Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Aythya / Species
< >  Aythya collaris - Ring-necked duck (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Ring-billed duck
Ringschnabelente (German)
Halsringente (German)
Fuligule à collier (French)
Morillon à collier (French)
Porrón acollarado (Spanish)
Pato de collar (Spanish)
Porrón de collar (Spanish)
Amerikaanse Kuifeend (Dutch)
Ringand (Swedish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B26, B27.

Aviculture references:
B29, B30, B31,B40, B94, B97, B128.w1
D1, D8

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information


General information:
  • Pochards are diving ducks which spend most of their time on water, and are ungainly on land. They are generally hardy, sociable and easy to maintain in captivity. They should be kept with deep water available for diving, three to seven feet suggested (B29), or at least half the area 60cm and preferably one metre deep (D1), with shallow sloping banks for easy exit from the water, also islands, good marginal vegetation and loafing areas. Water providing a good supply of natural animal and vegetable food is preferred.
  • These ducks may be kept in mixed collections with dabbling ducks, including smaller species such as teal. They should be fed wheat in water, encouraging their natural diving behaviour. Pellets should also be fed. They may breed better if a group rather than single pair kept, as this allows their normal group displaying activity.
  • 12x12x14 inch (30x30x35cm) nest box with 5 inch (12.5cm) entrance hole suggested, placed under cover at the edge of the pond (B128.w1).

(B29, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1)

Species-specific information:

  • Ring-necked ducks are hardy, and fairly easy to keep, but should have access to ice-free water in winter. They are peaceable ducks. Fairly deep water is required to allow diving, and a good-sized pond with ample natural vegetation is preferred for breeding. Feed grain and pellets, also duckweed, and e.g. shrimps are appreciated.
  • These ducks may breed fairly readily (B29) or rather reluctantly (B30), using close ground cover, open ground cover or ground-level boxes for nesting. Eggs are usually laid April to May. Hand-rearing ducklings is safest.
  • Hybridisation has been reported with Anas crecca - Common teal, Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard, Netta rufina - Red-crested pochard, and Aythya spp.

(B29, B30, B31,B97).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: K 10.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 15-18 inches, 40-46cm (B3); 37-46cm (B1).
Adult weight General About 690-790g (B1)
Male Average about 690g, maximum 1087g (B3); mean 1.7 lbs. (B8).
Female Average about 790g, maximum 1178g (B3); mean 1.5 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Grey, with thin white band at base, broad white subterminal band and black tip (B2, B3, B8, B25, B26, B27).
Variations (If present) Female: Grey with white subterminal band and black tip (B2, B3, B8, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Male Yellow (B2, B3, B8, B25).
Variations(If present) Female: Brown (B2, B8, B25).
Juvenile Bill Dark grey, with black tip (B2, B25).
Eyes (Iris) Brown (B2).

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Adult Male Grey-blue, darker webs (B2, B3, B25).
Variations (If present) Grey (B2, B3, B25).
Juvenile Grey (B2, B25).

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Adult Male Head and neck black, with short crest. indistinct ring base of neck reddish, breast, upperparts, underparts black, flanks fine vermiculated grey, with white stripe at edge of breast central abdomen white. Wings blackish, secondaries grey tipped dusky and white (B3, B8, B25).
Variations (If present) Female:- Head and neck grey-brown, with dark-brown crown and hindneck, white near bill and on throat, whitish eye-ring (sometimes continuing line backwards); breast and underparts brown, upperparts darker grey-brown, centre of abdomen whitish, mottled; wings similar to male but coverts dark grey-brown (B3, B8, B25).

Eclipse male:- Plumage brown rather than black; resembles female, but head, breast and upperparts black-brown, wing glossier, and lacks white eye-ring (B3, B25, B27).

Juvenile Similar to female, head and neck browner, abdomen more mottled (B3, B25).

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts including crown and hindneck brown, with yellow shots on sides and wings; underparts including face bright yellow (B1, B6).
Bill: Grey (B6).
Feet: Grey (B6).

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Begin May to June (B1, B25, B27).
No. of Clutches One, but re-nest if clutch lost (B3).

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Nest placement and structure

On small islets or just over water on floating vegetation, constructed from sedges, reeds, grasses, other available vegetation and down-lined (B1, B25, B27).

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 8-10 (B1, B8); 8-12 (B27).
Range 5-14 (B1, B8).
Egg Description Olive-grey, buff-green, olive-brown, pale-cream, buff-brown or creamy; 58x41mm, 51g (B3, B8)

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25-29 days (B1, B8); 26-27 days (B3); about 25 days (B27).

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49-56 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old (B1, B3).
Females One year old (B1, B3).

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive, also dabble, up-end and strain mud (B1, B25, B27).
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary or in loose groups (B1).
Incubation By female, male usually deserts during second half of incubation (B3, B27).
Newly-hatched Tended by female; brooded much of the first few days (B26, B27).

Remain with female until fledged (B3).

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Sociable, mainly found in small groups (B25).
Inter-specific Frequently nest next to red-winged blackbirds as these drive off ravens and crows (B8). Also parasitise other species (B8). Vagrants in Europe usually found with Pochard and tufted duck (B25).

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Sexual Behaviour

Pair formation from autumn onward, but more in late winter and spring (B3, B25).

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Sleep in daytime on water near shoreside vegetation (B25).
Circadian Activity greatest early morning and evening (B25).

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Natural Diet


Seeds, green parts, roots and tubers of aquatic plants, grasses, sedges, also aquatic invertebrates (insects, molluscs (B1, B26, B27).

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More animal food than adults, but plants still more than half of diet (B27).

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


North America: central Alaska, central Canada east to Newfoundland and south to central and western USA, reaching North California, Colorado, Great Lakes area.

Migrates to winter on lowlands along Atlantic coast, Gulf Coast, Great Lakes, also along Pacific coast south to Panama and West Indies. (B1, B19).

Occasional and Accidental

Occasionally winters Hawaiian Islands (B19).

Vagrant to Britain, across Europe, Morocco, Japan (B1).



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Freshwater pools and small lakes in open country, particularly marshy areas, with dense floating vegetation and open water. Winters on larger lakes, also brackish coastal lagoons, tidal bays (B1, B2, B3, B19, B26).

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -

Not globally threatened (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Not particularly numerous in collections, but increasing (B8).

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