Unlike most ducks the Male Ruddy duck has its bright breeding plumage during the European Summer as opposed to the Winter. Note the very striking large blue bill, black cap and white face.
The Male Ruddy Duck in Summer has a rufous brown body with a black crown and nape. Its cheeks are bright white and it has a large blue bill. Its tail is long and thick and often cocked.
Adult Male Summer
General distribution: An accidental introduction to Europe, the Ruddy Duck was an escapee from private collections. Native to North America, but now widespread in Europe. It has threatened the rare White-headed Duck in Spain through hybridisation leading to eradication programs. In the UK, it is found locally in the East of England and the very South of Scotland as well as the West Midlands. The Ruddy Duck is a sedentary, resident bird.
Notes: The Ruddy Duck is a social bird usually found in small flocks. The Male can have more than one mate.
Habitat: The Ruddy Duck favours shallow lakes and pools with plenty of submerged vegetation. In the Winter it often moves to larger bodies of water such as reservoirs.
The Female Ruddy Duck is not unlike the Male in Winter plumage, however it has a dark cheek stripe and the face is not so white. It has a long thick tail often held erect and its body is a grey-brown colour.
The Female Ruddy Duck can be mistaken for the Male, however the face is not as pale and she has a distinctive cheek stripe. Note the large heavy bill and dark cap. The tale, whilst often cocked, is just as often held down into the water as in this image.