Anas rubripes - Brewster, 1902
American Black Duck
Other English Common Names: American black duck
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Anas rubripes Brewster, 1902 (TSN 175068)
French Common Names: canard noir
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102967
Element Code: ABNJB10040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 7546

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Anas
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Anas rubripes
Taxonomic Comments: Appears to constitute a superspecies with A. platyrhynchos and A fulvigula (AOU 1998). Commonly interbreeds with and sometimes considered conspecific with A. platyrhynchos and/or other species (AOU 1983). Some authors suggest that it might be taxonomically appropriate to recognize the black duck as a dark morph (not subspecies) of the mallard, based on genetic and behavioral similarity and frequent hybridization (Ankney et al. 1986) in this species (AOU 1983). Mitochondrial DNA data indicate an extremely close evolutionary relationship between mallards and black ducks, and, in conjunction with geographic distribnutions, suggest that the black duck is a recent evolutionary derivative of a more broadly distributed mallard-black duck ancestor (Avise et al. 1991). See Livezey (1991) for a phylogenetic analysis and classification (supergenera, subgenera, infragenera, etc.) of dabbling ducks based on comparative morphology.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: High population numbers, but declining due to overhunting and increasing hybridization.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (29Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S2B,S5N), Arkansas (S3N), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S3B,S4N), Delaware (S4B,S4N), District of Columbia (S3S4N), Florida (S3N), Georgia (S3S4), Indiana (S1), Iowa (SNA), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (S4N), Louisiana (S3S4N), Maine (S5B,S5N), Maryland (S4B,S5N), Massachusetts (S4B,S5N), Michigan (S4), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRN), Mississippi (S2N), Missouri (SNRN), Nebraska (SNRN), New Hampshire (S4), New Jersey (S4), New York (S3B,SNRN), North Carolina (S3B,S4N), North Dakota (SU), Ohio (S2), Oklahoma (S2N), Pennsylvania (S4B,S4N), Rhode Island (S4B,S4N), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (S3S4N), Texas (SH), Vermont (S3B,S5N), Virginia (S4), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (S2B,S4N), Wisconsin (S2S3B)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Labrador (S5B,S5M), Manitoba (S3B), New Brunswick (S5B,S4N,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S4), Nova Scotia (S5), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (S5B,S4N), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4B,S4M)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: northern Saskatchewan to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to northern South Dakota, southern Wisconsin, central Indiana, central West Virginia, and North Carolina on Atlantic coast. NON-BREEDING: southeastern Minnesota to southern Ontario and Nova Scotia, south to Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida. The highest winter densities occur along the Maumee River in Ohio, along the Kankakee River in Illinois, along the Mississippi River bordering Tennessee and extending along the Ohio River to southwestern Indiana, in southwestern Tennessee and northern Alabama, and along the U.S. Atlantic coast from eastern North Carolina to Maine (Root 1988).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: An estimate, but with an estimated 900,000 individuals, its area of occupancy must be be greater than 20,000 square kilometers since at that low end of the range there would need to be an average of about 45 individuals per square kilometers. Since there isn't that many, it must mean the population occupies more than 20,000 square kilometers

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This is an estimate. With a breeding range that encompasses the northeastern U.S. states and much of eastern Canada up to Hudson Bay (Longcore, et. al. 2000) and an estimated 900,000 individuals (National Audubon Society, 2014) , there are undoubtedly more than 81 element occurrences.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: 3 million in 1985. But current estimates are closer to 900,000 individuals (National Audubon Society, 2014).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Same rationale as for total number of element occurrences apply.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Recent decline attributed to habitat change and loss, hybridization and/or competition with Mallard (Ankney et al. 1987; see also Conroy et al. 1989, Ankney et al. 1989, and Merendino and Ankney 1994), and possibly over-hunting (Krementz et al. 1988), and the effects of acid precipitation and aerial spraying for spruce budworm (Ehrlich et al. 1992). Rusch et al. (1990) reviewed status and concluded that hunting and loss of breeding habitat apparently are not major factors in the decline; loss of winter habitat in some areas was noted. Chesapeake Bay breeding populations have declined since the 1950s; the decline is not related to changes in laying date, clutch size, or nest success (Krementz et al. 1991). There is some evidence that this species is much more intolerant of human disturbances than other duck species, including abandonment of nests due to flushing (Longcore, et.a l., 2000).

Short-term Trend: Decline of <30% to relatively stable
Short-term Trend Comments: Has declined steadily over the past few decades (Ankney et al. 1987). More recent data from Breeding Bird Census and Christmas Bird Counts suggest that the downward trend has stopped (National Audubon Society, 2014; Longcore, et. al. 2000).

Long-term Trend: Decline of 50-70%
Long-term Trend Comments: Greatly reduced due to drain and fill projects. Declined from 7 million in 1955 to 3 million in 1985. Current populations estimated at 900,000 (National Audubon Society, 2014).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Any species that is intolerant of human disturbance is moderately vulnerable with human population growth and expansion into more remote areas. Degradation and elimination of breeding habitat in Canada is another human-related problem for this species (Longcore, et. al. 2000).

Environmental Specificity: Moderate. Generalist or community with some key requirements scarce.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Missing key requirements include remote areas free of human disturbance and perhaps even regular prescence.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Determine what proportion of the population are presently hybrids.

Protection Needs: Moratorium on hunting. Increase management practices that create suitable habitat.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: northern Saskatchewan to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to northern South Dakota, southern Wisconsin, central Indiana, central West Virginia, and North Carolina on Atlantic coast. NON-BREEDING: southeastern Minnesota to southern Ontario and Nova Scotia, south to Texas, Gulf Coast, and Florida. The highest winter densities occur along the Maumee River in Ohio, along the Kankakee River in Illinois, along the Mississippi River bordering Tennessee and extending along the Ohio River to southwestern Indiana, in southwestern Tennessee and northern Alabama, and along the U.S. Atlantic coast from eastern North Carolina to Maine (Root 1988).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WAexotic, WI, WV
Canada BCexotic, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MS DeSoto (28033), Hancock (28045), Jackson (28059), Lafayette (28071), Madison (28089), Noxubee (28103), Oktibbeha (28105), Panola (28107), Rankin (28121), Tallahatchie (28135), Tate (28137)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Noxubee (03160108)+, Pascagoula (03170006)+, Mississippi Coastal (03170009)+, Middle Pearl-Strong (03180002)+
08 Little Tallahatchie (08030201)+, Tallahatchie (08030202)+, Coldwater (08030204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A duck.
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size 5-17 (usually 9-10). Incubation 23-33 days, by female. Young tended by female, first fly at about 60 days. Can breed as yearling but many males not mated until about 2 or more years old.
Ecology Comments: In fall in eastern Maine and southwestern New Brunswick, maximum distance moved from roost to marsh averaged 10 km (range 1-43 km) (Frazer et al. 1990).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Reaches northern breeding areas by May, departs September- October; migrations strongly correlated with availability of food and open water. Southern and coastal populations more sedentary. Exhibits stronger fidelity to coastal wintering sites than to inland sites (Diefenbach et al. 1988). Migrates at night in groups of about 12-20.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian, TEMPORARY POOL
Habitat Comments: Shallow margins of lakes, streams, bays mud flats, and open waters. Nests in both dry and wet woodlands. Wide variety of wetland habitats in both freshwater and marine situations, in and around marshes, swamps, ponds, lakes, bays, estuaries, and tidal flats. As a result of a study of postfledging habitat use, Frazer et al. (1990) recommended maintaining large (30-50 ha) marshes containing dense emergent vegetation near a complex of diverse wetland types. BREEDING: Breeding habitat and nest sites very diverse; favors wooded swamps and marshes, brackish or freshwater. In central Ontario, preferred small fertile wetlands with a moderate amount of open water and an irregular shoreline (Merendino and Ankney 1994). Usually nests on ground in concealing vegetation, rarely in abandoned tree nest of other bird species. Significant numbers may return to the natal home range to breed.
Adult Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Carnivore, Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats mainly plant material and small aquatic animals (insects, amphibians, etc.) in freshwater habitats, mostly mollusks and crustaceans in maritime habitat; usually feeds in shallow water where it can reach bottom by tipping up.
Adult Phenology: Circadian
Immature Phenology: Circadian
Phenology Comments: May feed at night in salt marshes in winter (Terres 1980).
Length: 58 centimeters
Weight: 1400 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: As a result of a study of postfledging habitat use, Frazer et al. (1990) recommended maintaining large (30-50 ha) marshes containing dense emergent vegetation near a complex of diverse wetland types.
Biological Research Needs: Research the effects of acid precipitation on its food sources. Research is also needed on the exact relationship of beaver population to Black Duck populations because there may be a negative correlation (Longcore, et. al. 2000).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Dabbling Ducks

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance a compromise between three times average home range diameters (about 5-6 kilometers), and the great mobility of these birds. Home ranges: female Black Duck, mean 130 hectares during prelaying and laying period (n = 7, Ringelman et al. 1982); Mallards, mean 283 hectares (Dzubin 1955), 210 hectares (females) and 240 hectares (males) (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Breeding site fidelity: female Black Ducks in New England, 25% returned to nest in the following year, most within 91 meters of previous nest (Coulter and Miller 1968).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 1.6 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Diameter of average home range of Mallards (Gilmer et al. 1975).
Date: 08Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Staging area, Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 11Apr2002
Author: Cannings, S.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Molting area, Wintering area, Non-breeding feeding concentration area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of molting or wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/0.5 square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Map roosting and feeding areas with separate polygons in same EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Wintering flocks of American Black Ducks fly an average of 10 kilometres from roost to foraging area, but have been recorded flying up to 43 kilometres (Frazer et al. 1990). However, occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 29May2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 03Mar2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jennings, R.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 26Sep1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Peterson, R.T. 1980b. A field guide to the birds of eastern and central North America. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

  • Peterson, R.T. 1990b. A field guide to western birds. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

  • Raffaele, H., J. Wiley, O. Garrido, A. Keith, and J. Raffaele. 1998. A guide to the birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 511 pp.

  • Ringelman, J. K., J. R. Longcore, and R. B. Owen, Jr. 1982. Nest and brood attentiveness in female Black Ducks. Condor 84:110-116.

  • Root, T. 1988. Atlas of wintering North American birds: An analysis of Christmas Bird Count data. University of Chicago Press. 336 pp.

  • Rusch, D. R., et al. 1990. Population ecology and harvest of the American black duck: a review. Wildl. Soc. Bull. 17:379-406.

  • See SERO listing

  • Stevenson, H.M., and B.H. Anderson. 1994. The Birdlife of Florida. University Press of Florida, 891 pp.

  • THOMPSON,M.C., AND C. ELY.1989. BIRDS IN KANSAS VOLUME ONE.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Wilkins, K.A., M.C. Otto and G.W. Smith. 2000. Trends in duck breeding populations, 1955-2000. Administrative Report. Office of Migratory Bird Management. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 19 pp.

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