Ring-necked Ducks and American Coots Foraging

by Larry Jordan on February 28, 2012

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) photos by Larry Jordan

Ring-necked Ducks (Aythya collaris) are a small diving duck that feed exclusively in water. They eat moist-soil and aquatic plant seeds and tubers as well as aquatic invertebrates. The drake shown above is, in my humble opinion, is one of the most handsome diving ducks in North America (click on photos for full sized images).

A few weeks ago, while at Colusa National Wildlife Refuge, I saw some behavior I had never witnessed before. A group of three Ring-necked Ducks, one drake and two females, were diving as they usually do when foraging, while a couple of American Coots (Fulica americana) waited at the surface for tidbits that floated up!

It was the funniest thing to watch. The coots looked so intense as they waited…

and the female Ring-necked Duck appeared to be enjoying herself…

as she bobbed up from below, ignoring the Coot.

Sometimes she still had vegetation in her beak…

But even though it seemed they sometimes nearly collided during the feeding…

there was never any aggression from either the ducks or the coots.

Maybe we should take a lesson from these amiable waterfowl and try to get along with our neighbors?

To see more great bird photos from around the world check out World Bird Wednesday!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Mia McPherson February 28, 2012 at 6:28 am

These are beautiful Larry!


TexWisGirl February 28, 2012 at 7:38 am

well, don’t think my comment went thru the first time…

those coots look so frustrated that they can’t dive. poor things!


heyBJK February 28, 2012 at 8:34 am

Beautiful photos! Love the Coot!


Boom & Gary February 28, 2012 at 8:57 am

Those ring necks are beauties!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


Modesto Viegas (Portugal) February 28, 2012 at 9:18 am

Good post!!!


nature rambles February 28, 2012 at 9:32 am

Love the way you caught that intense look. Beautiful photos!


Ken Schneider February 28, 2012 at 9:50 am

I could see the ring around that first one’s neck. Very nice series, Larry!


Carletta February 28, 2012 at 10:07 am

Beautiful shot of the Ring-necked with the fractered reflections!
Maybe the coots had been invited for lunch. 🙂


Frank February 28, 2012 at 10:21 am

Nature working in union.


Andrew February 28, 2012 at 12:04 pm

A wonderful post….


fjällripan February 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Great photos of those beauties! 🙂


eileen February 28, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Larry, these are wonderful shots of the duck and the coot. Great post.


CaroleM. February 28, 2012 at 3:16 pm

a lovely series; lovely markings on the male


holdingmoments February 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm

A fascinating piece of behaviour you captured Larry.

A somewhat similar role reversal happens over here.
Our Eurasian Coots dive for food, and Gadwall wait around for them, to steal tit bits.
Nature always amazes me.


Mary Howell Cromer February 29, 2012 at 4:20 am

Larry, very wonderful images of the Ring necked Ducks. Hoping that all is going well for you~


springman February 29, 2012 at 7:41 am

The sound track on your fascinating video put me into the transcendental state. Talk about soothing spring sounds! An awesome post as always Larry. Thanks for the trip!


Pat February 29, 2012 at 8:10 am

Wonderful shots showing the interrelationship of the two species.


joo February 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Ducks are so lovely to watch! My favourite is the first photo!


Wanda February 29, 2012 at 2:32 pm

The Coot has such intense eye color. Nature is so amazing! Loved the video.


CameraCruise March 1, 2012 at 2:31 am

Great shots and film of the ducks!
Love to watch ducks.
Have a great weekend.


wolfsrosebud March 1, 2012 at 6:20 am

love the water movement on the second pic


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