Ring-necked Ducks

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This is the time of year when my passion for photographing ducks revives. Very few duck species hang around to endure our torrid summers, but many either winter here or pass through as part of their semi-annual migrations. Consequently, our local man-made ponds and lakes often harbor beautiful ducks in winter.

Today I’m featuring images of one species, the Ring-necked Duck. Ring-necked Ducks are small, compactly built ducks that fall within the general duck category of “divers.” Ducks tend to be either “divers” or “dabblers.” Divers, as their name implies, will search for food by diving beneath the surface and swimming underwater. Dabblers, by contrast, submerge their heads but not their bodies.

Male Ring Necks have beautiful dark plumage on their heads and necks. In some light this plumage appears to be purple, almost black, at times. In other light, it appears to be iridescent green.

Female Ring Necks are primarily brown, but certainly not drab.

It’s a good question why these ducks are called “Ring-necked Ducks.” I sometimes think that the name is some ornithologist’s idea of a joke. I’ve been told that the ducks are so named because they have a faint ring of contrasting plumage at the base of their necks. I’ve photographed this species on dozens of occasions and never have I seen even a faint ring. On the other hand, both the males and females of this species display a very prominent ring on their beaks. Renaming the species “Ring-beaked Duck” would be an excellent idea in my opinion.

Images made with a Canon R5. First and third images made with a Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender. Second image made with a Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 IS L zoom lens. All images, M setting (auto ISO). First and third images, f5.6 @ 1/2000. First image, ISO 1000, third image, ISO 2000. First image -1/3 stop exposure compensation, third image, +1 stop exposure compensation. Second image, ISO 320, f7.1 @ 1/1600, -2/3 stop exposure compensation.

2 Replies to “Ring-necked Ducks”

  1. burrdoo says:

    Love that last shot!

  2. rebelbreeze says:

    Thanks. I think we have a few of these on Dublin’s ponds and canals. I note that when the male mounts the female she goes completely under water. Breathtaking! 😀

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