Begins nesting in mid-March in dense, secluded marshes and forested wetlands. In the Chesapeake region, most black duck nests are located on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and near the Potomac, Rappahannock, York and James rivers.
Nests are made in a tree cavity or a depression on the ground.
The female lays 6-12 buff green eggs that hatch in 28 days. The male leaves the female about two weeks after she lays her eggs. She raises their young on her own.
After hatching, the female leads her young to a nearby marsh. Ducklings feed on grasses, insect larvae and other small invertebrates.
Young are ready to fly about two months after hatching
Very closely related to mallards. It is not uncommon for mallards and black ducks to breed, which produces mallard/black duck hybrids that have physical characteristics of both ducks.
More than 200,000 black ducks used to winter in the Chesapeake region. Today, fewer than 50,000 visit the region each winter. Scientists believe this is due to loss of food and habitat, as well as heavy hunting pressure and interbreeding with mallards.
Can be confused with female mallards. You can identify a black duck by its darker overall coloring. Black ducks are also significantly less common than mallards.