Temporal range: Early Miocene to present
|Male white-headed duck, Oxyura leucocephala|
Range of Oxyura vittata.
Range of Oxyura jamaicensis.
Range of Oxyura maccoa.
Range of Oxyura leucocephala.
Range of Oxyura australis.
All have, as their name implies, long, stiff tail feathers, which are erected when the bird is resting. All have relatively large, swollen bills. These are freshwater diving ducks. Their legs are set far back, which makes them awkward on land, so they rarely leave the water.
Their unusual displays involve drumming noises from inflatable throat sacs, head throwing, and erecting short crests. Plumage sequences are complicated, and aging difficult. Plumage is vital for survival because of this animals tendency to spend time in the water.
|Image||Scientific name||Common Name||Distribution|
|O. australis||Blue-billed duck||Australia|
|O. jamaicensis||Ruddy duck||North and South America|
|O. ferruginea||Andean duck||Andes Mountains of South America|
|O. leucocephala||White-headed duck||Spain and North Africa|
|O. maccoa||Maccoa duck||eastern Africa from Sudan and Ethiopia to Tanzania and west to eastern Zaire, and southern Africa from Zimbabwe to Cape Province, South Africa|
|O. vittata||Lake duck||central Chile, Argentina and southern Uruguay|
- †New Zealand stiff-tailed duck, O. vantetsi
A fossil species from the Late Pliocene or Early Pleistocene of Jalisco (Mexico) was described as Oxyura zapatanima. It resembled a small ruddy duck or, even more, an Argentine blue-bill. A larger Middle Pleistocene fossil form from the southwestern United States was described as Oxyura bessomi; it was probably quite close to the ruddy duck.