North American ruddy duck in exhibit

North American Ruddy Duck

Scientific Name

Oxyura jamaicensis jamaicensis

Class

Aves

Order

Anseriformes

Range

Canada, western United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean

Habitat

Lakes, ponds, and marshes

Estimated Wild Population

n/a
North American ruddy duck in exhibit
IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern IUCN Conservation Status: Lower Risk - Least Concern

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Physical Description

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.

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