Ducks, the divers and the dabblers.
The Dabblers.

Our travels this time takes us to the lakes and ponds, and the small puddles that ducks call their home. These water havens support a vast number of birds, and the ducks are by far the most populous amongst them.

Ducks may come in many shapes and colors, but they actually fall into only two groups, dabblers and divers. Dabblers include mallards, wigeon, pintails, the divers have scaups and goldeneye's swelling their ranks.
The dabblers, although some are capable of diving, tend to dabble in the shallow waters. Here we show a female mallard dabbling. Dabbling ducks need to tip their heads into the water when searching for food. The best design for this is to have their legs near the centre of their bodies to act as a pivot. This design makes it easy for them to tip up and feed on the plants under the water.
The Common Mallard, this is the male, is one of the best known ducks and is the most recognizable throughout most of North America, Europe and in New Zealand where it is the most common of the duck species.
The female mallard is similar in color to many of the ducks so as not to look too conspicuous when nesting.


Dabblers are well adapted with their legs positioned in this way, they are also capable of a vertical take off without having to run across the water. They are also strong walkers and can manage to walk on land quite easily.


Northern Pintail, Anas acuta, this is the male with the very distinctive brown, gray and the white colorings, and the long tail. This is another well distributed duck which breeds, as the common name suggests, in the northern areas of North America, Europe and Asia. It is a strong migratory bird, although many of those that breed in the Canadian prairies, spend the winter on the West coast. Others head South in the winter to warmer climates.
Northern Pintails are fairly large ducks with their long tail giving us the second part of its given common name. Although the female, shown here, has a much shorter tail.
A pair of Northern Shoveler's, Anas clypeata, the male is on the left and the female shoveler is shown on the right. Two more of the dabblers found in similar areas as the pintail, North America, Europe and Asia. It breeds from Hudson Bay and west to Colorado, Nevada and into Oregon.
The European widgeon is adept at munching on short grasses, as shown here in the photo on the right. It prefers not to mingle with other species and is most often found in small groups. As the name suggests, they are a European species and they are considered accidental species in North America, .
The American Wigeon, Anas americana, is common and widespread. It winters farther south than its breeding range, in the southern half of the United States, and the Pacific northwest.
This widgeon enjoys the wetlands and marshes with tall vegetation. It feeds dabbling for plants and grazing. It nests on the ground near water and under some coverage. The female shown on the left, will lay up to 12 eggs.
The Green Winged Teal is another beautiful colored duck. The dark green patch from around the eye down to the neck on a cinnamon colored head with fantastic fine feathers on its chest and sides.
A pair of Gadwals with the male in the top picture and the female below. These are another pair of accomplished dabblers that we find in the ponds,
These ducks are birds of the wetlands and small lakes, marshes with dense vegetation. It usually feeds dabbling in the usual way with the head submerged. It nests on the ground sometimes well away from water.
Dabbling ducks are surely some of the most beautifully colored birds that we are privileged to see.