14" Long, by 6" Wide, by 5" High
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.
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.
resembles the Tufted Duck (Aythya fuliga) of Europe.
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.
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
or Similar Species:
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.
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.