Storified by ebanreb· Sat, Apr 20 2013 22:48:41
If you were to ask an average individual if they knew what a duck was, a great percentage would answer yes. Most of us perceive ducks as white animals with an orange beak that float in a pond. Many would be surprised to find out that there are many varied colors and species in the duck family. From the Mallard duck to the Blue Winged Teal duck and everything in between, they are quite unique in many ways. Here we will be highlighting some of the most popular ducks, and what makes them different from each other.
One of the most beautiful and distinctive ducks is the Northern Shoveler. This duck is prevalent in the northern part of the world. Extremely easy to identify due to a large spoon shaped bill. Usually the breeding male will be identifiable by a green head, brown stomach area, and a white breast area. Adding to it's distinctiveness and beauty, when in flight this duck will display pale blue wing feathers as well. Females of this species are a bit more typical. They boast a long broad bill and a light brown body similar to a mallard duck. These are usually around 19 inches in length and weigh a bit over a pound.
The next is the Blue Winged Teal duck. Beautiful at first sight they are very reminiscent of their name. Having a striking teal body and blue wings that are revealed upon flight. They are easily distinguishable among other ducks. They are not extremely common, and might be found anywhere in the hemisphere. They are a bit on the large side, and make a definite first impression on the viewer.
Mallard ducks are a common species among the duck family. Mallard ducks are also referred to as wild ducks. They are known as wild ducks because they are usually found in wetland areas of the hemisphere. Places that are wetlands can refer to parks, small ponds and rivers. Mallard ducks are easily recognizable, and probably one of the best known ducks in the world. Though found in wetland areas, they are migratory ducks as well. This refers to having the prevalent amount of them in the northern part of the hemisphere when it is warm. As soon as that weather begins to turn cold, these ducks fly south for the winter. Extremely fast flyers, they have clocked speeds up to 65 miles per hour. Within the mallard species of ducks(canard de challans), there are hybrid variations also. Some of the most popular include both the Big Marsh Mallard (located usually in large marsh areas), and the Springtime Plumage Mallard ( develops beautiful colored plumage in the spring).