As a group, waterfowl exhibit a wide range of diversity in plumage and bill shape. From bold, contrasting colors to bright iridescence and intricate vermiculations, most species stand out as quite unique. But even without a look at the body color or bill, most waterfowl can simply be identified by their wings. Each species has unique patterning to the secondaries and speculum, and amongst the flight and covert feathers. Many of the colors and iridescent hues of the wings can often be concealed. However, a moment’s glance at an open wing or a bird in flight can be enough to confirm an identification.
[Hint: All of these wings belong to males.]