25 Types of Water Birds of Washington State

Washington State is home to a diverse range of bird species, particularly water birds. From majestic herons to adorable ducks, these aquatic creatures add charm and beauty to the state’s landscapes.

In this article, we will explore the fascinating world of water birds of Washington State, highlighting their characteristics, habitats, and conservation efforts.

25 Water Birds That Live in Washington

Washington State is renowned for its stunning landscapes, from towering mountains to expansive coastlines. It is no surprise that this diverse environment attracts a wide variety of bird species, especially those that rely on water for their survival.

These water birds have adapted to the state’s rivers, lakes, wetlands, and coastal areas, making Washington an ideal destination for bird enthusiasts.

1. Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a majestic bird of prey and the national bird and symbol of the United States. While it is not exclusively a water bird, it is commonly associated with bodies of water such as rivers, lakes, and coastal areas where it hunts for fish and other aquatic prey. Washington State is home to a significant population of Bald Eagles, particularly along the coast and near large bodies of water like Puget Sound.

facts about the Bald Eagle:

FactInformation
Scientific NameHaliaeetus leucocephalus
Average Wingspan6 to 7.5 feet (1.8 to 2.3 meters)
Average Weight6.5 to 14 pounds (2.9 to 6.3 kilograms)
HabitatCoastal areas, rivers, lakes, and large bodies of water
DietFish, waterfowl, small mammals, carrion
LifespanUp to 20 years in the wild, up to 40 years in captivity
DescriptionLarge raptor with dark brown body and distinctive white head
Nesting HabitsBuilds large nests, known as eyries, in tall trees near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from February to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

2. American White Pelican

The American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) is a large, graceful bird commonly found near bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. It is known for its impressive size, distinctive appearance, and unique feeding behavior. While not as common as the Brown Pelican, the American White Pelican can still be observed in certain regions of Washington State.

facts about the American White Pelican:

FactInformation
Scientific NamePelecanus erythrorhynchos
Average Wingspan8 to 9.5 feet (2.4 to 2.9 meters)
Average Weight10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms)
HabitatLakes, rivers, marshes, and coastal areas
DietFish (primarily), amphibians, and crustaceans
LifespanUp to 25 years in the wild
DescriptionLarge bird with white plumage, black flight feathers, and a long, flat bill
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground in colonies
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to June
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

3. Great Blue Heron

The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) is a tall and majestic wading bird commonly found near bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, marshes, and coastal areas. It is known for its distinctive appearance, with its long legs, neck, and a gray-blue plumage. The Great Blue Heron is a frequent sight in Washington State, often seen standing motionless near the water’s edge, patiently waiting to catch its prey.

facts about the Great Blue Heron:

FactInformation
Scientific NameArdea herodias
Average Height3.2 to 4.5 feet (1 to 1.4 meters)
Average Wingspan5.5 to 6.6 feet (1.7 to 2 meters)
Average Weight4.6 to 7.9 pounds (2.1 to 3.6 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, marshes, estuaries, and shorelines
DietFish, frogs, small mammals, reptiles, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 15 years in the wild
DescriptionLarge bird with a long neck, long legs, and a gray-blue plumage
Nesting HabitsBuilds large nests in trees, often in colonies
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to May
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

4. Mallard Duck

The Mallard Duck (Anas platyrhynchos) is a familiar and widespread dabbling duck species found throughout North America, including Washington State. It is well-known for its vibrant plumage, with the male displaying a glossy green head, white neck ring, and a chestnut-colored chest. The Mallard Duck can be found in various wetland habitats, including ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes.

facts about the Mallard Duck:

FactInformation
Scientific NameAnas platyrhynchos
Average Length20 to 26 inches (51 to 66 centimeters)
Average Weight2.2 to 2.6 pounds (1 to 1.2 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, ponds, lakes, rivers, and marshes
DietAquatic plants, seeds, insects, small fish, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionMale: Vibrant green head, white neck ring, and chestnut chest
Female: Mottled brown plumage with an orange bill
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground or in vegetation near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

5. American Coot

The American Coot (Fulica americana) is a unique water bird commonly found in wetlands, lakes, ponds, and marshes throughout North America, including Washington State. Despite its similar appearance to ducks, the American Coot is not a duck but rather belongs to a distinct family called Rallidae. It is known for its dark plumage, white bill, and distinct lobed toes that enable it to swim and walk on floating vegetation.

facts about the American Coot:

FactInformation
Scientific NameFulica americana
Average Length13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 2.7 pounds (0.7 to 1.2 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, lakes, ponds, marshes
DietAquatic plants, algae, seeds, insects, small fish, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionDark plumage, white bill, and distinctive lobed toes
Nesting HabitsBuilds floating nests using vegetation
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to August
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

6. Double-crested Cormorant

The Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) is a large aquatic bird commonly found in coastal areas, lakes, and rivers of North America, including Washington State. It is known for its distinctive appearance, with dark plumage, a long neck, and a hooked bill. The name “Double-crested” refers to the prominent double tufts of feathers that develop on adults during the breeding season.

facts about the Double-crested Cormorant:

FactInformation
Scientific NamePhalacrocorax auritus
Average Length28 to 35 inches (71 to 89 centimeters)
Average Wingspan45 to 49 inches (114 to 124 centimeters)
Average Weight2.6 to 5.5 pounds (1.2 to 2.5 kilograms)
HabitatCoastal areas, lakes, rivers, and estuaries
DietFish (primarily), amphibians, and crustaceans
LifespanUp to 20 years in the wild
DescriptionDark plumage, long neck, hooked bill, and double crests
Nesting HabitsBuilds nests on the ground or in trees near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

7. Trumpeter Swan

The Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) is a large and elegant water bird known for its striking beauty and melodious trumpet-like calls. It is the largest native waterfowl species in North America and can be found in wetlands, lakes, and rivers, including several locations in Washington State. Trumpeter Swans are known for their white plumage, long necks, and distinctive black bills.

facts about the Trumpeter Swan:

FactInformation
Scientific NameCygnus buccinator
Average Length4.5 to 5.5 feet (1.4 to 1.7 meters)
Average Wingspan6.5 to 8 feet (2 to 2.4 meters)
Average Weight17 to 30 pounds (7.7 to 13.6 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, lakes, rivers, and marshes
DietAquatic plants, pondweed, sedges, and submerged vegetation
LifespanUp to 24 years in the wild
DescriptionWhite plumage, long neck, and a distinctive black bill
Nesting HabitsBuilds large nests on the ground near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

8. Osprey

The Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a large raptor commonly found near bodies of water, including lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. It is known for its exceptional fishing skills, as it has specialized adaptations for catching fish. The Osprey is easily recognizable with its dark brown upperparts, white underparts, and a distinctively hooked beak. Washington State provides suitable habitats for Ospreys, and they can often be seen nesting on platforms or structures near water.

facts about the Osprey:

FactInformation
Scientific NamePandion haliaetus
Average Wingspan5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters)
Average Weight3.1 to 4.4 pounds (1.4 to 2 kilograms)
HabitatCoastal areas, lakes, rivers, and estuaries
DietPrimarily fish, particularly live fish
LifespanUp to 25 years in the wild
DescriptionDark brown upperparts, white underparts, and a hooked beak
Nesting HabitsConstructs large nests made of sticks on platforms or structures near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to August
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

9. Canada Goose

The Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) is a large water bird known for its distinctive appearance and honking calls. It is a common sight in both urban and natural areas of North America, including Washington State. Canada Geese are known for their recognizable black head, white cheek patches, and brownish-gray body. They are often found near bodies of water such as lakes, ponds, and rivers.

facts about the Canada Goose:

FactInformation
Scientific NameBranta canadensis
Average Length30 to 43 inches (76 to 110 centimeters)
Average Wingspan50 to 71 inches (127 to 180 centimeters)
Average Weight7.5 to 14 pounds (3.4 to 6.4 kilograms)
HabitatLakes, ponds, rivers, fields, and parks
DietGrasses, sedges, grains, and aquatic vegetation
LifespanUp to 24 years in the wild
DescriptionBlack head, white cheek patches, and brownish-gray body
Nesting HabitsConstructs nests made of plant material in a variety of locations
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to May
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

10. American Bittern

The American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) is a medium-sized heron-like bird known for its remarkable camouflage and unique booming call. It is primarily found in wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and reedy areas. The American Bittern is a master of disguise, blending perfectly with its surroundings by stretching its neck and pointing its bill upward to mimic the surrounding vegetation.

facts about the American Bittern:

FactInformation
Scientific NameBotaurus lentiginosus
Average Length23 to 34 inches (58 to 86 centimeters)
Average Wingspan41 to 49 inches (104 to 124 centimeters)
Average Weight1.1 to 1.7 pounds (0.5 to 0.8 kilograms)
HabitatMarshes, swamps, wet meadows, and reedy areas
DietFish, amphibians, invertebrates, and small mammals
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionMedium-sized bird with mottled brown plumage and a long neck
Nesting HabitsBuilds a platform nest in dense vegetation
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

11. Sandhill Crane

The Sandhill Crane (Antigone canadensis) is a large and elegant bird known for its distinctive appearance and resonant calls. It is found in various habitats, including wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural fields. Sandhill Cranes are known for their long legs, grayish-brown plumage, and a red patch on their foreheads. They are highly migratory and can be seen in Washington State during their seasonal movements.

facts about the Sandhill Crane:

FactInformation
Scientific NameAntigone canadensis
Average Height3 to 4 feet (91 to 122 centimeters)
Average Wingspan5 to 7 feet (152 to 213 centimeters)
Average Weight7 to 14 pounds (3.2 to 6.4 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, grasslands, and agricultural fields
DietSeeds, grains, insects, small vertebrates
LifespanUp to 20 years in the wild
DescriptionGrayish-brown plumage, long legs, and a red patch on forehead
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground in grassy areas
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

12. Common Loon

The Common Loon (Gavia immer) is a large and iconic water bird known for its haunting calls and striking appearance. It is primarily found in freshwater lakes and ponds, including those in Washington State. The Common Loon is well-known for its ability to dive and swim underwater for extended periods. It has a sleek black-and-white plumage, a dagger-like bill, and red eyes.

facts about the Common Loon:

FactInformation
Scientific NameGavia immer
Average Length28 to 36 inches (71 to 91 centimeters)
Average Wingspan48 to 60 inches (122 to 152 centimeters)
Average Weight8 to 15 pounds (3.6 to 6.8 kilograms)
HabitatFreshwater lakes and ponds
DietFish, crustaceans, and aquatic invertebrates
LifespanUp to 30 years in the wild
DescriptionSleek black-and-white plumage, dagger-like bill, and red eyes
Nesting HabitsBuilds floating nests near the water’s edge
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

13. Black-crowned Night Heron

The Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) is a medium-sized heron species known for its nocturnal behavior and distinct appearance. It can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and wooded ponds, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Black-crowned Night Heron is known for its black crown and back, gray wings, and red eyes.

facts about the Black-crowned Night Heron:

FactInformation
Scientific NameNycticorax nycticorax
Average Height23 to 28 inches (58 to 71 centimeters)
Average Wingspan44 to 46 inches (112 to 117 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 2.2 pounds (0.7 to 1 kilogram)
HabitatMarshes, swamps, wooded ponds, and coastal areas
DietFish, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, and insects
LifespanUp to 20 years in the wild
DescriptionBlack crown and back, gray wings, white underparts, and red eyes
Nesting HabitsBuilds nests in trees or shrubs near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from March to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

14. American Wigeon

The American Wigeon (Mareca americana) is a medium-sized dabbling duck known for its colorful plumage and unique whistling calls. It is found in a variety of wetland habitats, including lakes, marshes, and estuaries, throughout North America, including Washington State. The male American Wigeon has a distinctive white forehead, green eye patch, and a gray body, while the female has a mottled brown appearance.

facts about the American Wigeon:

FactInformation
Scientific NameMareca americana
Average Length16 to 23 inches (41 to 58 centimeters)
Average Wingspan30 to 34 inches (76 to 86 centimeters)
Average Weight1.6 to 2.2 pounds (0.7 to 1 kilogram)
HabitatLakes, marshes, estuaries, and grassy wetlands
DietAquatic plants, grasses, seeds, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 15 years in the wild
DescriptionMale: Gray body, white forehead, green eye patch
Female: Mottled brown plumage
Nesting HabitsBuilds nests on the ground near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

15. Northern Pintail

The Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) is a graceful and slender duck species known for its long, pointed tail feathers. It can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, and lakes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Northern Pintail is known for its elegant appearance, with a slim body, long neck, and a distinctive long and slender tail.

facts about the Northern Pintail:

FactInformation
Scientific NameAnas acuta
Average Length21 to 29 inches (53 to 74 centimeters)
Average Wingspan35 to 39 inches (89 to 99 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 2 pounds (0.7 to 0.9 kilograms)
HabitatWetlands, marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes
DietAquatic plants, seeds, grains, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionSlim body, long neck, long and slender tail feathers
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground in grassy or marshy areas
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to June
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

16. Green-winged Teal

The Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) is a small dabbling duck known for its vibrant plumage and agile flying abilities. It can be found in various wetland habitats, including marshes, ponds, and shallow lakes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Green-winged Teal is recognized for its striking green wing patches, rusty head, and intricate feather patterns.

facts about the Green-winged Teal:

FactInformation
Scientific NameAnas crecca
Average Length13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 centimeters)
Average Wingspan20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 centimeters)
Average Weight0.5 to 1 pound (0.2 to 0.5 kilograms)
HabitatMarshes, ponds, shallow lakes, and wetlands
DietAquatic plants, seeds, grains, and small invertebrates
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionRusty head, intricate feather patterns, green wing patches
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground in grassy areas near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

17. Hooded Merganser

The Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) is a small and distinctive duck species known for its unique crest and striking plumage. It can be found in various wetland habitats, including rivers, lakes, and marshes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Hooded Merganser is recognized for its striking black-and-white pattern, fan-shaped crest, and bright yellow eyes.

facts about the Hooded Merganser:

FactInformation
Scientific NameLophodytes cucullatus
Average Length15 to 19 inches (38 to 48 centimeters)
Average Wingspan24 to 26 inches (61 to 66 centimeters)
Average Weight1 to 2 pounds (0.4 to 0.9 kilograms)
HabitatRivers, lakes, marshes, and wooded swamps
DietSmall fish, insects, crustaceans, and aquatic invertebrates
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionStriking black-and-white plumage, fan-shaped crest, yellow eyes
Nesting HabitsNests in tree cavities near water
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to June
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

18. Red-breasted Merganser

The Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator) is a medium-sized diving duck known for its sleek appearance and excellent swimming and diving abilities. It can be found in coastal waters, estuaries, and large lakes, including those in Washington State. The Red-breasted Merganser is characterized by its long, slender body, red-brown head, and a serrated bill.

facts about the Red-breasted Merganser:

FactInformation
Scientific NameMergus serrator
Average Length20 to 25 inches (51 to 64 centimeters)
Average Wingspan26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 2.5 pounds (0.7 to 1.1 kilograms)
HabitatCoastal waters, estuaries, large lakes, and bays
DietFish, crustaceans, and aquatic invertebrates
LifespanUp to 9 years in the wild
DescriptionSlender body, red-brown head, serrated bill
Nesting HabitsNests on the ground near water or in dense vegetation
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to June
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

19. American Avocet

The American Avocet (Recurvirostra americana) is an elegant wading bird known for its distinctive upward-curving bill and striking black and white plumage. It can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, mudflats, and shallow lakes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The American Avocet is recognized for its long legs, slender body, and graceful feeding behavior.

facts about the American Avocet:

FactInformation
Scientific NameRecurvirostra americana
Average Height16 to 20 inches (41 to 51 centimeters)
Average Wingspan26 to 30 inches (66 to 76 centimeters)
Average Weight11 to 19 ounces (310 to 540 grams)
HabitatSaltwater and freshwater marshes, mudflats, and shallow lakes
DietAquatic invertebrates, small fish, crustaceans
LifespanUp to 15 years in the wild
DescriptionSlender body, long legs, black and white plumage
Nesting HabitsScrapes shallow nests on the ground
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

20. Western Grebe

The Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) is a large water bird known for its elegant appearance and elaborate courtship displays. It can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including lakes, rivers, and coastal areas, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Western Grebe is recognized for its long neck, slender body, and striking black-and-white plumage.

facts about the Western Grebe:

FactInformation
Scientific NameAechmophorus occidentalis
Average Length20 to 29 inches (51 to 74 centimeters)
Average Wingspan26 to 31 inches (66 to 79 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 3.5 pounds (0.7 to 1.6 kilograms)
HabitatLakes, rivers, coastal areas, and large bodies of water
DietFish, aquatic invertebrates, crustaceans
LifespanUp to 15 years in the wild
DescriptionLong neck, slender body, black-and-white plumage
Nesting HabitsBuilds floating nests on the water’s surface
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

21. Pied-billed Grebe

The Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) is a small water bird known for its unique appearance and diving abilities. It can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including marshes, ponds, and lakes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Pied-billed Grebe is recognized for its distinctive bill, which is pale with a dark band, and its ability to dive underwater in search of prey.

facts about the Pied-billed Grebe:

FactInformation
Scientific NamePodilymbus podiceps
Average Length9 to 13 inches (23 to 33 centimeters)
Average Wingspan18 to 20 inches (46 to 51 centimeters)
Average Weight6 to 16 ounces (170 to 450 grams)
HabitatMarshes, ponds, lakes, and freshwater wetlands
DietAquatic invertebrates, fish, amphibians, and small crustaceans
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionSmall size, brownish plumage, pale bill with a dark band
Nesting HabitsBuilds floating nests among vegetation
Breeding SeasonGenerally from May to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

22. American Dipper

The American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus) is a unique and fascinating water bird known for its ability to dive and walk underwater in search of food. It can be found near fast-flowing streams and rivers throughout western North America, including Washington State. The American Dipper is recognized for its compact size, dark plumage, and distinctive bobbing motion.

facts about the American Dipper:

FactInformation
Scientific NameCinclus mexicanus
Average Length6.5 to 8 inches (16.5 to 20 centimeters)
Average Wingspan11 to 12 inches (28 to 30 centimeters)
Average Weight1.5 to 2.5 ounces (45 to 70 grams)
HabitatFast-flowing streams and rivers with rocky banks
DietAquatic insects, small fish, crustaceans, and invertebrates
LifespanUp to 7 years in the wild
DescriptionSmall size, dark brown or gray plumage, short tail
Nesting HabitsBuilds domed nests near water, often behind waterfalls
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

23. American Goldfinch

The American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) is a small, vibrant songbird known for its bright yellow plumage, cheerful song, and acrobatic flight. It can be found in a variety of habitats, including fields, meadows, and gardens, throughout North America, including Washington State. The American Goldfinch is recognized for its distinctive coloration, with males displaying bright yellow feathers during the breeding season.

facts about the American Goldfinch:

FactInformation
Scientific NameSpinus tristis
Average Length4.3 to 5 inches (11 to 13 centimeters)
Average Wingspan7.5 to 8.7 inches (19 to 22 centimeters)
Average Weight0.4 to 0.7 ounces (11 to 20 grams)
HabitatFields, meadows, gardens, and open woodlands
DietSeeds, especially those from sunflowers and thistles
LifespanUp to 10 years in the wild
DescriptionBright yellow plumage (males in breeding season), black wings
Nesting HabitsBuilds cup-shaped nests in shrubs or trees
Breeding SeasonGenerally from June to August
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

24. Wilson’s Snipe

The Wilson’s Snipe (Gallinago delicata) is a medium-sized, long-billed bird known for its cryptic plumage and remarkable camouflage. It can be found in a variety of wetland habitats, including marshes, swamps, and muddy areas, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Wilson’s Snipe is recognized for its long bill, mottled brown plumage, and distinctive “winnowing” courtship display.

facts about the Wilson’s Snipe:

FactInformation
Scientific NameGallinago delicata
Average Length10.5 to 11.5 inches (27 to 29 centimeters)
Average Wingspan16 to 18 inches (41 to 46 centimeters)
Average Weight3.5 to 5 ounces (100 to 140 grams)
HabitatMarshes, wet meadows, bogs, and muddy areas
DietInvertebrates, including worms, insects, and small crustaceans
LifespanUp to 8 years in the wild
DescriptionMottled brown plumage, long bill, striped head pattern
Nesting HabitsBuilds a shallow depression nest on the ground
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

25. Ruddy Duck

The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a small diving duck known for its compact size, unique appearance, and distinctive blue bill. It can be found in a variety of aquatic habitats, including lakes, ponds, and marshes, throughout North America, including Washington State. The Ruddy Duck is recognized for its rich chestnut body, boldly patterned breeding plumage, and stiff tail feathers.

facts about the Ruddy Duck:

FactInformation
Scientific NameOxyura jamaicensis
Average Length13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 centimeters)
Average Wingspan20 to 24 inches (51 to 61 centimeters)
Average Weight0.9 to 1.6 pounds (400 to 730 grams)
HabitatLakes, ponds, marshes, and shallow wetlands
DietAquatic invertebrates, plants, seeds, and small fish
LifespanUp to 7 years in the wild
DescriptionCompact body, rich chestnut plumage, bright blue bill
Nesting HabitsBuilds a floating nest among emergent vegetation
Breeding SeasonGenerally from April to July
Conservation StatusLeast Concern (IUCN Red List)

Conclusion

In conclusion, Washington State is a haven for water birds, boasting a diverse array of species that depend on its abundant aquatic habitats. From majestic swans to agile divers and graceful herons, the state offers a rich tapestry of avian life to explore and appreciate. With approximately 250 documented species, including resident birds and migratory visitors, there is always something fascinating to observe throughout the year.

However, it is important to recognize the challenges that water birds face in this dynamic environment. Habitat loss, pollution, climate change, and other human impacts pose significant threats to their survival. As responsible stewards of our natural resources, it is our duty to protect and conserve these magnificent creatures and their habitats.

By supporting local conservation efforts, practicing responsible birdwatching, and advocating for the preservation of wetlands and coastal areas, we can make a difference in safeguarding the future of Washington State water birds. Together, we can ensure that these captivating species continue to grace our waters and inspire future generations to appreciate the wonders of our natural world.

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FAQs

Where is the best place to spot water birds in Washington State?

Some popular locations for birdwatching in Washington include the Skagit Valley, Puget Sound, and the Columbia River.

Where can I observe water birds in Washington State?

There are numerous locations in Washington State where you can observe water birds. Popular birding spots include the Skagit River Delta, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge, and the Columbia River Gorge. Coastal areas, such as Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, also provide excellent opportunities for birdwatching.

Are there any endangered water bird species in Washington State?

Yes, Washington State is home to several endangered or threatened water bird species. One example is the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus), a small seabird that nests in old-growth forests along the coast. Other endangered species include the Western Snowy Plover (Charadrius nivosus) and the California Least Tern (Sternula antillarum).

Are water birds protected in Washington State?

Yes, many water bird species in Washington State are protected under state and federal laws to ensure their conservation and survival.

What is the most common water bird species in Washington State?

The most common water bird species in Washington State is the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos). It is a dabbling duck that can be found in various aquatic habitats across the state, including ponds, lakes, and wetlands.

What is the migration pattern of water birds in Washington State?

Water birds in Washington State exhibit a variety of migration patterns. Some species are resident year-round, while others migrate seasonally. The timing and distances of migration vary depending on the species. Many water birds migrate to Washington from northern breeding grounds during the winter months, while some species breed in Washington and migrate south for the winter.

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