10 Birds That Float on Water (Easy Checklist)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Did you know that there are so many different birds in the world?

And some of these birds are water birds or as fondly called, Aquatic birds.

These birds are birds that live on or around water, you can find them around the marine, which is where they prefer to live.

There are so many different birds you can find floating on water or living around water.

If you happen to be around the waterways, and you are looking to explore the area, there are some water birds you can find around there.

In this article, we will be listing 10 different birds that you can find floating on water.

Birds That Float on Water

1. Swan

Swan is the largest aquatic bird of the waterfowl family, they are known for their regality and their attitude.

They have long necks and are graceful. They move fast on the water, unlike other waterfowl birds.

Swans float mainly on water but on specific occasions, they may dive inside the water.

Their feet are big and this makes them glide over water and they look brilliant when it’s necessary for them to swim.

There are different species of swan and can be found in the wild on all continents except Africa and Antarctica.

2. The Mandarin Duck:

The mandarin ducks are aquatic birds that belong to the perching duck species, and they are mostly found in the Eastern part of Asia.

They are medium in size with 41-49cm in length.

They feed on seeds, snails, beech mast, small fish, snails, etc. and they breed in wooded areas and also at shallow lakes and ponds.

The male Mandarin looks different from the female Mandarin.

The male’s feathers are red bill with orange which is on their cheeks and their sides, their breast is purple with two vertical bars which are white.

The Female Mandarin ducks look different from the male, their heads are grey and they have a white stripe which is located behind their eye and also a brown back.

The Mandarin Ducks are shy species, and you can find them to be beside lakes that have trees and bushes.

Related: Here is an article I wrote on birds that hunt at night

3. Kingfisher

These birds are regarded as the most beautiful medium-sized water birds, they are known for their water dive skills and are mostly found in the Western ghats.

The Kingfisher head is large, and it has a long and sharp bill, the legs are short and it also has short tails.

Their feathers are colorful and bright as well, some kingfishers have their feathers sticking up from their heads.

They have their nest in tree hollows, in holes beside a river or lake, and they hunt and eat fish, while some kingfishers eat frogs, insects, spiders, crustaceans, mammals, and even reptiles.

4. The Mute Swan

The mute swans are species of swans that belong to the family of waterfowl birds. Mute swans are native of Eurasia and their body length is 140 to 160cm long.

They are very large, white in color and they are heavy flying birds.

Their necks are long and are shaped “S” and they have orange bills with a black base. They are one of the most beautifully designed heavy flying birds.

The Mute Swan mate for life and they form a lasting bond with who they pair with. They can be seen at shallow lakes, rivers, or urban parks.

They feed on seaweeds and plants, berries, seeds, insects.

5. Storks

Storks are wading birds that are large with long necks, they live in water and they belong to the family of Ciconiid.

They look like herons and they are large in size.

Their long legs make it possible for them to walk through deep water.

They are large water birds, and they are carnivorous, they feed on fish, mammals, and reptiles.

6. The Western Grebe

The Western Grebe belongs to the grebe family of water birds.

They are the largest of North American grebes and they are one of the most beautiful waterfowl birds of the grebe family.

They have long, slender neck and bill, their feet are far away from their body.

They have blackish brown color in their head, neck, and body which starts from above while it is white below. Their bill is dull yellow and their eyes are red with dark coloration.

They can be found on freshwater lakes, on temperate coastal, large lakes (during breeding season), they nest in colonies on lakes. They feed on crabs, on amphibians.

Also check out this article I wrote on birds that hover

7. Cormorants

Cormorants are large, black, or dark brown aquatic birds, they swim low in the water with their heads and neck showing above water.

They are good divers and they move fast through the water.

The cormorants are a large family with about 40 different species in total. They mainly feed on fish and also feed on eels and even water snakes.

Cormorants can be found all around the world except the pacific islands, they breed close to coastal areas and they can be found near rivers and lakes.

8. Coots

Colts are aquatic birds that float on water, they have black feathers and white bills, their feet are green or blue.

These aquatic birds can be seen at lakes, rivers, urban park lakes, streams and can be found everywhere in the world.

Their nest is built in shallow waters. Coots swim and bob for food and they feed on plants, seeds, mollusks, and even worms.

9. Gulls

Gulls also referred to as Seagulls are birds that are from the family of Laridae. These birds are extraordinary in nature.

They can fly very long distances and float in an open ocean for hours as they search for food.

They vary from medium to large in size, and their colors are either white or grey.

Gulls are known for building their nest in large areas, and are referred to as adaptable feeders

This is because they feed off different fishes, freshwater, and even marine invertebrates.

Seagulls can also drink salty water when they are thirsty. They also feed on worms, plants, insects.

10. The Northern Pintail:

Pintail or the Northern pintail are ducks that breed mainly in the Northern part of America, Europe, and Asia.

They are large in size and they have long necks which helps them to pick food from lakes.

The Northern Pintail can live for up to 22 years and are one of the most numerous species of duck in the world.

They are named for their tail feathers.

They are fast flyers and they breed in private habitats near lakes, rivers that are dominated by low vegetation and shallow water bodies.

They nest in seasonal wetlands, wet meadows, croplands, and grasslands. While they spend the non-breeding season in wetlands, ponds, bays, lakes.


There are various types of Birds that float on water and these birds can be found in every part of the world.

They feed on things from lakes, rivers, oceans like insects, fish, worms, and even plants.

A lot of these birds vary from Medium to large in size and they have different colors and bills.

Most of them have long necks, and they can float fast on the water.

If you have been looking or wondering about what birds float on water, we’ve listed ten above that definitely float on water and you can find them in various parts of the world near oceans, rivers, lakes, and shallow waters.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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