Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis

The Ruddy Duck drake has a broad bill that becomes bright blue during the breeding season. Its head is black with large white cheek patches. The body is reddish brown and the long black tail is either held flat on the water or upright and stiff. This duck is quick to dive or swim away at the first sign of disturbance, rather than flying. The hen has a dark brown cap and a white cheek divided by a brown line. The hen's body is grayish brown.

Length: 15 1/2"
Weight: 1 1/3 lbs.

illustration of a ruddy hen and winter drake

When flying, their small wings stroke so fast they resemble bumblebees.

illustration of a ruddy wing

illustration of a ruddy summer drake

They are early to mid-fall migrants.

Drakes often cock their tails upright at an angle, the only species to habitually do so.

Ruddy Duck
illustration of a typical ruddy flock pattern

illustration of a ruddy in flightside view illustration of a ruddy in flight

Both hens and drakes are silent in the fall.