The Ring-necked Duck is a medium-sized diving duck that lives across much of North America. They are migratory, with their breeding range extending coast to coast across much of Canada. Their winter range includes the interior west to the southeast of the United States, into the Caribbean and parts of South America. Some birds remain year-round residents in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountains.
Male Ring-necked Ducks have a contrasting plumage with grey flanks, white breast, and black back and head. Their bill is distinctive and it's not uncommon to hear them referred to as "ring-billed" - their grey bills have two white rings. They are named for a chestnut-colored neck ring that is difficult to see in the field. Typically, females are duller in plumage.
Ring-necked Ducks do not gather in large flocks like many other diving duck species, which makes them less likely to appeal to waterfowl hunters.