Ring-necked Duck Pair

I’ve heard many people ask “why don’t they call it the Ring-billed Duck?” They do have a white band toward the end of their bill. But if you look closely, you can see the dark violet band around the neck of the male Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris). Click on photos for full sized images.

Ring-necked Duck Drake

The female has what some might construe as a “ring” around the neck where the light colored throat moves toward the more brown breast.

Ring-necked Duck Female

The male also has an ultramarine sheen to his head and upper neck when the sun hits it just right. Which contrasts nicely with those bright yellow-orange eyes.

Ring-necked Duck Drake

During summer and winter, Ring-necked Ducks prefer shallow, freshwater wetlands with stable water levels and abundant emergent and submerged or floating plants. I shot this video of a pair diving at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge as the American Coots opportunistically fed off the material the ducks brought to the surface.

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.