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Monday, December 5, 2011
Ring-Necked Duck Joins the Waterfowl Party
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo has been hosting a diverse array of native waterfowl lately! We’ve been seeing American coots and a female long-tailed duck for some time now. More recently, they have been joined by a group of female gadwalls and a male ring-necked duck.
If you’re looking for the ring around the neck of that last one, don’t bother. It’s extremely hard, perhaps impossible, to see this ring in the field. There is, however, a faint collar that’s noticeable with the ring-necked duck in hand.
The species’ name originated back when people were describing birds from museum specimens and naming them accordingly. Rather than trying to pick out the collar around this bird’s neck, you can use the ring around the tip of the bill and the outline of the base of the bill—both are bright white—are good field marks to identify the species.
Like many duck species, ring-necked ducks eat underwater vegetation and aquatic invertebrates. They’re one of many species that have been using Nature Boardwalk as a stopover on their migratory path south. Come to Nature Boardwalk to see these birds on their way!
Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo
By transforming the South Pond into Nature Boardwalk, Lincoln Park Zoo has created an urban ecosystem in the heart of the city. Enjoy a virtual view as native plants and animals establish themselves in this rare refuge.
As Lincoln Park Zoo’s director of horticulture, Brian oversees the zoo’s gardens, from bud to bloom.
As coordinator of wildlife management, Mason chronicles the bugs, birds, fish, insects, mammals and more that make their homes at Nature Boardwalk.
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