The Ring-necked Duck is a small, diving duck that is found throughout North America. They breed in northern parts of the continent, but migrate to the southern United States and Mexico during the winter months.
The most notable feature of the Ring-necked Duck is its distinctive white ring around its bill. The male has a shiny black head, breast, and back; with a dark gray body, and white undertail coverts. The female, on the other hand, has a brown head, a pale brown face, and a lighter colored body. Both sexes have a pointed tail and a blue-gray bill.
Ring-necked Ducks prefer freshwater habitats that have dense vegetation, shallow water, and plenty of aquatic invertebrates and vegetation for food. They are often found in marshes, ponds, and lakes. During breeding season, males will court females by bobbing their heads and whistling. The female then chooses a male to mate with and will build her nest in dense vegetation close to the water. The nest is usually made of twigs and lined with down feathers.
Ring-necked Ducks are omnivorous and feed mostly on aquatic plants, seeds, and invertebrates such as snails, insects, and crustaceans. They will dive underwater for up to 30 seconds to catch their prey and may even swim upside down or flap their wings to stir up sediment to uncover hidden food.
Conservation efforts are underway to protect the Ring-necked Duck, as they face challenges from habitat loss, hunting, and pollution. However, they still have a population that is considered stable, and they are commonly seen in many parts of their range.
Overall, the Ring-necked Duck is a fascinating bird that is an essential part of North America's diverse bird species. Its unique features, habitat, and behaviors make it a favorite among bird enthusiasts and conservationists alike.