|Geographical Range||North America, Central America, West Indies, South America|
|Habitat||Marshes, lakes, swamps, streams|
|Scientific Name||Oxyura jamaicensis|
This plucky little duck is easy to spot on the water as it paddles around with its tail feathers held high. The tail comes in handy as a rudder as the bird dives underwater in search of aquatic plants, insects and mollusks. In addition to diving head-first, the ruddy duck can gradually lower itself under water to feed, making it look like the bird is sinking!
In the summer breeding season, the male ruddy duck is a bright chestnut color with white cheeks, a black head, and a brilliant blue bill. At other times of year, he resembles the females' year-round color. She's a dusky brown with pale cheeks and a black bill. This drab color helps hide her as she sits on the nest, surrounded by dense vegetation.