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Aquatic Birds


Scaups and Pochards

Ring-necked Duck, Aythya collaris.
Ring-necked Duck,
Aythya collaris.

Class: Birds
Order: Screamers, Swans, Geese and Ducks
Family: Swans, Geese and Ducks
Subfamily: Ducks
Tribe: Scaups and Pochards

Species found along the Rideau River:
Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup

Characteristics of the family:
Scaups and pochards are diving ducks. The legs are set far back on the body and the hind toe has a paddle-like flap. There is no iridescent patch on the wings.

Interesting facts:
These ducks dive well but must run along the water to take off.

Representative species: Ring-necked Duck
Description When the adult male is in breeding plumage, the head is black that is glossed with purple. Back, breast and tail are black with a white belly. Eyes are yellow. Females are greyish-brown.
Size 35 cm to 50 cm from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail.
Distribution Canada and much of the United States. Winters mainly from the southern United States down to Mexico, Guatemala and the West Indies.
Habitat Mainly in shallow fresh waters of marshes and bogs. In migration, it is found in rivers and large lakes.
Food Aquatic plants and seeds, insect larvae, molluscs, worms, crustaceans.
Life cycle Females lay 6 to 14 eggs on vegetation at the edge of the water. The female selects the area to build the nest. Incubation lasts 25 to 29 days.


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A Project of the Canadian Museum of Nature
 Images: John A. Crosby