Ducks at a Distance
A Waterfowl Identification Guide

Eclipse Plumage

GIF -- Picture of Different Plumage Stages

Most ducks shed their body feathers twice each year. Nearly all drakes lose their bright plumage after mating, and for a few weeks resemble females. This hen-like appearance is called the eclipse plumage. The return to breeding coloration varies in species and individuals of each species. Blue-winged teal and shovelers may retain the eclipse plumage until well into the winter. Wing feathers are shed only once a year; wing colors are always the same.

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