Some individuals are solitary, some live-in pairs, and others form small groups. The ducklings are quite large when they hatch, and almost self-sufficient. On takeoff it must patter across the surface of the water to become airborne, then whirs along on rapidly beating wings. Can This Critically Endangered Bird Survive Australia's New Climate Reality? Like most waterfowl, they eat more insects while they are breeding and raising ducklings because their need for protein is greater. They are relatively aggressive, especially while breeding, and they typically chase their neighbors around when they get too close to their nests. Current population apparently much lower than historical levels, owing to unrestricted shooting early in 20th century and to loss of nesting habitat. Seeds and tubers from aquatic vegetation are a main staple of the Ruddy Duck's diet. The spring migration begins in late February, and continues through May. Aquatic insect larvae are especially favored during the breeding season. Ruddy ducks are one of the stiff-tailed ducks; they have long, stiff tail feathers, which are erected when the bird is resting. All photos used are royalty-free, and credits are included in the Alt tag of each image. Visit your local Audubon center, join a chapter, or help save birds with your state program. They court females by beating their bill against their neck hard enough to create a swirl of bubbles in the water. In western Washington, Ruddy Ducks breed uncommonly in the Puget Trough in King and Pierce Counties. On land it is almost helpless. These ducks are omnivores, and feed primarily on a mixture of plants and invertebrates. All members of the waterfowl family have large clutches of precocial young. This species’ habitat preferences vary based on the season. If you find the information on BirdWeb useful, please consider supporting Seattle Audubon. These ducks are omnivores, and feed primarily on a mixture of plants and invertebrates. Ruddy ducks lay the largest eggs of any duck in the world. They are excellent swimmers, capable of diving underwater very swiftly to avoid predators. They reproduce in ponds, marshes, and lakes with dense vegetation and shrubbery. In most places it is also illegal to own a Ruddy as a pet. Read on to learn about the Ruddy Duck. Her bill is gray. Mostly seeds, roots, insects. Fresh marshes, ponds, lakes; in winter, salt bays. The female often makes a ledge above the nest with the vegetation, to help prevent predators from spotting her. Christmas Bird Count data show a slight decline in Washington. Spread the word. Ruddy Ducks breed from the central Columbia Basin east through the Palouse and north along major river valleys in all the northern counties of eastern Washington. Mollusks, crustaceans, and some small fish are also eaten. Diet. Crowds are dwindling. Overwhelmed and Understaffed, Our National Wildlife Refuges Need Help. Migration is drawn out over a long period in both spring and fall. Males undergo a molt migration in July away from the breeding grounds before they head to the wintering grounds. Its Heyday Long Past, Wildlife Wood Carving Looks to Broaden Its Appeal, Audubon’s Delaware River Watershed Program Director Tapped to Shape Regional Watershed Plans and Climate Resiliency, An Avian Cholera Outbreak at the Salton Sea Has Killed Thousands of Birds. Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. One brood per year in north, sometimes 2 in south. Breeds on fresh or alkaline lakes and ponds with extensive marshy borders and with areas of open water. Lives of North American Birds. They are absent as a breeder west of the Columbia River in Chelan and Kittitas Counties as well as throughout most of western Yakima and Klickitat Counties. Flocks of Ruddies wintering on lakes seldom mix freely with other ducks, although they may associate with American Coots. Are the Trump Administration's Environmental Rollbacks Built to Last? In winter on protected shallow bays and estuaries along coast; also on ice-free lakes and ponds in the interior, including those with little or no marshy border. The female is mottled gray overall with black on the top of her head and a dark, horizontal line that bisects her white cheek. The ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a duck from North America and one of the stiff-tailed ducks. These ducks are semi-social. Insects and their larvae may be main foods eaten in summer. Sometimes built on top of old muskrat house or coot nest. An odd little diver, the main North American representative of the group of stiff-tailed ducks, with spiky tail feathers that are often cocked up in the air. Illustration © David Allen Sibley. Can this American art form survive? We protect birds and the places they need. Or take action immediately with one of our current campaigns below: The Audubon Bird Guide is a free and complete field guide to more than 800 species of North American birds, right in your pocket. Young are tended by female but feed themselves. No, Ruddies do not make good pets. Age at first flight about 6 weeks. Also eats aquatic insects, mollusks, crustaceans, rarely small fish. Learn more about these ducks below. Ruddy Ducks are unique little birds with a number of traits and behaviors that make them unique. Courtship displays of male include raising tail over back and bouncing head rapidly so that bill slaps against chest; short rushes across water with much splashing of wings and feet. They are abundant throughout the winter on open water. This duck species spends most of its time in the water, and they usually only come on land to nest. They sport a spatula-shaped bill, which they use to sift through mouthfuls of mud in search of worms, snails, beetles, shrimp, insect larvae and other small creatures. They also eat aquatic insects and their larvae, shellfish and crustaceans. Aquatic and lakeside vegetation are both important while reproducing for both nest-building materials and hiding from predators. View full list of Washington State's Species of Special Concern. Zoom in to see how this species’s current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures. They might look cute and cuddly, but humans cannot easily handle them, like their domesticated counterparts.
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