Wetlands


Blue-Winged Teal


Small duck with a spatula-shaped bill. Overall brown in color. Males have a white crescent-shaped patch at the base of bill. Light-blue shoulder patches visible in flight.

Where to see

Migratory, uncommon. Fall, winter, and spring. Ponds, creeks, river, and lagoons.

Notes

Dabbles at the surface of the water in search of food.

Ruddy Duck


Small, chunky diving duck with a long, stiff tail that is often cocked up at an angle. Overall brownish in color with pale colored cheek patches.

Where to see

Migratory, fairly common in winter and spring. Ponds, river, and ocean.

Notes

Commonly seen in Ibis and Willet ponds. Rarely flies from danger, usually dives or swims away.

Bufflehead


Small diving duck with bluish bill. Males are dark above, white below with a large, white patch on the back of head. Females are dark above, gray below with a white spot on the side of the head.

Where to see

Migratory, fairly common in winter and spring. Large ponds, creeks, river, lagoons, and ocean.

Notes

Eats clams and other mollusks.

Hooded Merganser


Medium-sized diving duck with a long, thin bill and a fan-like crown. Males are boldly patterned in black, white, and brown. Females are predominately brown.

Where to see

Migratory, common in winter and spring. Creeks, river, and ponds.

Notes

The most abundant duck on Kiawah’s ponds. Eats fish.

Pied-Billed Grebe


Small, duck-like water bird. Overall brownish in color with dull-colored bill. In summer, the bill is encircled by a dark ring.

Where to see

Migratory, common in fall, winter, and spring. Ponds and marsh.

Notes

When threatened, they can sink into the water without making a ripple.

Anhinga


Large, water bird with long neck and sharp, needle-like bill. Males are black with whitish back. Females and immatures have brown necks and breast.

Where to see

Migratory, breeder, uncommon year-round. Ponds.

Notes

Also called “snakebird” because only its head and neck are visible when swimming.

Double-Crested Cormorant


Large, duck-like water bird with an orange, hooked bill. Adults appear black overall. Immatures are brownish with a pale breast and neck.

Where to see

Migratory, common in fall, winter, and spring. Ponds and ocean.

Notes

Eats primarily fish, often works together to “herd” fish against shorelines.

Clapper Rail


Brownish-gray in color with dark gray cheek patches and contrasting dark and light stripes on flanks and belly. Long, orange bill.

Where to see

Resident, breeder, common year-round. Marsh and ponds.

Notes

Clapper Rails inhabit dense marshes and are more often heard than seen. Distinctive long, extended clattering call.

Common Moorhen


Dark overall with a thin white line along the side. In summer, the bill turns bright red with a yellow tip.

Where to see

Migratory, breeder, common year-round. Ponds and marsh.

Notes

Often seen along densely vegetated shorelines but will forage in open water by picking food from the surface.

Belted Kingfisher


Blue above, white below with a blue breast band. Head is blue with a shaggy crest. Females have a rusty-colored belly band.

Where to see

Migratory, common in fall, winter, and spring. Ponds and tidal creeks.

Notes

Forages by hovering and plunging head first into water after fish.