The Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) is a small to medium-sized diving duck from North America commonly found in freshwater ponds and lakes. The adult male is similar in color pattern to the Eurasian Tufted Duck, its relative. Males are a little bit bigger than the female. It has two white rings surrounding its gray bill, a shiny black angular head, black back, white line on the wings, a white breast and yellow eyes. The adult female has a grayish brown angular head and body with a dark brown back, a dark bill with a more subtle light band than the male, grayish-blue feet and brown eyes with white rings surrounding them. [Wikipedia]
The male Ring-necked Duck is a sharply marked bird of gleaming black, gray, and white. Females are a rich brown with a delicate face pattern. At a distance, look for this species’ distinctive, peaked head to help you identify it. Even though this species dives for its food, you can find it in shallow wetlands such as beaver swamps, ponds, and bays. Of all the diving duck species, the Ring-necked Duck is most likely to drop into small ponds during migration. [All About Birds]
Ring-necked Ducks Facts [All About Birds]
- This bird’s common name (and its scientific name “collaris,” too) refer to the Ring-necked Duck’s hard-to-see chestnut collar on its black neck. It’s 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.
- During fall migration, Ring-necked Ducks can form immense flocks. Several hundred thousand congregate each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice.
- Ring-necked Ducks on their breeding grounds occasionally get attacked by the much larger Common Loon, the Red-necked Grebe, and even the much smaller Pied-billed Grebe.
- The oldest known Ring-necked Duck was a male, and at least 20 years, 5 months old. He was banded in 1964 in Louisiana and was shot in 1983, in Minnesota.