Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ring-necked ducks

Just recently, ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris) arrived at Baker's Meadow.  There are about five male/female pairs swimming about in the deeper parts of the pond.  They've come from warmer southern wintering grounds.  They are just stopping over on their way north to breed.  Unlike the dabbling mallards, ring-necked ducks can be seen diving underwater.  There's plenty of food here for them - lots of insect larvae, freshwater clams, and aquatic vegetation.  From a distance, the males appear black with a white ring at the base and near the tip of their beak.  In reality, their heads are overlaid with irridescent purple. The females are brown with a white beak ring.  The "ring neck" in their name comes from a dark brown ring around the male's neck which is difficult to see from a distance.  Look closely and you can see the ring in the photo below.

Both have gold colored eyes, but the female also sports a white eye ring.

The ring-necked ducks must share the pond with quite a few bossy Canada geese.  Lucky for them, the mute swans seem to be absent.

No comments:

Post a Comment