I suppose the males are brightly coloured in order to gain the attention of their female friends. Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) are one the many duck species that overwinter in the Northern Virginia area where I live.The males are pretty easy to identify, even from a distance, because of the bright white patch on the sides of their heads. In fall and winter, ruddy ducks live as far away as Central America and the Dominican Republic. Ruddy Ducks usually do not start their migrations to warmer habitats as long as food is available in their breeding areas and there is open water that is ice-free. Ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as those of sedges, smartweeds and grasses. Where do they live? These birds live to dive and swim underwater, and will do so at the slightest disturbance. A ruddy duck can live … The Ruddy Duck is built for almost total aquatic life. “Nest survival on Yukon Flats is really low,” Lake said. These stiff-tailed ducks nest in western and central Canada as far east as the Great Lakes region and south to central Texas and southern Mexico. The northward migration of these ducks to breeding areas usually occurs from February into April and the southern from cold to warmer areas from September through October annually. Size: These are small and compact ducks; adults weight about 1.3 pounds, with an overall length of 14-16 inches. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans. “It seems like this species has moved some of their breeding distribution northward,” said Yukon Flats biologist Bryce Lake, husband of Michelle Lake, a teacher at Effie Kokrine Charter School who volunteers with Yukon Flats in summer. The Rudy is quite awkward on land, in captivity care should be taken that they are able to easily get in and out of their water and feed should be placed close to the water. Though Yukon Flats is a vast, intact ecosystem for visiting birds, it is also a protected place for animals that eat them and their eggs. The ruddy duck, Oxyura jamaicensus, is one cute little duck you might see on the Atlantic coast in winter.They mainly breed in prairie potholes out west; and when the males acquire their cinnamon colored breeding plumage, their common name makes more sense. There can be 1 or 2 broods. Speaking of colourful, you will notice that the male ruddy duck has a nice rust coloured body, blue beak and a black cap. https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/entry/ruddy_duck Mature breeding males are distinctive with their blue bills, black caps, white cheek patches and chestnut colouring. The lady ducks have a gray-brown body and grayish coloured head. Ruddy ducks dive to feed on pondweeds, algae and wild celery, as well as the seeds of sedges, smartweeds and grasses. They also eat aquatic insects and their larvae, shellfish and crustaceans. I spotted this one on Tuesday as he was shaking himself dry after a plunge in the waters off of Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Ruddy ducks and can swim down to 10 feet. Lifespan: Ruddy Ducks can reach ages over 10 years old with good husbandry. With the exception of hens on a nest, we rarely see our birds out of the water. Housing Requirements: North American Ruddy Ducks are diving ducks and require a body of water for their active swimming. The Lakes do not expect to see many ruddy ducks. Ruddy ducks are native to North and South America. The eggs of ruddy ducks are the largest of all ducks, as a percentage of the adult size, and the ducklings are especially well developed upon hatching. Winter-plumage males are grey-brown above and the once vibrant bill turns grey. Water should be deep enough for diving. 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