Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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Ring-necked Duck

Aythya collaris

The ring-necked duck is a medium-sized diving duck that has an obvious white ring on its blue-black tipped bill. Males are mostly black, with gray sides and a vertical white stripe on the shoulder. Females are brown all over with an eye ring that is white and extends back from the eye.

Range & Habitat

Ring-necked ducks are found in fresh water areas in the United states, with some breeding in Canada and some found wintering in Mexico, Central America, and even the Caribbean.  These ducks can be found in and around all sorts of bodies of water from lakes, ponds, reservoirs, estuaries, marshes, and other shallow waters having lilies, shrubs, and sedges.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

This species' population size have vastly grown in numbers in the last few years. They are potentially vulnerable to heavy hunting and to eating used lead shot found in their habitat.


Aquatic plant seeds, leaves, stems, and tubers of pondweed, water lilies, wild celery, wild rice, millet and aquatic invertebrates (mollusks, snails, caddisflies, dragonfly nymphs, earthworms, leeches)

Life Span

In the Wild: 10 years; In Human Care: 20 years

Fun Facts about the Ring-necked Duck

  • Interestingly, the ring on the neck of this bird is not visible unless held physically.  A ring on its bill is a better way to recognize it. 
  • Only females care for the young.  Ducklings leave the nest within two days of hatching.
  • A raft is what a large flock of ducks on the water is called. 


The Cornell Lab. (2019). Ring-necked Duck Life History. All About Birds.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology. (2020, March 4). Ring-necked Duck.

 Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (Ed.). (n.d.). Ring-necked Duck, Aythya collaris.

Updated August 19, 2021