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Redhead Aythya americana


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Redhead, male
credit: Kevin Bercaw/CCSA

© Lang Elliot/ (audio)

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Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family

Description ADULT MALE Has a reddish orange head and upper neck, clearly demarcated from the black lower neck and breast. Vent is black and body is otherwise gray. In flight, gray upper wing coverts contrast with paler flight feathers. Note the bright yellowish eye. ADULT FEMALE Has mainly buffy brownish plumage, with a faint pale "spectacle" and whitish throat. JUVENILE Similar to adult female.

Dimensions Length: 18-22" (46-56 cm)

Habitat Favors prairie pothole habitats for nesting. Winters mainly on Gulf of Mexico, specifically Laguna Madre, Texas and Laguna Madre, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Small numbers winter in southern states' wetlands.

Observation Tips Relatively easy to find, within range, at start of breeding season. Otherwise, visit coastal wetlands in winter.

Range Texas, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Western Canada, California, New England, Rocky Mountains, Florida, Northwest, Southwest, Eastern Canada, Alaska

Voice Mostly silent.

Discussion Attractive diving duck that feeds on submerged plants and some invertebrates. Superficially similar to Canvasback, but see that species' description for differences. In particular, note the Redhead's rounded head shape. In flight all birds show pale underwings. Sexes are dissimilar in other respects.