Dabblers and divers: Great Lakes Waterfowl a new publication by Michigan Sea Grant

There are over 100 species of ducks in the world. In the Great Lakes region, duck species are often classified into dabblers or divers, based on their behavior used in getting food.

Have you ever seen a duck and wondered how to figure out what species it is? Michigan Sea Grant’s new publication Dabblers & Divers: Great Lakes Waterfowl poster can help.Dabblers & Divers waterfowl poster image.

The full-color poster features profiles of eight ducks — four dabblers and four divers — that are found throughout the Great Lakes. The profiles include the duck’s common name and scientific name and show pictures of both female and males ducks, as well as the duck in flight. Additionally, the poster provides the clues that anyone can use to figure out if a duck is a dabbler or diver.

For example, the main way to categorize and recognize different species of ducks begins with observing their feeding behaviors. Diving ducks, or divers, propel themselves underwater for their food and can sometimes swim great distances or dive quite deep. Their diets include fish, plants, mollusks and other invertebrates. One minute they may be bobbing along on top of the water, and the next they may have disappeared, hunting beneath the surface.

Dabbling ducks spend most of their time in shallow water, searching for plants, seeds, worms and insects to eat. They pull water in their bills and filter out their meals. Sometimes a dabbler may tip its whole body forward, dunking its head and the front half of its body to search for tasty bits.

The poster also highlights where dabblers and divers can each be found (shallow or deep water), their position in the water (high or low with tail feathers underwater), the size and shape of their bodies and wings, and where their feet are positioned on their bodies, among other things.

The poster is a perfect resource for teachers, natural resource professionals, avid or novice birders, or anyone interested in learning more about the Great Lakes and the great species that call the region home. The poster is available for $8 through the Michigan Sea Grant bookstore. Bulk discounts are available by contacting the bookstore for more information.

Poster Details: High-quality, full-color poster that measures 26 inches wide by 37 inches tall. Printed on 100% recycled, chlorine-free paper with vegetable-based ink. Features eight species of ducks and an overview on how to identify duck species.

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