Ruddy duck

Latin Name
Oxyura jamaicensis

Class
Birds

Order
Anseriformes

Description

The ruddy duck is a sexually dimorphic species, meaning males and females differ in appearance. During breeding season, the male displays a bright blue beak and reddish-brown plumage. After breeding is over, males shifts to the grayish-white feathers displayed by the female, although they can still be distinguished by their white cheeks and dull blue bill.


 

Range

The ruddy duck can be found from Canada through the western United States to Mexico and the Caribbean.


Status

Common


Habitat

The species inhabits lakes, ponds and marshes.


Niche

The ruddy duck primarily feeds on pond vegetation, but it will also occasionally eat insects and small fish. The bird locates food by diving underwater.


Life History

The female builds her nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical group of young ranges from 5-15 ducklings.


Special Adaptations

Like all ducks, the ruddy duck's feet are thin and flat, making it easier for them to paddle through the water.



Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit