Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ring-necked Ducks

I found five Ring-necked Ducks at Forest Pond in Goulds. From a distance it is difficult to identify this bird as it resembles the Greater Scaup, the Lesser Scaup and the Tufted Duck.

The Scaups and the Tufted Ducks have been frequenting Kent Pond in St. John's.

Once close enough it is easy to distinguish the Ring-necked Duck by the white ring around the bill that appears on both the male and female. The male also has a pointed head that is "purplish" in color.

Of all the black and white colored diving ducks, the Ring-necked Duck seems to be the most uncommon. It is named for a reddish ring around its neck. Oddly enough, this is rarely visible.

For comparison of the other similar ducks, you can review the posting called "Diving Ducks" that was uploaded in February. 

The female is quite different with its ring on the bill, the sharp tip on the bill and the lighter head and neck markings. The female of the Greater and Lesser Scaup have a white patch at the base of the bill.

If you are interested in identifying birds, it is very important to get a good pair of binoculars so that you can ID the bird quickly to decide if it is a common or a rare bird. It may be a long time before they swim close enough for a good identification.

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