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Ruddy Duck

Oxyura jamaicensis

The Ruddy Duck was once called “Blue Bill”, or “Blue-Billed Duck”, or even “Stiff Tail”. They breed across most of western North America and Mexico. These diving ducks seek wetlands and reservoirs during the breeding season.

In 1948, so-called conservationist Sir Peter Scott imported some of these ducks to the United Kingdom, and collectors added them to their collection. As one would expect, there were escapes and/or releases into the wild, and soon their population exploded across Europe. There, the more sexually aggressive Ruddy Ducks interbred with the endangered White-Headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala). Concerned about the welfare and preservation of the White-Headed Duck, conservationists in Spain and other countries began a campaign to extirpate the Ruddy Duck in Europe, dropping their numbers from a high estimates of nearly 6000 birds in the year 2000, to about 20~100 in 2014.

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