Skip to Content

Ducks With Red Eyes – 15 Species With Photos!

If you’re looking for help to identify ducks with red eyes, 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 red eyes include the canvasback, wood duck, common pochard, red-breasted merganser, cape teal, cinnamon teal, and many others. 

Examples of black ducks with red eyes include the rosy-billed pochard and southern pochard.

Here are 15 of the most interesting ones.

Ducks With Red Eyes

Rosy-Billed Pochard

Rosy-Billed Pochard
Source: Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Netta peposaca
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years in the wild
  • Wingspan: 28.3-33 in
  • Eye Color: Bright red

Rosy-billed pochards, also known as rosybills or rosybill pochards, are unmistakable diving ducks endemic to South America. 

They inhabit marshes, shallow waters, duckweed-covered ponds, swamps, and small lakes with floating vegetation of Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. 

Their scientific name “Netta” is an ancient Greek word meaning “duck” while the “peposaca” comes from the South American Guarani language meaning “snowy wings” and refers to their white wing stripes best seen during flight. 

Male rosy-billed pochards have striking bright red eyes, black heads, backs, and tails, white vents, and gray sides.

They also have bright rosy red beaks with bulbous basal shields that increase in color and size when the breeding season comes. 

Females have brown plumage, dark beaks, white bellies, and yellow-orange or gray legs. 

Identify rosy-billed pochards also by their deep honks.

These red-eyed ducks are partially migratory and move to lower altitudes when the winter comes. 

They are very gregarious species and might form flocks including thousands of birds outside of breeding season.

Rosy-billed pochards will stay together only for a season; they breed from October to November and females build nests using leaves, grass, and twigs on shores of water with vegetation to use as cover. 

Females lay up to 10 cream-greenish colored eggs, occasionally in other birds’ nests, and raise the ducklings without males helping them. 

Rosy-billed pochards are omnivores and feed on grass, seeds, aquatic plants, and some animal products. 

Despite being classified as diving ducks, they rarely dive and primarily forage by dabbling on the water surface. 

Wood Duck

wood duck
  • Scientific Name: Aix sponsa
  • Lifespan: 3-4 years
  • Wingspan: 26-29 in 
  • Eye Color: Bright red

Wood ducks are also known as Carolina ducks.

They are one of the most colorful North American waterfowl. 

Identify male wood ducks by their multicolored plumage and bright red eyes; females are grayish-brown with white eyerings and blue speculum. 

Both sexes have crests on their heads. 

Listen for the male’s rising whistle “jeee” call or the female’s drawn-out, rising squeal that sounds like “do-weep do-weep.” 

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

Wood ducks breed in wooded swamps, shallow lakes, marshes, ponds, and creeks on the west coast of the USA, eastern parts of the USA, southern Canada, and on the west coast of Mexico.

They nest in cavities in trees close to the water and have a clutch of 7-15 white-tan eggs; they are the only North American ducks that can produce two broods in one season. 

Although permanent residents in their southern range, some northern populations will migrate to the southwestern USA and northwestern parts of Mexico for winter. 

Attract wood ducks by putting up a nest box to attract a pair. Just make sure you place it before their breeding season starts in early spring.

They were almost extinct in the early 20th century due to habitat loss and extensive hunting for their meat and plumage, but thanks to strong conservational efforts, the species has recovered. 

Wood ducks forage by dabbling and have an omnivorous diet consisting of nuts, seeds, vegetables, berries, and insects.

Cinnamon Teal

Cinnamon Teal
  • Scientific Name: Spatula cyanoptera
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Wingspan: 22 in
  • Eye Color: Red

Cinnamon teals are small dabbling ducks found in North and South America. 

They breed in marshes and ponds of the western USA and some southwestern parts of Canada. 

The species is migratory and they move to winter in Texas, California, Arizona, Mexico, the Caribbean, and northern parts of South America. 

Identify male cinnamon teals by their cinnamon-red plumage, brown backs, red eyes, and dark beaks. 

Females have mottled brown plumage, pale brown heads, brown eyes, and gray beaks. 

They are mostly found in pairs or small flocks, occasionally together with other species of ducks. 

Cinnamon teals forage by dabbling and consume plants, insects, and mollusks.

Females will build their half-moon-shaped nests using stems and dead grass and lay 8-12 creamy white eggs. 

A rather quiet species, male cinnamon teals will occasionally make low chattering calls while the females quack.

Red-crested Pochard

Red-crested Pochard
  • Scientific Name: Netta rufina
  • Lifespan: 5-10 years
  • Wingspan: 34 in
  • Eye Color: Bright red

The red-crested pochard is a large diving duck with red eyes found in Europe, Asia, and Africa. 

It breeds in lowland marshes and lakes of southern Europe and Central Asia and migrates to winter in Northern Africa and the Indian subcontinent. 

The species nest among lake vegetation and females lay 8-12 pale green eggs.

Male red-crested pochards are unmistakable by their large, rounded, and rusty-colored heads, long red beaks, white flanks, brown backs, and black breasts. 

Females have pale brown plumage, darker backs, and white-gray faces. 

They are the largest pochard species and measure 20-23 inches in length, weigh up to 2 pounds, and span 34 inches across the wings.

Red-crested pochards are very social ducks and will form huge flocks when the winter comes; they might include other diving ducks like common pochards. 

Identify males by their wheezing “veht” calls and females by a series of “vrah-vrah” calls. 

Red-crested pochards are omnivores that forage by either diving or dabbling and consume aquatic plants, small fish, and invertebrates. 


  • Scientific Name: Aythya valisineria
  • Lifespan: up to 22 years
  • Wingspan: 31-35 in
  • Eye Color: Bright red (in breeding season) and dull red (in non-breeding season)

Canvasbacks are one the largest North American species of diving duck. 

They measure from 19 to 22 inches in length, weigh from 1.9 to 3.5 pounds, and span up to 35 inches across the wings. 

Their common name comes from the early European inhabitants of North America describing their backs as having “canvas-like colors”. 

Males have white plumage, black chests, reddish-brown heads, and red eyes. 

During the breeding season, males have bright red eyes; when the non-breeding season comes, the eyes turn dull red. 

Females have grayish-brown plumage with dark eyes. These ducks also have long, narrow bills that are black in males and grayish-blue in females.

Canvasbacks breed in lakes, deep-water marshes, bays, and ponds of the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. 

Females lay 5-11 greenish eggs; occasionally in other canvasbacks’ nests, but their own nests might be also parasitized by other diving ducks like Redheads or Ruddy ducks. 

When the winter comes, they are common on deep freshwater lakes and coastal waters of central and southern parts of North America, and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.

Canvasbacks forage by diving or dabbling and have an omnivorous diet consisting of seeds, buds, leaves, roots, insect larvae, and snails. 

Part of their scientific name “valisineria’ comes from their favorite food during the non-breeding season, Vallisneria Americana (wild celery). 

Southern Pochard

Southern Pochard
Source: Derek Keats from Johannesburg, South Africa, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Netta erythrophthalma
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Wingspan: n/a
  • Eye Color: Crimson red

Southern pochards are diving ducks found in South America and Africa. 

They inhabit different shallow fresh waters with submerged vegetation, ranging from lowlands up to 12,000 feet. 

These dark-looking ducks have broad white wing bars that can be seen during flight. 

Male southern pochards have glossy black plumage, chestnut wings, pale blue-gray bills, and crimson red eyes.

Females are brown and have dark brown-red eyes, white around their bills, and a crescent behind their eyes. 

During the breeding season, southern pochards can be very solitary; females will incubate the eggs alone. 

But when the breeding season ends, these gregarious ducks will form flocks that can include 5,000 birds! 

They are omnivores and feed on aquatic plants, larvae, and some aquatic animals; they grab food mainly by diving.

Read More: More examples of ducks that have blue beaks

Red-Breasted Merganser

Red-Breasted Merganser
  • Scientific Name: Mergus serrator
  • Lifespan: up to 9 years
  • Wingspan: 28-34 in
  • Eye Color: Red

Red-breasted mergansers are large diving ducks widespread through North America, Europe, and Asia. 

They measure 20-24 inches long, weigh 1.7-3 pounds, and have a wingspan of 28-34 inches. 

These long-bodied ducks have thin beaks with serrated edges and shaggy crests on their heads. 

Identify male red-breasted mergansers by their black heads with a green sheen, black backs, white necks, rusty breasts, white underparts, and bright red eyes. 

Females and immatures have brown heads and gray bodies.

Males will make catlike “meow” calls when displaying, females will make raspy or croaking “prrak” sounds. 

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

Red-breasted mergansers forage by diving and feed on fish, insects, crustaceans, and frogs. 

In North America, they breed in the northern freshwater lakes and rivers and migrate to winter in coastal waters on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

They stay together for a season, mate from May to June, and lay 5-24 beige-gray eggs. 

Males abandon the females as soon as they start incubating the eggs.

These ducks with red eyes are great divers, swimmers, and fliers; the top speed of one red-breasted merganser being pursued by an airplane was measured at an impressive 100 mph!

Common Pochard

Common Pochard
  • Scientific Name: Aythya ferina
  • Lifespan: 8-10 years
  • Wingspan: 30.3 in
  • Eye Color: Bright red

Common pochards are medium-sized diving birds that have small eyes with bright red irises.

They are commonly found in marshes and lakes of Europe, Asia, and Africa. 

Adult males have rusty heads, pale gray plumage, black breasts, and broad pale bluish parts on their bills.

Females are mostly brown and have narrower grayish bill bands. 

Identify male common pochards by their whistles that end with nasal “aaoo-oo-haa” notes and females by their hoarse growls.

Quite gregarious species, common pochards will form large flocks when the winter comes, often with other diving ducks. 

They are omnivores that mainly feed by diving and consume plants, small fish, mollusks, and insects. 

Due to loss of habitat and hunting, these blue-beaked ducks are now listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

White-cheeked Pintail

White-cheeked Pintail
  • Scientific NameAnas bahamensis
  • Lifespan: up to 14 years
  • Wingspan: 25.2 in
  • Eye Color: Reddish-brown

White-cheeked pintails are also known as summer ducks and Bahama pintails. 

These dabbling ducks are common in mangrove swamps, small lakes, and coastal lagoons of South America, the Caribbean, and the Galapagos Islands.

White-cheeked pintails have brown plumage with red to reddish-brown eyes, white cheeks they were named after, and gray bills with red bases. 

They breed during seasons of heavy rainfall, February-June in the Bahamas, April-July in Puerto Rico, April-November in Trinidad and Tobago, and lay 5-12 eggs. 

The species is usually monogamous but males might occasionally reproduce with other females. They build their nests on the ground near water and under vegetation. 

During the breeding season, they can be seen in pairs; during the non-breeding season, they might form small flocks of 10-12 individuals, occasionally up to 100. 

White-cheeked pintails forage by dabbling or diving and feed on seeds, algae, and small aquatic invertebrates. 

Identify these ducks with red eyes by the low squeaky sounds males make and the females’ low quacks descending in pitch. 

Their main predators are laughing gulls and mongoose who eat their eggs, snooks and barracudas that eat their ducklings, and peregrine falcons that eat the adults. 

To escape from danger, they might dive underwater.

Cape Teal

Cape Teal
  • Scientific Name: Anas capensis
  • Lifespan: up to 30 years in captivity
  • Wingspan: 31.5 in
  • Eye Color: Red-orange

These medium-sized and compact dabbling ducks are commonly found in open wetlands of sub-Saharan Africa. 

They measure around 18 inches in length and weigh 0.88 lbs on average. 

Cape teals have pale gray plumage, brown backs, pink beaks, and orange-reddish eyes. 

Females are slightly smaller, paler, and less speckled than males. 

During the flight, they will show a green patch surrounded by white in their wings. 

Identify cape teals by the sounds they make mostly during their breeding season: sharp nasal calls and high-pitched whistling “swii-tsiiu” calls of males and loud and nasal “querck” by females. 

They are omnivores and feed on insects, larvae, seeds, leaves, and stems of aquatic plants. 

Cape teals mostly forage by dabbling, but can also swim underwater with their wings closed (just like true diving ducks). 

The species is mostly non-migratory, although they might move following the rains.

In eastern parts of Africa, they breed between March and May; in south Africa, between August and November. 

They nest on the ground, hidden among vegetation, and lay 6-11 pale-orange eggs; cape teals are thought to mate for life. 

They are usually found in family groups or pairs, but when the molting time comes, they might gather in groups of several hundred birds!

Crested Duck

Patagonian Crested Duck
Source: Chris Pearson, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Lophonetta specularioides
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Wingspan: n/a
  • Eye Color: Red

Crested ducks, also known as South American crested ducks, are medium-sized waterfowl native to South America. 

They inhabit wetlands, lakes, bogs, rivers, and seacoasts. 

There are 2 subspecies, Patagonian crested ducks and Andean crested ducks. 

Patagonian crested ducks have red eyes while the ones living in the northern Andes have orange-red irises. 

Crested ducks have grayish-brown plumage, darker faces, short bushy crests, and gray legs and beaks. 

Notice the big white panel on the trailing edge of the wing that can be seen during flight. 

Crested ducks are rather noisy and males often make short croaking “worr” and whistled “shii-ou” calls; females make low “kek-kek” and barking “gruuf” sounds. 

They are highly territorial during the breeding season, they stay in pairs or small groups, and can be often seen chasing intruders away from their territories. 

The breeding season of crested ducks depends on the range: those in the Falklands breed from August to April while those in the Andean mountains breed from October to April. They will often have 2-3 broods per year and lay 5-8 cream-colored eggs. 

The species is monogamous and while the females are the ones to incubate the eggs alone, males help with rearing the ducklings. 

When the breeding season ends, they can form huge flocks in estuaries near the coast. 

Crested ducks are omnivores and have a diet consisting of aquatic plants, insects, larvae, mollusks, and crustaceans; they forage by dabbling. 

Gray Teal

Gray Teal
Source: Sid Mosdell from New Zealand, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Anas gracilis
  • Lifespan: 2-4 years
  • Wingspan: 23.6-26.3 in
  • Eye Color: Crimson red

Gray teals are small dabbling ducks from New Zealand and Australia. 

These dark ducks can be identified by their crimson-colored irises; red eyes are more prominent in adult males. 

Gray teals have plain grayish-brown mottled plumage with white and green flashes on their wings. They also have blue-gray bills with dark lines around the edges. 

The species is rather vocal and can be heard at night; males will make soft “preep” while the females make loud “quack” calls.

Gray teals inhabit shallow water areas like swamps, freshwater lakes, and lagoons. They are very gregarious species and will often form flocks consisting of thousands of birds. 

One of the numerous ducks in Australia, people there hunt them during the hunting season; in New Zealand, hunting is prohibited. 

Some scientists speculate a global population of over 1 million birds. 

Gray teals breed in shallow temporary waters, usually from June to January (in New Zealand). They will nest on the ground under tall grasses or in tree holes and have a clutch of 6-14 cream eggs. 

Females are also known to lay their eggs in other gray teals’ nests. 

These ducks are omnivores and feed on insects and seeds of aquatic plants. They usually forage at night but can be seen feeding at dawn and dusk.

Chestnut Teal

Chestnut Teal
  • Scientific Name: Anas castanea
  • Lifespan: 10 years
  • Wingspan: n/a
  • Eye Color: Deep red

Chestnut teals are small dabbling ducks of Australia. 

They inhabit coastal wetlands and estuaries where they feed on plants, seeds, insects, mollusks, and crustaceans. 

Identify males by their metallic green heads, rich chestnut flanks, and bluish bills; females have brown heads and mottled brown plumage. 

Chestnut teals have deep red irises in their eyes and dark pupils. 

Females can also be recognized by their penetrating and repeated “quack” calls that sound like laughter, while the males make sharp whistles and grunts. 

The species is monogamous and stay together for life. Their breeding season usually lasts from July to November and males and females will protect their nesting site; they build their nests over water, in tree holes, and occasionally on the ground. 

Males stay with females while they incubate their 7-10 light-cream eggs.

White-winged Duck

White-winged Duck
  • Scientific Name: Asarcornis scutulata 
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Wingspan: 46-60 in 
  • Eye Color: Bright red or orange

Also known as white-winged wood ducks, white-winged ducks are one of the largest duck species in the world.

They measure 26-32 inches in length, weigh up to 8.6 pounds, and span up to 5 feet across the wings. 

Male white-winged ducks have blackish plumage and white heads with black speckles. Females are smaller than males are have mottled heads and upper necks. 

These ducks can have bright red or orange color of their eyes.

White-winged ducks are rather shy species that feed at night. They consume seeds, grain, rice, aquatic plants, insects, snails, and small fish. 

White-winged ducks are found in Asia, around dense tropical evergreen forests, rivers, and swamps. 

They inhabit countries like Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, India, Bangladesh, and Burma. 

They are cavity nesters that use tree holes high from the ground to build their nests and lay up to 16 eggs. White-winged ducks are monogamous and mate for life. 

Due to hunting, habitat loss, and small population, the IUCN has listed them as Endangered with an estimated 1,000 individuals in existence today.

Read More: More examples of black and white duck species

Sunda Teal

Sunda Teal
Source: Mat & Cathy Gilfedder, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Scientific Name: Anas gibberifrons
  • Lifespan: n/a
  • Wingspan: 23.6-26.3 in
  • Eye Color: Ruby red

Sunda teals are dabbling ducks found in Indonesia. 

They are also known as Bebek cokelats or Itik benjuts and inhabit all types of wetlands, temporarily flooded areas, coastal lagoons, and rivers. 

Sunda teals have dull brown plumage with ruby red eyes; males and females look alike. 

These ducks also have bulging foreheads and bright green and white wing patches. 

Sunda teals forage by dabbling and have a diet consisting of seeds, aquatic and coastal plants, grasses, sedges, insects, insect larvae, mollusks, and crustaceans. 

They are very vocal; males will make soft “peeep” while females make loud “quack” calls. 

Sunda teals breed in freshwater lakes and marshes and build their nests either on the ground or in tree holes. Females will lay 7-9 eggs and stay together with their partners for life. 

They can be usually seen in pairs or small groups.


This concludes our list of ducks with red eyes.

Examples of red-eyed ducks include several types of diving ducks and dabbling ducks.

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 birds: List of ducks with long necks and list of owls with blue eyes

    Skip to content