Ring Neck Drake - High Neck

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Birds In Flight

Size: 14-1/2" Long, by 6" Wide, by 7" High

Price: $132.99


A medium-sized diving duck. Males have a crisp dark and light plumage that appears black and white at a distance. The head and breast shows a purple sheen in good light. The back is dark and set off from grayish sides by a distinct curving line. The leading edge of the gray flank is white and extends upward into the dark back; this is an excellent field mark to separate this species from closely related Aythya ducks. A dark brown ring at the base of the neck is hard to see in the field but readily apparent in the hand. The bill is dark gray with a black tip, separated by a prominent white ring. Males show another white line at the base of the bill. The head shape is peaked or squarish.

Females are rusty brown with the back somewhat darker than the flanks and breast. A white line is often seen behind the eye. The bill has the same white ring separating the black tip from the dark gray as the male. The feathers at the base of the bill may be lighter than the rest of the head, but not as distinct as on either scaup species.

Closely resembles the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuliga) of Europe.


Breeds across most of Canada, northern portions of New England, the Great Lakes area, and Washington and Oregon. Winters in lower half of the Lower 48 States and along both coasts.


Usually seen in flocks of both sexes, often in the company of other Aythya ducks (Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, Redhead). Occurs on any size pond, and often winters in local parks. Dives to feed.

Related or Similar Species:

Ring-necked Ducks are in the Aythya family which includes Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, and Redhead in North America, and Tufted Duck and Pochard in Europe.


Bill is distinctive and separates both male and female from similar scaups when seen well. At a distance look for the wedge of white on the flanks of males. Large rafts of Ring-necked Ducks should be examined for rare Tufted Ducks in the US, which are found on both coasts and have even occurred inland in Arizona. In Europe, rare Ring-billed Ducks may occur with flocks of Tufted Ducks, Scaup, or Pochards.

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