Ducks at a Distance: A Waterfowl Identification Guide

Important Notice:

Flyways.us will be shutting down on November 30. However, most of the content found here will now be available on the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program website.

By Bob Hines
Department of the Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Identification is Important

Identifying waterfowl gives many hours of enjoyment to millions of people. This guide will help you recognize birds on the wing—it emphasizes their fall and winter plumage patterns as well as size, shape, and flight characteristics. It does not include local names.

Recognizing the species of ducks and geese can be rewarding to birdwatchers and hunters—and the ducks.

Hunters can contribute to their own sport by not firing at those species that are either protected or scarce, and needed as breeders to restore the flocks. It can add to their daily limit; when extra birds of certain species can be taken legally, hunters who know their ducks on the wing come out ahead.

This Web-based guide is adapted from:
Hines, Robert W. No Date. Ducks at a distance: A waterfowl identification guide. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Southwest Natural and Cultural Heritage Association, Albuquerque, NM. 51pp.

Download the guide in PDF format.