Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

11 Colorful and Beautiful Duck Breeds (with Pictures)

Northern Shoveler duck in the lake

Ducks are a special breed of bird. They may not spend much time flying in the air, but they have plenty of experience when it comes to living on the water. There are many colorful birds in existence, including a range of duck breeds. Of course, some are prettier than others. If you’re wondering what kinds of stunning duck breeds are out there, we have you covered. Check out 11 of the most colorful and beautiful duck breeds in the world.

divider-birds

The 11 Colorful and Beautiful Duck Breeds

1. The Mandarin Duck

Mandarin duck standing near the water
Image Credit: blende12, Pixabay

This is one of the most popular types of ducks in existence due to the breed’s extravagant colors and patterns. These gorgeous ducks originated in Asia, but they now live in many parts of the world, including England, the United States, and Russia. These ducks enjoy spending their time hunting in lake water and perching on dense trees.

Mandarin ducks have wingspans of up to 30 inches long. Male Mandarin ducks have deep purple chests and many vibrantly colored markings all over their bodies. Females have rings around their eyes and white stripes on their flanks. Both sexes typically have red bills and orangish legs and feet.


2. The Knob-Billed Duck

Knob-billed duck standing on a rock
Image Credit: sarangib, Pixabay

Knob-Billed ducks can be found living in parts of Africa and Asia, in marshes, swamps, and fields. They eat a variety of different types of food, including small fish and insects, grass seeds, and certain weeds. They tend to reproduce during the rainy seasons, yet some breed during other parts of the year, depending on their specific location.

This duck breed gets their name from the large knob that is present on the top of the male’s bill. These are large ducks that have bright blue and purple backs, orange-tinged backends, and freckled heads and necks. Their undersides show a hint of silver, and they have dark legs.


3. The Spectacled Eider Duck

Portrait of a spectacled Eider duck
Image Credit: PublicDomainImages, Pixabay

These majestic-looking ducks are medium in size and have oddly shaped heads that taper off into their beaks. They live in the seas of Siberia and off the Alaskan coasts where it gets extremely cold. Unfortunately, these ducks must combat oil spillage and warming climate temperatures in today’s world.

These ducks have bright orange beaks, black bodies, white backs, and white circles around their eyes. The backs of their heads are mossy green, and they have brownish markings underneath their eyes. The males tend to change color during the summer and become brown due to mottling.


4. The King Eider Duck

a King Eider duck swimming in a harbour
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

Like the Knob-Billed duck, this breed has a large knob on their beak but instead of being black, their knobs are bright yellow in color. Some people think that the knob resembles a crown, which is why the word king made it into their name. They can be found living in the wild in a few different places, like Canada, Russia, and even Greenland.

The heads of these ducks are usually silvery gray, and their bills are bright orange. Their lower bodies and wings are black with white markings. Their upper chests are golden. Their legs are dark and lanky. When it comes time to mate, the males grow extremely vibrant plumage to attract the females. They spend most of their time in the ocean and eat seafood.


5. The Ruddy Duck

a Ruddy duck on a river
Image Credit: gayleenfroese2, Pixabay

This is an unusual yet beautiful duck breed that has features that many other breeds do not. First, their long, bright blue bills stand out from all their other features. Second, their tails stick up in the air instead of lying flat behind the back. These are small ducks with compact bodies and big round eyes. Their bodies are light to dark brown, and their heads are black and white.

Ruddy Ducks do not fly much, but they are expert gliders in the water. After mating, the females lay large white eggs that have a pebble-like texture to them. These ducks are known for being aggressive and sometimes attack other animals or even those of their own species at times.


6. The White-Headed Duck

This rare duck breed is small, but their hardy bodies make it easy for them to thrive. Unfortunately, they are considered a threatened species, and there are currently only about 10,000 of them in the wild. White-Headed ducks live in the waters off of Spain, Africa, Asia, and other similar regions.

These ducks do not fly much, and they are not known to make much noise. They have dark bodies and white heads with blue or black bills (males and females, respectively). Their legs are black and stalky. They may have green and red-hued markings on their bodies.


7. The Long-Tailed Duck

a long tailed duck swimming on clear water
Image Credit: Jim Nelson, Shutterstock

These like to spend the winter months along the coasts of oceans in the Arctic. These are deep-divers and can reach food sources more than 100 feet underwater. Sometimes, they spend more time underwater than they do above the surface.

The extra-long tail feathers are what sets this duck breed apart from the others. The males have two distinct plumages on their tails that are about half the length of their bodies. They have round heads, big eyes, and short black and pink bills. They have white bodies and brown wings.


8. The Northern Shoveler Duck

a Northern Shoveler duck on a river
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Northern Shovelers are found in many places, including Europe, India, Asia, and North America.  These ducks typically spend their time in wetlands and lagoons, but they have been known to hang out in lakes and marshes. They use their bills to filter seeds in the water for nutrition, so they are often seen with their heads down and their bills skimming from left to right.

Male Northern Shovelers have dark green heads, white bodies, rusty sides, and black and blue wing feathers. Females are brown in color and may have light blue markings on their wings. Males have extremely large black bills that look kind of like shovels. Females have orange bills.


9. The Mallard Duck

Mallard duck swimming in the water
Image Credit: NickyPe, Pixabay

Mallard ducks are extremely popular and recognizable. They live in a wide variety of different places, such as lakes, ponds, marshes, lagoons, and even streams. Many public parks with ponds have Mallard ducks living there. These ducks do not dive into the water to get their food. Instead, they dunk their heads while their tails and feet stick up in the air.

These waterproof birds have deep green heads, white-ringed necks, black chests, and silvery wing feathers. Their bills are yellow. Females are mottled brown and don’t hold a candle to the males when it comes to color and beauty.


10. The Surf Scoter Duck

This unique duck breed can be found living on the coastlines of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They stick to coastal areas and are amazing divers. They typically eat tiny fish, crustaceans, weeds, and seeds. These ducks lay their eggs in nests on the ground, under rock formations and tree branches.

While the Surf Scoter duck is not as colorful as some other duck breeds, they are still beautiful. This breed has a shiny black body, a long beak with red, orange, and white markings, and big white spots on their foreheads. Their bright round eyes stand out and give them an inquisitive look.


11. The Smew Duck

Smew duck swimming in the lake
Image Credit: Johnnys_pic, Pixabay

The Smew is a small duck breed that inhabits lakes and rivers where fish are abundant. They have little hooked bills that help them capture small fish when they dive. While they are expert water dwellers, these birds require access to trees to keep their eggs safe.

They migrate during the winter months. The males have bright white bodies and heads, black spots around their black eyes, and white and black wings. The females are gray in color and have brown crests with white markings on their cheeks.

divider-birdcage

In Conclusion: Colorful Duck Breeds

There are many colorful and beautiful ducks in the world today, but these 11 are clear winners in the looks category. Many can be found in places where you might spend time, like at a local lake or pond. So, keep an eye out for colorful ducks next time that you are outdoor. You may recognize a breed from this list!


Featured Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets