Waterfowl, or ducks as they are commonly known, are defined by their webbed feet and mainly aquatic lifestyle. They come in a variety of breeds, shapes, sizes, and colors. Black and white ducks are some of the most beautiful patterned birds, whether in flight on land or on water.
In this article, we will look at some of the most attractive back and white ducks and enjoy their coloring and characteristics.
- Beautiful Black and White Duck Breeds
- Types of Black and White Markings
Beautiful Black and White Duck Breeds
A duck’s plumage is one of the easiest ways to identify a species. Ducks with black and white plumage are visually striking due to the naturally contrasting colors. This article lists 19 black and white duck breeds. Despite the similarity in colors, the patterns of these species are incredibly diverse.
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
Ancona ducks have plumage that is mainly white, but they have black dots on their head and large black patches on their wings and tail. They have orange, webbed feet, and a rounded orange bill.
Excellent foragers, these ducks consume a variety of food including mollusks, arthropods, fruits, and seeds. They frequent wetland and farmland habitats.
Distributed throughout the United Kingdom and the United States.
Scientific Name: Bucephala islandica
Males are pure white below and black and white patterned above. They have bright, golden-yellow eyes, hence their names. Females have a mottled gray body with a chestnut-brown head.
Aquatic invertebrates make up the majority of this bird’s diet, which they catch by diving below the water’s surface.
Barrows goldeneye’s frequent shallow, wetland habitats. They have a concentrated range in Northwest America and are also scattered in Eastern Canada and Iceland.
Scientific Name: Bucephala albeola
Males are white underneath and have a large white patch on their heads. Their back is black while their face and neck boast iridescent green-purple feathers. Females are mainly gray-brown with white cheeks.
Aquatic invertebrates constitute most of their diet. They catch and consume their food whilst diving underwater.
Bufflehead ducks inhabit ponds and lakes in forested areas. They breed in Canada and Alaska but are found throughout the majority of America.
Scientific Name: Somateria mollissima
Males boast striking black and white patched plumage. Females conversely are red-brown overall.
Mollusks, such as blue mussels are among their favorite food. However, they will consume aquatic organisms including crustaceans, echinoderms, and fish eggs.
Common eiders are marine birds, so they frequent rocky coastal areas. They are distributed around the Northern coasts of Europe, North America, and Siberia.
Scientific Name: Bucephala clangula
Males’ bodies are white underneath and black on top. They have an iridescent green head and white cheeks, as well as bright yellow eyes. Females have a gray body and a chestnut brown head. Their eyes and the tip of their bill are yellow.
Aquatic invertebrates and fish eggs are their main sources of food, which they forage for in shallow waters.
Common goldeneyes occupy lakes and rivers in boreal forests. They are distributed across Canada, North America, Scotland, Scandinavia, and North Russia.
Scientific Name: Mergus merganser
Males have mainly white bodies with black backs. Their head is iridescent green whilst their bill is bright orange. Females, however, have gray bodies and copper heads. During the non-breeding season, the male plumage looks similar to the females.
Fish make up the majority of this bird’s diet, which they catch by diving below the surface. They also consume aquatic invertebrates such as mollusks, crustaceans, and small mammals.
Common Mergansers inhabit forested areas near large lakes and rivers. They are found across Eurasia and North America. Throughout Eurasia, they are known as a goosander.
Domestic Crested Duck
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos domestica
The domestic crested duck has snow-white plumage. They have a rounded, orange bill and orange legs with webbed feet.
So-called due to their afro-like hairstyle, which is characteristic of this species. It is the result of a heterozygous genetic deformity where the skull has failed to develop properly. Although it looks like a ball of feathers, it is actually a mound of adipose tissue.
Considered to be ‘dabbling ducks’, they feed near the surface of the water, consuming small, aquatic organisms, such as plankton and insects.
Domestic crested ducks frequent domestic ponds and lakes in groups to take advantage of duck houses or coops on site. They are found across Europe and the United States.
Scientific Name: Aythya marila
Males have a white belly with a black chest and rump. Their back is a zig-zag pattern of white and dark gray. They have an iridescent green head and yellow eyes. Females however are brown overall with a white mask.
Aquatic plants and invertebrates make up the majority of this black and white bird’s diet. They are strong divers but tend to forage in soft, muddy substrates.
Greater Scaups inhabit lakes and ponds across North America and Europe.
Scientific Name: Lophodytes cucullatus
Males are mainly black above with a white chest and white stripes along their lower back. They have chestnut flanks and yellow eyes. Females are predominately gray-brown.
Both sexes have a large, collapsible crest which makes their head appear bulbous and oversized. Males have a black crest with a large, white patch. Female crests are cinnamon brown.
Fish are their main food source, but they also consume aquatic insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. They dive underwater to catch their prey using their thin, serrated bill.
Hooded mergansers inhabit forested wetlands across North America. They are not found anywhere else.
Scientific Name: Somateria spectabilis
Males are primarily black on their bodies with a white rump, breast, and neck. They have gray-blue heads and green faces. Their forehead is yellow and their rounded bill is bright orange. Females however are mottled black and brown.
Shellfish, crustaceans, and algae constitute the main bulk of their diet. these birds are excellent divers and catch and consume their prey under the water.
King eiders are large sea ducks and inhabit arctic tundra near the coast. They are located in the Northern Hemisphere of Europe, North America, and Asia.
Scientific Name: Aythya affinis
Males are mainly black with white sides and a gray and white patterned back. The black feathers on their head have a purple iridescence. Females are brown overall with a white masks on their faces.
Aquatic invertebrates are their main food source, but they also consume aquatic plants and seeds.
Lesser scaups frequent lakes and ponds in tundra across North and Central America.
Long Tailed Duck
Scientific Name: Clangula hyemalis
Males are black and white patterned and have a horizontal, pink stripe across their bill. They have very long, elegant black tail plumes. Females have a brown body and white head and lack the exacerbated tail feathers.
Aquatic organisms including small fish and crustaceans, make up most of these sea ducks’ diet. They are capable of diving up to 200 feet deep to catch their prey.
Long-tailed ducks frequent wetland habitats. They are found across the Northern coastlines of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
The magpie duck is a breed of British, domestic duck. They have distinct black and white markings on their feathers that resemble a magpie, hence their name. They have a rounded orange bill and orange webbed feet.
A wide variety of food including slugs, insects, and seeds constitute this duck’s diet. they are active foragers.
Magpie ducks are often kept domestically on farmland near bodies of water, such as ponds. They are mainly located in Great Britain but are kept by a handful of breeders in the United States.
Scientific Name: Cairina moschata
Wild populations are mainly black with white patches on their wings. Domesticated populations also exhibit large white patches on their neck and chest. Under direct sunlight, the black feathers of these birds appear iridescent green. Their faces are warty and red.
Being omnivores, these ducks consume a wide variety of plant and animal matter, which they obtain through dabbling at the water’s surface.
Muscovy ducks frequent wooded, wetland habitats across Mexico, Texas, and Central and South America.
Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos domesticus
Pomeranian ducks have black or blue-gray bodies with white breasts and black heads. They are a breed of domesticated duck.
Aquatic plant and animal matter make up this duck’s diet, which they forage for by dabbling in shallow waters. They are kept domestically for their meat and eggs, so are often fed commercial feeds.
Pomeranian ducks inhabit managed farmland with ponds and lakes, alongside duck coops for them to nest and lay in. They originated in Germany but are found almost everywhere including Europe and the United States.
Ring Necked Duck
Scientific Name: Aythya collaris
Males are glossy black overall with gray-white patches on either side of their bodies. They have a red-brown ring around their neck, hence their name. Females are predominantly brown with gray heads.
Aquatic plants constitute this duck’s mainly herbivorous diet, although they will also consume some aquatic invertebrates.
Ring-necked ducks inhabit freshwater ponds and lakes across North America.
Scientific Name: Mergellus albellus
Males are primarily white with black patches. Females have a gray body, white neck, and chestnut-brown head.
Aquatic organisms such as fish, snails, and algae make up this duck’s diet. When diving, they use their serrated bill to catch their fish prey.
Smew ducks frequent wooded lakes, as they nest in tree holes like old woodpecker nests. They can be found across Northern Europe.
Males are black overall with snow-white flanks and a floppy, black crest. Females, however, are red-brown in color.
Aquatic plant and animal matter constitute the omnivorous diet of the tufted duck. They forage for their prey by diving under the water.
Tufted ducks occupy marshes and lakes that provide lots of vegetation. They breed across Eurasia and winter in Central Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and North America.
White Winged Scoter
Scientific Name: Melanitta deglandi
Males are black overall whereas females are dark brown overall. Both sexes have large, white patches on their wings that are most prominent in flight but are also visible at rest. Both sexes have white patches on their heads.
Bivalves such as mussels, clams, and oysters make up a large part of this sea duck’s diet. After diving to catch their prey, they swallow them whole and the shells are broken up by their gizzard.
White-winged scoters inhabit forests in close proximity to lakes and coastal waters. They are predominantly distributed across North America and small populations are scattered around Europe.
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Types of Black and White Markings
An irregular pattern of uneven markings upon the plumage. An example of speckled markings can be observed on the chest of the yellow-rumped warbler, portraying a blurred, black-and-white dabbled pattern.
Although similar to speckled, spotted markings are more uniform in size and shape. For example, the plumage of the common loon exhibits obvious white circles against its black feathers.
Plumage exhibiting obvious barring that can be either horizontal or vertical. The chest and belly of the Northern goshawk display heaving brown and white barring.