Anas platyrhynchos
ITIS Species Code:   175063         NatureServ Element Code:   ABNJB10060
NatureServe Global Rank: 
NatureServe State (NC) Rank: 
Federal Status: 
NC State Status: 
Southern Blue Ridge:  n/a Southern Piedmont:  10 South Atl. Coastal Plain:  11
Land Unit

US Fish & Wildlife Service
US Forest Service
US National Park Service
US Department of Defense
NC State Parks
NC University System
NC Wildlife Res. Com.
NC Forest Service
NC Div. of Coastal Mgmt.
Local Governments
Non-Governmental Org.
Other Public Lands
Private Lands

GAP Status 1-2
All Protected Lands




% of Dist. on
Prot. Lands

20.8 %
18.5 %
16.4 %
7.7 %
8.2 %
1.2 %
15.6 %
1.1 %
2.6 %
4.8 %
4.8 %
0.4 %
< 0.1 %

54.7 %
% of Dist. on
All Lands

1.3 %
1.1 %
1.2 %
0.5 %
0.5 %
< 0.1 %
1.0 %
< 0.1 %
0.2 %
0.2 %
0.3 %
< 0.1 %
93.6 %

3.4 %
Breeds across the state, but breeders are most likely of feral ancestry (Potter et al. 1980), descended from domestically reared Mallards escaped from farms, used as live decoys, or possibly stocked by hunters or conservation agencies, as well as crippled wild ducks (Nicholson 1997). In the summer the species is rare to uncommon in the mountains (Simpson 1992), occasional in the piedmont (Pearson 1959), uncommon and local in the coastal plain (Fussell 1994), and occasional on the barrier islands (Fussell and Lyons 1990).

Typical breeding habitat consists of a shallow pond surrounded by grasslands (Nicholson 1997), but can be found in all types of freshwater aquatic habitats such as marshes, swamps, ponds, rivers, lakes, bays (Kaufman 1996), estuaries, impoundments (Fussell 1994), millponds, sluggish streams (Pearson 1959), and reservoirs (Nicholson 1997). Also found in agricultural fields, city parks (Kaufman 1996), and flooded fields (Ehrlich et al. 1988). The primary habitat requirement is dense vegetation about 24 inches in height (Bellrose 1976).

Nest is placed on the ground, usually near water, in tall grass or dead reeds, in a depression, and elevated with vegetation. It may also be constructed in a cultivated field or occasionally in a tree (Harrison 1975), under clusters of trees, among fallen logs and limbs, and in hollow tree trunks (Coulter and Miller 1968). Will also nest in unusual sites such as a rain gutter on the top of a building, vines atop a stone wall, in a window well below ground level, and on the brick floor on the side of a building (Harrison 1975). Will accept artificial baskets erected on pipes (Bishop and Barratt 1970)


Primarily shallow waters such as ponds, lakes, marshes, and flooded fields; in migration and in winter mostly in fresh water and cultivated fields, less commonly in brackish situations (AOU 1983). See Nichols et al. (1983). Adapted to dynamic wetland conditions that provide a variety of wetland types in relatively close proximity (Allen 1986, which see for details on winter habitat in Lower Mississippi Valley). In Maryland, breeding pairs and broods used stormwater-control basins, especially permanent ponds with gently sloping sides (Adams et al. 1985). In California and Oregon, molting areas were dominated by bulrush and cattail and were traditionally flooded in summer and often associated with lakes or rivers (Yarris et al. 1994). Usually nests on ground in concealing vegetation, sometimes in trees or in atypical situations. Nest usually within 0.8 km of water (Palmer 1976). Commonly uses man-made ponds. Successful nesters are more likely to return to the same nesting site in successive years than are unsuccessful nesters.

Occupied Landcover Map Units:
Code NameDescription NC Natural Heritage Program Equivalent
3 Tidal Marsh Fresh and brackish tidal marshes, including cord grass, wild rice, sawgrass and needlerush alliances. Brackish Marsh, Interdune pond, Maritime wet grassland
124 Maritime Scrubs and Tidal Shrublands Coastal shrubs including wax-myrtle, swamp rose, alder, yaupon, and greenbriar. Maritime Shrubs, Salt Shrub
372 Interdune Herbaceous Wetlands Dune swales with permanently flooded to intermittently exposed hydrology. Species composition depends on salinity and can include cut grass, spike-rush, mosquito fern, and hornwort. Interdune Pond, Maritime Wet Grasslands
75 Tidal Swamp Forest Swamp tupelo dominated forest with or without black tupelo and/or cypress trees. Restricted to the tidal zones in the coastal plain. May have inclusions of coastal red cedar woodlands. Tidal cypress - gum swamp
121 Maritime Pinelands Loblolly forests and woodlands of the outer coastal plain. Estuarine Fringe Loblolly Pine Forest
17 Maritime Forests and Hammocks Maritime forests and woodlands dominated by live or sand laurel oak. Estuarine Fringe forests dominated by loblolly pine. Coastal Fringe Evergreen Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest, Maritime Deciduous Forest
126 Interdune Wooded Depression Swamp Includes swamps dominated by sweetbay and swampbay or dogwood dominated forests. Maritime Shrub Swamp, Maritime Swamp Forest
380 Coastal Plain Fresh Water Emergent Emergent vegetation in fresh water seepage bogs, ponds and riverbeds of the coastal plain. Includes alliances dominated by sedges, eelgrass, as well as cane found in unforested cane-brakes. Small Depression Pond, Sandhill Seep, Floodplain Pool, Unforested Floodplain Canebrake, Riverscour Prairies, Vernal Pools
173 Coastal Plain Riverbank Shrubs Shrub dominated riverbanks, commonly dominated by willows and/or alders. Sand and Mud Bar
50 Coastal Plain Mixed Bottomland Forests Includes forests dominated by a variety of hardwood species, including sweetgum, cottonwood, red maple. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwood (in part), Coastal Plain Levee Forest
49 Coastal Plain Oak Bottomland Forest Bottomland forests dominated by deciduous oak alliances. Oaks represented can include swamp chestnut, cherrybark, willow, and/or overcup oak. Inclusions of loblolly pine temporarily flooded forests occur in patches. Hydrology is temporarily to seasonally flooded. Coastal Plain Bottomland Hardwoods (in part) blackwater subtype, brownwater subtype
158 Coastal Plain Nonriverine Wet Flat Forests Loblolly pine - Atlantic white-cedar - red maple - swamp tupelo saturated forests as well as forests dominated by loblolly, sweetgum, and red maple in non-riverine flats. Non-riverine Wet Hardwood Forest
30 Cypress-Gum Floodplain Forests Swamps dominated by black or swamp tupelo with or without Taxodium. Seasonally to semi-permanently flooded hydrology. Cypress-Gum Swamps
78 Pond-Cypress - Gum Swamps, Savannas and Lakeshores Cypress dominated swamps and lakeshores. Can include bays dominated by pond cypress or shorelines of coastal plain lakes with a narrow band of cypress. Non-riverine Swamp Forest, Natural Lakeshores (in part)
385 Oak Bottomland Forest and Swamp Forest The swamp chestnut oak, cherrybark oak, shumard oak and sweetgum alliance is one representative. Other alliances are dominated by water, willow, and overcup oaks. Swamp forests can be dominated by sweetgum, red maple, and black gum being dominant. Loblolly can occur in combination with sweetgum and red maple, or with tulip poplar. Includes saturated and semi- to permanently flooded forests in the mountains. Piedmont/Mountain Bottomland Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Swamp Forest
63 Coastal Plain Mesic Hardwood Forests Beech dominated forests with white oak and northern red oak as possible co-dominants. Dry-mesic to mesic forests on slopes and small stream bottoms in the coastal plain. Mesic Mixed Hardwood Forest, Basic Mesic Forests
238 Piedmont/Mountain Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Seasonally to permanently flooded areas with aquatic vegetation. Waterlily, pondweed, hydrilla smartweed are a few of the species that can occur. Piedmont/Mountain Semipermanent Impoundment (in part)
239 Piedmont/Mountain Emergent Vegetation Emergent vegetation of all wetland hydrologies. Sites would commonly support species such as tussock sedge, rushs, and cattail alliances. Rocky Bar and Shore (in part)
267 Riverbank Shrublands Riverside shrubs with temporarily flooded hydrologies. Found in the both the Mountains and Piedmont. Containing dominants such as smooth alder and a Carolina or black willows. Sand and Mud Bar
269 Floodplain Wet Shrublands Saturated shrublands of the Piedmont, includes buttonbush, swamp-loosestrife, decodon and alders. Piedmont/mountain Semipermanent Impoundment
230 Piedmont Mesic Forest American Beech - Red Oak - White Oak Forests. Mesic Mixed Hardwood
384 Piedmont/Mountain Mixed Bottomland Hardwood Forests Includes temporarily to seasonally forests dominated by hardwood species. Hardwoods include sweetgum, red maple, sycamore which co-occur in a mosaic of bottomland and levee positions. Includes alluvial hardwood forests in the mountains. Hemlock and white pine may occur as inclusions, but are generally mapped separately. Piedmont/Mountain Alluvial Forest, Piedmont/Mountain Levee Forest
205 Agricultural Pasture/Hay and Natural Herbaceous Farm fields used for pasture grass or hay production, as well as old fields dominated by native and exotic grasses. No equivalent
202 Residential Urban Includes vegetation interspersed in residential areas. Includes lawns, mixed species woodlots, and horticultural shrubs. Vegetation accounts for between 20 - 70% of the cover. No equivalent
8 Open water Open water without aquatic vegetation. No equivalent
517 Hemlock Floodplain Forest Alluvial forest with hemlock and/or white pine in mountains and western piedmont. Hydrology is generally temporarily to seasonally flooded. Canada Hemlock Forest
View Entire Landcover Legend
Additional Spatial Constraints:
Exclude all area outside of known range.
Exclude all land greater than 50 meters from an open water feature.
Exclude all water greater than 200 meters from land.
Exclude salt water habitats.
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10 March 2005
This data was compiled and/or developed by the North Carolina GAP Analysis Project.

For more information please contact them at:
NC-GAP Analysis Project
Dept. of Zoology, NCSU
Campus Box 7617
Raleigh, NC 27695-7617
(919) 513-2853