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Mottled Duck


IUCN Conservation Status: Least Concern

The only duck adapted to breeding in southern marshes, the Mottled Duck is a dull relative of the Mallard. It is in danger of being displaced by introduced Mallards, primarily because of hybridization.

At a GlanceHelp

17.3–24 in
44–61 cm
33.5–35.4 in
85–90 cm
20.8–48.7 oz
590–1380 g
31.5–33.5 in
80–85 cm
Other Names
  • Florida Duck, Dusky Duck
  • Canard Brun (French)
  • Pato Tejano, Pato Moteado, Pato Chaparro, Pato Negro (Spanish)

Cool Facts

  • Compared to other species of ducks, pair formation occurs early, with nearly 80% of all individuals paired by November. Breeding starts in January, continuing through to July and usually peaking in March and April.
  • The oldest recorded Mottled Duck was at least 13 years, 7 months old when he was shot in Florida, the same state where he had been banded.



Freshwater wetlands, ditches, wet prairies, and seasonally flooded marshes.



Seeds of grasses, aquatic vegetation, rice, aquatic invertebrates, and a few small fish.


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.
Nest Description

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

Nest Placement




Dabbles, filter-feeds at surface of water, tips-up in shallow water.


status via IUCN

Least Concern

Mottled 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.


  • Moorman, T. E. and P. N. Gray. 1994. Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) .In The Birds of North America, No. 81 (A. Poole and F. Gill, Eds.). Philadelphia: The Academy of Natural Sciences; Washington, D.C.: The American Ornithologists' Union.

Range Map Help

Mottled Duck Range Map
View dynamic map of eBird sightings


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bird image Blue-winged Warbler by Brian Sullivan

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