American black duck
A Field Guide and Reference. At distances of more than 1, yards, the big billows of ringnecks were nearly always heard before they were spotted. Hunting is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, holidays and opening and closing days of waterfowl seasons. But the fact is that ringnecks decoy most readily to ringneck decoys. That means that hunters who prefer hunting diving ducks should learn not only how to identify ringnecks, but concentrate their efforts on waters that hold them along with low populations of scaup.
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In flight, the white lining of the underwings can be seen in contrast to the blackish underbody and upperside. A dark crescent is visible on the median underwing primary coverts.
Juveniles resemble adult females, but have broken narrow pale edges of underpart feathers, which give a slightly streaked rather than scalloped appearance, and the overall appearance is browner rather than uniformly blackish. Juvenile males have brownish-orange feet while juvenile females have brownish feet and a dusky greyish-green bill.
The American black duck is endemic to eastern North America. The American black duck is a habitat generalist as it is associated with tidal marshes and present throughout the year in salt marshes from the Gulf of Maine to coastal Virginia. The American black duck is an omnivorous species  with a diverse diet.
After this, they shift to seeds and other plant food. The breeding habitat includes alkaline marshes, acid bogs, lakes, ponds, rivers, marshes, brackish marshes and the margins of estuaries and other aquatic environments in northern Saskatchewan, Manitoba , across Ontario , Quebec as well as the Atlantic Canadian Provinces, Great Lakes and the Adirondacks in the United States. Nest sites are well-concealed on the ground, often in uplands. The American black duck interbreeds regularly and extensively with the mallard, to which it is closely related.
It has been proposed that the American black duck and the mallard were formerly separated by habitat preference, with the American black duck's dark plumage giving it a selective advantage in shaded forest pools in eastern North America, and the mallard's lighter plumage giving it an advantage in the brighter, more open prairie and plains lakes. Also, many avian hybrid zones are known to be stable and longstanding despite the occurrence of extensive interbreeding.
Their statement, "Northern black ducks are now no more distinct from mallards than their southern conspecifics" only holds true in regard to the molecular markers tested. In captivity studies, it has been discovered that most of the hybrids do not follow Haldane's Rule , but sometimes hybrid females die before they reach sexual maturity, thereby supporting the case for the American black duck being a distinct species.
The apex nest predators of the American black duck include American crows , gulls and raccoons , especially in tree nests. Bullfrogs and snapping turtles eat many ducklings. Recent research conducted for the Delta Waterfowl Foundation suggests that hybrids are a result of forced copulations and not a normal pairing choice by black hens.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service has continued to purchase and manage habitat in many areas to support the migratory stopover, wintering and breeding populations of the American black duck. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. American black duck American black duck in flight Conservation status.
Black Duck Joint Venture. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Archived from the original on Field Guide to Upland Birds and Waterfowl. Ducks, Geese and Swans: Species accounts Cairina to Mergus. Birds of the Carolinas. The University of North Carolina Press. University Press of New England. The Handbook of Bird Identification: For Europe and the Western Palearctic. Cape Cod National Seashore N. A Synthesis of Science and Management. Birds of Lake, Pond, and Marsh: A Field Guide and Reference.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans of North America. Johns Hopkins University Press. Three shots from a pump gun seemed an anemic way to greet them, when I was presented with the potential for a real blood letting with a flock of that size.
Two drake ringnecks graced the bow of my johnboat once I motored out to retrieve them. The huge flock of diving ducks apparently was lost in what I thought was a bastion of puddle ducks, peppered rarely with scaup. Of all the divers, the ringneck is the bird mostly likely to be found in the company of dabblers.
Setting my decoys in manmade impoundments where flooded corn fields or rice were the main waterfowl foods has created virtual strafing zones for uncountable blackjack attacks. I even shot ringnecks in a creek that was so dry I had to get out to drag my one-man boat every yards. The ringneck can digest most anything. It is this ability to utilize any energy source that finds the little ringneck so abundant during a time when the other large diving ducks — scaup, canvasback and redhead — in decline or only holding their own.
They are absolute suckers for a spinning wing decoy of any kind, whether it be a dove, teal or mallard configuration set in addition to small or large floating spreads. But the fact is that ringnecks decoy most readily to ringneck decoys.
While I have seen them land in the water beside any decoy, they will often flare at the last moment, and may or may not come back if there are not at least a few ringneck decoys in the decoy mix. While having them actually land is not a requirement, it is a good idea to have the possibility where scaup are also abundant and you need to positively identify the bird before the shot. A binocular is a handy item to have along to help identify ducks on the wing, after they land or while they are swimming toward the decoys.
When positive identification cannot be made, the ethical hunter must allow them to flare away. That wide circling maneuver gives a hunter with binoculars a few seconds to make a positive identification before they return — and you still need to identify them because scaup may pull the same maneuver. Ringnecks, like other diving ducks, prefer to land at the head of the decoys. That means in mixed spreads of dabblers and divers, the diving duck decoys can be set in the most advantageous position for the hunter.
The other unique trait of decoying ringnecks is how they respond after hearing the first shot. While I prefer having the wind directly at my back when decoying all other species of waterfowl, the speed of a ringneck is so great that it takes the duck a huge amount of sky-yardage before he can turn or flare upward. If the ducks are coming right at you and you want to take multiple shots at the flock, the odds are 99 percent that after the first shot, the birds will keep right on coming so fast that they will be behind you before you can get a second or third chance.
Ringnecks are highly predictable when it comes to their direction of approach. If there is any noticeable wind, they will decoy so they are facing directly into the wind. With this setup, the first shot can be taken when the ducks are just right of center, the second shot as they are over the decoys and the last as they flare upward to the left in departure, if you can pick a bird and swing the gun fast enough to keep up. Like other diving ducks, ringnecks are tough to bring to bag.
They can dive dozens of feet and stay submerged for extended periods if crippled. Ringnecks are not very large, so large shot sizes are unnecessary for taking them. In fact, denser patterns of smaller shot are more likely to immobilize them upon impact by striking the head or spine.
But I prefer No. My preferences are not intended to disregard other ringneck waters, just good places for any hunter to begin looking for this high-bag-limit diver. Cross Point Landing is located at the southern end. The best hunting areas are at the northern end, where hydrilla beds have taken root.
Throughout the lake, the backs of coves attract ringnecks with hydrilla and other vegetation, along with mollusks and other invertebrates. Many bank areas can be hunted, but hunters also use boat blinds. Permanent blinds are not allowed. Hunting is open Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, holidays and opening and closing days of waterfowl seasons. Great Lake and Catfish Lake also have special waterfowl rules. Waterfowl hunting is allowed Tuesdays, Thursdays, holidays and opening and closing days of waterfowl seasons.
Great Lake is the best bet for ringnecks, and there are permanent blinds. When someone builds a blind, it is on public property, so others may hunt it.
But courtesy should overrule competitiveness. The lake is so large, even moderate winds can create hazardous waves. Catfish Lake is smaller and safer. Boat blinds are popular at the small lake. Hunters flushing ducks off nearby Catfish Lake Impoundment create good hunting when the ducks seek safety at Catfish Lake. Great Lake has one public ramp. Catfish Lake has several primitive launches around its perimeter. Roanoke Rapids Lake has shoreline development.