Green-winged Teal

Green-winged Teal

This course is designed to help you identify ducks, geese, swans, loons, grebes, and more. Each self-paced lesson features a video tutorial, followed by exercises and quizzes designed to help you build ID skills.

Lesser Scaup female swimming Tompkins Co, NY 12Mar15 kjm_5997-173_ac_r_1000px

What’s inside

Begin by learning expert tips for approaching waterfowl ID. Next, get to know all the common waterfowl in North America species-by-species, by learning which characteristics are important for each one.

Go through the material at your own pace. Pause, rewind, and review anything you wish.

Practice your skills with the built-in activities and quizzes. This course features 6 lessons containing more than 3 hours of video instruction, 21 quizzes, and 2 puzzles. You can choose to earn a digital badge and a printable certificate by passing the final exam.

You’ll come away knowing

  • How to categorize waterfowl
  • How much variety you can expect to see
  • The most important things to look for, and what to ignore
  • How to avoid common misidentifications
  • ID strategies for all common North American species


Lesson 1: Waterfowl ID Essentials
Lesson 2: Other Ways to ID Waterfowl
Lesson 3: Dabbling Ducks
Lesson 4: Identifying Diving Ducks
Lesson 5: Identifying “Not-Ducks”
Lesson 6: Final Exam and Wrap-up

The course contains a series of interactive quizzes so you gain valuable practice in bird ID along the way.

Try a free sample activity


The Waterfowl ID Guides


The Waterfowl ID Guides make a perfect companion to this course. These foldout guides help you identify waterfowl by noting the overall shape of the bird and the location of patches of white. Great in the field and as study aides in the course–get yours at the Wild Birds Unlimited at Sapsucker Woods store.

Sign up for Be a Better Birder: Duck and Waterfowl Identification today!

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Satisfaction Guarantee

Our educators and birding experts take pride in the courses they create. If you're not satisfied with the material for ANY reason, contact us within 30 days of the start of the course or purchase for a full refund.

Meet the Course Authors

Kevin McGowan

Dr. Kevin McGowan, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Dr. Kevin J. McGowan combines deep knowledge about birds with passion for helping others to learn. He is a professional ornithologist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and one of the world’s foremost experts on the behavior of crows. Kevin is also an accomplished birder and World Series of Birding champion. He is the creator of the popular Be a Better Birder series of courses and live webinars and co-author of the Ornithology: Comprehensive Bird Biology online course.


Lee Ann van Leer

Lee Ann van Leer

Lee Ann van Leer works in Education at the Cornell Lab where she helps support online courses and run the Be a Better Birder webinar series. She is a certified bird bander and recreational birder, as well as having a degree in Zoology. She is a long-time participant and field-trip leader in the Spring Field Ornithology course at the Cornell Lab, and leads weekend bird walks at the Lab.