Ring-necked Duck

Aythya collaris

Ring-necked DuckThe ring-necked duck is a common Minnesota diver. Its brown neck ring, from which it gets its name, is hard to see at a distance. This duck is also called ringbill, because it has a white ring at the end of its bill. Ring-necked ducks breed in Minnesota's northeastern counties, though they're found in lesser numbers in other parts of the state as well.

Identification

General description: A small but common Minnesota diving duck, with bright yellow eyes and dark body and wings. Both male and female have white ring on the front of their bill. Ringnecks prefer small bodies of water, such as wooded potholes. They eat only plant material, particularly wild rice and sago pond weed.

Length: About 16 inches.

Weight: 1 3/4 pounds.

Color: Males are mostly black; hens are dark brown.

Sounds: The female has a high-pitched purr.

Reproduction

The ring-necked duck nests in boggy marshes or small lakes, surrounded by sedges, cattails and water lilies. They mate in early April, and most eggs (about six to twelve per nest) are laid a month later. The ducklings grow fast, and fly in about 50 days after hatching.

Food

Wild rice and other aquatic plants and insects.

Predators

Mink, raccoons, hawks and owls.

Range MapHabitat and range

Most ring-necked ducks breed in Canada, though some breed in marshlands of northeastern Minnesota. Ringnecks winter along the coasts of Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

Population and management

Ring-necked duck numbers have been steady in recent years. They are the fourth most abundant duck in Minnesota. However, acid rain may be affecting the ring-necked population, particularly in the northeastern United States. In 1999, Minnesota hunters harvested 71,400 ring-necked ducks.

Fun facts

Hunters say ring-necked ducks, also called ringbills, are very good to eat.