Mottled Duck

About the Mottled Duck


Mottled ducks have a limited breeding range from Florida to the Western Gulf Coast. Breeding areas include both inland freshwater and coastal marshes. Most nests reside in marsh cord grass, hay fields, cattle fields and on well drained levees above tidal waters. Mottled duck hens lay an average of 9 eggs.

Latin: Anas fulvigula

Average length: M 10.3", F 9.8"

Average weight: M 2.3 lbs., F 2.1 lbs.


The Mottled duck can be confused with American Black ducks and hen mallards. While both drakes and hens have very similar plumages, the hen is a slightly lighter shade of brown. The mottled duck is a lighter color than the black duck and its blue to green iridescent wing patches (compared to a purple iridescence in black ducks) are rimmed with black (sometimes with a narrow band of white) rather than a distinct white edge as on the hen mallard. The mottled duck is a southern species found all along the entire Gulf Coast and the southern Atlantic Coast. The bill of the drake is solid yellow, while the hen has more of a yellow orangish tint with black spots. The legs and feet can be a dull to bright shade of orange for both sexes.

Food habits

Mottled ducks are dabblers which feed mostly on aquatic vegetation and invertebrates in shallow waters.


The mottled duck is a southern species residing along the southern Atlantic Coast and the entire Gulf Coast. They have 2 major distinct populations being in Florida and the other on the Western Gulf Coast ranging from Louisiana well into Mexico. The Western Gulf Coast population is much larger and fluctuates with the coastal marshes. The Florida population is greatly impacted by the precipitation levels.

Migrating and Wintering

Mottled ducks are a southern species and are non-migratory. They are only known to move short distances to find adequate breeding and nesting grounds.

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