20 Ducks in Alabama You Can Spot (Species + Seasons)

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Alabama boasts plenty of interesting birds, including a variety of ducks. Below, we list some of the ducks that you are likely to encounter in this state and explain when you’ll be able to see them!

Mallard

Mallard Ducks
  • Anas platyrhynchos
  • Length: 19.7 – 25.6 in (50 – 65 cm)
  • Weight: 35.3 – 45.9 oz (1000 – 1300 g)
  • Wingspan: 32.3 – 37.4 in (82 – 95 cm)

Mallards are common and easily-recognized ducks that are present in Alabama all year round. However, they are recorded more frequently on birdwatchers’ checklists in the winter than they are during the summer months.

Wood Ducks

Wood Ducks
  • Aix sponsa
  • Length: 18.5 – 21.3 in (47 -54 cm)
  • Weight: 16.0 – 30.4 oz (454 – 862 g)
  • Wingspan: 26.0 – 28.7 in (66 – 73 cm)

Another duck that is present year-round in Alabama, wood ducks appear in 4% of birdwatchers’ checklists, both in the summer and during the winter months.

Gadwalls

Gadwalls
  • Mareca strepera
  • Length: 19 – 23 in (48 – 58 cm)
  • Weight: 35.27 oz (1000 g)
  • Wingspan: 31 – 36 in (79 – 91 cm)

Gadwalls are sometimes present in Alabama year-round. However, they are mainly spotted here during the winter months, so the best time to see them is between November and March.

Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal Duck
  • Spatula discors
  • Length: 15 – 17 in (38 – 43 cm)
  • Weight: 19.18 oz (544 g)
  • Wingspan: 23 -31 in (58 – 79 cm)

You may see blue-winged teals in Alabama at any time of the year. However, they are commonly spotted in this state during the migration periods in spring and fall. Look out for them between March and May, and then between August and November.

Northern Shovelers

Northern Shovelers
  • Spatula clypeata
  • Length: 17.3 – 20.1 in (44 – 51 cm)
  • Weight: 14.1 – 28.9 oz (400 – 820 g)
  • Wingspan: 27.2 – 33.1 in (69 – 84 cm)

While a few Northern Shovelers have been seen in this state all year, these ducks are usually spotted in Alabama during the winter. They typically arrive in September and leave in May.

Green-Winged Teal

Green-Winged Teal Duck
  • Anas crecca
  • Length: 12.2 – 15.3 in (31 – 39 cm)
  • Weight: 4.9 – 17.6 oz (140 – 500 g)
  • Wingspan: 20.5 – 23.2 in (52 – 59 cm)

Another bird that can be spotted over the winter months, most commonly between September and the middle of May, is the green-winged teal. These appear in 2% of checklists submitted by birdwatchers in this state.

American Wigeon

American Wigeon
  • Mareca americana
  • Length: 16.5 – 23.2 in (42 – 59 cm)
  • Weight: 19.1 – 46.9 oz (540 – 1330 g)
  • Wingspan: 33.1 in (84 cm)

Also recorded in 2% of checklists submitted by birdwatchers in this state, the American wigeon is typically present here between October and March.

Northern Pintail

Northern Pintail
  • Anas acuta
  • Length: 20 – 26 in (51 – 66 cm)
  • Weight: 36.33 oz (1030 g)
  • Wingspan: 29 – 35 in (74 – 89 cm)

Another bird seen with around the same frequency in winter as the two ducks above is the Northern Pintail. This duck arrives in Alabama in November and can be often spotted until around February.

Ring-Necked Ducks

Ring-necked Ducks
  • Aythya collaris
  • Length: 14 – 18 in (36 – 46 cm)
  • Weight: 32.09 oz (909 g)
  • Wingspan: 24 – 30 in (61 – 76 cm)

Some ring-necked ducks can be seen in Alabama year-round. However, most are spotted here between November and March. 6% of checklists submitted to show winter sightings by birdwatchers in this state record this species.

Buffleheads

Buffleheads
  • Bucephala albeola
  • Length: 13 – 16 in (33 – 41 cm)
  • Weight: 21.16 oz (600 g)
  • Wingspan: 20 – 24 in (51-61 cm)

Buffleheads spend the winter in Alabama, appearing in 6% of birdwatchers’ checklists in this state. They are usually spotted between November and the middle of May.

Lesser Scaup

Lesser Scaup
  • Aythya affinis
  • Length: 15 – 18 in (38 – 49 cm)
  • Weight: 40.77 oz (1155 g)
  • Wingspan: 24 – 33 in (61– 84 cm)

Lesser Scaup is sometimes seen throughout the year. However, they are mostly reported as having been seen in Alabama between November and April and are recorded on 4% of birdwatchers’ winter checklists.

Ruddy Ducks

Ruddy Duck
  • Oxyura jamaicensis
  • Length: 14 – 16 in (35.56 – 40.64 cm)
  • Weight: 28.04 oz (795 g)
  • Wingspan: 21 – 24 in (53 – 61 cm)

Some ruddy ducks reside in Alabama year-round, b most stay here for the winter. They typically arrive in November and depart in March and are recorded in 2% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists for this state.

Redheads

Redhead
  • Aythya americana
  • Length: 18 -22 in (46 – 56 cm)
  • Weight: 43.03 oz (1219 g)
  • Wingspan: 29 – 35 in (74 – 89 cm)

Redheads also appear in 2% of the birdwatchers’ checklists for this state. These too can sometimes be spotted here year-round, but are most commonly seen between November and April.

Mottled Ducks

Mottled Duck
  • Anas fulvigula
  • Length: 20 – 22 in (51 -56 cm)
  • Weight: 36.8 oz (1043 g)
  • Wingspan: 30 in (76 cm)

Though not particularly common in Alabama, these ducks are year-round residents which can be spotted in the south of the state.

Canvasbacks

Canvasbacks
  • Aythya valisineria
  • Length: 19 – 24 in (48 – 61 cm)
  • Weight: 58.48 oz (1657 g)
  • Wingspan: 28 – 36 in (71 – 91 cm)

Another winter resident in Alabama, the Canvasback occurs in 1% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists. It is typically present here between October and the middle of May.

Greater Scaup

Greater Scaup
  • Aythya marila
  • Length: 15.3 – 22.1 in (39 – 56 cm)
  • Weight: 25.6 – 48.0 oz (726 – 1360 g)
  • Wingspan: 28.4 – 31.1 in (72 – 79 cm)

Recorded in 1% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists, the Greater Scaup can be spotted in Alabama between October and May.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser
  • Lophodytes cucullatus
  • Length: 16 – 19 in (41 – 48 cm)
  • Weight: 32.09 oz (909 g)
  • Wingspan: 24 – 26 in (61 – 66 cm)

These ducks are also typically spotted in Alabama during the winter months. Present between November and March as a general rule, hooded mergansers are recorded in 4% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists for this state.

Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-breasted Merganser
  • Mergus serrator
  • Length: 16 – 26 in (41 – 66 cm)
  • Weight: 47.61 oz (1349 g)
  • Wingspan: 31 – 35 in (79 – 89 cm)

Another merganser to look out for in Alabama through the winter, between November and April, is the red-breasted merganser. It is recorded in 2% of Alabama birdwatchers’ winter checklists.

Common Goldeneye

Common Goldeneye
  • Bucephala clangula
  • Length: 15.8 – 20.1 in (40 – 51 cm)
  • Weight: 21.2 – 45.9 oz (600 – 1300 g)
  • Wingspan: 30.3 – 32.7 in (77 – 83 cm)

Another winter resident of the state, the common goldeneye is another interesting sea duck to look out for. They are typically spotted here between October and May and appear in 2% of birdwatchers’ checklists during this time.

Black Scoter

Black Scoter
  • Melanitta americana
  • Length: 17 – 21 in (43 – 53 cm)
  • Weight: 387.4 oz (1088 g)
  • Wingspan: 30 – 35 in (76 – 89 cm)

Though they are sadly a near-threatened species in Alabama, Black Scoter can be spotted here during the winter, predominantly in the south of the state. Look out for them between November and May.

These are not the only ducks that can be seen in this state, and you may well see several more on occasion. However, if you are keen to learn more about the ducks in this region, then looking out for the above species is a good place to begin!

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Elizabeth Waddington

Elizabeth Waddington is a conservation, rewilding, organic gardening and sustainability specialist who loves everything nature-related. She loves helping others around the world connect with the wildlife and wonders around them. When not creating wildlife-wise, eco-friendly designs, or writing about the topics that inspire her, she loves spending time watching the birds on and around her own rural property, or heading out on camping or hiking adventures to spot birds and other wildlife in a range of habitats.