(Bucephala albeola)



Bufflehead "pair"
Photograph by

Ian Gereg

The Bufflehead Duck, is a large-headed duck...and the name means buffalo-headed or ox-headed. It is the smallest diving duck, yet one of the best divers. Thye nest only in North America. They can take off directly from water unlike other diving ducks. It uses its feet to swim underwater, and dives in grops for safety, leaving "lookouts" on surface.

Size: 14"

Male: Large white patch from eye to crown. Mostly white body, small bill; large dark head with green to purple gloss in good light.

Female: White underparts; small white cheek patch, gray-brown body.

Nest: Tree cavity; young leave nest by jumping out of tree cavity within 1 day of hatching. Nest tended by female...first flight at 50-55 days. The bufflehead is a solitary nester.

Incubation: 28-33 days.

Breeding: 1 brood per year.

Food: Dives underwater and eats small mollusks, fish, snails, and crustaceans. Also eats aquatic insects.

Voice: Squeaky whistle and low squealing or growling call.

Habitat: Breeds on wooded lakes and ponds. Summers on wooded lakes and rivers; winters on lakes and coastal waters.

In Flight: The male's pink legs and feet are bright against white underparts, and a white patch crosses the entire inner wing; female show white in the secondaries only.

In Courtship: It makes loud grating or chattering noise. Female has a harsh quack, ee-ee-ee and buzzy cue-cue-cue.

"Bird Wonderland"


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