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 ferruginea is 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.
Habitat and Distribution
The Ruddy Duck from North America and the Andes Mountains of South America. Their breeding habitat is marshy lakes and ponds. 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.
Rudy Ducks nest in dense marsh vegetation near water. The female builds the nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical brood contains 5 to 15 ducklings. Pairs form each year.