Are there salt water ducks?

Answered by Robert Dupre

There are saltwater ducks, commonly known as sea ducks. These ducks are well adapted to living in marine environments and can be found in coastal areas around the world. There are 15 species of sea ducks, each with their own unique characteristics and adaptations.

One group of sea ducks is the eiders. Eiders are large ducks with stout bodies and short, thick necks. They have a distinctive wedge-shaped bill, which they use to feed on mollusks and other invertebrates. Eiders are known for their soft, downy feathers, which are highly prized for insulation and are often used in making luxury bedding. The common eider (Somateria mollissima) is one of the most well-known species in this group.

Scoters are another group of sea ducks, characterized by their dark plumage. They have sturdy bodies and strong wings, allowing them to dive and swim underwater in search of food. The surf scoter (Melanitta perspicillata) and the black scoter (Melanitta americana) are two common species found in North America.

Goldeneyes are a smaller group of sea ducks, known for their striking appearance. They have bright yellow eyes, which give them their name, and their plumage is a mix of black and white. The common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) and the Barrow’s goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) are two species found in North America.

Mergansers are sea ducks with long, slender bodies and narrow bills. They are excellent divers and feed primarily on fish. The common merganser (Mergus merganser) and the red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator) are two species commonly found in North America.

The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) and the long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis) are two other species of sea ducks. The harlequin duck is known for its colorful plumage, while the long-tailed duck gets its name from its long, slender tail feathers.

Lastly, the bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small sea duck with a distinctive white patch on its head. They are agile divers and feed on small invertebrates.

Sea ducks can be found in a variety of coastal habitats, including rocky shores, estuaries, and open ocean. They are well adapted to life in saltwater, with specialized glands that allow them to excrete excess salt from their bodies. These ducks are often seen diving and swimming underwater in search of food, and they are capable of diving to impressive depths.

I have had the opportunity to observe sea ducks while visiting coastal areas, and it is always fascinating to see them in their natural habitat. Watching them dive and resurface, sometimes far from where they initially disappeared, is a testament to their adaptability and survival skills in saltwater environments.

Sea ducks are a diverse group of ducks that have evolved to thrive in saltwater habitats. Their unique adaptations and behaviors make them an interesting and important part of marine ecosystems.