Who Said That Ducks are Ugly: Gorgeously Handsome and Colorful Waterfowls

Oftentimes, ducks are considered ugly, especially the young duck, which is popularly called “ugly duckling.” To the contrary, ducks can be rather handsome, as evidenced by these 10 lovely waterfowl.

Among birds, the male birds are usually more colorful than the females.  Ducks are one of the most popular domestic animals in the world. Millions of ducks are raised worldwide for their meat and eggs just like chicken for human consumption.  Ducks are mostly aquatic birds, mostly smaller than the swans and geese, and may be found in both fresh water and sea water. And oftentimes, ducks are considered ugly, especially the young duck which is popularly called “ugly duckling” and has been associated to humans since then.  Here are some of the handsomest of this waterfowl type.

1. Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)

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Undoubtedly, this duck is one of the most brightly colored winged-creatures on Earth. This colorful and handsome duck is called the Mandarin Duck or just Mandarin. It is a medium-sized perching duck, closely related to the North American Wood Duck. It is often regarded as a symbol of conjugal affection and fidelity in the Orient.

2. Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)

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This large and gorgeous diving duck is named Red-crested Pochard. Their breeding habitat is lowland marshes and lakes in Europe and Asia. The adult male is easily determined with its rounded orange head, red bill and black breast. The flanks are white, the back brown, and the tail black.

3. Woodduck (Aix sponsa)

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This fine-looking and medium-sized perching duck is the Wood Duck or Carolina Duck. The adult male has distinctive multi-colored iridescent plumage and red eyes. Male and female Wood Ducks have crested heads. When swimming, wood ducks bob their head back and forth in a jerking motion, which makes them easy to spot.

4. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)

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This dabbling duck is considered by many to be the best-known and most recognizable of all ducks. The Mallard breeds throughout the temperate and sub-tropical areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. It is currently the most common duck species in New Zealand.

5. Baikal Teal (Anas formosa)

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This handsome-looking dabbling duck is called the Baikal Teal. This kind of duck breeds within the forest zone of eastern Siberia. It is a migratory species, wintering in Japan, South Korea and northern and eastern China, and Vietnam. Molecular and behavioral data suggest that it has no close relatives among living ducks and should be placed in a distinct genus.

6. Falcated Teal (Anas falcata)

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This beautiful dabbling duck named Falcated Duck or Falcated Teal breeds in eastern Asia. It nests in Russia, China, Inner Mongolia and Japan. It is widely recorded well outside its normal range, but the popularity of this beautiful duck in captivity clouds the origins of these extra-limital birds.

7. Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegata)

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This large goose-like duck called the Paradise Shelduck is native to New Zealand. To the Maoris, it is known as Putangitangi but now commonly referred to as the “Paradise duck”, and are prized game birds. Both the drake and hen have strikingly colorful plumage. The Paradise Shelducks usually live as pairs, grazing on grass and weeds, and will raid crops, particularly when molting.

8. Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri)

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Ducklings of certain species of ducks are usually yellow in color and they turn white as they mature. The Steller’s Eider, a medium-large sea-duck, is one of the few duck species that remain yellow as it grows. This duck species breeds along the Arctic coasts of eastern Siberia and Alaska. The lined nest is built on tundra close to the sea, and 6-10 eggs are laid.

9. Ringed Teal (Callonetta leucophrys)

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This dabbling duck is a species of duck that is closely related to shelducks. It is also a close relative of the Maned Duck. This small duck of South American forest is called Ringed Teal.

10. Long-tailed Duck (Clangula hyemalis)

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This medium-sized sea duck, the Long-tailed Duck, is not as brightly colored compared to other ducks on the list but it is certainly one of the handsomest and unique. It has an unusual long-tail that makes him a good-looking duck.

Now after seeing this article, tell me, do you still consider ducks ugly?

For more colorful animals see:

World’s Most Attractive and Colorful Reptiles

The Worlds Most Colorful Snakes

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64 Responses to “Who Said That Ducks are Ugly: Gorgeously Handsome and Colorful Waterfowls”
  1. amanda0051 Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 9:57 am

    That is beautiful…

  2. Blue Buttefly Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 10:23 am

    finally they are gorgeous…lol. great post!

  3. rutherfranc Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

    looks like ceramic figurines to me.. learning time once again..

  4. AC Hamilton III Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

    Totally awesome Bro….I have never found an ugly duck, and here, in your article, I have found more proof, but even greater…these are gorgeous specimens.

    I am proud to be your friend!

  5. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I love ducks, but my wife wont let me have them yet. Of course we still need a pond. So I am concentrating on pheasants. Great link good pics!

  6. Betty Carew Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Norbert these are very beautiful we get Mallards around here a lot.Great article very well presented

  7. Unofre Pili Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Only Hans Christian Andersen, said so, Lol. Those are certainly gorgeous and lovely ducks. Lovely article.

  8. Holly J. Harrington Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Why these are lovely specimens. I love nature. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  9. M A Bhanpurwala Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    Very beautiful pictures of ducks

  10. papaleng Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    another nice article with adoring photos.

  11. Christine Ramsay Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Stunning pictures and a lovely article, Nobert. I didn’t realise ducks were so gorgeous even though my hubby has a collection of model ducks which he uses as doorstops.


  12. m. kovnich Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 1:03 pm


  13. Vikram Chhabra Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Magnificent shots!! Truly not ugly ducks.. Wonder how they looked when they were ducklings…:)

  14. Rana Sinha Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Nice article. Definitely not ugly ones.

  15. Joe Dorish Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Ducks are great fun to watch!

  16. Joie Schmidt Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Very nice – gorgeous pictures*



    -Liane Schmidt.

  17. luv2write Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    My vote goes to all of them, God’s creativity is amazing

  18. lh Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    are they for real wow i am mazed

  19. Anne McNew Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    you’re such a great online teacher…
    those pictures are great..
    nice post

  20. Leroy Altman Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 7:18 pm

    it almost seems unreal. but beautiful

  21. Eunice Tan Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Yes, they are beautiful. Good article

  22. Judy Sheldon Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    As a child we raised ducks for awhile. I love the mallards.

  23. MMV Abad Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Colorful… they are very pretty.

  24. Juancav Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    Stunning rainbow┬┤s duck.

  25. Ruby Hawk Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Those are the prettiest ducks I’ve ever seen.

  26. Alixander Haban Escote Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    I love ducklings, but have not tried eating ducks yet. And,I think I never will,though others do. Nice article!

  27. Lost in Arizona Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    The last duck is absolutely stunning with its tail feathers. This article brought a smile to my face as it reminds me of my 2 year-old. Every time we go to the zoo, we buy food for the ducks, and she’ll shout, “Eat ducks!” Thanks for the smile. :)

  28. Edward J Rodrigues Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm


  29. Dee Gold Says...

    On March 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm

    really beautiful ducks


    On March 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm

    did not expect such ducks really exist!
    y, they’re wonderful…

  31. 32 BarClay Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 12:34 am

    Thank you for sharing this, Nobert! The Mandarin is BEAUTIFUL! My 4th wedding anniversary is coming up and this is a great symbol to incorporate into the festivities. Thank you for the great idea!

  32. Twinkle Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 12:53 am

    my daughter really njoyed it…thanks.

  33. Kate Smedley Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 1:05 am

    The mandarin duck in particular is beautiful looking. Very enjoyable article, well researched.

  34. Ashwin Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 2:47 am

    Great post. Theyt are really beautiful! No more old sayings! Really enjoyed this one.

  35. Likha Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I’ve never seen such beautiful ducks. Great post.

  36. Mr Ghaz Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 4:11 am

    Nice article and pics too. That was cool. I loved it! Thanks for sharing

  37. Anne Lyken Garner Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 4:12 am

    Great pictures. I don’t think that ducklings are actually called ugly because they’re not. The phrase to which you refer, is only used when compared to the story about the swan who was mistaken for a duckling when he was little. It was because ducklings are so beautiful in the first place, that it was thought that the particular grey, tousled one (the swan) was an ugly duckling). He then grew up to become a swan.

  38. papaleng Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 4:24 am

    great article. great picture.

  39. Bren Parks Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Beautifully done! I remember one year when I was about 12, a Mallard flew into our backyard one autumn day and stayed until the next spring….I fed him and built a shelter for him and he was quite tame…never understood it.

    It was very weird. He was like a pet because he showed up tame and then left. I always hoped he found his home again..

  40. S Air Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 11:40 am

    Interesting article and some beautiful pictures. Well done.

  41. CutestPrincess Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    i’ve never seen such beautiful ducks like on your list… good job as always!

  42. Christopher Whitehouse Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    Thank you Anne Lyken Garner! How are you the only one to catch this is beyond me >_< Ooooh wells, they are nice pictures!

  43. Lauren Axelrod Says...

    On March 2, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    I used to have 5 pet ducks. These birds are just beautiful

  44. eddiego65 Says...

    On March 3, 2009 at 6:44 am

    These are truly beautiful ducks. Great article, bro.

  45. Moses Ingram Says...

    On March 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Beautiful ducks, thanks for sharing this.

  46. The Daily Digital Says...

    On March 3, 2009 at 3:12 pm

    Oh, what beautiful fowl indeed! I especially like the Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)! I have missed you, Nobert! I am glad to return to Triond!

  47. misanthropope Says...

    On March 4, 2009 at 2:47 am

    ya know, the whole point of the “ugly duckling” fable was precisely that it wasn’t a duck.

  48. The Quail Says...

    On March 4, 2009 at 6:21 am

    Great article my friend.

  49. Lex92 Says...

    On March 4, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    those ducks are beautiful!

  50. PR Mace Says...

    On March 4, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    No, they were beautiful and the article was wonderful as always. Take care of yourself, my friend, Pam

  51. yeomanpip Says...

    On March 5, 2009 at 11:25 am

    In answer to the question, “who said that ducks are ugly?” well, nobody as far as I know.

    But that aside, some stunning photography, so thanks.

  52. R.B. Parsley Says...

    On March 6, 2009 at 3:35 am

    These are very beautiful. It makes one want to have one of these beauties for a pet. You did a great job on the article Nobert!!!


  53. BC Doan Says...

    On March 7, 2009 at 7:31 am

    These are beautiful and colorful ducks! Great work, Nobert!

  54. namk Says...

    On March 8, 2009 at 5:09 am

    there is noting ugly in the nature

  55. catlord Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 8:32 am

    My mom loved ducks. :-)

  56. Lady Tolkien Says...

    On March 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Beautiful pictures and a well written article , enjoyed it a lot.

  57. S A JOHNSON Says...

    On March 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I didn’t know people thought ducks were ugly…Great article and I really loved all the pictures and information.

  58. Loreta Dorington Says...

    On March 16, 2009 at 3:19 am

    Such beautiful creatures. Thanks for sharing them here.

  59. Carolyn Ann Aish Says...

    On March 31, 2009 at 4:50 am

    Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing – well written and formatted.

  60. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On March 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Stumble thumbs up. I have relented and this spring my husband (Mark Gordon Brown) who left a comment above, and I, might get a trio of ducks.. probably small Call ducks. Wood ducks and Mandarins are 2 of my favorites

  61. Bill M. Tracer Says...

    On March 3, 2010 at 1:16 am

    I know of no one saying that ducks are ugly. Obviously, if they did, they would be wrong, as your beautiful pictures well illustrate. Anyway, I see you’ve got your ducks in a row.

  62. shane Says...

    On January 30, 2011 at 4:58 am

    you know what else is beautiful? when all those pretty ducks come flying into decoys and then fall in the water after the sound of a shotgun blast. Of course all birds are either eaten or preserved in taxedermy

  63. Quazi Ahmed Hussain Says...

    On April 18, 2011 at 6:31 am

    If someone really said “ducks are ugly”, he/she must have pointed at a different meaning of the term ‘duck’. With so many exotic beauties, what else could rival them in appearance! Specially, mandarin, baikal teal, wood duck, wigeons, tufted ducks, northern pintails and shovellers, red-crested pochards wow what an array?

    There’s nothing as beautiful as the sight of these ducks swimming in lakes or wetlands.

  64. sahil gayak Says...

    On July 24, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    lovely ducks

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