Redhead Ducks

The Redhead Duck (Aythya americana) is a medium-sized diving duck, 37 cm long with an 84 cm wingspan.

The adult male has a blue bill, a red head and neck, a black breast, yellow eyes and a grey back.

The adult female has a brown head and body and a darker bluish bill with a black tip.

Distribution

The breeding habitat is marshes and prairie potholes in western North America. Loss of nesting habitat has led to sharply declining populations.

Following the breeding season, males go through a molt which leaves them flightless for almost a month. Before this happens, they leave their mates and move to large bodies of water, usually flying further north.

They overwinter in the southern and north-eastern United States, the Great Lakes region, northern Mexico and the Caribbean.

This strong migrant is a very rare vagrant to western Europe.

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Nesting

Females regularly lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads or other ducks, especially Canvasbacks. Redheads usually take new mates each year, starting to pair in late winter.

Red-headed Ducks

Redhead Duck (Aythya americana)

Diet

These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They mainly eat aquatic plants with some mollusks, aquatic insects and small fish.

References

  • BirdLife International (2004). Aythya americana. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 11 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern
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