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Ducks

Dabbling Ducks

Dabbling ducks (subfamily Anatinae) are surface-feeding birds that eat vegetation and invertebrates found in shallow water they can reach without diving. Their plant foods include colonial algae, small vascular plants such as duckweed (e.g., Lemna minor), roots and tubers of aquatic plants, and the seeds of pondweed (Potamogeton spp.), smartweed (Polygonum spp.), wild rice (Zizania aquatica), sedges (Carex spp.), and bulrushes (Scirpus spp.). Dabbling ducks also eat aquatic invertebrates, and in fact these are the most important foods of rapidly growing ducklings.

Two widespread species of dabbling duck are mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and pintails (A. acuta). These ducks range throughout the Northern Hemisphere, occurring in both North America and Eurasia. Other North American species include black ducks (A. rubripes), American widgeons (Mareca americana), shovelers (Spatula clypeata), blue-winged teals (A. discors), and wood ducks (Aix sponsa).


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