Ruddy Ducks

Waterfowl Identification

The Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis, drake has a broad bill that becomes bright blue during the breeding season. Its head is black with large white cheek patches. The body is reddish brown and the long black tail is either held flat on the water or upright and stiff. This duck is quick to dive or swim away at the first sign of disturbance, rather than flying. The hen has a dark brown cap and a white cheek divided by a brown line. The hen's body is grayish brown.
Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS Image comparing drake and hen/UISFWS

When flying, their small wings stroke so fast they resemble bumblebees. They are early to mid-fall migrants. Drakes often cock their tails upright at an angle, the only species to habitually do so.

Length: 15 1/2"
Weight: 1 1/3lbs.

Image comparing fulvous and Black-bellied whistling ducks wings/USFWS

Photos

 Distribution Map

In Flight
In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS In flight illustration/USFWS

Sounds
Both hens and drakes are silent in the fall.

Last Updated: September 15, 2017