Ring-necked Ducks are widespread across North America, particularly in migration and winter, and they winter in large flocks along the Gulf Coast. Ring-necked Ducks are well known for their love od ponds and wooded lakes.
The breeding and wintering ranges of the Ring-necked Duck are well separated, except in western North America. Migration takes place at night in small flocks. Weather has less effect on migration timing than might be expected, for the Ring-necked Duck’s internal clock seems to be the primary signal for migration.
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Length: 17 inches, Wing span: 25 inches
There are records of several other species of ducks laying eggs in the nest of Ring-necked Ducks. Female Ring-necked Ducks often return to the same area to nest in subsequent years. The longest known living wild Ring-necked Duck was about 20 years old.
Description of the Ring-necked Duck
The Ring-necked Duck is a diving duck slightly smaller than a Redhead, with a bluish-gray bill, a white subterminal band, and a black tip. This species is named for the dark reddish collar of the males, though it is seldom visible in the field.
Males have gray flanks with a vertical white patch at the front, and black upperparts, breast, neck, and head.
Females have brownish flanks, darker upperparts, a brown cap, and gray cheeks.
Seasonal change in appearance
Males in nonbreeding plumage are similar but browner.
The immature Ring-necked Duck is similar to the adult female.
Ring-necked Ducks inhabit lakes, ponds, rivers, and marshes.
Ring-necked Ducks primarily eat roots, leaves, seeds and other plant material, but will also eat insects and mollusks.
The Ring-necked Duck dives in shallow water to forage, or gleans food from the water’s surface.
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Ring-necked Ducks occur throughout most of the U.S. and Canada, breeding in northern portions of the U.S. north to Alaska, and wintering across a broad swath of the central and southern U.S., as well as the Pacific and Atlantic Coasts. The population is generally stable.
The Ring-necked Duck was named, as were most of North America’s birds, after examining specimens that had been shot, making such features as the collar (or “ring”) of the Ring-necked Duck easier to see than is possible with binoculars from a distance as most birds are now seen today.
Unlike most diving ducks which require a running start to leave the water, Ring-necked Ducks can take flight directly from the surface.
Female Ring-necked Ducks give a growl, while males are generally silent.
Ring-necked Ducks Pictures
The following 3 images show Ring-necked Ducks in flight. The amount of white on the face might lead to the conclusion that they are female scaup. Note the eye ring and the white band on the bill, near, but not at the tip of the bill.
- Male scaup have paler upperparts, and female scaup have dark brown heads.
The Ring-necked Duck’s nest is a bowl of grasses and weeds lined with down, and placed on a hummock or on floating vegetation
Number: Usually lay 8-10 eggs.
Color: Olive or buff.
Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 25-29 days and leave the nest soon after hatching, but may return to the nest at night, and cannot fly for about 7-8 weeks