||This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (November 2010)|
|A male at Whipsnade Zoo|
Their breeding habitat is marshy lakes and ponds. They nest in dense marsh vegetation near water. The female builds the nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical brood contains 5 to 15 ducklings. Pairs form each year.
Adult males have a rust-red body, a blue bill, and a white face with a black cap. Adult females have a grey-brown body with a greyish face with a darker bill, cap and a cheek stripe. The southern subspecies ferruginea is occasionally considered a distinct species. It is separable by its all-black face and larger size. The subspecies andina has a varying amount of black coloration on its white face; it may in fact be nothing more than a hybrid population between the North American and the Andean Ruddy Duck. As the Colombian population is becoming scarce, it is necessary to clarify its taxonomic status, because it would be relevant for conservation purposes.
They are migratory and winter in coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds.
As a result of escapes from wildfowl collections, they are now established in Great Britain, from where they have spread widely into Europe. This duck's aggressive courting behaviour and willingness to interbreed with the endangered native White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala), of southern Europe, has caused some concern. Due to this, there is now a controversial scheme to extirpate the Ruddy Duck as a British breeding species; there have also been culling attempts in other European countries.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ruddy Duck|
- Ruddy Duck - Cornell Lab of Ornithology
- Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis - USGS Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter
- The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (in favor of the cull)
- Animal Aid (against)
- Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas-Ruddy Duck
- Ruddy Duck videos, photos & sounds on the Internet Bird Collection