard ducks are a common sight in Connecticut. These beautiful birds are known for their vibrant green heads, brown bodies and white neck rings. They can be found in various waterways across the state, from small ponds to large lakes and rivers.
During the breeding season, male mallards display elaborate courtships to attract females. They stretch their necks and flap their wings while emitting a low quack. Once a female is interested, she will follow the male around as he swims in circles around her. After mating, the female will build her nest on land near water sources such as marshes or streams.
While these ducks are not endangered, they face habitat loss and pollution threats. Efforts have been made to protect these birds through conservation efforts such as wetland restoration and anti-pollution measures.
• Scientific Name: AnasPlatyrhynchos
• Length: 20–26 in
• Weight:1.5–3.5 lb
• Wingspan: 32–39 in
Blue-Winged Teal Ducks are among the smallest ducks in North America, measuring just 14 inches from beak to tail. They are common across Connecticut during migration periods and sometimes remain to breed. These ducks can be easily identified by their striking blue colouration on the wings, which gives them their name.
These birds prefer shallow wetlands and marshes, where they can feed on aquatic plants, seeds, and insects. During breeding, males attract females with a distinctive whistling call while displaying blue feathers. Blue-Winged Teal Ducks usually lay between 7-9 eggs in a well-hidden nest close to water sources.
Despite being common in Connecticut during migration periods and breeding seasons, Blue-Winged Teal Ducks face threats such as habitat loss due to human activity and climate change affecting their food sources.
• Scientific Name: Spatula discors
• Length: 16 in
• Weight: 13 oz
• Wingspan:23 in
Green-winged Teal ducks are common in Connecticut during the fall migration season. These small, elegant birds are known for their brightly coloured plumage and distinctive whistling calls. They can be found in ponds, lakes, and marshes across the state from September to November.
During the breeding season, these ducks nest in wetlands across North America, including Alaska and Canada. However, as winter approaches, they migrate southward towards warmer climates. Many of these ducks stop in Connecticut to rest and refuel before continuing their journey.
Connecticut’s extensive network of wetlands provides an ideal habitat for Green-winged Teal ducks during their migration period. These waterways offer the perfect combination of food sources and shelter for these birds to survive while travelling long distances.
• Scientific Name: AnasCarolinensis
• Length:12.2–15.3 in
• Weight: 4.9–17.6 oz
• Wingspan: 20.5–23.2 in
Northern Pintail Ducks, known for their elegant and striking plumage, are common in Connecticut during winter. These migratory birds travel from as far north as Alaska to spend the colder seasons here in Connecticut. The state’s coastal habitats provide ideal conditions for these ducks to thrive and make their homes.
These ducks can be easily identified by their long necks, slender bodies, and distinctive tails that taper to a fine point. Males have attractive plumage with slate grey heads and chests, white bellies, and chocolate brown feathers on their backs. Females have more subdued colouring with mottled brown feathers that help them blend into their surroundings.
Northern Pintails are considered one of the most graceful species of waterfowl due to their slender frame and swift flight pattern.
• Scientific Name:AnasAcuta
• Length:23–30 in
• Weight:0.99–3.00 lb
• Wingspan:31–37 in
American Wigeon ducks are a familiar sight in Connecticut, particularly during winter. These small-to-medium-sized ducks are distinguished by their striking plumage, which includes a distinctive white patch on their foreheads and iridescent green feathers on their necks. They also have pale blue bills with black tips and reddish-brown bodies.
This Wigeon is known for its adaptive nature, as it can thrive in fresh and saltwater habitats. In Connecticut, they can be found in areas such as Long Island Sound, coastal lagoons and marshes, rivers, ponds and lakes. During migration season, they may also visit agricultural fields to feed on grains, an unusual diet for a duck. One of the fascinating aspects of American Wigeon behaviour is their courtship ritual.
• Scientific Name:Mareca Americana
• Length:17–23 in
• Weight:1.129–2.932 lb
• Wingspan:30–36 in
Gadwall ducks are a common sight in the state of Connecticut. They are medium-sized diving ducks in many of the state’s wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, and rivers. Male gadwalls have striking plumage, with grey-brown bodies and black rumps. Their heads are covered in a distinctive patch of black feathers contrasting sharply with their white bellies.
Female gadwalls have more muted colouring than males, with brown-grey bodies and mottled grey-brown heads. Both males and females have a distinctive white wing patch visible when they take flight. Gadwall ducks are typically migratory birds, spending their summers breeding in Canada and Alaska before returning to the southern United States for the winter.
• Scientific Name:MarecaStrepera
• Length:19–23 in
• Weight:30-35 oz
• Wingspan: 31–33 in
Wood ducks are one of the most stunningly beautiful ducks in North America. The male’s unmistakable plumage, with its iridescent green head, chestnut breast and white belly, is enough to take your breath away. Fortunately for residents of Connecticut, these magnificent birds can be found nesting in the state throughout the year.
This duck is a migratory bird that travels south from northern breeding sites in late September or early October. They typically return to their breeding grounds by mid-March. They prefer to nest near water sources such as streams, ponds and swamps. In Connecticut, they can nest along rivers like the Housatonic and Farmington.
During courtship season, male wood ducks perform impressive displays of bowing and head-turning while calling out with a distinctive whistle-like sound.
• Scientific Name: Aix Sponsa
• Length:19 to 21 in
• Weight:16.0-30.4 oz
• Wingspan: 26 to 29 in
Northern Shoveler Ducks are a common sight in Connecticut. These ducks are known for their unique appearance and behaviour, making them a favourite among birdwatchers and outdoor enthusiasts. Their large, spoon-shaped bills make them easily identified from other duck species.
These ducks typically migrate to Connecticut during the fall and winter, seeking out wetlands and marshes as their preferred habitat. They use their bills to sift through mud and water for food, such as small crustaceans, insects, and plant matter. This feeding behaviour is also where they get their name – the bill looks like a shovel digging through the water!
Although they can be found throughout much of North America, seeing them up close in Connecticut is an experience unlike any other.
• Scientific Name: Spatula Clypeata
• Length:19 in
• Weight:1.3 lb
• Wingspan:30 in
American Black Duck:
The American Black Duck is a beautiful species of waterfowl found throughout North America’s eastern half. These ducks are well-known for their striking black plumage, contrasting sharply with their yellow bill and legs. In Connecticut, the American Black Duck is common in wetland areas and along the state’s numerous rivers.
One of the reasons why these Ducks are so successful in Connecticut is because they are well-adapted to living in wetland environments. They have webbed feet that allow them to navigate through shallow water easily and dive down to feed on aquatic plants and small fish. In addition, these ducks have a good sense of hearing and vision, which helps them avoid predators while they forage.
Despite their abundance in Connecticut, there are concerns about declining populations of American Black Ducks across North America.
• Scientific Name:AnasRubripes
• Length:21–23 in
• Weight:1.59–3.62 lb
• Wingspan:35–37 in
Bufflehead ducks are one of North America’s smallest species of diving ducks. These tiny birds can be found in freshwater lakes and ponds across Connecticut, making them a popular sight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. These ducks are hard to miss with their striking black-and-white plumage and distinctive round heads.
The male Bufflehead duck has a glossy green head with a bold white patch behind its eye. Its back is black, while its underparts are bright white. On the other hand, the female Bufflehead is mostly brown with a white patch on the cheek. Both males and females have small bills to dive deep into the water for food.
In Connecticut, Bufflehead ducks are usually spotted during winter when they migrate south from their northern breeding grounds.
• Scientific Name: BucephalaAlbeola
• Length:13–16 in
• Weight:9.5–19.4 oz
• Wingspan:55 cm
Canvasback ducks are a majestic and beautiful waterfowl species that can be found in that areas. These large diving ducks are known for their striking redheads, sleek black and white bodies, and ability to dive deep underwater in search of food. They are a popular game bird among hunters but are also admired by birdwatchers for their unique appearance.
These ducks typically migrate through Connecticut during winter when the waters freeze in their breeding grounds further north. Their diet primarily consists of aquatic plants, such as wild celery, found in abundance throughout the state’s wetlands and marshes. Due to their size and gracefulness, canvasbacks have become a favourite subject for wildlife photographers looking to capture stunning images of these birds in flight or on the water.
• Scientific Name: AythyaValisineria
• Length:19–22 in
• Weight:1.9–3.5 lb
• Wingspan:31–35 in
Connecticut is home to many wildlife species, one of the most fascinating being the lesser scaup Duck. These birds are medium-sized diving ducks observed in many freshwater bodies across Connecticut. They, also known as bluebills, are migratory waterfowl and spend their breeding season in northern Canada before migrating south for winter. They arrive in Connecticut during autumn and stay until early spring.
During the fall migration period, it’s common to see flocks of Lesser Scaup Ducks fly overhead or float on local ponds and lakes. Their striking plumage consists of blackheads with purple highlights on males and brown feathers on females. This species’ unique vocalization includes a distinctive whistle-like call that can be heard from afar.
• Scientific Name: AythyaAffinis
• Length: 15–19 in
• Weight:1–2.4 lb
• Wingspan:27–31 in
Greater Scaup ducks, or Aythyamarila, are among North America’s largest diving ducks. They are migratory birds that breed in North America’s Arctic and subarctic regions before wintering along both coasts of the United States. These ducks can be found all over Connecticut during their migration season from October to April.
Male ducks have dark heads with a green tint and a black breastband, while females have brown bodies with white patches on their cheeks. Despite being primarily saltwater birds, they can also be seen in freshwater lakes and ponds throughout Connecticut, where they feed on mollusks and aquatic plants.
Their population has experienced fluctuations due to habitat loss and hunting pressure. However, conservation efforts have helped stabilize their numbers in recent years.
• Scientific Name: AythyaMarila
• Length:15–22 in
• Weight:28–33 in
• Wingspan:1.6–3 lb
The Ring-necked duck is a migratory bird that’s native to North America. Its range stretches from Alaska and Canada to Mexico, but they flock in large numbers to Connecticut during winter. This state provides excellent habitat for these birds with its vast wetlands and shallow waters.
The male ring-necked ducks sport striking black-and-white plumage with a distinctive chestnut-coloured neck ring during winter. Females are less showy but still easily recognizable due to their dark brown heads and bodies with lighter sides. They often swim in small groups or pairs, diving deep into the water to feed on aquatic plants, invertebrates or fish.
Connecticut’s bird-watching enthusiasts embrace the arrival of these elegant waterfowl each year. The best time to view these ducks is between November and April when they fly south from their breeding grounds.
• Scientific Name: AythyaCollaris
• Length:15.3-18.1 in
• Weight:17.3-32.1 oz
• Wingspan: 24.4-24.8 in
Redhead Ducks in Connecticut:
Redhead ducks are one of Connecticut’s rarest and most beautiful waterfowl species. These diving ducks have distinctive red heads and necks, which makes them easily recognizable. They typically breed in the northern regions of Canada and Alaska, but many can be found wintering in Connecticut’s coastal waters.
The males are especially striking, with their bright red heads contrasted against their grey body plumage. Females are more subdued, with rusty brown colouring on their heads and bodies. Redhead ducks feed on aquatic vegetation, molluscs, crustaceans, and small fish. They use their serrated bills to grasp food items underwater while swimming or diving.
Although once common throughout North America, redhead duck populations have declined significantly due to habitat loss and hunting pressure. In Connecticut, efforts to protect wetlands and regulate hunting have helped stabilize populations.
• Scientific Name: Aythya Americana
• Length:15 in
• Weight:2.0 – 2.5 lbs
• Wingspan:33 in
Ruddy ducks are small, stocky waterfowl belonging to the diving ducks family. They are known for their unique blue bill, bright and contrasting against their rust-coloured body. These birds can be found across North America, from Canada to Mexico, and have become increasingly common in Connecticut over the past few decades.
The ruddy duck is a species that prefers to inhabit freshwater habitats such as ponds and wetlands. In Connecticut, they are often seen along the coast or in larger bodies of water, such as lakes or reservoirs, during the fall migration period. They are also known to breed in certain areas of the state, particularly in marshes and other wetland environments.
One interesting fact about ruddy ducks is that they are considered one of the most sexually dimorphic species of waterfowl, meaning males and females look very different.
• Scientific Name: OxyuraJamaicensis
• Length:13.5–17 in
• Weight:1.23 lb
• Wingspan:18.5 in
Eurasian Wigeon ducks are a rare sight in Connecticut. These ducks breed in the Arctic tundra and migrate south to coastal areas for winter. The Eurasian Wigeon is a medium-sized duck with a distinctive head, reddish-brown crown, and creamy-white forehead.
The male duck sports an iridescent green patch on its head, while the female has duller plumage. These ducks have become popular among birdwatchers because of their striking appearance and rarity in Connecticut. Some birdwatchers travel great distances to catch sight of these beautiful creatures.
They usually appear at coastal locations such as marshes, ponds, or lakeshores. They can feed on aquatic plants or graze on nearby grassy fields.
• Scientific Name: Mareca Penelope
• Length:17–20 in
• Weight:1.1–2.4 lb
• Wingspan:28–31 in
Long-tailed ducks are a unique and beautiful species found in Connecticut. These ducks are named after their long, pointed tail feathers reaching up to 7 inches long. Long-tailed ducks are known for their striking black, white, and grey plumage.
Connecticut is an important stopover location for long-tailed ducks during their migration from breeding grounds in the Arctic to wintering grounds along the east coast of North America. These ducks can be seen in Connecticut’s coastal waters, bays, and estuaries during winter. Long-tailed ducks feed on small fish and crustaceans and often dive deep underwater to catch prey.
Despite being a relatively common sight in Connecticut during winter, long-tailed duck populations have declined recently due to habitat loss and climate change.
• Scientific Name: ClangulaHyemalis
• Length:17.5–23.5 in
• Weight: 1.63 lb
• Wingspan:28 in
Connecticut is home to various bird species, including the Common Merganser duck. This beautiful bird can be found in the state’s freshwater and saltwater habitats. With its striking black-and-white colouring and distinctive red bill, the Common Merganser is an eye-catching sight for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.
During the breeding season, male Common Mergansers develop a greenish-black iridescence on their heads, contrasting sharply with their snowy white bodies. Females are more subdued in colouration but still possess the striking red bill that sets them apart from other waterfowl species. These ducks are known for their impressive diving abilities, which they use to hunt fish, crustaceans, and other aquatic prey.
• Scientific Name: Mergus Merganser
• Length:23–28 in
• Weight:2–4 lb
• Wingspan:30–38 in
Common Goldeneye Ducks in Connecticut
Common Goldeneye Ducks are a sight to behold in Connecticut. These beautiful water birds have striking black and white feathers, with a yellow eye that gives them their name. They can be found throughout the state, particularly in freshwater ponds and lakes.
As diving ducks, Common Goldeneyes spend much of their time underwater, using their strong wings to propel themselves through the water in search of food. They primarily eat small fish and aquatic insects but feed on crustaceans and mollusks if available. During the breeding season, they nest in tree cavities near or over water bodies.
Being fascinating creatures to watch, Common Goldeneye Ducks also play an important ecological role by helping control populations of small fish and aquatic invertebrates. However, like many bird species worldwide, they face habitat loss and pollution threats.
• Scientific Name: BucephalaClangula
• Length:18–20 in
• Weight:2.2 lb.
• Wingspan:77-83 cm
The Connecticut Ducks is a great way to explore and appreciate the beauty of Connecticut. This tour offers something for everyone, from its breathtaking views, interesting history, and plentiful wildlife. Tour guides are knowledgeable and friendly, making the experience educational and enjoyable. This tour cannot be missed with its affordable prices and convenient departure locations throughout Connecticut. For an unforgettable day trip experience, The Connecticut Ducks are a perfect choice.