Masked Duck

Masked Duck
Credit: By Félix Uribe, CC BY-SA 2.0

Masked Ducks are rarely seen, stiff-tailed ducks and are the only members of the genus Nomonyx.

They are aptly named because Male Masked Ducks have an obvious black face mask, bright blue bills with a black tip, and russet bodies with black streaks on the back and sides. 

Female Masked Ducks don’t have an obvious mask, but they do have a black cap and two horizontal black lines across their face. One is across the eyes, and one is under the eye, right on the cheek line. They have blue-gray bills and reddish-brown bodies with a mottled pattern on their backs and sides. 

  • Nomonyx dominicus
  • Length: 13 in (33 cm)
  • Weight: 12.8 oz (363 g)
  • Wingspan: 17 in (43 cm)


Masked Ducks are commonly found in Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean but they’re considered vagrants in Texas and Florida.

Habitat And Diet

You can find Masked Ducks in freshwater marshy ponds surrounded by lots of trees for cover. They are also seen in mangrove swamps, rice fields or plantations, and lagoons. 

Masked ducks feed mainly at night on various seeds, roots, and leaves of aquatic vegetation. They also eat aquatic insects and crustaceans. They mostly do short dives and tip up instead of deep diving, like other ducks.

Masked Duck Calls:


Nests of Masked Ducks are mostly found among marsh vegetation in shallow water. The nests are made of reeds and grasses with a lining of down feathers.

The female lays four to ten eggs and will sometimes lay her eggs in other females’ nests. It takes about 4 weeks to incubate the eggs with the male staying nearby. 

Fun Fact:

Masked Ducks swim very low in the water, with only their head and their neck showing above the water.