20 Ducks in Indiana That You Can Spot (Species + Seasons)

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Indiana is a state that offers some great birdwatching opportunities, and if you are interested in ducks you won’t be disappointed! Happily, there are plenty of ducks that you can see when birdwatching in this state.

Below are some of the most common duck species encountered in Indiana, including when you might expect to see each one.

Some are year-round residents, others are seen in summer, and many more are common during the winter months. So, read on to learn a little more about these ducks that you might see in Indiana!

Mallard

Mallard
  • 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 easily recognized, even by the most inexperienced birdwatcher. They are present in Indiana year-round and are recorded in almost a quarter of all birdwatchers’ checklists in this state in both summer and winter.

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)

Wood ducks sometimes reside in Indiana year-round. However, they are generally spotted here in summer, between March and October. During this time, they are recorded in 14% of state birdwatchers’ checklists.

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)

Blue-winged teals can be spotted through the summer in Indiana but are most frequently sighted during the periods of migration – especially during the spring migration when they are recorded on up to 22% of birdwatchers’ checklists in the state.

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)

Northern shovelers are also frequently spotted during the spring migration in March and April. They can also be located through the winter and are recorded on 3% of birdwatchers’ checklists during this time. This reaches up to 15% of checklists during the spring migration.

Gadwalls

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

While some gadwalls stay in Indiana through the whole year, most arrive in around September and depart by the middle of May. During the winter, 6% of birdwatchers’ checklists record spotting this species.

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)

Green-winged teals are recorded on 1% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists in Indiana. They are most frequently seen here between August and April, though they can be seen in any season.

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)

Appearing in 2% of winter Indiana birdwatchers’ checklists, the American wigeon is commonly spotted from its arrival in September through to its departure in April.

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)

Also appearing as often as the above in checklists compiled by Indiana birdwatchers in winter, the northern pintail typically arrives in September and stays until around April.

American Black Ducks

American Black Ducks
  • Anas rubripes
  • Length: 19 – 23 in (48 – 58 cm)
  • Weight: 49.6 oz (1406 g)
  • Wingspan: 33 – 36 in (84 – 91 cm)

American black ducks have been spotted in Indiana all year. However, they are most frequently seen here between October and mid-April. Currently, they appear on 3% of the checklists compiled by birdwatchers in this state in winter.

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 are diving ducks that are commonly spotted in Indiana between mid-September and early June. They are recorded in 5% of the checklists compiled by Indiana birdwatchers in winter.

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)

A few ring-necked ducks have been spotted in Indiana in all seasons. However, these ducks are generally seen here between October and 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 can also be seen in Indiana throughout the year. But these too are most commonly seen in winter, between October and May.

Birdwatchers have reported sightings of these ducks in 3% of the checklists compiled in this state in winter.

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 are winter residents in Indiana. They typically arrive here in October and remain in the state until around April.

Ruddy Duck

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)

You can expect to see ruddy ducks in Indiana in winter, between October and May. They are recorded in 3% of winter checklists submitted by Indiana birdwatchers.

Canvasbacks

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

This is another duck known to spend the winter in Indiana. Canvasbacks are reported in 2% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists in this state.

Mostly, they will arrive in October and depart in March, but some will remain in the area until June.

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)

Greater Scaups typically arrive in Indiana in October and depart around April. They are recorded in 1% of checklists compiled by birdwatchers in this state in winter.

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)

Some hooded mergansers stay in Indiana year-round, though most arrive in November and remain in the state until March. These birds are present on 7% of birdwatchers’ winter checklists in this state.

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)

Common goldeneyes appear in 8% of winter birdwatching checklists in Indiana. These ducks typically arrive in October and remain here until around May.

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)

Red-breasted mergansers are commonly seen in Indiana through the winter months. They typically arrive in the state around the middle of October and depart by May. Red-breasted mergansers are reported on 2% of Indiana winter birdwatchers’ checklists.

Common Merganser

Common Merganser
  • Mergus merganser
  • Length: 22 – 27 in (56 – 69 cm)
  • Weight: 60.8 oz (1723 g)
  • Wingspan: 31 – 37 in (79 – 94 cm)

Another merganser to see in Indiana is the Common Merganser. These ducks also commonly arrive in October and leave by May. Common Mergansers are listed in 3% of winter birdwatchers’ checklists in this state.

This is not a comprehensive list, as many other ducks can be seen at least occasionally in this state. However, the ducks listed above are among the most common ducks encountered in Indiana.

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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.