Ruddy Duck

(Oxyura jamaicensis)

Where Do They Live?

  • Ruddy ducks are generally found in North and South America.

  • They stay in areas with freshwater marshes, lakes, and ponds during breeding season. They choose these areas because they hide their nests in the vegetation.

  • These ducks breed during the the spring and summer.

What do they look like?

In the ruddy ducks species the males and females are both similar but they have key characteristics that distinguish which gender they are. The male ducks change throughout the seasons in the year. The main difference is that males have a chestnut color and females don't.

  • Average Length: M 15.4", F 15"
  • Average weight: M 1.20 lbs., F 1.19 lbs.

What do they eat?

  • Ruddy ducks go to ponds and marshes to eat algae and wild celery, as well as smart weeds and grasses.
  • They also eat; aquatic insects, larvae, shellfish and crustaceans.
  • During the breeding season they feed mainly on invertebrates, mainly chironomid larvae and pupae.


Ruddy Ducks are usually quiet. The female gives a nasal call to beckon her brood, a high-pitched call to ward off amorous males, and a hiss when threatened. The male has only one call. It's a belch-like sound given during courtship displays. Below is "Belching" during male bubbling display.