North American Ruddy Duck
Estimated Wild Population
North American ruddy ducks are sexually dimorphic species, meaning males and females differ in appearance. During breeding season, males display a bright blue beak and reddish-brown plumage. After breeding season, males shift to the grayish-white feathers displayed by the female, although they retain their white cheeks and dull blue bill. Like all ducks, ruddy ducks have long, thin feet that make it easier to paddle through water. They dive underwater to feed on pond vegetation, insects, and small fish.
Interesting Fact 1
North American ruddy duck fossils dating back 11,000 years have been unearthed in Oregon, California, Virginia, Florida, and Illinois.
Interesting Fact 2
Compared to other ducks, these ducks lay large eggs relative to their body size.
Interesting Fact 3
Males are known to establish either seasonally monogamous pair bonds or polygamous mating patterns.
Commitment to Care
Lincoln Park Zoo prioritizes individual well-being over everything else. Guided by scientific research, staff and volunteers work to provide the best welfare outcomes for each individual in the zoo’s care.
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Wildlife face many daunting challenges—some global, like planet-wide climate change, and some that affect individuals, like an animal ingesting plastic—but now is not the time to despair. None of these problems are too big for us to come together and solve.