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Montana Field Guides

Ruddy Duck - Oxyura jamaicensis

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Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S5B

Agency Status
USFWS:
USFS:
BLM:
FWP Conservation Tier: 3
PIF:


 

External Links





 
General Description
The Ruddy Duck is a small, chunky, thick-necked duck with a large head, broad bill (blue in the breeding male), and long tail that often is cocked upward. The male has conspicuous white cheeks, especially when breeding, and the female and young have a single dark line across the light cheeks. The breeding male has bright reddish-brown upperparts and the non-breeding males, females, and young are mostly grayish-brown. Ruddy Ducks lack a contrastingly colored speculum.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Ruddy Duck differs from the Masked Duck in that males have white cheeks instead of black and females have a single dark cheek stripe rather than two cheek stripes on each side; Ruddy Duck lacks the conspicuous white wing patches (visible in flight) of the Masked Duck.

Species Range
Montana Range

Click the legend blocks above to view individual ranges.

Western Hemisphere Range

 


Summary of Observations Submitted for Montana
Number of Observations: 1844

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density

Recency

Breeding
(direct evidence "B")


Breeding
(indirect evidence "b")


No evidence of Breeding
(transient "t")


Overwintering
(regular observations "W")


Overwintering
(at least one obs. "w")



 

(Records associated with a range of dates are excluded from time charts)



Migration
The migration destination is unknown (west, east or Gulf coasts) (Skaar pers. comm.). Migration in the Bozeman latilong occurs April 15 to May 25 and September 15 to November 25 (Skaar 1969).

Habitat
Breeding is usually on overgrown, shallow marshes with abundant emergent vegetation and some open water. Non-breeding birds are found on large, generally deeper waters with silty/muddy bottoms (Johnsgard 1986). During migration in the Bozeman area, birds prefer open lakes (Skaar 1969).

Ecological Systems Associated with this Species
  • Details on Creation and Suggested Uses and Limitations
    How Associations Were Made
    We associated the use and habitat quality (high, medium, or low) of each of the 82 ecological systems mapped in Montana for vertebrate animal species that regularly breed, overwinter, or migrate through the state by:
    1. Using personal observations and reviewing literature that summarize the breeding, overwintering, or migratory habitat requirements of each species (Dobkin 1992, Hart et al. 1998, Hutto and Young 1999, Maxell 2000, Foresman 2001, Adams 2003, and Werner et al. 2004);
    2. Evaluating structural characteristics and distribution of each ecological system relative to the species’ range and habitat requirements;
    3. Examining the observation records for each species in the state-wide point database associated with each ecological system;
    4. Calculating the percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system to get a measure of “observations versus availability of habitat”.
    Species that breed in Montana were only evaluated for breeding habitat use, species that only overwinter in Montana were only evaluated for overwintering habitat use, and species that only migrate through Montana were only evaluated for migratory habitat use.  In general, species were associated as using an ecological system if structural characteristics of used habitat documented in the literature were present in the ecological system or large numbers of point observations were associated with the ecological system.  However, species were not associated with an ecological system if there was no support in the literature for use of structural characteristics in an ecological system, even if point observations were associated with that system.  High, medium, and low habitat quality was assigned based on the degree to which the structural characteristics of an ecological system matched the preferred structural habitat characteristics for each species in the literature.  The percentage of observations associated with each ecological system relative to the percent of Montana covered by each ecological system was also used to guide assignments of habitat quality.  If you have any questions or comments on species associations with ecological systems, please contact Bryce Maxell at bmaxell@mt.gov or (406) 444-3655.

    Suggested Uses and Limitations
    Species associations with ecological systems should be used to generate potential lists of species that may occupy broader landscapes for the purposes of landscape-level planning.  These potential lists of species should not be used in place of documented occurrences of species (this information can be requested at: http://mtnhp.org/requests/default.asp) or systematic surveys for species and evaluations of habitat at a local site level by trained biologists.  Users of this information should be aware that the land cover data used to generate species associations is based on imagery from the late 1990s and early 2000s and was only intended to be used at broader landscape scales.  Land cover mapping accuracy is particularly problematic when the systems occur as small patches or where the land cover types have been altered over the past decade.  Thus, particular caution should be used when using the associations in assessments of smaller areas (e.g., evaluations of public land survey sections).  Finally, although a species may be associated with a particular ecological system within its known geographic range, portions of that ecological system may occur outside of the species’ known geographic range.

    Literature Cited
    • Adams, R.A.  2003.  Bats of the Rocky Mountain West; natural history, ecology, and conservation.  Boulder, CO: University Press of Colorado.  289 p.
    • Dobkin, D. S.  1992.  Neotropical migrant land birds in the Northern Rockies and Great Plains. USDA Forest Service, Northern Region. Publication No. R1-93-34.  Missoula, MT.
    • Foresman, K.R.  2001.  The wild mammals of Montana.  Special Publication No. 12.  Lawrence, KS: The American Society of Mammalogists.  278 p.
    • Hart, M.M., W.A. Williams, P.C. Thornton, K.P. McLaughlin, C.M. Tobalske, B.A. Maxell, D.P. Hendricks, C.R. Peterson, and R.L. Redmond. 1998.  Montana atlas of terrestrial vertebrates.  Montana Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit, University of Montana, Missoula, MT.  1302 p.
    • Hutto, R.L. and J.S. Young.  1999.  Habitat relationships of landbirds in the Northern Region, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station RMRS-GTR-32.  72 p.
    • Maxell, B.A.  2000.  Management of Montana’s amphibians: a review of factors that may present a risk to population viability and accounts on the identification, distribution, taxonomy, habitat use, natural history, and the status and conservation of individual species.  Report to U.S. Forest Service Region 1.  Missoula, MT: Wildlife Biology Program, University of Montana.  161 p.
    • Werner, J.K., B.A. Maxell, P. Hendricks, and D. Flath.  2004.  Amphibians and reptiles of Montana.  Missoula, MT: Mountain Press Publishing Company. 262 p.

Food Habits
Takes primarily aquatic insects, crustaceans, zooplankton, and other invertebrates. Typically consumes small amount of aquatic vegetation and seeds. Forage almost exclusively by diving but occasionally forage by "skimming" water surface, straining food from water (Brua 2002).

Reproductive Characteristics
At Freezeout Lake, hatching dates were from July 21 to August 20. Near Fortine, egg dates range from June 12 to July 1. Brood size averages 8 on a statewide basis; nesting records are from June well into August.

References
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View WorldCat Record   View Online Publication
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    • American Ornithologists' Union. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pp.
    • Brown, M. and J. J. Dinsmore. 1986. Implications of marsh size and isolation for marsh bird management. J. Wildl. Manage. 50:392-397.
    • Brua, Robert B. 2002. Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis). Species Account Number 696. The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca, NY: Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Retrieved 3/25/2008 from The Birds of North America Online database
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1977, Colstrip 10 x 20 Area wildlife and wildlife habitat annual monitoring report, 1977. Proj. 164-85-A. December 31, 1977.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1979, Annual wildllife report of the Colstrip Area for 1978. Proj. 195-85-A. April 6, 1979.
    • ECON, Inc. (Ecological Consulting Service), Helena, MT., 1979, Annual wildllife report of the Colstrip Area for 1979, including a special raptor research study. Proj. 216-85-A. March 1, 1980.
    • Ehrlich, P., D. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder’s handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Schuster Inc. New York. 785 pp.
    • Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Whitehall, MT., 2000, Golden Sunlight Mines, Inc., Annual Permit Reports.
    • Johnsgard, P. A. 1992. Birds of the Rocky Mountains with particular reference to national parks in the northern Rocky Mountain region. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. xi + 504 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. 1979. Birds of the Great Plains: breeding species and their distribution. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln. 539 pp.
    • Johnsgard, P.A. and M. Carbonell. 1996. Ruddy Ducks and other stifftails. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK; Publishing Division of the University.
    • Joyner, D.E. 1976. Effects of interspecific nest parasitism by Redheads and Ruddy Ducks. J. Wildl. Manage. 40(1): 33-38.
    • Lambing, John H., et al., 1994, Physical, chemical, and biological data for detailed study of the Sun River Irrigation Project, Freezout Lake Wildlife Management Area, and Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge, west-central Montana, 1990-92, with selected data for 1987-89. May 1994. Open-file report 94-120.
    • Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2002: Roundup Wetland, Roundup, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.031. February 2003. In 2002 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
    • Lenard, S., J. Carlson, J. Ellis, C. Jones, and C. Tilly. 2003. P. D. Skaar's Montana Bird Distribution, 6th Edition. Montana Audubon: Helena, MT, 144 pp.
    • Maxon, S.J. and M.R. Riggs. 1996. Habitat use and nest success of overwater nesting ducks in westcentral Minnesota. J. Wildl. Manage. 60(1): 108-119.
    • Montana Bird Distribution Committee. 2012. P.D. Skaar's Montana bird distribution. 7th Edition. Montana Audubon, Helena, Montana. 208 pp. + foldout map.
    • Palmer, R. S. 1962. Handbook of North American birds. Volume 1. Loons through flamingos. Yale University Press, New Haven. 567 pp.
    • Salt, W.R. and J.R. Salt. 1976. The birds of Alberta. Hurtig Publishers, Edmonton, Alberta. xv + 498 pp.
    • Schladweiler, Philip, and John P. Weigand., 1983, Relationships of endrin and other chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds to wildlife in Montana, 1981-1982. September 1983.
    • Stewart, R.E. and H.A. Kantrud. 1973. Ecological distributions of breeding waterfowl populations in North Dakota. J. Wildl. Manage. 37(1): 39-50.
    • The Anaconda Co., 1976, Wildlife survey: The Anaconda Company Berkeley Complex 1976 Proposed Permit Area. May 6, 1976.
    • Thunderbird Wildlife Consulting, Inc., Gillette, WY., 2003, Spring Creek Mine 2002 Wildlife Monitoring. March 2003.
    • U.S. Forest Service. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service Agricultural Handbook 688. 625 pages.
    • Western Energy Co., Colstrip, MT., 1980, Western Energy Company Rosebud Mine, Colstrip, Montana: Annual Wildlife Report, 1980.
    • Wetlands West, Inc., Bozeman, MT., and Land & Water Consulting, Inc., Missoula, MT., 2002, Montana Dept. of Transportation Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Report, Year 2001: Wigeon Reservoir, Alzada, Montana. Proj. No. 130091.028. July 2002. In 2001 Wetland Mitigation Monitoring Reports, Vol. II.
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Citation for data on this website:
Ruddy Duck — Oxyura jamaicensis.  Montana Field Guide.  Montana Natural Heritage Program and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.  Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://FieldGuide.mt.gov/speciesDetail.aspx?elcode=ABNJB22010
 
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