This bird belongs to a group of birds know as "stifftails". They have the distinctive habit of pointing their tails up as they swim. Ruddy Ducks are diving birds that feed on aquatic plants, insects, and small invertebrates. And they are highly active nightime feeders. These birds are not highly social and do not defend nesting territories. I love the bright blue bill on these birds.
General: 14 to 19 inches in length.
Male Summer: Black crown and nape. Rust colored lower neck, breast, back, and body. Black tail. White cheeks and bright blue bill. Male Winter: Dark cap. Dark gray bill and gray-brown neck and body. Female: Similiar to Winter Male, except it has a dark horizontal face stripe crossing a pale gray cheek patch.
Inland lakes and rivers.
6-20 white or cream-colored eggs with a 23-26 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 42-48 days after hatching. The nest floats and is made from dry stems and lined with down. The nest is usually hidden among reeds or bulrushes.
- Lake Murray, La Mesa
- Santee Lakes, Santee
- Wild Animal Park, Escondido
- Fiesta Island area, Mission Bay