Friday, 31 May 2013

50. Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)

The Ruddy Duck is an American species which has become established in the UK after escapes from wildfowl collections. It is similar in appearance to the closely-related White-Headed Duck but has a more extensive, neater black cap and a less massive bill. 

The fact that it is closely related to the White-headed Duck has caused the UK population of the Ruddy Duck something of a problem in that it has been subject to widespread culling by DEFRA to try and prevent it spreading through Europe and interbreeding with the endangered White-headed Duck. You can see the logic in theory of doing this, but in practice it's been pretty farcical, as the Ruddy Duck had already reached Europe before any culling started in the UK, and the cost of the cull has mounted in to the millions, money which could probably have been much better spent elsewhere.

Ruddy duck, ©Neil Mishler/USFWS Mountain Prairie, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Ruddy Duck sketch.

I started this drawing last night but didn't quite finish it as we went out to see Marnie Stern. She was awesome! So I may have finished it during a particularly quiet afternoon at work today. Don't tell my boss. 

This is the 50th bird I've drawn; it says in the front of the Collins guide that there are 713 species in the main section so I calculate that I have drawn around 7% of them now. Onwards and upwards!

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