Mottled Duck

Anas fulvigula
Range Map

This bird loves the coastal zone along the Gulf of Mexico. Looking similar to female Mallards, Mexican Ducks or American Black Ducks, they sometimes will hybridize with them, especially with the more sexually aggressive Mallards. Such interbreeding poses a threat to the future of Mottled Ducks.

Mottled Ducks in south Florida, sometimes called the Florida Duck, are a different subspecies than those living along the gulf from Louisiana to Tobasco, Mexico. Most of these ducks do not migrate far from the shores along the Gulf of Mexico, but a few of these ducks will wander as far north as Kansas from Texas and Louisiana.

There is some disagreement among scientists about subspecies within the Mottled Duck populations. Some view them as monotypic, but others call for two subspecies:

  • A. f. Fulvigula lives in Florida.
  • A. f. Maculosa lives on the Gulf coast, which is said to be darker than the Florida Duck.

As all my experiences with Mottled Ducks were with Texas birds, I would expect they were the A. f. Maculosa subspecies. On South Padre Island, the Mottled Ducks I met were not shy. If I remained still, they would waddle past me within a few feet.

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