Masked Duck

Oxyura dominica

Photographs © David Sarkozi 1994
Last updated 3/26/96
Masked Ducks have been reliable winter birds at Brazos Bend State Park. I think they are permanent residents. They are found as soon as the vegitation dies back enough to see into Pilant Lake, and they are seen until it grows back up in late May. From October to May goto the 40 Acre Lake parking lot and take the trail to the observation towers. Pilant Lake is North of the observation tower on the opposite side of the dike from 40 Acre Lake. The Masked Ducks are often close in. They are very small, about the size of Ruddy Ducks. In 1996 there have been 2 females and a male in breeding plumage. The male's dark chestnut color, dark mask and crown, and blue bill make him distinctive. Look for the female's dark crown and TWO face strips. The female's back is much more speckled than the Ruddy Ducks that are often present with it.

The females seem to be more active than the male. He seems to spend much more time dozing than they do.

Masked Ducks have also been found in recent yeas at Anahuac NWR, Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge., Brazoria NWR, and San Bernard NWR. Watch for them anywhere on the UTC in the proper habitat.

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