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Herons, egrets and other wading birds feeding.

 

Wildlife You Might See
Wildlife Viewing Tips

T. M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area is an important wintering area for waterfowl and is a site on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Water levels in the impoundments are carefully manipulated to provide shallow water for wading birds such as wood storks, snowy egrets, great blue herons, white ibis, roseate spoonbills, great egrets and night herons, as well as migrating shorebirds. Blue- and green-winged teal are abundant winter residents along with black-bellied whistling ducks, American wigeon, northern pintail and ring-necked ducks. Other seasonal specialties include migrating raptors, bald eagles, sandhill cranes and swallow-tailed kites. Mottled duck, white-tailed deer, otter, bobcat and raccoon occur year-round.

 

Wildlife Spotlight: Ring-necked Duck

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Ring-necked Duck
Photo Credit: Ron Bielfeld

Florida’s mild temperatures and abundant wetlands attract thousands of wintering waterfowl. One of the more common species spotted on the state’s lakes and waterways is the ring-necked duck, a medium-sized duck that breeds in Canada and the northern United States but migrates south in the fall to wintering areas throughout the southern United States, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. “Ring-necked” refers to a fairly inconspicuous feature, a faint brown ring at the base of the male’s neck. 

Although classified as diving ducks, ring-necked ducks like to forage in relatively shallow water and will feed on or near the water’s surface like dabbling ducks when aquatic plants such as hydrilla are within reach. When diving for food, ring-necked ducks propel themselves with their feet and search for seeds and other plant parts and the occasional snail, clam and aquatic insect.

To identify a ring-necked duck in a large raft of waterfowl, look for a bird with a peaked head and angular profile and a bill with a bold white band behind a black tip. The male has a second white ring at the base of the bill. Like other ducks, plumage varies according to age, sex and season.

 



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