Fun Ruddy Duck Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Nov 18, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 18, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Read these interesting ruddy duck facts to learn more about these North American birds that feed themselves by diving into the water.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

Ruddy ducks are North American birds that, during the day, keep their heads tucked under a wing and tail cocked up. These short, thick-necked waterfowl have rich chestnut bodies with bright blue bills in summer. The number of eggs laid per season ranges from an average of six eggs to 10 eggs per season. They are transient, meaning they are migratory birds, and in the wintertime find themselves amongst seaside narrows, thawed lakes, and ponds. They make their nests out of grass and place them in tall vegetation in order to hide them from predators. Their favorite activity is diving underwater. They forage by diving underwater and then straining mud through their bills. Young ones leave the nest within a day after hatching.

Look at these interesting facts; if you like these, do read our Harlequin duck facts and Muscovy duck facts too.

Ruddy Duck Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a ruddy duck?

According to the bird guide, ruddy ducks have been described as short, thick-necked waterfowl with a larger than average tail that they constantly hold upright. Males are intense, with a sky-blue bill, sparkling white cheek patch, and shining gray-brown body. They are considered to be a bird indigenous to the North American continent. First-year males and females are brownish, similar to winter males. These birds dive and swim underwater. They spend the colder time of year throughout the southern portion of their breeding range season and move into an area with a winter environment. This ranges from the greater part of the United States all the way to Mexico and Central America.

What class of animal does a ruddy duck belong to?

The ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a North American bird that belongs to the Aves class and is a species of O. jamaicensis found in North America. Its family is Anatidae.

How many ruddy ducks are there in the world?

According to the survey held in 1992, the population of ruddy ducks grew to around 3,500. At present, the ruddy duck population is lower than it was in 1992. 55% of the population of ruddy ducks in North America are found on the western coast of Mexico.

The population in Chesapeake Bay has significantly dropped in recent years.

Where does a ruddy duck live?

Ruddy ducks base their migratory behavior on their food supply. This feeding territory extends from southwestern Canada to the western United States and extends through Mexico to Central America.

The breeding habitat of ruddy ducks is marshy lakes and ponds. They make their nest in marshes in proximity to lakes and ponds. This nest is usually made of dead and dry leaves. They spend the colder time of year all through the southern portion of the breeding range, likewise moving into areas with winter environment that ranges the greater part of the United States and reaches up through Mexico to Central America. Males tend to do molt migration in July far from their breeding grounds.

Who do ruddy ducks live with?

These birds are normally discovered living alone, two by two, or in little gatherings of 8-12.

How long does a ruddy duck live?

Although it has been observed that most ruddy ducks die at a young age, they have been observed to live up to 13 years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

Ruddy ducks mostly breed in wetlands and prairie pothole regions of North America during the spring and summer months, from May to August. At the point when they show up on the breeding grounds, females display nesting of oceanic plants simply over the water level as part of their courtship displays. Males perform unusual courtship displays for females. They nest in dense marsh vegetation adjacent to lakes and ponds, primarily in the Prairie Potholes region. Females are prepared to settle after a month subsequent to showing up at their favorite places. Sometimes, though, females are prepared to lay eggs before they have completed their own nests, and they are forced to lay eggs in unprotected zones that hatch after a range of 23-26 days. After the first day of hatching, the young ones find their independence and leave their nest. They are even able to swim and dive well during their first try! During the breeding season, just like their parents who swim and dive for food, they feed on invertebrates and small fishes. Eggs produced per breeding season range from about 6-10 eggs.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the ruddy duck is listed as of Least Concern in the IUCN Red List.

Ruddy Duck Fun Facts

What do ruddy ducks look like?

Both males and females are dark chestnuts in color.

One particular bird guide states that ruddy duck males and females are diverse by all accounts, and males change their appearance depending on the season. Throughout the middle of the year, male ruddy ducks have rich chestnut necks and bodies. The crown, scruff, and tail, which are held erect or in line with the water, are brown with a long, rounded tail held up at an angle. Males have a blurry stripe across the pale cheek patch. Female ruddy ducks have grayish-brown necks and bodies. Females have a dull line across the face, and her bill is gray. Females and young ruddy ducks have bodies that do not have any chestnut color. Throughout the winter, male ruddy ducks take after females with the exception of their white appearances. Males are generally bigger than females in weight and wingspan. First-year males and females are brownish, similar to the winter plumage of the males.

How cute are they?

All ducks are cute, whether they are ruddy ducks or other species of ducks.

How do they communicate?

Scientists have not found out much about the communication process of ruddy ducks, but it is a very solitary bird and prefers to live alone, where it does not have to communicate much with others of its species.

How big is a ruddy duck?

The size of a duck ruddy is around the range of 13.5–17 in (34.2-43.1 cm) in length. These ducks are larger than the little seagull who is around 9.8 in (25 cm) in length.

How fast can a ruddy duck fly?

The average flying speed of ruddy ducks has not yet been estimated by scientists.

How much does a ruddy duck weigh?

An average duck ruddy weighs somewhere around 1.23 lb (560 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for the males and females.

What would you call a baby ruddy duck?

An infant ruddy duck is typically known as a duckling. Additionally, the young birds display independence early on as they begin to get their own food in a matter of days.

What do they eat?

Both adults and ducklings eat aquatic insects, larvae, crustaceans, zooplankton, other aquatic invertebrates, and different spineless creatures, supplemented with limited quantities of aquatic plants and seeds. They occasionally get their food from the surface of the water. For the most part, they forage by plunging themselves down to the lower part of shallow lakes, and straining any significant pieces of mud through thin plates on their bills, and gulping the prey parts that remain. Infrequently they strain food from the surface of the water. Their favorite insects are larvae during the breeding season. To summarize, their diet is commonly made up of small creatures, larvae, seeds, and tubers from aquatic vegetation.

Are they dangerous?

These birds are not at all dangerous for humans, although they could give you a chase if they are threatened.

Would they make a good pet?

No, ruddies don't make the best of pets as they are eccentric creatures who prefer their own way of life.

Did you know...

Ruddy ducks are often attacked by grebes from below the water, a behavior referred to as 'submarining.'

The eggs are incubated by the females for 22-26 days.

The nest is built of grass by the female ruddy duck.

The adolescent is like the female, with a slight difference in appearance; the gray-brown all over its face is less pronounced.

They dive deep to grasp pondweeds and algae from the water.

They make their groups in large rivers, ponds, and lakes during their migration.

The male ruddy duck's bright colors were one of the first characteristics that drew the attention of the science community early on.

Some other interesting ducks include the mottled duck, long-tailed duck, and crested duck.

Why do ruddy ducks have blue bills?

Ruddy ducks have blue bills. In addition to their interesting bright blue bills (the only other duck species that boasts a bright blue bill is the masked duck, which lives just in the tropics), the breeding ruddy duck male has radiant white cheek patches, which are featured against a shiny chestnut body.

Are ruddy ducks endangered?

No, ruddy ducks are listed as of Least Concern (Population Decreasing) in the IUCN Red List. However, their population is dwindling towards eradication because of humans, their status as an 'invasive species', as well as habitat loss.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our spotted sandpiper facts and grasshopper sparrow facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable ruddy 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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