Illustration from National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America
March 28, 1806, at Fort Clatsop, Oregon.
Male has black back and breast; purple-glossed, black-appearing angular head; pale gray flanks; vertical white mark on side of breast. Female brownish, paler around base of bill, with narrow white eye ring. Length: 14-18 in (36-46 cm).
Soft purring notes, but usually silent.
Wooded lakes, ponds, and rivers; seldom on saltwater except in the southern states.
Breeds from Alaska, Manitoba, and Newfoundland south to California, Arizona, Great Lakes, and Maine. Winters from Washington south along Pacific coast, east through Southwest and Gulf Coast states, and north to New England.
This species might better be called the "ring-billed duck," for its chestnut neck ring is usually seen only at close range, while the white ring on the bill can be a prominent field mark.