Ring-necked Duck

Aythya collaris




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Olive, gray, olive brown or green buff.

Number of Eggs:

6 - 14

Incubation Days:

25 - 29

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

Near or over water.

Nest Material:

Grasses and weeds lined with down.





Ring-necked Duck: Medium-sized diving duck with black upperparts and weakly tufted glossy purple-black head. Neck, upper breast and tail are black, lower breast and belly is white, and sides are pale gray. Cinnamon collar is hard to see in the field. Bill is blue-gray with white ring and black tip. Wings are dark with black-tipped gray flight feathers visible in flight. Female is brown overall with gray face and throat, white eye ring and weak eye stripe, and white patch at base of bill. Juvenile resembles female.

Range and Habitat

Ring-necked Duck: Breeds from Alaska, Manitoba, and Newfoundland south to California, Arizona, the Great Lakes, and Maine. Spends winters from southeast Alaska south along the Pacific coast, east through the southwest and the Gulf Coast states and north to New England. Found on wooded lakes, ponds, and rivers; seldom seen on saltwater except in the southern states.

Breeding and Nesting

Ring-necked Duck: Six to fourteen olive, gray, olive brown, or green buff eggs are laid in a down-lined ground nest concealed in vegetation near the edge of a pond. Incubation ranges from 25 to 29 days and is carried out by the female.

Foraging and Feeding

Ring-necked Duck: Their diet includes mostly aquatic plants and seeds. They also feed on insects, mollusks, worms and crustaceans. They feed exclusively in water and forage by shallow dives, but also by tipping up, dabbling at and below the water surface, and snapping at items on the water surface. They locate foods tactilely, but also use visual cues.


Ring-necked Duck: Makes a faint, wheezy whistle.

Similar Species

Ring-necked Duck: Greater and Lesser scaups lack white ring on bills. Tufted Duck has a more rounded head with a tuft on back of crown.

Back, rump, hindneck, wings, and crown.
The ventral part of the bird, or the area between the flanks on each side and the crissum and breast. Flight muscles are located between the belly and the breast.
The upper front part of a bird.
Similar to the upper part of the human neck, located at the back of the crown.
Eye ringX
The circle around the eye formed of feathers that are a different color from the rest of the face.
The front part of the head consisting of the bill, eyes, cheeks and chin.
Flight feathersX
Located on the wing, and collectively called remiges (singular, remex). The long stiff feathers are subdivided into two major groups based on the location and are called primaries and secondaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X