Geographical Range North America, Central America, West Indies, South America
Habitat Marshes, lakes, swamps, streams
Scientific Name Oxyura jamaicensis
Conservation Status Common

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.