Duck: Ruddy duck
A vigorous and adaptable duck spread across the prairie pot-holes to the south of USA this is widespread and abundant. It is also an invasive species and subsequently is a species scientists have least concern over in the immediate future.
A member of the “stiff tail” family of ducks these are divers feeding mainly on aquatic invertebrates such as midges.
Marsh lakes, ponds and coastal estuaries in central North America migrating south each winter to unfrozen lakes and coastal bays of southern USA and Mexico.
Ruddy duck drakes beat their bill against their neck repetitively creating a cartoon like video clip and causing a swirl of bubbles in the water when courting the hens!
Both sexes are easily identified by their stiff tails which they invariably hold upright off the water surface when awake!
They nest in marshes adjacent to lakes and ponds, primarily in the pot-hole region of North America.
This is an invasive alien species that Europe is trying to eradicate as it interbreeds with the European white headed ruddy duck.
A monogamous duck with a pair bond surviving for a year then new partners are found!
This species produces a really large egg relative to its diminutive (350mm) body size –almost 60mm long! Ouch
At The Zoo
We have these on exhibit on our central lake mixed in with other waterfowl. They are easy to spot amongst other ducks even in summer in the drab occlusion moult due to the male’s bright blue beak!