20 Ducks in Ohio: Species & Seasons

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Ohio is a state where you can see many different birds. Ducks might easily be overlooked, but learning more about the different ducks in your area can be a fascinating way to expand your knowledge of the natural world.

To help you start your forays into the world of ducks, here are some of the ducks that you might encounter in this state, and when you can expect 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 can be seen in Ohio all year round. In fact, over a quarter of all winter and summer checklists that Ohio birdwatchers submitted contain this species of duck.

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 can be seen in Ohio year-round. However, you are most likely to see them in the summer months, and most sightings occur between March and October.

Blue-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal
  • 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 are usually seen here in Ohio in the summer. They typically arrive in March and are spotted from then through to October.

Gadwalls

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

There are some gadwalls present in Ohio throughout the whole of the year, but you’re most likely to see some between September and May.

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)

A few Northern Shovelers stay in Ohio for the whole year. But most are residents in the winter. You can typically expect to see them here between September and May.

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)

Again, some American black ducks are year-round residents. However, you are most likely to see them spending the winter in the state. Look for them between October and April.

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)

American wigeons are winter residents of Ohio. They typically arrive in the state in September and remain until around 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)

These ducks have been spotted in Ohio throughout the year. However, they are most commonly spotted during migration from September to 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)

You might encounter these ducks at any time of year. They are most frequently spotted, however, between October and April, so look out for them over the winter months.

Eurasian Wigeon

Eurasian Wigeon
  • Mareca penelope
  • Length: 18 – 20 in (46 – 51 cm)
  • Weight: 35.27 oz (1000 g)
  • Wingspan: 30 – 32 in (76 – 81 cm)

Eurasian wigeons aren’t particularly common ducks here in Ohio. But they have certainly been spotted and the best chances of seeing one are during the winter months.

Buffleheads

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

These diving ducks are winter residents in Ohio. They usually arrive here in around November and will remain until the spring when they usually depart around April. However, some individuals do stay here year-round.

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)

Ring-necked ducks have been spotted in Ohio throughout the whole of the year. However, they are usually considered to be winter residents and are best spotted between October and April.

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)

Again, these ducks can be present in Ohio year-round. In winter, however, they are more commonly spotted, and you can expect to see them in this state between October and May.

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)

Ruddy ducks can also be year-round residents of Ohio. However, more of these ducks show up over the winter months.

Therefore, you may stand the best chance of seeing this duck species when their numbers swell between October and May.

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 can also be year-round inhabitants of this state. However, they’re present in Ohio in larger numbers during the winter months and are most frequently spotted here between October and May.

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 Ohio is the canvasback. This duck overwinters in this state and can typically be seen here between November and the middle of April.

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)

It’s most common to see greater scaup in Ohio between October and May, as these ducks overwinter in the area.

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 sea ducks can be seen throughout the year in Ohio but it’s more common to see them here in the winter months. Generally, you will tend to see hooded mergansers between November and March.

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)

This is another duck that will tend to spend the winter in Ohio. You can expect to see the red-breasted merganser here between November and May.

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)

The common merganser can be seen here occasionally in summer. However, most are present in Ohio from November to April, so winter is the best time to see them.

These aren’t the only ducks that you might encounter in Ohio. But if you are looking to discover more about ducks in this region, and perhaps spot some for yourself, then the species listed above could be 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.