Dabbling ducks
see also Mallards

Ducks are sometimes divided into two broad groups: Dabblers and Divers. A dabbling duck feeds from the surface of the Lake by dipping its head down and its bottom up, while a diving duck can feed much deeper in the Lake.

The structure of the bodies of these two groups differs in ways that facilitate the way they feed. Diving ducks have large paddle-like feet and small wings, a combination which caters to underwater swimming, but makes some other activities more difficult. By not having become adapted to under-water swimming, the dabbling ducks have smaller feet and larger wings, which gives them some other advantages. The larger wings enable a dabbler to spring into the air with ease, where a diver has to (use its big feet to) run across the water in an attempt to become airborne. The dabbler’s smaller feet, set centrally on its body, enables it to move smoothy on land, and so these ducks are often seen far from the shoreline. Dabblers eat aquatic plants and seeds.

Dabbling ducks (which are also known as Puddle Ducks or Marsh Ducks) which have been seen around Kootenay Lake are: Wood Duck, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, Northern Pintail, Blue-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, American Wigeon.

Shown here are: American Wigeon, Wood Duck, and Green–winged Teal.

four wigeonsTwo American Wigeon couples; the male has extensive black on its head; the female only a dark region around the eye. The wigeon is a fairly common dabbling duck on the Lake, which is near the southern end of its summer and the northern edge of its winter range. Although present year round, numbers do fluctuate being, perhaps, highest during the spring and fall. The wigeon favours eating plants from the water’s surface.

wigeon maleThis male American Wigeon is in his breading plumage (Oct–Jun) which features a white hip patch and a white or buff forehead.

wigeon maleA female American Wigeon.

wood duckA male Wood Duck swims through the shallows.  Derek Kite

woodA male and female Wood Duck

wood duckA The male Wood Duck climbs up onto a dock.

tealThe Green-winged Teal is smallest of the dabbling ducks (it is larger but lighter than the Bufflehead—a diver). The male has a red head and a green mask; the female is plainer.

Information from Wikipedia: Mallard, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal.

Fraser tartan