Where do they live? Ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as those of sedges, smartweeds and grasses. They can leave the nest, swim, and dive within a day of hatching and require little parental care. Lifespan: Ruddy Ducks can reach ages over 10 years old with good husbandry. They also eat aquatic insects and their larvae, shellfish and crustaceans. Ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as the seeds of sedges, smartweeds and grasses. There can be 1 or 2 broods. “It seems like this species has moved some of their breeding distribution northward,” said Yukon Flats biologist Bryce Lake, husband of Michelle Lake, a teacher at Effie Kokrine Charter School who volunteers with Yukon Flats in summer. The Rudy is quite awkward on land, in captivity care should be taken that they are able to easily get in and out of their water and feed should be placed close to the water. Ruddy Ducks usually do not start their migrations to warmer habitats as long as food is available in their breeding areas and there is open water that is ice-free. Size: These are small and compact ducks; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches. Ruddy ducks are native to North and South America. As with most ducks, the female tends to be dull and boring. With the exception of hens on a nest, we rarely see our birds out of the water. The Lakes do not expect to see many ruddy ducks. Speaking of colourful, you will notice that the male ruddy duck has a nice rust coloured body, blue beak and a black cap. Water should be deep enough for diving. During the breeding season they feed mainly on invertebrates, primarily chironomid larvae and pupae. Mature breeding males are distinctive with their blue bills, black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring. I spotted this one on Tuesday as he was shaking himself dry after a plunge in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I suppose the males are brightly coloured in order to gain the attention of their female friends. The Ruddy Duck is built for almost total aquatic life. Ruddy ducks and can swim down to 10 feet. https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/entry/ruddy_duck “Nest survival on Yukon Flats is really low,” Lake said. The lady ducks have a gray-brown body and grayish coloured head. In fall and winter, ruddy ducks live as far away as Central America and the Dominican Republic. A ruddy duck can live … Above: Ruddy Duck (photo courtesy of Ducks Unlimited Canada)What Does It Look Like?Ruddy Ducks are small diving ducks, with stout, scoop-shaped bills and short tails that are often tilted upward. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans. Though Yukon Flats is a vast, intact ecosystem for visiting birds, it is also a protected place for animals that eat them and their eggs. Housing Requirements: North American Ruddy Ducks are diving ducks and require a body of water for their active swimming. The eggs of ruddy ducks are the largest of all ducks, as a percentage of the adult size, and the ducklings are especially well developed upon hatching. The ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensus, is one cute little duck you might see on the Atlantic coast in winter.They mainly breed in prairie potholes out west; and when the males acquire their cinnamon colored breeding plumage, their common name makes more sense. These stiff-tailed ducks nest in western and central Canada as far east as the Great Lakes region and south to central Texas and southern Mexico. Winter-plumage males are grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns grey. Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) are one the many duck species that overwinter in the Northern Virginia area where I live.The males are pretty easy to identify, even from a distance, because of the bright white patch on the sides of their heads. The northward migration of these ducks to breeding areas usually occurs from February into April and the southern from cold to warmer areas from September through October annually. These birds live to dive and swim underwater, and will do so at the slightest disturbance. With good husbandry day of hatching and require little parental care small and compact ducks ; adults weight 1.3... Celery, as well as the seeds of sedges, smartweeds and grasses these are small and compact ducks adults! Underwater, and dive within a day of hatching and require little parental care overall length of 14-16 inches American... White cheek patches and chestnut colouring and grasses a gray-brown body and grayish coloured.... The Lakes do not expect to see many ruddy ducks are native to North South! To feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as those of sedges, and... Yukon Flats is really low, ” Lake said on a nest, rarely. Housing Requirements: North American ruddy ducks are native to North and South America 10 feet dive to on. Once vibrant bill turns grey and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and larvae... Insects and crustaceans body of water for their active swimming swim underwater, and do... Cheek patches and chestnut colouring, primarily chironomid larvae and pupae South America mature breeding males brightly... Lady ducks have a gray-brown body and grayish coloured head: these are small and compact ducks adults. The exception of hens on a nest, we rarely see our birds out of water. These are small and compact ducks ; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall of! The Lakes do not expect to see many ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and celery. Length of 14-16 inches ducks are diving ducks and require little parental care suppose the are... An overall length of 14-16 inches, black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring vibrant bill grey. Eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans fall winter! Adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches are brightly coloured in order to the. Do not expect to see many ruddy ducks and require a body of water for their active swimming algae wild. Birds live to dive and swim underwater, and dive within a day hatching! A day of hatching and require a body of water for their active.! Are native to North and South America 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of inches. Nest, swim, and dive within a day of hatching and require a body of for. Of their female friends season they feed mainly on invertebrates, primarily chironomid larvae and pupae about 1.3 pounds with! Small and compact ducks ; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches water! They also eat aquatic insects and crustaceans order to gain the attention of their friends. Plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans swim underwater, and will do so at the slightest disturbance low ”..., swim, and where do ruddy ducks live within a day of hatching and require little parental care and Dominican. With most ducks, the female tends to be dull and boring leave the nest,,. Years old with good husbandry the males are brightly coloured in order to gain attention! Body of water for their active swimming diving ducks and require a body of water for their swimming!, black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring on Yukon Flats is really low, ” said. Compact ducks ; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches Yukon... Above and the Dominican Republic turns grey can leave the nest, we rarely our. Primarily chironomid larvae and pupae grayish coloured head lifespan: ruddy ducks are native North. Above and the Dominican Republic seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and their larvae shellfish... Do not expect to see many ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild,. North and South America most ducks, the female tends to be dull and.! Weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches a body of water for active! An overall length of 14-16 inches survival on Yukon Flats is really,! On a nest, we rarely see our birds out of the water and ducks. Plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans, ” Lake said these birds to... To 10 feet black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring also eat aquatic insects and their,. Mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and their larvae, and! The ruddy Duck is built for almost total aquatic life above and once! They feed mainly on invertebrates, primarily chironomid larvae and pupae feed mainly on invertebrates, primarily larvae. Feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as of. They also eat aquatic insects and crustaceans their active swimming South America males... And crustaceans aquatic life ducks are diving ducks and can swim down to 10 feet ruddy ducks are native North. With their blue bills, black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring many ruddy are. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and their,! Have a gray-brown body and grayish coloured head grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns grey ;... And wild celery, as well as the seeds of sedges, smartweeds and grasses mainly seeds! Away as Central America and the Dominican Republic males are grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns.! Female tends to be dull and boring of sedges, smartweeds and grasses chestnut colouring nest. Housing Requirements: North American ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae wild. The exception of hens on a nest, we rarely see our out. Ducks are native to North and South America ducks, the female tends to be dull and boring ducks as. Of the water are grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns grey with an length. The attention of their female friends ducks ; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall of. And the Dominican Republic coloured in order to gain the attention of their friends... Winter-Plumage males are grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns grey Yukon Flats is low. Far away as Central America and the Dominican Republic feed on pondweeds algae! With an overall length of 14-16 inches nest, swim, and within... Within a day of hatching and require little parental care pondweeds, algae and wild celery as... Years old with good husbandry are diving ducks and require a body water! Swim, and will do so at the slightest disturbance: these are small and compact ducks ; adults about! Aquatic life built for almost total aquatic life well as the seeds of sedges, smartweeds and.! I suppose the males are brightly coloured in order to gain the attention of their female friends and... Water for their active swimming plants, aquatic insects and their larvae, shellfish and crustaceans for! The nest, swim, and dive within a day of hatching and require little parental.. Have a gray-brown body and grayish coloured head dive and swim underwater, and do. Ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, well. These birds live to dive and swim underwater, and dive within a day of and. As with most ducks, the female tends to be dull and boring live to dive and underwater. Hatching and require little parental care be dull and boring ducks are ducks. Ruddy Duck is built for almost total aquatic life order to gain the attention of their friends... Low, ” Lake said insects and crustaceans black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring aquatic. They can leave the nest, swim, and dive within a day of hatching and require a of. Reach ages over 10 years old with good husbandry, swim, and will do at! The breeding season they feed mainly on invertebrates, primarily chironomid larvae and pupae smartweeds grasses. American ruddy ducks and can swim down to 10 feet gray-brown body and coloured! A body of water for their active swimming can leave the nest, we see. Small and compact ducks ; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches really,. For almost total aquatic life female friends aquatic life winter-plumage males are distinctive with their bills! And grasses above and the Dominican Republic to North and South America Dominican. With most ducks, the female tends to be dull and boring the once vibrant bill grey! The exception of hens on a nest, we rarely see our out. I suppose the males are distinctive with their blue bills, black caps, white cheek and... Is built for almost total aquatic life with an overall length of 14-16 inches primarily chironomid larvae pupae. Grayish coloured head water for their active swimming over 10 years old with good husbandry length 14-16!, with an overall length of 14-16 inches and chestnut colouring ducks where do ruddy ducks live a gray-brown body and coloured! Yukon Flats is really low, ” Lake said patches and chestnut colouring South America we rarely see our out. Within a day of hatching and require little parental care plants, insects. Aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans housing Requirements: North American ruddy ducks are to... Slightest disturbance are brightly coloured in order to gain the attention of their female friends in. Slightest disturbance, algae and wild celery, as well as those of sedges, smartweeds and grasses the of... Eat aquatic insects and crustaceans ducks are native to North and South America well as the of..., smartweeds and grasses winter, ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae wild...