Ring-necked Duck

Bird of the Month: Ring-necked Duck

By Hugh Jennings

PC: Mick Thompson (Ring-necked Duck)

PC: Mick Thompson (Ring-necked Duck)

Scientific Name: Aythaya collaris

Length 16-18 in

AOU Band code RNDU

The Ring-necked Duck (RNDU) is 16-18". The brownish ring on the neck is barely visible. A bold white ring around the bill is a distinguishing feature. In profile, the crown comes to a point. The male is like a scaup with a black back. A vertical white mark is seen in front of light gray sides. The female is gray-brown with a white eye-ring and faint white line behind the eye and a poorly defined light area on the face at base of bill.

It is one of the diving ducks which feeds on tubers, leaves and seeds of underwater vegetation, but also eats mollusks and insects. It builds a nest of grass and moss lined with down near the edge of the water. The female lays 6-14 olive-buff eggs which hatch in 25-29 days. It is fairly common and is seen on open lakes and marshes in the summer. In winter it is found on large lakes and coastal marshes. The range is variable, but generally breeds in northern U.S., including eastern Washington, Canada and Alaska. It winters on the western and eastern coasts and southern U.S. into Mexico. In the Puget Sound area they begin arriving in late summer and stay throughout fall and winter.