Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis

Order

ANSERIFORMES

Family

Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4

RUDU

Code 6

OXYJAM

ITIS

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ILLUSTRATION

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PHOTOS

CONSERVATION STATUS

Least Concern

The Ruddy Duck is a small, stiff-tailed duck. The preferred breeding habitat for this species includes marshlands, lakes and ponds in North America. Nesting takes place in dense marshes near the water. During winter months, these birds migrate to coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds. The Ruddy Duck has also escaped and established itself in Great Britain and throughout Europe. This species dives underwater for food, and diets consist mainly of seeds, roots, insects and crustaceans. The Ruddy Duck also interbreed with the endangered White-headed Duck, causing discussion of extirpating European populations. The conservation rating for this species is Least Concern.

IBIRD EXPLORER GENERAL

PHOTO SHARING AND DISCUSSION

BIRD PHOTOGRAPHY

SUMMARY

Overview

Ruddy Duck: This small, bright red-brown duck has a black cap extending below the eyes onto the nape, heavy blue bill and black tail. Some males have an all black head lacking white cheek patches. Females have a gray-brown neck and body, dull buff-brown head and neck sides, with a stripe across pale-gray cheek patch. Feeds on aquatic invertebrates and vegetation. Direct flight on rapid wing beats.


Range and Habitat

Ruddy Duck: Breeds from British Columbia, Mackenzie, and Quebec south to California, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas, occasionally breeding farther east. Winters on coasts north to British Columbia and Massachusetts and as far inland as Missouri. Preferred breeding habitats include freshwater marshes, marshy lakes, and ponds. Found in marshes and shallow coastal bays during winter.

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SONGS AND CALLS

Voice Text

Generally silent

INTERESTING FACTS

  • The Ruddy Duck has spiky tail feathers that are used in courtship displays.
  • Occasionally males lack white cheeks and can be confused with the Masked Duck.
  • They are considered an invasive species in Great Britain. They have become a threat to the native White-headed ducks with whom they hybridize and compete with for nesting sites.
  • A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.

SIMILAR BIRDS

RANGE MAP

CERange Map for Ruddy Duck

FAMILY DESCRIPTION

TERMINOLOGY

CREDITS

Author

Gary Owen Dick

Artist

Yury Lisyak

HELP ME IDENTIFY A BIRD

BACKYARD BIRDING

BIRDS AND BIRDING

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CapX
The area on top of the head of the bird.
NapeX
Also called the hindneck or collar, it is the back of the neck where the head joins the body.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X