The Ring-necked Duck is a small to medium-sized diving duck with distinctive white bill markings and a short crest that gives its head an angular profile. Total length and mass: male - 40 to 46cm, 542 to 910 g; female - 39 to 43 cm, 490 to 894 g. Male slightly larger than female. Definitive Alternate male has black head, neck, breast and upperparts; and whitish to grayish belly and flanks, with a distinctive triangular white wedge extending upward in the area in front of the folded wing. Bill slate, with white at base and around nares; black tip bordered proximally by white band. Definitive Alternate female is grayish brown; darkest on top of head, pale on front of head, chin, and throat; white eye-ring and narrow white line extends back from eye. Bill slate, with faint white band near tip (Hohman and Eberhardt 1998).
For a comprehensive review of the conservation status, habitat use, and ecology of this and other Montana bird species, please see Marks et al. 2016, Birds of Montana.
Western Hemisphere Range
The normal migration periods in the Bozeman area are from April 15 to May 20 and from September 15 to November 1, with peak numbers on May 1 and October 10.
Freshwater wetlands, especially marshes, fens, and bogs that are generally shallow with fringes of flooded or floating emergents, predominantly sedges interspersed with other vegetation and shrubs; also open water zones vegetated with abundant submerged or floating aquatic plants (Hohman and Eberhardt 1998). In the Bozeman area, habitat is restricted to lakes and ponds.
Moist-soil and aquatic plant seeds and tubers; aquatic invertebrates (Hohman and Eberhardt 1998).
In the Fortine area, the population is increasing. The first young in the area were seen in 1970.
Constructs nest over water in dense emergent vegetation. Eggs are elliptical to oval in shape and olive gray to olive brown in color (Hohman and Eberhardt 1998). Brood records for Montana and Wyoming are reported from June 9 to July 28. Hatching dates in the Fortine area are from June 20 to July 15. Brood size averaged 6.