March 12 2020
Seen at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware during a week-long stay in the DE, MD, PA & DC area.
The American black duck (Anas rubripes) is a large dabbling duck in the family Anatidae. It is the heaviest species in the genus Anas, weighing 720–1,640 g (1.59–3.62 lb) on average and measuring 54–59 cm (21–23 in) in length with a 88–95 cm (35–37 in) wingspan. It somewhat resembles the female and eclipse male mallard in coloration, but has a darker plumage. The male and female are generally similar in appearance, but the male’s bill is yellow while the female’s is dull green with dark marks on the upper mandible. It is native to eastern North America. During the breeding season, it is usually found in coastal and freshwater wetlands from Saskatchewan to the Atlantic in Canada and the Great Lakes and the Adirondacks in the United States. It is a partially migratory species, mostly wintering in the east-central United States, especially in coastal areas.
It interbreeds regularly and extensively with the mallard, to which it is closely related. The female lays six to fourteen oval eggs, which have smooth shells and come in varied shades of white and buff green. Hatching takes 30 days on average. Incubation usually takes 25 to 26 days, with both sexes sharing duties, although the male usually defends the territory until the female reaches the middle of her incubation period. It takes about six weeks to fledge. Once the eggs hatch, the hen leads the brood to rearing areas with abundant invertebrates and vegetation.