Anas fulvigula Photo Fiona Sunquist ©
Often called the Florida duck or the Florida mallard, mottled ducks are found only in the Florida peninsula and along the Gulf coast. They are non-migratory and pairs spend their lives in relatively small areas. They are found in both brackish and freshwater marshes, where they feed on insects, crustaceans and vegetable matter.
The plumages of male and female mottled ducks are similar, but the sexes can be distinguished by differences in bill color. The male’s bill is an olive green to yellow, while the female’s bill is orange or brownish with dark blotches.
Mottled ducks will crossbreed with mallard ducks and this has become a serious problem, which threatens the species’ existence. Some 30,000 to 40,000 mottled ducks live in Florida and biologists estimate that 7-12% of these now exhibit genetic evidence of hybridization.
It is now illegal to release domesticated mallard ducks into the wild in Florida.
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