Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Ring" on the Ring-necked Duck

Why is the Ring-necked Duck called "ring-necked?" I talked with a neighbor who has been birding since he was a youngster. He has never seen the "ring" on the Ringed-neck Duck. He is not a duck hunter; he is a duck peeper. So he has never held the bird in his hand. The same is true for many (perhaps most) birders today, with the consequence that the name is something of a mystery. Check with your bird guides, and you may find  something like this: "Despite name, brown neck ring is very hard to see ..." (Kaufman).

In this old photo (taken with a super-zoom 3 years ago, you will see no sign of a ring on the neck of the 8 drakes ...

Ring-necked Ducks - Turner's Falls, MA, March, 2009

So you can imagine how excited I was when I saw the "ring" on the Ring-necked Duck.

Last week, I did a morning trip to Forsythe NWR (Brigantine). A few Ring-necked Ducks were diving in several different ponds. With good light, and a drake with his neck stretched, the brown (or cinnamon) ring on his neck was visible ...

Ring-necked Duck, Forsythe NWR, NJ, March 7, 2012

Ring-necked Ducks - hen (l), drake (r)
Good Birding!!

7 comments:

Dawn Puliafico said...

Cool! I recently saw these ducks and wondered about their name, but then again, so many bird names are a mystery!

Dina J said...

Great catch on the ring neck. I never could see anything as well. I always thought they should call them the white tip beak duck.

KaHolly said...

Mystery solved!! Great photos!

Frank said...

Well done Chris on capturing that 'indistinct purplish-brown collar' .. never seen it in real life. As you rightly say most guides tend to major on all other ID clues rather than the one it was named for!
Cheers .. FAB.

Laurence Butler said...

You found it!! Truly, Frodo's quest to destroy the ring of power pales in comparison to the trickiness in finding the Ring-Necks ring.
Well done! Great photos and narration Chris, thanks for sharing.

Sam Crowther said...

Great post and nice shots.

Chris said...

When I think that I run after the only one in Reykjavik to be able to see it... And you have like a bunch of them ;-) Wonderful post Chris ;-)

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