Sibley, D. A. However, they are extremely clumsy on land. The ruddy duck is a small, chubby diving duck that visits the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers, marshes and freshwater lakes from autumn through spring. Above, a ruddy duck dives in Spa Creek in Annapolis, Md., on Jan. 18, 2018. They are usually regular in winter from northern Texas southward well into Mexico. The ruddy duck grows to 16 inches with a wingspan of 23 inches. Ruddy ducks feed on bay grasses such as pondweeds and wild celery, but will also eat insects, mollusks and crustaceans in vegetated areas. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program), Ruddy ducks take off by running and pattering across the water’s surface. They also eat zooplankton, clams, snails, mollusks, brine shrimp, and insects, especially midge larvae. Ruddy ducks can live as long as 13 years, but rarely live longer than two to three years. Midge larvae form a large part of their diet. Visits the Bay region from autumn through spring, then spends the summer in the Prairie Pothole region of North and South Dakota and southern Canada. The State of the Birds 2014 Report. A. and A. S. Love. Above, ruddy ducks flock together on deeper, open waters of the Chesapeake Bay at Jonas Green Park in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 26, 2015. Habitat. Ruddy ducks can live as long as 13 years, but rarely live longer than two to three years. USGS Patuxtent Wildlife Research Center (2014b). The precocious chicks are able to dive skillfully when only two days old. Courting males also lower their tails and run across the water, making popping sounds with their feet. Adults may be preyed upon by minks, hawks, owls and red foxes. In the spring the male’s bill changes to a blue-gray color and his plumage also changes. (2002). These ducks are highly adapted for their aquatic lifestyle. North American Bird Conservation Initiative. Introduced:Great Britain and Europe. Males perform unusual courtship displays in which they stick their tails straight up while striking their bills against their inflated necks, creating bubbles in the water as air is forced from their feathers. The genus name is derived from Ancient Greek oxus, "sharp", and oura, "tail", and jamaicensis is "from Jamaica". Migratory bird hunting activity and harvest during the 2010 and 2011 hunting seasons. Reproduction begins with an elaborate display by the male in front of the female. Sauer, J. R., J. E. Hines, J. E. Fallon, K. L. Pardieck, Jr. Ziolkowski, D. J. and W. A. Other food items include water fleas, worms, amphipods, seed shrimp, snails, caddisfly larvae, dragonfly nymphs, predaceous diving beetles and their larvae, bugs, water boatmen, brine fly larvae, crane fly larvae, mosquitoes, mayflies, and plant material from arrowhead, pondweed, muskgrass, bulrushes, bayberry, spikerushes, water lilies, duckweed, and more. Get the latest updates on our work delivered to your inbox. Habitat They nest in marshes adjacent to lakes and ponds, primarily in the Prairie Potholes region. The ruddy duck does not breed in the Chesapeake Bay region. (2012a). They begin to develop feathers at about two weeks of age and fledge 42 to 49 days after hatching. The North American and South American populations are separate subspecies. They punctuate the end of the display with a belch-like call. Ruddy ducks can disappear from sight without diving. Nutritional demands are high during this time and the ducks seek habitat that will provide an adequate source of food and cover to hide them from predators. White to yellowish white, with a pebbly texture. 100 Aquarium Way, Founded in June 1998, the Aquarium of the Pacific is a 501©3 non-profit organization. The Cornell Lab will send you updates about birds, birding, and opportunities to help bird conservation. Ruddy Ducks are protected in North America under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Ruddy Ducks pairs are usually seasonally monogamous. Plant material is more common in their diet during migration and winter than during the breeding season.Back to top. They are primarily herbivores with about 75 percent of their diet some form of plants. Usually placed 2–10 inches over the water in cattails, bulrushes, or grasses, the nest is supported and well-concealed by vegetation. Their eggs are proportionally the largest of all waterfowl. They forage mostly by diving to the bottom of shallow ponds, straining mouthfuls of mud through thin plates on their bills and swallowing the prey items that are left behind. (Photo by Will Parson/Chesapeake Bay Program), Male ruddy ducks are dull brown in autumn and turn grayish-brown like females in winter. Longevity records of North American birds. Ruddy Duck is not on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List. He puffs out his chest, bows, and slaps his bill against his chest to produce a drumming sound and to also create bubbles that rise from beneath his chest.
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