Duck Anatomy

Throughout this website there are references to the appearance of ducks and other wildfowl. This page should help you better understand their external anatomy and hopefully help in identifying different species.

The front of the head is called the Forehead, and the top of the head is the Crown. Then you have the Hind-neck at the back and the Nape around the back of the head. The Mantle is at the top of the bird's Back. The Rump is above the Tail and the Vent is underneath between the tail and the Belly (Abdomen). The Flanks are both sides of the body and the Breast is at the front of the body below the neck.

The upper part of the Beak or Bill is called the Upper Mandible and the lower part of the beak is the Lower Mandible. The Culmen is the upper edge of the beak and the Nail is the tip of the upper mandible which is sometimes hooked on some species. The Eye consists of the Iris which is the coloured part, and on some species you will see a coloured Eye-ring around the eye and sometimes an Eye-stripe. The Lores are between the eye and the beak and the Ear-coverts are the feathers covering the ear.

The Primaries or Primary flight feathers are the long outer feathers at the back of the Wing. The Secondaries or Secondary flight feathers are the inner feathers at the back of the wing. The secondaries consist of the Speculum which is often brightly coloured on a duck and sometimes bordered with black or white. The Primary coverts are the smaller feathers next to the primary flight feathers. The Carpal joint is the wrist and forms the bend in the wing.

Apart from their plumage colours, there are other ways of identifying species of birds such as their behaviour, or their call, and by observing them in flight.

Below are many different species of wildfowl (listed alphabetically):

     A-B    C-F    G-L    M-R    S-Z   

or you can find different species on the Wildfowl Identification pages.

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Duck External Anatomy - Body
Duck External Anatomy - Body

Duck External Anatomy - Head
Duck External Anatomy - Head

Duck External Anatomy - Wing
Duck External Anatomy - Wing