Ruddy Duck: Small duck, bright red-brown body; black cap extends below the eyes and onto the nape, contrasting sharply with white face; heavy bill is blue. Tail is black, often held erect when swimming. Some males show all black head, lacking white cheek patches. Direct flight on rapid wing beats.
Range and Habitat
Ruddy Duck: Breeds from British Columbia, Mackenzie, and Quebec south to California, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas, occasional breeding farther east. Winters on coasts north to British Columbia and Massachusetts and as far inland as Missouri. Preferred breeding habitats include freshwater marshes, marshy lakes, and ponds. Found in marshes and shallow coastal bays during winter.
The Ruddy Duck has spiky tail feathers that are used in courtship displays.
Occasionally males lack white cheeks and can be confused with the Masked Duck.
They are considered an invasive species in Great Britain. They have become a threat to the native White-headed ducks with whom they hybridize and compete with for nesting sites.
A group of ducks has many collective nouns, including a "brace", "flush", "paddling", "raft", and "team" of ducks.