The Florida Mottled Duck
Welcome to the
Mottled Duck portion of Florida's Waterfowl Web Site.
Here you will learn about the Florida Mottled Duck that inhabits Florida year-round. This page
features information on Florida's Mottled Duck including
Natural History, Conservation Issues, Habitat Threats (including Genetics and Disease/
Inbreeding Concerns), and the Mottled Duck Survey.
The mottled duck (Anas fulvigula) is a nonmigratory, close relative of the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). The Florida mottled duck (Anas fulvigula fulvigula), often called the Florida duck or Florida mallard, is a unique subspecies found only in peninsular Florida. The Florida mottled duck does not migrate from the state; therefore, management and protection of this species is primarily the responsibility of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Mottled ducks are large brown ducks that appear very dark at a distance. Mottled ducks are darker than hen mallards, but slightly lighter in color than black ducks. The Florida mottled duck's neck and head are lighter in color than the adjoining back and breast area, a pattern not seen in black ducks and hen mallards. Male and female mottled ducks are almost identical in appearance, but can be distinguished by bill coloration. Males have a bright yellow to olive bill with a black spot at the base, while females have a dull orange bill with black blotches. The speculum of Florida mottled ducks is a more greenish hue than that of mallards or black ducks. A narrow white edging usually is present on the trailing edge of the speculum and is rarely present on the leading edge. If it is present on the leading edge is is usually buff in color and may signify a hybrid mallard/ mottled duck.
Florida mottled ducks are commonly seen using small prairie wetlands, flood plain marshes of the St. Johns and Kissimmee rivers, and coastal impoundments. Rapid changes in the landscape of south Florida, attributed mostly to agricultural and urban development, raise concerns about the status of these wetland habitats and the wildlife that depend on them. Moreover, the continued existence of the Florida mottled duck is threatened by feral mallards, with which mottled ducks are interbreeding. Florida mottled ducks have an intrinsic aesthetic value and are highly prized as a gamebird. They also are a defining member of the unique suite of species characteristic of the prairie ecosystem of south Florida.
It will take an effort by not only the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, but the people of Florida, to ensure the continued existence of the Florida mottled duck.
For more detailed information about the mottled duck, read the Background Information Section of the Mottled Duck Conservation Plan.
Is it legal to release domestic mallards into the wild?