Ring-necked Duck

The Ring-necked Duck is a small diving duck. Males and females are sexually dimorphic and display different plumages. The Males have peak-shaped shiny black heads with a black neck and back. They have gray on the side and a distinctive white mark in front of the wings and a prominent white ring on the bill that’s useful for identification. Females also have peaked heads, but they are a dull brown. The females have a white stripe behind the bill that is useful for identification.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Aythya collaris
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
6-10 Years
SIZE
15-18 ” | 1-2 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Waterfowl
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

The Ring-necked Duck uses smaller bodies of water than other diving ducks. They prefer shallow bodies of water such as marches, river floodplains, beaver ponds, and reservoirs. In Nevada, they are more often seen in the wintertime and when migrating north for the summer.

  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Marsh
  • Rivers and streams

Threats

  • Drought
  • Habitat Loss
  • Water Diversion
  • Wildfires

Natural History

Ring-necked Ducks are omnivores and will eat both aquatic plants and animals. Mollusks, snails, worms, leeches, and other aquatic macroinvertebrates. They are diving ducks so they will completely submerge themselves to forage for food that may be on the bottom of a shallow body of water. When diving, they usually consume their food during their dive.
These ducks are monogamous and form long-term pair bonds. Breeding occurs in northern North America during the summer. Nests are built on the edge of water features using the surrounding vegetation. The female lays between six and fourteen eggs in their nests. The male Ring-necked duck does not assist with incubation or after hatching. Within a day the young ducks are able to swim on their own, although they need their mom to help them find food.

Fun Facts

The female Ring-necked Duck will stay with their young until they can fly, which is uncommon in other similar ducks. These ducks are named for the light colored ring found in the breeding males, however it is very difficult to spot!