Wild ducks often impress with their colorful plumage, but their beaks can be equally impressive.
Whether you want to identify local waterfowl species during your next outdoor adventure or learn more about ducks with blue bills in the world, check out these 27 awesome species:
- Blue-billed mallard
- Northern pintail
- Greater scaup
- American wigeon
- Southern pochard
- Lesser scaup
- Philippine duck
- Eurasian wigeon
- Mandarin duck
- Tufted duck
- Common pochard
- Fulvous whistling
- Ringed teal
- White-headed duck
- Masked duck
- Puna teal
- Andean duck
- Chiloé wigeon
- Pacific black duck
- Baer’s pochard
- Silver teal
- Lake duck
- Blue-billed teal
Note: The duck species above are not ranked in any particular order.
1. Blue-billed mallard
Scientific name: Oxyura australis
Starting off in Australia, the blue-billed mallard is one of the best-known brown ducks with blue bills in the world.
This compact diving duck is easy to recognize, thanks to its deep chestnut brown plumage. Males have blue bills, whereas females are darker in color and have brown bills.
Both genders present dark upper necks and heads, as well as dark brown to black tails.
In males, the light blue bills give a striking contrast with the chestnut plumage. This species can be found in the temperate wetlands of the Australian continent.
2. Northern pintail
Scientific name: Anas acuta
One of the blue-billed ducks in North America, the northern pintail duck is also endemic to Europe. In North America, their range stretches from Alaska and central Canada to the western and central United States.
They are found in wetland areas located in prairies and tundra habitats.
Northern pintail ducks have slender bodies and a more elegant appearance than the blue-billed mallard.
Both genders have gray-brown plumage, although the patterns vary from males to females. A common trait is a gray-blue bill with a dark stripe in the middle.
Scientific name: Oxyura jamaicensis
Native to North and South America, the ruddy duck inhabits permanent freshwater marshes, ponds, and lakes.
It is one of the most common species of brown and white ducks with blue bills across the Americas and Europe, where it thrives as an introduced species.
These small ducks are similar in size to the blue-billed mallards, presenting the same stiff tail characteristic as all Oxyura ducks.
Males have a deep chestnut plumage with a grayish-white underside, white cheeks, and a bright blue bill.
Ruddy duck females have a dull gray plumage and gray beaks.
A peculiarity about this species is that non-breeding males are also duller in color and have black-brown rather than blue bills, looking more like females than males.
4. Greater scaup
Scientific name: Aythya marila
A common duck with a blue bill in the UK and America is the greater scaup, which also lives in other parts of Europe and Asia.
This mid-sized diving duck flocks on coastal bays and has a striking resemblance to the tufted ducks.
Males have white flanks with black heads, shoulders, and breasts, sometimes mixed with green. The tails are either black or black-gray, whereas the bills are a faint grayish-blue hue.
The females are brown with brown bills, but both genders have bright yellow eyes.
5. American wigeon
Scientific name: Mareca americana
A widespread species of dabbling ducks with blue bills in the Americas, the American wigeons are found all over North and Central America and in northern areas of South America.
They inhabit quiet lakes and wetlands but spend most of their time in flocks, grazing on the land.
Like in most birds, males have a more colorful plumage than females, with a white streak from the forehead stretching overhead to the neck. The sides of the head are greenish-black, while the back is a buff brown color.
Females are brown on the head and back, but both genders have white chests. Males and females alike have blue bills, but female bills are a darker shade.
6. Southern pochard
Scientific name: Netta erythrophthalma
One of the most common types of ducks with blue bills in South America, southern pochards are diving ducks found in shallow freshwaters with submerged vegetation.
They are a very dark brown in color with white stripes on the wings that are only visible in flight.
Males have gray-blue bills and crimson red eyes. Females have dark gray bills, dark eyes, and splashes of white on the cheeks, chin, and throat.
While southern pochard ducks are mostly associated with South America, a separate subspecies inhabits the freshwater lakes in North Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
Scientific name: Aythya americana
One of the blue-billed ducks of North America, the redhead duck favors shallow freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes.
Its territory stretches from southern Canada to the northern United States, being one of the blue-billed duck species in Maine.
Males and females are similar in color, even though females have a duller shade. Both genders have pale blue bills, and the feet are also a bluish color.
The distinctive trait for males is the darker, reddish chestnut plumage on the head, while females have a more uniform color overall.
8. Lesser scaup
Scientific name: Aythya affinis
The lesser scaup is one of the migratory duck species with blue bills in Tennessee, even though its geographic range expands from Canada to South America.
It can be seen in North America throughout the warm months, the differences between males and females being more visible than in other duck species.
Males are typically a whitish-gray in color with dark-gray or black heads. They have blue bills and bright yellow eyes.
Females have a dull gray-buff plumage overall with a white circle around the dark beaks. They also have dark rather than yellow eyes.
9. Philippine duck
Scientific name: Anas luzonica
One of the most beautiful species of its genus, the Philippine duck, is endemic to the Philippines. These ducks with blue bills from Southeast Asia are a vulnerable species, with fewer than 7,000 adult individuals alive today.
They favor a wide range of lowland freshwater habitats, including mangroves, riverbanks, marshes, and ponds.
Sexual dimorphism is less evident compared to other species, both genders presenting similar colorations and gray-blue beaks.
Scientific name: Histrionicus histrionicus
One of the few species of small sea ducks with blue bills, the harlequin duck owes its name to the colorful plumage and distinct patterns.
Its geographic range includes the boreal side of North America, from the northernmost parts of Canada and Alaska to the central USA.
It prefers saltwater habitats and is mostly present in coastal areas, even though small populations can also be found in Montana, Idaho, and a few other inland states.
Both males and females have gray-blue bills, but sexual dimorphism is evident between the genders.
Males are a colorful mix of dark gray, white, and chestnut red. Females have a dull brown plumage mixed with gray. Alongside the beaks, both genders also have blue-gray feet.
11. Eurasian wigeon
Scientific name: Mareca penelope
The Old World’s counterpart of the American wigeon, the Eurasian wigeon is one of the most common blue-billed ducks in Europe and Asia.
This species is strongly migratory, being found in Asia, Africa, and typically in Great Britain and Ireland as a winter visitor.
Some flocks can also migrate to the United States, usually in the Four Corners and the southern Appalachians, where they can coexist with American wigeons.
Telling between the two species is easy, though.
The Eurasian kind has spotted gray bodies, a reddish chest, chestnut brown heads, and blue and black beaks. Females have buff-brown plumage, but their beaks are also blue in color.
12. Mandarin duck
Scientific name: Aix galericulata
Mandarin ducks are known for their bright red bills and colorful plumage, but they still deserve a spot on this list.
In fact, the bright red bills are characteristic of mandarin duck males. Like in many other species, females are less colorful overall, including the beaks.
Female mandarin duck bills are typically gray, brown, or purplish-blue in color, depending on pigment concentration. This makes mandarin ducks one of the few species with only female ducks with blue bills.
13. Tufted duck
Scientific name: Aythya fuligula
One of the few resident species of wild ducks in Ireland, the tufted ducks typically breed in southeast England and are migratory.
They can wander as far north as Iceland and Alaska, but flocks can also reach America from Asia, making this species a common type of duck with blue bills on the Pacific Coast.
These diving ducks prefer lowland freshwater lakes. They have small bodies and large heads with crests. Males are darker in color than females and have a gray-blue bill.
Females are brown with paler flanks, looking similar to scaups. Their bills can range in color from gray-blue to dark gray or black.
14. Common pochard
Scientific name: Aythya ferina
The common pochard is another type of Eurasian duck with blue bill that can be found across North America – even though their presence in the New World is extremely rare and vagrant.
Yet, sightings have occurred in California and Saskatchewan, but also in the Aleutians and northern Alaska.
The size and appearance are similar to the Eurasian wigeon, but the plumage is a duller gray on the body and dark rather than reddish on the chest.
Nevertheless, the bill is very similar to wigeons, pale gray-blue in shade with a black stripe on the tip.
Females generally have dark gray or black beaks.
15. Fulvous whistling
Scientific name: Dendrocygna bicolor
Fulvous whistling is a tropical duck with a blue bill found across Mexico and throughout South America, its geographic range stretching to the north into the southern USA.
Both genders are golden-brown in color with a darker back and whitish stripes on the flanks. The bills are often a dark gray to black in color, but they can sometimes have a bluish-gray hue.
These ducks forage in a variety of habitats, ranging from rice fields and pools to mangroves.
16. Ringed teal
Scientific name: Callonetta leucophrys
A small blue-billed duck in South America, the ringed teal is typically found in the tropical forests, even though populations also exist as introduced species in a variety of habitats across North America and Europe.
Males and females alike have slender blue bills, but males have a much more colorful plumage.
They can be identified by the speckled pinkish breasts and speckled gray sides. A black stripe stretches overhead from the base of the nose to the neck.
The back is a blend of red, black, and brown, with two white spots on each flank near the black tail. Like in most duck species, females are less vibrant.
17. White-headed duck
Scientific name: Oxyura leucocephala
A symbol of the conservation of wetlands yet a globally-threatened species, the white-headed duck is the only stiff-tail duck with blue bill that occurs naturally in Europe.
It has a patchy distribution, its range running from the western Mediterranean to central and east Asia.
Color-wise, it is similar to the ruddy ducks in North America, but they have flattened heads and wider bills that are a more saturated teal-blue color.
Females are very similar in shape and size to males, but they have brown plumage all over and a gray or brown bill.
18. Masked duck
Scientific name: Nomonyx dominicus
Tiny stiff-tailed ducks with blue bills in tropical Americas, the masked ducks are typically found in South America and the Caribbean.
However, vagrant populations are also found in Mexico and even further north, in the southernmost United States and Florida.
They are rarely seen in the wild, though, due to their nocturnal behavior.
These beautiful ducks have speckled chestnut brown bodies with a solid red-brown that transitions to black on the head. The blue bill with black tip contrasts with the plumage, giving this bird a unique appearance.
19. Puna teal
Scientific name: Anas puna
An Andean duck with blue bill, the puna teal is a resident of northwestern Argentina, western Bolivia, Peru, and northern Chile.
The plumage is very similar to the silver teal, but these ducks are larger. They have speckled gray-brown bodies, white cheeks and chin, and black heads.
A peculiarity is that the black on the head stretches over the beak, too, splitting the blue bill into two halves separated by a thick dark stripe.
20. Andean duck
Scientific name: Oxyura ferruginea
Sharing a geographic range with the puna teal, the Andean ducks are another type of duck with blue bills in the Andean Mountains.
A species of stiff-tailed duck, it is very similar in appearance to other members of the Oxyura genus. The body is relatively small and compact, while the plumage is a vibrant hue of chestnut brown and black.
Like in most other Oxyura species, only the males have blue beaks. The females are duller in color, and their beaks are typically brown, gray, or black.
21. Chiloé wigeon
Scientific name: Anas sibilatrix
One of the few species of ducks with blue bills in the Falkland Islands, the Chiloé wigeons actually have an extremely large range and can be found all over South America and adjacent territories.
These ducks mostly feed on plankton but also tadpoles and crustaceans. They are small in size – up to 19 inches long and under two pounds of weight – and inhabit freshwater lakes, rivers, and marshes.
Males have an orange-brown plumage with white and black sides and black-green heads. The bills are grey-blue with black tips.
Females are duller in color, but their appearance is very similar to males, and they also have blue bills.
22. Pacific black duck
Scientific name: Anas superciliosa
Despite their name, the Pacific black ducks are not black ducks with blue bills. Instead, their plumage is various shades of brown with black patches on the cheeks and head.
That said, these ducks native to the Pacific region (including New Zealand and Australia) have bluish or greenish-gray bills and a gorgeous patch of teal-colored feathers on the wings – which is only visible in flight.
In New Zealand, these ducks are commonly called gray rather than black ducks.
23. Baer’s pochard
Scientific name: Aythya baeri
Baer’s pochards are a type of diving ducks with blue bills native to eastern Asia and one of the most poorly known migratory ducks.
The species is critically endangered, but they can still be found in north-eastern China, North Korea, and possibly Mongolia, while the breeding grounds are found in Russia.
Males have green heads that look metallic in daylight and contrasting brown chests. Their beaks are a pale shade of gray-blue.
Females are duller with dark brown heads and brown plumage. Their beaks are often darker in color and more grayish than blue.
Scientific name: Oxyura maccoa
A type of ducks with blue bills in Africa, the maccoa ducks are similar to all other members of the Oxyura genus, including the blue-billed mallards, white-headed ducks, and the Andean ducks.
They are a diving duck species with a geographic range stretching across eastern and southern Africa.
Males have a vibrant plumage, typically chestnut brown in color. The head is dark brown or black, while the bills are light blue.
Females are duller and have dark gray beaks.
25. Silver teal
Scientific name: Anas versicolor
One of the most colorful ducks with blue bills, silver teals are closely related to puna teal ducks – which are actually considered to be a silver teal subspecies.
The main difference – size aside – is the more colorful plumage of silver teals. These ducks are speckled beige on the chest and underside, while their backs are brown.
The bills are also multicolored, yellow near the base and blue towards the tip, perfectly complementing the black head with white cheeks.
Silver teals are native to South America, sometimes sharing the habitat with the puna teals.
26. Lake duck
Scientific name: Oxyura vittata
Another member of the Oxyura genus, the lake duck is mostly chestnut brown with dark heads and blue bills that provide a striking contrast.
One of the few ducks with blue bills in lowland lakes in South America, it is often considered the lowland counterpart of the Andean duck.
Similar to other related species, lake duck females are duller in color and don’t have blue bills.
27. Blue-billed teal
Scientific name: Spatula hottentota
Concluding our list, the blue-billed teal is a species of duck with a dark cap and blue bill.
It is a migratory resident in southern and eastern Africa, its range expanding into Namibia, Nigeria, and South Africa.
One of the smallest ducks, it lives in freshwater lakes, marshes, and swamps. Males have blue bills and a brown-black plumage similar to other ducks in the Spatula and Anas genera.
Females are duller, but they can have gray-blue bills. However, female bills can also be plain gray or brown.