Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

American Black Duck (Anas rubripes)


French: Canard noir German: Dunkelente Spanish: Ánade sombrío

Anas obscura rubripes


, 1902,

New Hampshire shore of Lake Umbagog, USA


Thought to be closest to A. undulata, A. melleri and A. platyrhynchos. Sometimes considered a subspecies of A. platyrhynchos, with which it frequently interbreeds in the wild. Recent analyses of present species and A. platyrhynchos failed to identify two distinct taxa, this due to horizontal gene flow, homoplasy, or shared ancestry; genetic differentiation between the two taxa had decreased significantly, from 0.146 for individuals living before 1940 to 0.008 for those taken in 1998, producing a breakdown in species integrity probably as a result of hybridization#R. Monotypic.


Breeds in C & E Canada from Manitoba to Newfoundland, S to E USA from Minnesota to Delaware and along coast S to North Carolina; outside main range breeds locally and irregularly in S Saskatchewan, SW British Columbia, NW Washington, the Dakotas, Kansas, Georgia and N Florida. In winter S to Gulf Coast and N half of Florida.

Descriptive notes

53–61 cm; male c. 825–1755 g, female 720–1380 g; wingspan 85–96 cm. Less gregarious than A. platyrhynchos, but plumage always much darker... read more


Vocalizations very similar to those of A. platyrhynchos, with female uttering noisy quacks... read more


Various types of wetlands of fresh or brackish waters, preferably the latter with some tree cover... read more

Food and feeding

Seeds and vegetative parts (leaves, stems and roots) of aquatic and crop plants, with rather high proportion of invertebrates (insects,... read more


Starts Mar/Apr, from mid Mar in Maryland and Ohio, later further N, but season always terminating in mid Jun. Monogamous and at least some... read more


Northernmost breeders descend to lower latitudes to winter in Atlantic seaboard of North America,... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Marked decline this century, of approximately 40% in period 1955–1974. Winter censuses yielded 1,311,000 in period 1952–... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). American Black Duck (Anas rubripes). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).