Ducks With Orange Beaks – 15 Species With Photos

If you’re looking for help to identify ducks with orange beaks, this will be the best article you read today. 

In this post, you will find photos, identification info, calls, and all the fun facts you need. 

Examples of ducks with orange beaks include the Mexican duck, surf scoter, Fuegian steamer duck, female mallard, Falkland steamer duck, Saxony duck, and many others. 

Duck beaks get their color from carotenoids, the same pigments that make vegetables brightly colored – more carotenoids result in a brighter beak color.

Here are the 15 of the most interesting ones.

Ducks With Orange Beaks

Spectacled Eider

Spectacled Eider
  • Scientific Name: Somateria fischeri
  • Lifespan: up to 15 years
  • Size: 20-22 in
  • Beak Color: Bright orange

These large sea ducks measure around 21 inches in length and have a wingspan of 36 inches. 

Spectacled eiders are unique-looking birds that breed on the tundra in Alaska and far eastern Russia and winter in huge flocks in the Bering Sea. 

They reach their breeding grounds in late May and June; females lay 3-9 olive-green eggs and take care of the eggs alone as males leave them. 

Spectacled eiders are unmistakable with their black bodies, white backs, and brilliant white “goggles” outlined in black. 

Another distinguishing characteristic includes a bright orange bill with white feathers at the base.

Females are mostly dark brown with pale goggles. 

Part of their scientific name “fischeri” is after Johann Fischer von Waldheim, a German scientist. 

Spectacled eiders mostly forage by dabbling and diving and can stay underwater longer than most other ducks. 

They are omnivorous and have a diet consisting of mollusks, aquatic insects, crustaceans, and plants.

Identify male spectacled eiders by the soft “hoo-hoo” calls during courting and guttural croaks of the females.


Magpie Duck

Magpie Duck
  • Scientific Name: n/a
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years
  • Weight: 4.5-7 lb
  • Beak Color: Orange-yellow

Magpie ducks are a breed of domestic ducks. 

They are easy to recognize by their black and white plumage and long and curved necks. 

Because of the head shape and dark crowns, it appears the ducks are wearing flat caps on their heads.

Magpie ducks also have broad and long bills that have an orange-yellow color. 

These ducks were bred in Wales (Great Brittain) after the end of World War 1 and reached the United States in 1963; it took 14 years for them to be admitted to the American Standard of Perfection, in 1977. 

Magpie ducks are kept as utility birds, for meat and eggs – they lay around 80 eggs a year and can weigh up to 7 pounds.


Surf Scoter

surf scoter
Source: ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Melanitta perspicillata
  • Lifespan: 9-10 years 
  • Size: 19 in
  • Beak Color: Multicolored (orange, white, and black)

Surf scoters are large sea ducks native to North America. 

They are “molt migrants”  and after nesting, adults will go to a specific area to molt their flight feathers. 

Recognize them by their jet black plumage and white patches on the foreheads and the napes.

Surf scoters also have swollen beaks that appear orange at a distance – they are patterned with white, red, and yellow, and have a black spot near the base.

Females are slightly smaller and browner than males – they also have bulkier bills with squarish bases and more flattened head profiles than other scoters.

These orange-billed ducks breed in Canada and Alaska and migrate to the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America for winter. 

Surf scoters breed in boreal forests near freshwater lakes and winter in marine habitats near the shore. 

These birds are mostly quiet but will make a couple of sounds: gurgling calls, explosive “puk-puk,” and “guk” alarm calls. 

To catch the prey, they will dive and go up to 30 feet deep. Surf scoters are carnivores and mostly feed on mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, small fish, marine worms, etc.


Mexican Duck

Mexican Duck
Source: ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Anas diazi
  • Lifespan: up to 5 years
  • Size: 20-22 in
  • Beak Color: Mottled orange in females

One of the least known and most misunderstood of all North American waterfowl, Mexican ducks are dabbling ducks native to Mexico and the southwestern USA. 

They are commonly found around wetlands, including rivers and ponds, where they forage by dabbling (feeding mainly at the surface) and have a diet including insects, larvae, snails, shrimp, earthworms, and plants. 

Both sexes look like female mallards and have brown plumage and the blue speculum (secondary wing feathers) with white edges. 

Female Mexican ducks have mottled orange beaks while the males have dull yellowish ones. 

They are usually seen in pairs or small flocks; identify males by their nasal calls and females by a familiar “quack‘ call. 

Due to overhunting and habitat loss, their population has been on the decline. 


White-winged Scoter

White-winged Scoter
Source: ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Melanitta deglandi
  • Lifespan: up to 18 years
  • Size: 19-24 in
  • Beak Color: Orange

White-winged scoters are the largest scoter species in the world. 

These sea ducks can measure 19-24 inches in length, weigh almost 4.7 pounds, and span about 2.6 feet across their wings!

Recognize males by their silken black plumage with large white patches on the wings that are visible mostly during flight and white spots around the eyes. 

Females are dark brownish-black and have two whitish patches on the sides of their heads.

White-winged scoters also have black feathers extending onto their beaks; the tips of their beaks are orange. 

They are common around freshwater lakes and wetlands in the northwestern parts of North America. 

White-winged scoters will spend winter on the Great Lakes, the coasts of the northern United States, and the southern coasts of Canada. 

They are omnivores that feed mostly on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, insects, and some plants. 

Because of their large size, white-winged scoters can dive over 65 feet to find larger prey. 

These enormous black-colored waterbirds are also monogamous and stay together for life.

Further Reading: More examples of the world’s largest black birds


Falkland Steamer Duck

Falkland Steamer Duck
Source: dfaulder, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Tachyeres brachypterus
  • Lifespan: up to 20 years in captivity
  • Size: 24-29.1 in
  • Beak Color: Bright orange

Locally known as Logger Ducks, these flightless ducks are found only in the Falkland Islands, in the South Atlantic Ocean. 

They were named after the way they swim – Falkland steamer ducks flap their wings and feet on the water, similar to those old paddle steamers. 

These large ducks measure up to 29.1 inches long and can weigh up to 10.5 pounds. 

Males have brown-gray plumage with whitish heads; females are slightly darker and have brown necks and heads. 

Falkland steamer males have very distinctive bright orange beaks; in females and juveniles, the beaks are olive-green. 

They are found along the coast, around small rocky islands, sheltered inlets, bays, and coastal ponds. 

These ducks love to gather in small family groups that include the pair and the chicks; non-breeding adults and juveniles might make flocks with up to 300 ducks. 

The species is very noisy and males often make loud rasping whistles and sharp tickling notes while the females make deeper grunts. 

They mostly forage by diving and use their small wings and large feet to move underwater. Their diet includes marine mollusks and crustaceans. 

Falkland steamer ducks usually breed from September to December, males are extremely aggressive during that period and will often get in fights with other males. 

Females will lay 4-12 eggs that they incubate while the males defend their nests. 


King Eider

King Eider
  • Scientific Name: Somateria spectabilis
  • Lifespan: up to 19 years
  • Size: 20-28 in 
  • Beak Color: Bright orange-red

King eiders are unique-looking sea ducks that breed along the coasts of northeast Europe, North America, and Asia. 

Males are unmistakable due to their beautiful head patterns. 

Breeding males have black bodies, white mantles, breasts, and necks. Their heads, napes, and crowns are bluish-gray and their cheeks are white and olive-green. 

King eiders also have huge knobs on their orange-red beaks. 

Non-breeding males have dull black-brown plumage while the females are brown-reddish. 

Immature males resemble females but have white breasts and orange bills.

During the flight, king eiders will make low croaking sounds; during the breeding season, they will make loud “ah-ou” and soft “urr-urr” calls while the females make raucous “krr” calls. 

These large ducks will spend most of the year at sea but when the breeding season comes, they will inhabit the freshwater lakes, pools, small rivers, and bogs of the Arctic tundra.

As part of their courting ritual, males will perform “pushing displays” where they push their heads up while their beaks are pointed downwards; then, they retract the beaks smoothly down again. 

They forage by dabbling and diving (going as deep as 82 feet) and have a diet consisting of mollusks, crustaceans, insects, seeds, and plants. 

Their breeding season starts in June, their nests are shallow scrapes on the ground, and females lay 4-5 pale olive eggs that they alone incubate. 

While that happens, males will be on nearby coasts to molt. 

King eiders are commonly seen alone or in small flocks in the ocean, often with other sea ducks. 

The species are called “king” due to their crown-like knobs above the beaks of the males.


Fuegian Steamer Duck

Fuegian Steamer Duck
  • Scientific Name: Tachyeres pteneres
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Size: 26-33 in
  • Beak Color: Bright orange

Fuegian steamer ducks, also known as Magellanic flightless steamer ducks, are birds native to South America. 

These flightless ducks are commonly found on rocky coasts and coastal islands, ranging from Chile to the southernmost part of South America. 

They are the largest steamer duck species – they weigh from 7.7 to 15.4 pounds and measure from 26 to 33 inches in length. 

Fuegian steamer ducks have a wingspan ranging from 33 to 43 inches but their wings are too small to allow them to fly. Instead, the species uses them as paddles to move across the water. 

Fuegian steamer ducks have steely blue-gray plumage and bright orange beaks in southern parts of the continent; those living in southern Chile (around the Chiloe Island) have orange beaks with a greenish distal patch. 

Males become very aggressive when the breeding season comes and will attack everybody, even other water birds. 

Some studies suggest that this behavior is part of the pair-bonding ritual. 

During winter, they calm down and will even form mixed flocks with other birds.

They might use abandoned penguin nest burrows and lay 4-11 eggs that females incubate for around a month. 

Fuegian steamer ducks are carnivores and feed on small fish, mollusks, and crustaceans.


Mallard

mallards
  • Scientific Name: Anas platyrhynchos
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Size: 20-26 in
  • Beak Color: Mottle orange in females

Mallards, also known as wild ducks, are large dabbling ducks found in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and North Africa. They were also introduced to New Zealand, Australia, the Falkland Islands, and South Africa. 

Mallards are considered the ancestors of nearly all domestic duck breeds. 

They are found anywhere with water, including city parks, backyard creeks, and various wetland habitats.

Identify male mallards by their dark green heads, white collars, and yellowish-green beaks with black tips; females and juveniles have mottled brown plumage and orange bills with brown spots. 

Females make a duck-like quack, males do not. Instead, males produce deeper, raspier one and two-note calls or rattling sounds by rubbing their bills against their flight feathers. 

Source: Jonathon JongsmaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A male mallard is called a drake and the female is a hen. 

These orange-billed ducks fly fast and swim well – they have a 3 ft wide wingspan and can reach a top speed of 70 mph! 

Mallards are omnivorous and eat plants and small fish, insects, frogs, and fish eggs.

Want to see over 40 examples of birds that have orange-colored beaks? Check this article.


Black Scoter

Black Scoter With An Orange Beak
Source: Don Faulkner, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Melanitta americana
  • Lifespan: up to 11 years
  • Size: 17-19 in
  • Beak Color: Orange-yellow

Black scoters, also known as American scoters, are large sea ducks typically seen in flocks in coastal areas. 

They breed on ponds in the Arctic tundra and migrate to the northern USA, Canada, the Pacific coast, Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Asia; some populations might even winter on the Great Lakes. 

Part of their scientific name, “Melanitta” comes from the Greek words “melas” and “netta” meaning “black” and “duck.” 

As the name suggests, male black scoters are all black; the females are mostly brown. 

These sea ducks have very conspicuous and broad bills with bright orange-yellow knobs. 

Black scoters have several vocalizations: descending “wheeoo” whistles during courting, rattling “tuka-tuka” calls, and low growling “tooo-it” flight calls. 

They are very social birds and form large flocks during winter. 

They breed later than most other ducks in North America; they pair in late winter or spring and have 5-7 eggs that females incubate. 

Black scoters feed on insects, larvae, fish eggs, crustaceans, mollusks, and some plants.


American Pekin Duck

American Pekin Duck
  • Scientific Name: n/a
  • Lifespan: 8-12 years 
  • Weight: 8-11 lb
  • Beak Color: Deep orange-yellow

American Pekins, also known as white Pekins, are an American breed of domestic ducks that are mostly raised for meat. 

They were bred from ducks that were imported to the USA in the 19th century from China. 

People also call them Long Island Duck as they were reared on Long Island, New York, in the late 19th century.

American Pekins have white plumage and short orange-yellow beaks, legs, and feet. 

In the USA, there are tens of millions of these birds; they are large and can reach 8 pounds in less than 2 months. Pekin ducks will also lay around 150 eggs per year.


Black-bellied Whistling Duck

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks With Orange Bills
  • Scientific Name: Dendrocygna autumnalis
  • Lifespan: 15 years in captivity
  • Size: 19-22 in
  • Beak Color: Bright orange-pink

Black-bellied whistling ducks are medium-sized ducks with long necks and legs. 

They are also known as black-bellied tree ducks and generally speaking, they are one of the most erect of all ducks. 

Compared to other ducks, black-bellied whistling ducks have extremely elongated legs and necks and slower flights – this is a characteristic of geese and swans and might suggest a close relationship between them.

Black-bellied whistling ducks are found in North, Central, and South America. 

They are one of the two whistling duck species native to North America; in the USA, they can be seen year-round in Florida, southeast Texas, coastal parts of Alabama and Mississippi, and in Arizona during summer.

These ducks inhabit lakes, marshes, rice fields, and swamps. 

Black-bellied whistling ducks have chestnut and black plumage, bright orange-pink beaks and legs, gray faces and necks, bold white wing stripes seen during flight, and white eye-rings. 

Identify them also by their whistling “waa-choo” calls. 

Source: Oliver KomarCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

They are very social and form huge flocks outside of the breeding season, sometimes including hundreds of birds. 

Black-bellied whistling ducks are monogamous and pair for many years – both parents incubate the eggs and raise the ducklings. They are cavity nesters and make their nests in tree hollows where they lay 9-18 milky white eggs. 

Females might resort to “egg dumping” where they lay their eggs in the nests of other black-bellied whistling ducks. 

Black-bellied whistling ducks mostly forage at night and feed on plants, insects, spiders, snails, mollusks, and tadpoles. 

Scientists estimate a total population of 1-2 million birds.

Read More: More examples of ducks with huge necks


Saxony Duck

Saxony Duck
Source: Susanne Max, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: n/a
  • Lifespan: 9-12 years
  • Weight: 8-9 lb
  • Beak Color: Orange

Saxony ducks are another orange-billed breed of domestic ducks. 

They were bred in Saxony in Germany in the 1930s but weren’t recognized until the 1950s, due to World War 2. 

Saxony ducks were imported to the USA in 1984 and were admitted to the Standard of Perfection of the American Poultry Association in 2000. 

These heavy ducks weigh from 8-9 pounds and have dark orange bills and feet, dark brown eyes, and light, cream-colored bellies. 

They lay from 80 to 100 eggs a year.


Velvet Scoter

Velvet Scoter
Source: Vince, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Melanitta fusca
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Size: 20-23 in
  • Beak Color: Orange-yellow

Also called velvet ducks, velvet scoters are large sea ducks found in Europe and Asia. 

They have dark chocolate-brown plumage, white patches on the wings, and bulbous orange-yellow bills with a black base and a pinkish-orange nail. 

The species breeds on lakes, rivers, and ponds in woodlands and tundra of northern Europe; they will spend winters in coastal waters, often in larger flocks. 

Velvet scoters forage by diving underwater and have a diet consisting of mollusks and crustaceans. 


Common Merganser

Common Merganser With Orange Beak
  • Scientific Name: Mergus merganser
  • Lifespan: up to 13 years
  • Size: 23-28.3 in
  • Beak Color: Orange-red

Common mergansers are the largest of the three merganser species found in North America. 

They are also known as goosanders and measure 23-28.3 inches in length, span 3 feet 2 inches across the wings, and weigh up to 4.6 pounds. 

Males have white bodies, black backs, dark heads, and dark eyes.

Females are gray with reddish-brown heads and shaggy crests on the backs of their heads.

Common mergansers have long and thin bills that are bright reddish-orange in males and orange in females.

These ducks are found in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

They breed in northern parts of the US and Canada and can be commonly found around lakes and rivers. 

Look for ducks sitting on rocks in midstream, disappearing around the bends, or flying along the river. You might also spot gulls waiting for these ducks to come to the surface with fish and then try to steal their prey. 

Common mergansers are carnivores that mainly feed on fish, mollusks, crustaceans, worms, insect larvae, and amphibians. 

They are cavity nesters, they build their nests in tree cavities, and females lay 6-17 white-yellowish eggs. 

These black and white ducks are, similarly to common eiders, known to form creches and work together in raising ducklings. 

Scientists once recorded a female with 76 ducklings at the time! 

You can also attract common mergansers by adding nest boxes, just make sure that the entrance is 6 inches in diameter.


Summary

This concludes our list of ducks with orange beaks.

Examples of orange-billed ducks include several types of diving ducks, dabbling ducks, sea ducks, steamer ducks, domestic ducks, etc. 

Hopefully next time you see these birds, you will recognize any of them with ease! 

And if you enjoyed our article, here are our other popular reads on ducks: List of ducks with blue-colored beaks

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