The ID of the female duck is…

Two days ago I posted an image of a female duck taken at Farmington Bay Wildlife Management Area in Davis County, Utah and a quiz about her ID here.

Female duck ID

The answer to the ID quiz is a female Green-winged Teal!

Out of 49 people taking the quiz there were 6 votes for Mallard, 8 votes for Blue-winged Teal, 9 votes for Gadwall and 26 votes for Green-winged Teal.

Why I would rule out a female Blue-winged Teal:

A female Blue-winged Teal would have a dark eye line with white arcs, a longer, dark bill and yellowish legs, the female Green-winged will not have the white eye arcs, would have a smaller thinner bill and grayish legs.

Why I would rule out a female Mallard:

A female Mallard would have an orange bill with a dark center and yellowish orange legs, the female I posted has a black bill and grayish legs.

Why I would rule out a female Gadwall:

A female Gadwall has yellow legs, a thin bill that is dark on the top and shows orange on the sides (males have a solid dark bill) and the face of a female Gadwall is lighter in color plus they lack having an eye line. The female I showed has grayish legs, a solidly dark bill and does have an eye line.

My friend Larry said this in a comment on the quiz page:

I love bird quizzes Mia and this is a tough one. I wouldn’t want to give it away in a comment but when I first started birding and asked a more experienced birder how he could tell the female ducks apart he said, “It’s easy! Just look at who she is hanging out with!”

The only male ducks my female was hanging out with were Green-winged Teal drakes, so looking at who she was hanging out with was a great help  when I ID’d her too!

Green-winged Teal drakeGreen-winged Teal drake – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-4000mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

The photo above shows a drake Green-winged Teal in breeding plumage taken on the same day just a few feet away from where the female was photographed.

My thanks to everyone who participated and left your thoughts about the ID of the female duck in your comments. I had fun with this.



  1. Merrill Ann Gonzales January 10, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    This was great fun. I surely hope you’ll do this again if you have a mind to. It’s not really about getting it right or wrong, but in trying to look more closely and to learn about these marvelous creatures! Many thanks!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 4:57 am

      Thank you Merrill, I hope to do another quiz in the future. I had fun doing this and hope everyone else did too.

  2. Sherry in MT January 10, 2013 at 9:12 am

    Very fun quiz and as always AMAZING shots! Love them!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 4:56 am

      Thanks so much Sherry

  3. Bob Bushell January 10, 2013 at 8:22 am

    Never mind, I got it wrong. Thanks for the quiz Mia.

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 4:56 am

      But thank you for playing along Bob!

  4. M. Firpi January 10, 2013 at 8:13 am

    Brilliant Mia, It made me work hard with all of my guides and it was a tough one, but I got it by looking at the difference in the eye and beak. This shot of the drake is amazing, thanks for a good “brainstorming” session!

    • Mia McPherson January 14, 2013 at 4:55 am

      Thanks Maria, I had fun with this too!

Comments are closed.