Ring-what Duck?

March 20, 2014  •  1 Comment

A more appropriate name for the Ring-necked Duck is Ring-billed Duck.  It has a prominent white ring on its bill that outshines the faint chestnut colored ring around its black neck that is only seen at close range and in perfect lighting.  This species resembles a Scaup but the high angular, purple glossed head and white ring on its bill are its distinguishing marks.

Even though the Ring-necked Duck doesn't breed in Pennsylvania, we get to enjoy them during spring and fall migration.  During fall migration, Ring-necked Ducks can form huge flocks.  Several hundred thousand congregate each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice.  The following photos are of a male Ring-necked Duck.     Ring-necked DuckRing-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck (male)

 

The Ring-necked Duck dives for its food so you can find it in shallow wetlands such as beaver swamps, ponds, and bays. Of all the diving ducks, the Ring-necked Duck is the one most likely to drop into small ponds, which is where I found this one, during migration.

Ring-necked DuckRing-necked Duck

Ring-necked Duck (male)

Here are a few cool facts I found on the internet.

  • The oldest known Ring-necked Duck was 20 years 5 months old. It was banded in 1964 in Louisiana and was shot during hunting season in 1983, in Minnesota.
  • The chestnut ring around its black neck is not a good field mark to use for identifying the bird, but it jumped out to the nineteenth century biologists that described the species using dead specimens.
  • When courting, males often throw their head sharply backward, touching the back; swim rapidly while nodding the head; or act as if they are preening their wing.

Thanks for looking and come back soon.

Dan

 

 


Comments

Willard Hill(non-registered)
Superb images. I could never understand why they didn't call them the ring-billed duck either. They are one of my favorite species, but I seldom get close enough to get good still images.
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