Readers’ wildlife photos: Duck O’ the Week

Every Sunday for a while we’re going to have a “guess the duck species” photos, so that you can learn some of the duck species of North America. The photos were all taken by evolutionary geneticist John Avise from the University of California, Irvine.  The identification of the duck as well as an interesting Duck Fact is below the fold.

Try to guess before looking, though.






Click on “read more” for the answer:

Answer: Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

This small diving duck can be recognized even from afar by its habit of holding its tail cocked upward at a sharp angle when swimming or resting on the surface of an open bay or pond.  Breeding males in their “alternate” plumage and bright blue bill look very different from those in non-breeding (“basic” or “winter”) condition.


JAC: Here’s the range map from the Cornell site:



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Wild guess – pin tail?

  2. Avis James
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    My favorite duck species! I love Ruddy Ducks so much I had a goat I named “Ruddy Duck”.

  3. Posted April 5, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    We used to see these delightful little ducks on the lochs nearby but as they are not native they were all shot, sadly.

    • Avis James
      Posted April 5, 2020 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      They were introgressing with your native White Headed Ducks.

  4. rickflick
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    They seem to have more of a smirk than a smile.

  5. Sue B
    Posted April 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I had no idea and couldn’t even guess.

    The last duck photo looks very platypus-like.

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