Aythya americana




Ducks, Geese and Swans (Anatidae)

Code 4


Code 6



Egg Color:

Pale olive, buff or dull white.

Number of Eggs:

9 - 14

Incubation Days:

23 - 29

Egg Incubator:


Nest Location:

On ground in tall prairie grass.

Nest Material:

Grass lined with down.





Redhead: Medium-sized diving duck with gray back and sides, black upper back, breast, rump and tail, and white belly; coverts are black; wings dusky gray; primaries are brown-gray; secondaries pearl gray. Head and neck are rufous-brown and blue-gray bill is black-tipped; eyes are yellow. Female is pale brown overall with gray-brown back and belly; bill is gray with a black tip; has a different shaped bill and head. Juvenile resembles female but is more heavily mottled. Eclipse male is similar to breeding male but is much duller.

Range and Habitat

Redhead: Breeds in the northern prairies of the U.S. and Canada from Alaska south to Colorado and intermountain marshes of the west and southwest. Spends winters across the southern U.S. from California to Florida and south into Mexico. Declining in the East. Nests in marshes, open lakes, and bays; often winters on saltwater.

Breeding and Nesting

Redhead: Nine to fourteen pale olive, buff, or dull white eggs are laid in a shallow cup of plant material lined with down, built in tall vegetation near water. Incubation ranges from 23 to 29 days and is carried out by the female. Sometimes lays eggs in nests of other waterbirds.

Foraging and Feeding

Redhead: Their diet includes the seeds, rhizomes and tubers of pondweeds, wild celery, water lilies, grasses and wild rice. They also eat mollusks, aquatic insects and small fish. They feed in pairs during breeding season, in small groups during migration, in flocks of hundreds on molting lakes, and in large flocks of hundreds or more in winter. They forage by diving from the water surface.


Redhead: Utters a cat-like "whee-uogh" or "keyair." Also makes a low, trilling "rrrrr."

Similar Species

Redhead: Canvasback is larger and has a dark, sloping bill and distinctive red eye.

The upper front part of a bird.
The primaries are the flight feathers specialized for flight. They are attached to the "hand" equivalent part of the wing.
The area between the uppertail coverts and the back of the bird.
Flight feathers that are attached to the wing in the area similar to the human forearm and between the body and the primaries.
Parts of a Standing bird X
Head Feathers and Markings X
Parts of a Flying bird X