Thursday, May 31, 2012

>Oxyura jamaicensis (Ruddy Duck)

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Duck
Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN 3.1)
Scientific classification
Species:O. jamaicensis
Binomial name
Oxyura jamaicensis
(Gmelin, 1789)
  • O. j. jamaicensis (Gmelin, 1789)
    (North American Ruddy Duck)
  • O. j. rubida (Wilson, 1814) (disputed)
  • O. j. andina Lehmann, 1946
    (Colombian Ruddy Duck)
  • O. j. ferruginea (Eyton, 1838)
    (Andean Ruddy Duck)
Erismatura jamaicensis
The Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a small stiff-tailed duck.

Male on the left, female on the right

Their breeding habitat is marshy lakes and ponds throughout much of North America, and in South America in the Andes. They nest in dense marsh vegetation near water. The female builds her nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical group of young ranges from 5-15 ducklings. Pairs form each year.
Adult males have a rust-red body, a blue bill, and a white face with a black cap. Adult females have a grey-brown body with a greyish face with a darker bill, cap and a cheek stripe. The southern subspecies ferrugineais occasionally considered a distinct species. It is separable by its all-black face and larger size. The subspecies andina has a varying amount of black coloration on its white face; it may in fact be nothing more than a hybrid population between the North American and the Andean Ruddy Duck. As the Colombian population is becoming scarce, it is necessary to clarify its taxonomic status, because it would be relevant for conservation purposes.
They are migratory and winter in coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds.
These birds dive and swim underwater. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans.
As a result of escapes from wildfowl collections, they are now established in Great Britain, from where they have spread widely into Europe. This duck's aggressive courting behaviour and willingness to interbreed with the endangered native White-headed Duck, Oxyura leucocephala, of southern Europe has caused some concern.
Due to this, there is now a controversial scheme to extirpate the Ruddy Duck as a British breeding species.

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