Mottled Ducks and Whistling Ducks were seen at a couple of ponds here in The Villages last week and also a couple of weeks ago. These ducks live at our ponds here all year around and are wild ducks. They eat pond insects, small tadpoles, tiny fish, grains and seeds.
The Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are the one with the gorgeous pink bill and feet. The Florida Mottled Ducks resemble their cousins the Mallard Ducks and the Black Ducks. In fact, there are many hybrid Mallard Mottles here. Florida tries to keep the population of wild Mallard Ducks very low to help prevent inter-breeding. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Mallard Ducks are commonly found here on ponds and lakes. They are handsome social ducks but are not highly appreciated here in Florida as they interbreed with the native Mottled Ducks and create hybrids. I have spotted these Mallard/Mottled Duck hybrids here.
One of the main characteristics of the Mallard Ducks is their loud quacking. they are very vocal and call when flocking up, when trying to attract a female mate, and when alarmed. These ducks have a true strong quack, quack, quack, unlike several other ducks that whistle, chirp or lightly quack.
The males have blue-green feathers on the top of their head and have a streaky tan-colored body with blue and white wing bars. They also have orange feet and a yellow-green bill. The hens are a streaky tan also with the blue and white wing bars, orange feet and yellow-green bill.
Please click on the the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks are sweeties! Yes, I just love these ducks that have real personality and gorgeous looks. I spotted a beautiful family of mother father and ducklings at the decorative pond in front of the Glenview Country Club in The Villages, Florida on Monday afternoon. I also have seen these ducks at the Freedom Point lakes on the Morse Blvd. side near the multi-modal pathway. By the way, the ducklings now have blue bills and feet which will eventually turn coral pink as they mature. Both drakes and hens look very similar. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture.
Florida Mottled Ducks are around in many ponds and lakes here in The Villages, Florida these days. I also have seen a few hybrid Florida Mottled and Mallard ducks here too. Like their cousins the Mallards, Mottled ducks are social and talkative, with a bit softer quack than the more rowdy Mallards.
Mottled Ducks also look quite like a female or hen Mallard or even a Black Duck. These ducks are tipping ducks that tip their head under water slightly to grab passing food. Of course, they also eat insects, small reptiles and frogs and grains or seeds on the shoreline on occasion. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
Mottled Ducks, Egyptian Geese, a Tri-colored Heron, an Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, and Great Egret were all spotted a few days ago on Freedom Pointe Lake and Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL.
The Great Blue Heron, Egyptian Geese, and Anhinga were all sitting on what I call “Pelican Point”. That is the spot where a huge congregation of White Pelicans sits most of the Winter.
The Mottled Duck group was found on Lake Paradise near Boone Park, and the Trip-colored Heron was on the side pond next to Freedom Pointe Lake on Morse Blvd.
Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. As ever, enjoy!
I spotted this lovely family of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks at the Lake Okahumpka County Park in Sumter County, FL near The Villages, on Sunday, August 26, 2018. The juvenile whistlers have a bluish bill and similar colored feet and legs. As they approach adulthood, their bill, legs and feet turn bright pink. The ducklings were feeding while one of the parents stood guard against any predators.
Whistling Ducks are tipping ducks as you can see in several of the pictures. The ducks lean into the water and use their bill to scrape around the mud and water to find any tasty bits of insects, fish eggs, tadpoles, snails, frogs and smaller fish. They also will eat vegetation and seeds. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the picture. Enjoy!
The Florida Mottled Ducklings have made their appearance on lovely little Lake Paradise here in The Villages, FL in recent days. I took these photographs from Schwartz Park last Friday. These ducks are native here in Florida and are very similar to the Mallard Ducks.
The little ducklings are adorable and are still in a very tight single file formation behind their mother. As the ducklings grow, they will venture farther away from mother. I enjoy watching all the baby waterfowl here on our lakes and ponds. It has been very rainy so it is hit or miss whether or not I can get out to do much bird watching. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
This male Hooded Merganser duck was spotted on Sunday March 5, 2017, at the Wal-Mart pond on CR 466 in The Villages, Florida.
The Hooded Merganser was first seen lounging on the base of a large pond fountain. After a moment, the duck slid into the water and paddled off in search of a bite to eat. I did not see a female or hen with the merganser. I did see a few Mallard Ducks there as well as a Little Blue Heron and a single Common Moorhen.
Hooded Mergansers are gorgeous ducks. The males are rusty-brown, white and black in color. Male Hooded Mergansers have a large white hooded region on their heads that they raise when alert or to signal danger to the other ducks. These ducks dive for prey of fish, frogs, crayfish, tadpoles and small tender turtles.
I have been seeing the Hooded Mergansers with some Bufflehead Ducks, and Lesser Scaups around the community in the last couple of weeks. Pretty soon, these migratory ducks will head North. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Here are more photographs of the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks (from a week ago at Paradise Lake in The Villages, FL). Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of that particular photo. Enjoy!
Adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
These Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were photographed early last night at almost dusk, on Lake Paradise at Swartz Park and also at Boone Park, here in The Villages, Florida.
The ducklings were all in a line behind Mom and Dad. Those babies are adorable with their dark blue-grey bills and feet. Mom and Dad have the distinctive coral orange-pink bills and feet. This family is among a small flock on the lake.
I think perhaps a resident offers duck chow but I do not know that for a fact. I believe this flock was also here last year. The “Whistlers” come and go from around The Villages, FL. These ducks love eating aquatic insects, tiny fish, aquatic vegetation, tadpoles, worms, and of course, grain. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the slightly larger version of the photo. Enjoy!
Adult Black-bellied Whistling Duck
Juvenile and Adult Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
The Whistler Family