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SCIENTIFIC NAME: Oxyura jamaicensis
HOUSE NAME: "Pippin"
HABITAT: Prairie marshes, and heavily vegetated areas of North America, South America, and the West Indies.
CONSERVATION STATUS: Least Concern
FUN FACT: The small Ruddy duck is sometimes called the “butterball” or the “stiff-tail”. The second nick-name often refers to the duck’s long, firm tail feathers, which it can use as a rudder in the water.
DIET: Plants, water plants, insects, and small crustaceans that meet their protein needs.
DESCRIPTION: Characterized as a small duck which does not quack. Adults reach lengths of 14-17 inches and weigh 1-1¼ lbs. Hard, curved nail in the center of the bill. Female is finely marked dark brown. Cream colored cheeks have a brown stripe running back from bill. Bill is dull gray. A non-breeding juvenile male resembles female in plumage and bill color but has a black head and pure white cheeks. Breeding male has rich, red-brown upper parts, white belly and rump, with a black neck and head. Small tufts on the crown of head, white cheeks, pale blue bill (in the breeding season). Young ducks are dark brown.
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