The Robinson Library

The Robinson Library >> Order Anseriformes
Ring-Necked Duck

Aythya collaris

Ring-Necked Duck


An adult male ring-necked duck has a large body that is about 7 to 8 inches long; the female is slightly smaller. His head, neck and breast are black, he has gray flanks, and there is a white crescent separating the flanks from the breast. The female has tan sides, a brown back and a white belly. Both sexes have a black tip and ring of gray on their bill, although the female's bill ring is less pronounced than the male's.

Distribution and Habitat

Ring-necked ducks are found across North America, except for the arctic regions, as well as in the West Indies. They breed in sedge-meadow marshes, swamp, and bogs with waters ranging from fresh to somewhat acidic.


Pairing begins in March and April; nesting begins in May.

The nest is built on a floating island or in an open marsh. The female selects the nesting site and does all the work of building the nest herself. Clutches typically contain 8 or 9 milky white eggs, but can range from 6 to 14. The female incubates the eggs for 26 or 27 days.


About eighty percent of a ring-neck's diet consists of pondweeds, seeds, and tubers, with pondweeds being the major component. The other twenty percent consists of insect larvae, mollusks, worms, and crustaceans.

Habits and Behaviors

Ring-necked ducks migrate in small groups and nest close to each other. Males and females usually stay in separate groups until mating season.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Anseriformes
family Anatidae
subfamily Anatinae
genus & species Aythya collaris


Animal Diversity Web

Questions or comments about this page?

The Robinson Library >> Order Anseriformes

This page was last updated on November 07, 2018.