While most ducks pair up on the wintering grounds prior to spring, the Ruddy Duck waits until it has returned to its breeding grounds to form pairs. The Ruddy Duck is a nocturnal migrant and usually travels in small groups. Males often arrive on the breeding grounds slightly before females.
The Ruddy Duck has large feet that are set far back on its body to assist in diving. A typical foraging dive lasts about 20 seconds. Male Ruddy Ducks defend a small area around their mates, but do not defend a traditional territory.
Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.