The wigeon eats a variety of plants on land and in shallow water. It
also has a taste for plants that grow in deeper waters, where it can't
reach them. No problem! The wigeon simply waits for other water birds,
including ducks and geese, to bring them to the surface. Then, it steals
the plants and eats them! This nasty habit has earned the wigeon the nicknames
"robber duck" and "poacher" (another word for thief).
The ruddy duck only weighs about one pound. So you might be surprised
to learn it lays big eggs. Really big. A ruddy duck lays the same-size
egg a wild turkey does! In fact, one clutch of eggs (numbering six to
10) can weigh as much as three ruddy ducks put together! No other duck
lays such large eggs compared to its own size.
Duck bills usually look broad, flattened and rounded. A red-breasted
merganser's bill is quite a bit different. In fact, all three
species of North American mergansers have very unique bills. They're
long, thin and rounded, with a hooked nail at the tip. The bill's
edges have sharp points, and for this reason mergansers are nicknamed
"saw-bills." Mergansers eat more fish than any other
ducks, and their bills are designed to hold this slippery food.
Red-breasted mergansers often fish together, forming groups that
drive fish into shallow waters to snap them up.
On a power
The blue-winged teal may not be the biggest duck, but it's the
farthest flier. Blue-winged teal are one of the first species
of ducks to migrate in fall. They take off from the prairies of
Canada and North and South Dakota. Where are they headed? Some
stop at the southern edge of the United States. But many keep
flying...right across the Gulf of Mexico to South America. It's
a trip that stretches thousands of miles from start to finish.
For example, blue-winged teal may touch down in Peru after migrating
Scientists divide ducks into two groups: dabblers and divers.
Dabblers dunk their heads beneath shallow waters to grab a meal.
Divers go deeper, swimming underwater to find food. Most divers
don't go deeper than 20 feet or so. The long-tailed duck goes
10 times that far! This ocean-dwelling duck has been known to
dive more than 200 feet! That's about two-thirds the length of
a football field! It holds the record for a diving duck.