Mottled Duck Life History


Habitat MarshesFreshwater wetlands, ditches, wet prairies, and seasonally flooded marshes.Back to top


Food OmnivoreSeeds of grasses, aquatic vegetation, rice, aquatic invertebrates, and a few small fish.Back to top


Nest Placement

Nest Ground

Nest Description

Depression in grass. Lined with vegetation and down from female's breast.

Nesting Facts
Clutch Size:5-13 eggs
Egg Description:Dull white to olive.
Condition at Hatching:Covered in down and able to leave the nest soon after hatching.
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Behavior DabblerDabbles, filter-feeds at surface of water, tips-up in shallow water.Back to top


Conservation Red Watch ListMottled Duck declined by over 3% per year between 1966 and 2014, resulting in a cumulative decline of 79%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. However, it appears the the rate of decline slowed in the last ten years of that time period. Mottled Duck is on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation action. Numbers fluctuate widely in response to periodic drought conditions. However, the species is threatened by habitat loss, and the loss of wetland habitat has led to decreases in populations. There is also a danger of Mottled Ducks being displaced by introduced Mallards, often released pets, primarily because of hybridization as these two species can interbreed. These ducks are hunted throughout North America. In 2013 just under 50,000 ducks were taken, and the following year, almost 42,000. Back to top


Bielefeld, Ronald R., Michael G. Brasher, T. E. Moorman and P. N. Gray. 2010. Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula), version 2.0. In The Birds of North America (P. G. Rodewald, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.

Sibley, D. A. (2014). The Sibley guide to birds, second edition. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, USA.

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