Fun Ring-necked Duck Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta
We bring you ring-necked duck facts about the shiny black diving duck.

Ring-necked ducks are birds whose, at first glance, don't quite live up to their name. It isn't easy to spot the ring that is mentioned in their name. Only if you manage to hold them in your hands, will you notice the light brown ring beneath the shiny black region between their head and chest.

The ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris) is a species of diving ducks living in freshwater ponds and lakes in North America. This scientific name relates to the Greek word 'aithuia', which refers to an unknown seabird described by Hesychius and Aristotle, and the Latin word 'collaris', which means 'of the neck'.

The adult male's color pattern is identical to that of its relative, the Eurasian tufted duck. Males of these North American diving ducks are somewhat larger than females.

In North America and Canada, they breed in wooded lakes or wetlands.

Northwest boreal forest territories are the primary spawning grounds and their breeding grounds are also observed in the eastern boreal zone of Canada, but not to the same extent as in the northwest. They can be found in southern North America's streams, wetlands, rivers, and bays during the winter season.

If you like these facts, you can read about the grebe and the laughing gull too.

Ring-Necked Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ring-necked duck?

This bird is a North American diving duck that can be found in freshwater ponds and lakes.

What class of animal does a ring-necked duck belong to?

Ring-necked ducks belong to the class of Aves, and they love water.

How many ring-necked ducks are there in the world?

According to a survey, there are about 600,000 breeding ring-necked ducks spread across North America.

Where does a ring-necked duck live?

The typical ring-necked duck habitat is a boreal forest. This species has a breeding range that extends from South Alaska, east through Canada, south to the northern Rockies and North Dakota, and north to the Great Lakes states and northern New England.

The Taiga plains of north-central Canada and the boreal hardwood forests of southeastern Canada have the largest breeding densities. Winter migration can bring a change to their nest and habitat.

What is a ring-necked duck's habitat?

In boreal forests, this North American duck species lays its eggs in shallow, wooded ponds. These birds can be found in shallow wetlands, streams, slow-moving waterways, and marine estuaries during winter, but not in saltwater bays.

In all seasons except winter (migration occurs in winter), shallow freshwater marshes with thick stands of submerged and emergent plants are favored by these birds. During winter, they take part in migration to warmer habitats.

Who do ring-necked ducks live with?

Ring-necked ducks can form huge flocks. For example, several hundred thousand assemble each fall on certain lakes in Minnesota to feed on wild rice.

How long does a ring-necked duck live?

The lifespan of this bird ranges from five to 10 years in the wild. However, the longest living ring-necked duck lived up to 20 years in captivity.

How do they reproduce?

During spring, ring-necked ducks pair up for breeding. Male bird courtship displays include lying with his head far back and then thrusting it forward or swimming with his head feathers erect and quickly nodding.

Once a pair is formed, couples remain together for reproduction after which, they split up. The nest is built on a dry hummock, brush clump, or floating vegetation mat near open water.

The nest is a shallow bowl shape and is made up of grasses, sedges, and weeds.

The female ring-necked duck lays one egg in the nest every day, and each female bird lays up to eight or 10 eggs in her nest in total. They take 25–29 days to hatch, and the ring-necked duck female bird stays with her young until they can fly.

What is their conservation status?

When it comes to the conservation status of this bird, it has been listed as Least Concern. The ring-necked duck, Aythya collaris is a breeding bird species whose population has been steadily increasing through the years.

Ring-Necked Duck Fun Facts

What do ring-necked ducks look like?

Males are large black-and-gray ducks with a white hash mark on the chest and a dark head, black tail, black back, and gray sides. Females have a dark brown body with a pale cheek, a white spot near the bill, and a whitish eye-ring. The bill of adult males has a white ring.

The ring-necked duck's white ring on its bill is more visible than the ring on its neck.

How cute are they?

A ring-necked duck is certainly a cute and attractive duck, with its shiny black and white feathers and its unique beak.

How do they communicate?

These birds make short calls and grunts to communicate. Males also perform a series of displays to attract mates and females make a distinct call known as high peeping.

How big is a ring-necked duck?

The length of this duck is between 15.3-18.1 in (39-46 cm), while their wingspan is 24.4-24.8 in (62-63 cm).

How fast can a ring-necked duck fly?

The majority of ring-necked ducks travel at speeds of 40-60 mph (64-97 kph), with the species averaging about 50 mph (80 kph).

How much does a ring-necked duck weigh?

The weight of these North American birds is between 17.3-32.1 oz (490-910 g).

What are their male and female names of the species?

An adult male ring-necked duck is called a drake, and a female ring-necked duck is simply called a duck or a hen.

What would you call a baby ring-necked duck?

A baby ring-necked duck is called a duckling.

What do they eat?

Insects and marine plants are common in their diet. Their diet varies depending on the season and the habitat that they are living in.

Ring-necked ducks feed on the seeds, leaves, and roots of pondweeds, sedges, smartweeds, grasses, algae, and other aquatic plants and emergent vegetation. They also often eat mollusks and marine insects. Insects are the primary food source for young ducklings.

Are they dangerous?

These ducks are not dangerous.

Would they make a good pet?

No, this bird belongs to the wild. They do fairly well in captivity as well, as their diet can be managed easily, and they only require a freshwater habitat to flourish. They are kept in captivity by qualified wildlife officials.

Did you know...

Unlike most diving ducks, the ring-necked duck can fly right out of the water without needing to run for take-off.

Some creatures like the red fox, the bald eagle, the raccoon, and great horned owls prey on the adult ring-necked duck. When they're a duckling, they are at risk of being eaten by large fish like bass too. Their eggs are also sometimes eaten by other birds, including the American mink and crows.

Where is the ring on the ring-necked duck?

Only during a close inspection will you notice a ring of brown feathers between the ring-necked duck's head and chest. This feature is where these North American birds get their name from!

Ring-necked duck vs. scaup

The differences to keep in mind to distinguish between the ring-necked duck, and the lesser and greater scaup birds are as follows. The ringneck's bill has a white ring and a black tip on its gray bill.

On the other hand, the scaup has a blue bill with just a black tip. The bill of the greater scaup is larger than the bill of the lesser scaup.

Also, in-flight, the ringneck has all-black wings, whereas the scaup has wings with a white edge. The greater scaup will have more white visible than the lesser scaup.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds, including the blue-winged teal or the common merganser.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Ring-Necked duck coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Deeti Gupta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

Deeti Gupta picture

Deeti GuptaBachelor of Arts specializing in English Literature

A detail-oriented fact-checker with a research-oriented approach. Devika has a passion for creative writing, she has been published on multiple digital publishing platforms and editorials before joining the Kidadl team. Currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from St.Xavier's College, Deeti has won several accolades and writing competitions throughout her academic career.

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