The common name sea ducks may be a it misleading.
Collectively the fifteen North American sea ducks tend to inhabit salt water habitats. On the other hand, some species, such as the Mergansers, also spend time in fresh water lakes and rivers.
Like the diving ducks, sea ducks have a varied diet, eating fish, mollusks, insects and other animal matter in their feeding area.
Because they are migratory birds, the United States and Canada manage them under the terms of the 1986 North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
The King eider (Somateria spectabilis) breeds in the Arctic and winters along the Alaska coast in the west and along the North East from Maine to as far south as Virginia.
Types of Ducks
Types of Birds
Skilled divers, they can reach depths of one hundred feet searching for crustaceans and other benthic animals.
King Eiders travel in very large flocks during migration.
Males have white feathers outlined with small areas of black feathers.
Their serrated black bill is used for catching fish, their favorite food.
Females have red heads and the same black bill.
Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), one of two Goldeneye species indigenous to North America, get their name based on their iris color.
Distinct East and West Coast population exist, although the West Coast population vastly outnumbers the East Coast population.
They breed inland, in freshwater lakes, with breeding ranges following a pattern typical of the wintering range.
Males have black and white feather on the body with white chevrons along the wings. Females, like the one pictured below, have brown heads.
Their adjusts from season to season, with coastal wintering populations preferring marine crustaceans and mollusks. Inland breeding populations forage for insects.
The Bufflehead duck (Bucephala albeola) also adapts to both fresh and salt water habitats, typically breeding in northern fresh water habitats.
Winter finds large flocks of them along both the Atlantic and Pacific coast, although smaller winter populations can also be found inland.
Field identification is usually easy. Females, like the one in the picture at the top, have black feathers on the top of the head and body with a small white patch on the face.
Males have a larger white patch on the head. In the sun, the darker head feathers shine and iridescent purple and green.
Like Wood Ducks, Buffleheads are one of a few duck species that breeds in trees and nest boxes.
© 2006-2013 Patricia A. Michaels