Diving Ducks Found in Canada

Canvasback (Diving Duck)

Canvasback Duck
The canvasback (Aythya valisineria) is a species of diving duck, the largest found in North America. [16]

It ranges from 48–56 cm (19–22 in) in length and weighs 862–1,600 g (1.900–3.527 lb), with a wingspan of 79–89 cm (31–35 in). It is the largest species in the Aythya genus, being similar in size to amallard but with a heavier and more compact build than it. 191 males wintering in western New York averaged 1,252 g (2.760 lb) and 54 females there averaged 1,154 g (2.544 lb).[16]

​The canvasback has a distinctive wedge-shaped head and long graceful neck. The adult male (drake) has a black bill, a chestnut red head and neck, a black breast, a grayish back, black rump, and a blackish brown tail. The drake's sides, back, and belly are white with fine vermiculation resembling the weave of a canvas, which gave rise to the bird's common name. The bill is blackish and the legs and feet are bluish-gray. The iris is bright red in the spring, but duller in the winter. The adult female (hen) also has a black bill, a light brown head and neck, grading into a darker brown chest and foreback. The sides, flanks, and back are grayish brown. The bill is blackish and the legs and feet are bluish-gray. Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.[16]

The breeding habitat of the canvasback is in North America prairie potholes. The bulky nest is built from vegetation in a marsh and lined with down. Loss of nesting habitat has caused populations to decline. The canvasback usually takes a new mate each year, pairing in late winter on ocean bays. It prefers to nest over water on permanent prairie marshes surrounded by emergent vegetation, such as cattails and bulrushes, which provide protective cover. Other important breeding areas are the subarctic river deltas in Saskatchewan and the interior of Alaska.[16]

It has a clutch size of approximately 5–11 eggs, which are greenish drab. The chicks are covered in down at hatching and able to leave the nest soon after. The canvasback sometimes lays its eggs in other canvasback nests and redheads often parasitize canvasback nests[16]

Lesser Scaup (Diving Duck)

Lesser Scaup Duck
The lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) is a small North American diving duck that migrates south as far as Central America in winter. It is colloquially known as the little bluebill or broadbill because of its distinctive blue bill. The origin of the name scaup may stem from the bird's preference for feeding on scalp—the Scottish word for clams, oysters, and mussels; however, some credit it to the female's discordant scaup call as the name's source.

Adults are 38–48 cm (15–19 in) long, 41.7–43 cm (16.4–16.9 in) on average. The species can weigh 454–1,089 g (1.001–2.401 lb); males weigh 820 g (1.81 lb) on average and weigh noticeably less, at 730 g (1.61 lb) on average. Wing lengths (not wingspans) are about 7.5–7.9 in (19–20 cm) in males and 7.3–7.8 in (19–20 cm) in females; the tarsus is about 1.4–1.5 in (3.6–3.8 cm) long, and the bill 1.4–1.7 in (3.6–4.3 cm). The wingspan is 68–78 cm (27–31 in).[22]

​The adult males (drakes) in alternate plumage have a black, iridescent head and a small tuft at the hindcrown, a black breast, a whitish-grey back and wings with darker vermiculations and black outer and greyish-brown inner primary remiges. The underparts are white with some olive vermiculations on the flanks, and the rectrices and tail coverts are black. Adult females (hens) have a white band at the base of the bill, often a lighter ear region, and are otherwise dark brown all over, shading to white on the mid-belly. Drakes in eclipse plumage look similar, but with a very dark head and breast, little or no white on the head and usually some greyish vermiculations on the wings. Immature birds resemble the adult females, but are duller and have hardly any white at the bill base. Both sexes have white secondary remiges, a blue-grey bill with a black "nail" at the tip and grey feet; the drakes have a bright yellow iris, while that of females is orange or amber and that of immatures is brown. Downyhatchlings look much like those of related species, with dark brown upperparts and pale buff underparts, chin, supercilium and back spots.[22]

These birds are not very vocal, at least compared to dabbling ducks. Hens give the namesake discordant scaup, scaup call; in courtship drakes produce weak whistles. Hens vocalize more often than those of the greater scaup—particularly during flight—but their call is weaker, a guttural brrtt, brrtt.[22]

Their breeding habitat is inland lakes and marsh ponds in tundra from Alaska through western Canada to western Montana; few breed east of James Bay and the Great Lakes. Notable breeding concentrations, with more than half a million birds at the height of the season, can be found in Alaska, in the woodlands of the McKenzie River valley and on the Old Crow Flats. These birds migrate south (mostly via the Central and Mississippi Flyways) when the young are fledged and return in early spring, usually arriving on the breeding ground in May. Lesser scaup typically travel in flocks of 25–50 birds and winter mainly on lakes, rivers and sheltered coastal lagoons and bays between the US–Canadian border and northern Colombia, including Central America, the West Indies and Bermuda.

Wintering lesser scaup are typically found in freshwater or slightly brackish habitat and unlike greater scaup rarely are seen offshore when unfrozen freshwater habitat is available. They may even spend the winter on lakes in parks, as long as they are not harassed,[22]

Greater Scaup (Diving Duck)

Greater Scaup Duck
The greater scaup (Aythya marila), just scaup in Europe or, colloquially, "bluebill" in North America,[3] is a mid-sized diving duck, larger than the closely related lesser scaup. It spends the summer months breeding in Alaska, northern Canada, Siberia, and the northernmost reaches of Europe. During the winter, it migrates south to the coasts of North America, Europe, and Japan. [21]

Drake greater scaup are larger and have more rounded heads than the females; they have a bright blue bill and yellow eyes. Their heads are dark, with a green gloss; the breast is black, the belly white and the wing shows a white stripe. The females are mostly brown, again with white on the wing. They have dull blue bills and white on the face. [21]

The adult greater scaup is 39–56 cm (15–22 in) long with a 71–84 cm (28–33 in) wingspan and a body mass of 726–1,360 g (1.601–2.998 lb). It has a blue bill and yellow eyes and is 20% heavier and 10% longer than the closely related lesser scaup. The male has a dark head with a green sheen, a black breast, a light back, a black tail, and a white underside. The drake or male greater scaup is larger and has a more rounded head than the female. The drake's belly and flanks are a bright
white. Its neck, breast, and tail feathers are a glossy black, while its lower flanks are vermiculated gray. The upper wing has a white stripe starting as the speculum and extending along the flight feathers to the wingtip. Legs and feet of both sexes are gray. The adult female has a brown body and head, with white wing markings similar to those of the male but slightly duller. It has a white band and brown oval shaped patches at the base of the bill, which is a slightly duller shade of blue than the drake's. Juvenile greater scaup look similar to adult females. The greater scaup drake's eclipse plumage looks similar to its breeding plumage, except the pale parts of the plumage are a buffy gray.Distinguishing greater from lesser scaups can be difficult in the field. The head of the greater tends to be more rounded, and the white wing stripe is more extensive.  [21]

The greater scaup has a circumpolar distribution, breeding within the Arctic Circle both in the Old World (the Palearctic) and in North America (the Nearctic). It spends the summer months in Alaska, Siberia, and the northern parts of Europe. It is also found in Asia and is present in the Aleutian Islands year round. The summer habitat is marshy lowland tundra and islands in fresh water lakes. In the fall, greater scaup populations start their migration south for the winter. They winter along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, the coasts of northwest Europe, the Caspian Sea, theBlack Sea, the coast of Japan, Yellow Sea and East China Sea. During the winter months, they are found in coastal bays, estuaries, and sometimes inland lakes, such as the lakes of Central Europe and the Great Lakes.

In Europe, the greater scaup breeds in Iceland, the northern coasts of the Scandinavian peninsula, including much of the northern parts of the Baltic Sea, the higher mountains of Scandinavia and the areas close to the Arctic Sea in Russia. These birds spend the winters in the British Isles, western Norway, the southern tip of Sweden, the coast from Brittany to Poland, including all of Denmark, the Alps, the eastern Adriatic Sea, the northern and western Black sea and the southwestern Caspian Sea. [21]

In North America, the greater scaup summers in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ungava Bay, Hudson Bay, Lake Winnipeg, northern Yukon, northern Manitoba, and northern Saskatchewan. It winters along the coasts of North America from northern British Columbia south to the Baja Peninsula and from Nova Scotia and New Brunswick south to Florida, as well as the shores of the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico.[21]

Redhead (Diving Duck)

Redhead Duck
The redhead (Aythya americana) is a medium-sized diving duck, 37 cm (15 in) long with an 84 cm (33 in) wingspan. It belongs to the genus Aythya, together with 11 other described species that are found all over the world. Only 5 Aythya species are found in North America: redhead, canvasback, lesser scaup, greater scaup and the ring-necked duck. The redhead and the common pochard form a sister group which together is sister to the canvasback.[17]

​The redhead goes by many names, including the red-headed duck and the red-headed pochard.[3] This waterfowl is easily distinguished from other ducks by the male’s copper coloured head and bright blue bill during breeding season[17]

The redhead is a pochard, a diving duck specially adapted to foraging underwater. Their legs are placed farther back on the body, which makes walking on land difficult, the webbing on their feet is larger than dabbling ducks and their bills are broader, to facilitate underwater foraging. In addition, pochards have a lobed hind toe.
No pochard has a metallic coloured speculum, something that is characteristic of other ducks[17]


During breeding season, adult males have a copper head and neck, with a black breast. The back and sides are grey, the belly is white and the rump and tail are a light black. Male bills are pale blue with a black tip and a
thin ring separating the two colours. Non breeding males lose the copper colour and instead have brown heads. [17]


Adult females, however, have a yellow to brown head and neck. The breast is brown, the belly is white and the rest of the body is a grey to brown. The female bills are slate with a dark tip that is separated by a blue ring.

Females remain the same colour year round. [16]

During breeding season, redheads are found across a wide range of North America, from as far north as Northern Canada to the lower United States. Their preferred areas include the intermontane regions of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Dakotas with some small localities in Ontario, Quebec and southern United States. These pochards then migrate south to winter in warmer climates. These areas include southern United States where breeding does not occur and extends to Mexico and Guatemala. In either season, redheads use wetlands as their main habitat. [17]

Redheads inhabit small, semi-permanent wetlands in non-forested country where the water is deep enough to provide dense emergent vegetation is considered ideal breeding habitat for redheads. When wintering, redheads switch to large areas of water near the coast that are protected from wave action but can also be found in reservoirs, lakes, playa wetlands, freshwater river deltas, coastal marshes, estuaries and bays. [17]

Tufted Duck (Diving Duck)

Tufted Duck
The Tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) is a small diving duck with a population of close to one million birds.[20}

The adult male is all black except for white flanks and a blue-grey bill with gold-yellow eyes. It has an obvious head tuft that gives the species its name. The adult female is brown with paler flanks, and is more easily confused with other diving ducks. In particular, some have white around the bill base which resembles the scaup species, although the white is never as extensive as in those ducks. The females' call is a harsh, growling "karr", mostly given in flight. The males are mostly silent but they make whistles during courtship based on a simple "wit-oo".
The only duck which is at all similar is the drake greater scaup which however has no tuft and a different call.[20]
The tufted duck breeds widely throughout temperate and northern Eurasia. It occasionally can be found as a winter visitor along both coasts of the United States and Canada. It is believed to have expanded its traditional range with the increased availability of open water due to gravel extraction, and the spread of freshwater mussels, a favourite food. These ducks are migratory in most of their range, and winter in the milder south and west of Europe, southern Asia and all year in most of the United Kingdom. They will form large flocks on open water in winter. [20]


Ring-Necked Duck (Diving Duck)

Ring-Necked Duck
The ring-necked duck (Aythya collaris) is a diving duck from North America commonly found in freshwater ponds and lakes.[18}

Ring-necked ducks are small to medium-sized diving ducks. The adult male is similar in color pattern to the Eurasian tufted duck, its relative. Males are a little bit bigger than the female. It has two white rings surrounding its gray bill, a shiny black angular head, black back, white line on the wings, a white breast and yellow eyes. The adult female has a grayish brown angular head and body with a dark brown back, a dark bill with a more subtle light band than the male, grayish-blue feet and brown eyes with white rings surrounding them. Females also make a noise like trrr. The cinnamon neck ring is usually difficult to observe, which is why the bird is sometimes referred to as a "ringbill"[18]
Their breeding habitat is wooded lakes or ponds in the northern United States and Canada. The main breeding area is Northwest boreal forest territories. Their breeding habits also take place in the eastern boreal region of Canada but no where near the same amount in the northwestern region.[18]
Winter months they are usually found in southern North America in lakes, ponds, rivers or bays. Ring-necked duck pairs start during spring migration. Unpaired ducks showing up on breeding grounds will most likely end up being non-breeders. The pairs stay together only for eproduction, until then, they separate. The nest is bowl-shaped, built on water in dense emergent vegetation with sedges and woody plants. The female lays one egg per day until 8 to 10 eggs are laid. They are incubated 25–29 days and the female may remain with the young until they are able 
to fly. [18]
These birds are omnivores and feed mainly by diving or dabbling at the surface. Ducklings are dependent on animal matter such as insects earth worms, leeches, midges and snails. As they mature they tend change their diet to submerged plants such as pondweed and coontail, and emergents such as annual wild rice. [18]

Harlequin Duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Harlequin DuckHarliquin Duck Warning


The harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus) is a small sea duck. It takes its name from Harlequin (French Arlequin, Italian Arlecchino), a colourfully dressed character in Commedia dell'arte. The species name comes from the Latin word "histrio", "actor". In North America it is also known as lords and ladies. Other names include painted duck, totem pole duck, rock duck, glacier duck, mountain duck, white-eyed diver, squeaker and blue streak.[19}

Adult breeding males have a colorful and complex plumage pattern. The head and neck are dark slate blue with a large white crescent marking in front of the eye, a small round dot behind the eye, and a larger oval spot down the side of the neck. A black crown stripe runs over the top of the head, with chestnut patches on either side. A black-bordered white collar separates the head from the breast. The body is largely a lighter slate blue with chestnut sides. A black-bordered white bar divides the breast vertically from the sides. The tail is black, long and pointed. The speculum is metallic blue. The inner secondary feathers are white and form white markings over the back when folded. The bill is blue-grey and the eye is reddish. Adult females are less colourful, with brownish-grey plumage with three white patches on the head: a round spot behind the eye, a larger patch from the eye to the bill and a small spot above the eye.[19]

​​It ranges from 15–17 in (380–430 mm) in length and weighs 600 g (1.3 lb), with a wingspan of 26 in (660 mm).
The Harlequin's wing is 188–202 mm (7.4–8.0 in) in lenght, tail is 77–101.5 mm (3.03–4.00 in). [19]
​Four populations of the Harlequin Duck are found world-wide, two of them in Canada: the western population along the Pacific Coast, and the eastern population along the Atlantic Coast. Harlequin Ducks of the eastern population mostly breed throughout much of Labrador, along eastern Hudson Bay, and the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland. There are also known breeding populations along the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Gaspé Peninsula, northern New Brunswick, and southeastern Baffin Island in Nunavut. Satellite telemetry and banding information have indicated that the migration patterns of Harlequin Ducks are variable. Many of them spend the winter on the east and south coasts of Newfoundland, in southeastern Nova Scotia, in southern New Brunswick, in Maine, and at a few locations south of Cape Cod. Small groups may spend the winter along the Gaspé Peninsula and Anticosti Island of Québec, and a few individuals may spend the winter in Prince Edward Island. Approximately half the wintering population can be found in New England. The eastern North American wintering population has declined from historical estimates of 5000 - 10,000 to fewer than 1500 individuals. Numbers appear to be increasing in North America over the last ten years to an estimated 3700 individuals, but still less than 2000 Harlequin Ducks spend the winter in eastern Canada. [45]
Harlequin Ducks spend most of the year in coastal marine environments, but they move inland each spring to breed along fast-flowing turbulent rivers. During the winter, the Harlequin Duck are often associated with offshore islands, headlands, and rocky coastline where the surf breaks against rocks and ice buildup is minimal. These ducks feed close to rocky shorelines or rock skerries.[45]
​Harlequin Ducks first breed at 2 or 3 years of age. Their nests are usually built on the ground along the banks of fast-flowing streams. Surprisingly, the first two active Harlequin Duck nests ever reported in eastern North America were both on cliff ledges, one about 20 m above the water. The clutches of 3 to 8 creamy eggs are incubated by the female, who later leads the hatched young to secluded streams to feed. Fluctuations in food and water levels can affect breeding success. The reproductive rate of Harlequin Ducks is low, which makes it more difficult for this duck to recover from a decline. [45]

Ruddy Duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Ruddy Duck
The ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) is a duck from North America and the Andes Mountains of South America, one of the stiff-tailed ducks.
The Ruddy Duck is 340–430 mm (13.5–17 in) long with a 470 mm (18.5 in) and weighs 560 g (1.23 lb). These are small, compact ducks with stout, scoop-shaped bills, and long, stiff tails they often hold cocked upward. They have slightly peaked heads and fairly short, thick necks.
Male Ruddy Ducks have blackish caps that contrast with bright white cheeks. In summer, they have rich chestnut bodies with bright blue bills. In winter, they are dull gray-brown above and paler below with dull gray bills. Females and first-year males are brownish, somewhat like winter males but with a blurry stripe across the pale cheek patch. In flight, Ruddy Ducks show solidly dark tops of the wings.
Their breeding habitat is marshy lakes and ponds. They nest in dense marsh vegetation near water. The female builds the nest out of grass, locating it in tall vegetation to hide it from predators. A typical brood contains 5 to 15 ducklings. Pairs form each year.
They are migratory and winter in coastal bays and unfrozen lakes and ponds.
These birds dive and swim underwater. They mainly eat seeds and roots of aquatic plants, aquatic insects and crustaceans.  [37]

Smew (Diving and Sea Duck)

Smew Duck
​​The smew (Mergellus albellus) is a species of duck, and is the only living member of the genus Mergellus. This genus is closely related to Mergus and is sometimes included in it, though it might be closer to the goldeneyes (Bucephala). The smew has interbred with the common goldeneye (B. clangula) [33]

The drake smew, with its 'cracked ice' and 'panda' appearance, is unmistakable, and looks very black-and-white in flight. The females and immature males are grey birds with chestnut foreheads and crowns, and can be confused at a distance with the ruddy duck; they are often known as "redhead" smew. It has oval white wing-patches in flight. The smew's bill has a hooked tip and serrated edges, which help it catch fish when it dives for them.
The smew is 38–44 cm (15–17 in) long. [33]
This species breeds in the northern taiga of Europe and Asia. It needs trees for breeding. The smew lives on fish-rich lakes and slow rivers. As a migrant, it leaves its breeding areas and winters on sheltered coasts or inland lakes of the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, northern Germany and the Low Countries, with a small number reaching Great Britain (for example, at Dungeness), mostly at regular sites. Vagrants have been recorded in North America. On lakes it prefers areas around the edges, often under small trees. The smew breeds in May and lays 6–9 cream-colored eggs. It nests in tree holes, such as old woodpeckernests. It is a shy bird and flushes easily when disturbed.[33]

Barrow's Goldeneye (Diving and Sea Duck)

Barrows Goldeneye Duck
Barrow's goldeneye (Bucephala islandica) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. This bird was named after Sir John Barrow. [32]

Adults are similar in appearance to the common goldeneye. Adult males have a dark head with a purplish gloss and a white crescent at the front of the face. Adult females have a mostly yellow bill. The male Barrow's goldeneye differs from the male common goldeneye in the fact that the common goldeneye has a round white patches on the face, less black on the back of the bird, and a larger bill. For the females, the common goldeneye has a less rounded head, and a bill in which only the tip is yellow.  [32]

​Their breeding habitat consists of wooded lakes and ponds primarily in northwestern North America, but also in scattered locations in eastern Canada andIceland. Females return to the same breeding sites year after year and also tend to use the same nesting sites. The males stay with their mate through the winter and defend their territory during the breeding season, then leave for the molting site. Mating pairs often stay intact even though the male and female are apart for long periods of time over the summer during molting times. The pair then reunites at wintering areas. [32]

They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters. Barrow's goldeneye, along with many other species of sea ducks, rely on urbanized, coastal estuaries as important places on their migration patterns. These estuaries provide excellent wintering and stopping places during the ducks' migration. It is an extremely rare vagrant to western Europe and to southern North America. [32]

These diving birds forage underwater. They eat aquatic insects, crustaceans and pond vegetation. The main staples of the bird's diet are Gammarus oceanicus and Calliopus laeviusculus, which are both marine crustaceans. A large part of their diet consists of mussels and gastropods.[32]

The Barrow's goldeneye is considered an arboreal bird species because much of its nesting is done in cavities found in mature trees. The birds will also nest in burrows or protected sites on the ground. Barrow's goldeneyes tend not to share habitat with the much more numerous common goldeneye. Barrow's goldeneye tend to be territorial towards other birds venturing into their domain. This is especially true among the drakes. Confrontations may occur in the form of fighting. Drakes often do a form of territorial display along the boundaries of their territory. This is both true on land and in the water. These territorial displays average about 6 minutes in length and often trigger other males to perform their own show. [32]

Common Goldeneye (Diving and Sea Duck)

Common Goldeneye Duck
The common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is a medium-sized sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. Their closest relative is the similar Barrow's goldeneye. [31]

Adult males ranges from 45–52 cm (18–20 in) and from 888 to 1,400 g (1.958 to 3.086 lb), while females range from 40–50 cm (16–20 in) and from 500 to 1,182 g (1.102 to 2.606 lb). The species is named for its golden-yellow eye. Adult males have a dark head with a greenish gloss and a circular white patch below the eye, a dark back and a white neck and belly. Adult females have a brown head and a mostly grey body. Their legs and feet are orange-yellow. [31

Their breeding habitat is the taiga. They are found in the lakes and rivers of boreal forests across Canada and the northern United States, Scandinavia and northern Russia. They are migratory and most winter in protected coastal waters or open inland waters at more temperate latitudes. Naturally, they nest in cavities in large trees. They will readily use
nestboxes, and this has enabled a healthy breeding population to establish in Scotland where they are increasing and slowly spreading with the help of nestboxes. They are usually quite common in winter around lakes of Britain and some are being encouraged to nest in nestboxes which are put up to try to have them there all year round. Occasionally recorded as a vagrant in various parts of the Indian Subcontinent. [31]
Often the natural tree cavities are made by broken limbs, unless they are made by pileated woodpeckers or black woodpeckers, the only tree-cavity-making animals who make a cavity large enough to normally accommodate a goldeneye. Average egg size is a breadth of 43.3 mm (1.70 in), a length of 59.3 mm (2.33 in) and a weight of 64 g (2.3 oz). The incubation period ranges from 28 to 32 days. The female does all the incubating and is abandoned by the male about 1 to 2 weeks into incubation. The young remain in the nest for about 24–36 hours. Brood parasitism is quite common both with other common goldeneyes as well as with other duck species, and even tree swallow and European starling eggs have been found mixed with goldeneye eggs. The broods commonly start to mix with other females' broods as they become more independent. Goldeneye young have been known to be competitively killed by other goldeneye mothers, common loons and red-necked grebes. The young are capable of flight at 55–65 days of age. [31]

Bufflehead (Diving and Sea Duck)

Bufflehead Duck
The bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) is a small American sea duck of the genus Bucephala, the goldeneyes. [30]

The Bufflehead ranges from 32–40 cm (13–16 in) long and 270–550 g (9.5–19.4 oz), with the drakes larger than the females. Averaging 35.5 cm (14.0 in) and 370 g (13 oz), it rivals the green-winged teal as the smallest American duck. [30]
Adult males are striking black and white, with iridescent green and purple heads with a large white patch behind the eye. Females are grey-toned with a smaller white patch behind the eye and a light underside. [30]

​​They are migratory and most of them winter in protected coastal waters, or open inland waters, on the east and west coasts of North America and the southern United States. The Bufflehead is an extremely rare vagrant to
western Europe. Their breeding habitat is wooded lakes and ponds in Alaska and Canada, almost entirely included in the boreal forest or taiga habitat. [30]

​​Buffleheads have evolved their small size in order to fit the nesting cavity of their "metabiotic" host, a woodpecker, the northern flicker. Due to their small size, they are highly active, undertaking dives almost continuously while sustained by their high metabolism. They do not tend to collect in large flocks; groups are usually limited to small numbers. One duck will serve as a sentry, watching for predators as the others in the group dive in search of food. Buffleheads are amongst the last waterfowl to leave their breeding grounds and one of the world's most punctual migrants, arriving on their wintering grounds within a narrow margin of time. [30]

Buffleheads are monogamous, and the females return to the same breeding site, year after year. They nest in cavities in trees, primarily aspens or poplars, using mostly old flicker nests, close (usually < 25 m (82 ft)) to water. Nest competitors include mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides), tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), and European starling. There was one recorded instance of a female Barrow's goldeneye killing a bufflehead adult female and her brood. Smaller cavities are preferred because of less competition with the larger goldeneyes. Females may be killed on the nest by mammals, such as weasels (Mustela spp.) or mink (Mustela vison), and by goldeneyes over nest competition. [30]

Average clutch size is 9 (range 6–11), and eggs average 50.5 by 36.3 mm (1.99 by 1.43 in).[5] Incubation averages 30 days, and nest success is high (79% in one study) compared to ground-nesting species like the teal. A day after the last duckling hatches the brood leaps from the nest cavity. The young fledge at 50–55 days of age.[30]

Long-Tailed duck (Diving and Sea Duck)

Long-tailed Duck
The long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis), once known as oldsquaw, is a medium-sized sea duck. It is the only living member of its genus, Clangula.

Adults have white underparts, though the rest of the plumage goes through a complex moulting process. The male has a long pointed tail (10 to 15 cm (3.9 to 5.9 in) long) and a dark grey bill crossed by a pink band. In winter, the male has a dark cheek patch on a mainly white head and neck, a dark breast and mostly white body. In summer, the male is dark on the head, neck and back with a white cheek patch. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail. In winter, the female's head and neck are white with a dark crown. In summer, the head is dark. Juveniles resemble adult females in autumn plumage, though with a lighter, less distinct cheek patch.

Their breeding habitat is in tundra pools and marshes, but also along sea coasts and in large mountain lakes in the North Atlantic region, Alaska, northern Canada, northern Europe, and Russia. The nest is located on the ground near water; it is built using vegetation and lined with down. They are migratory and winter along the eastern and western coasts of North America, on the Great Lakes, coastal northern Europe and Asia, with stragglers to the Black Sea. The most important wintering area is the Baltic Sea, where a total of about 4.5 million gather.

The long-tailed duck is gregarious, forming large flocks in winter and during migration. They feed by diving for mollusks, crustaceans and some small fish. Although they usually feed close to the surface, they are capable of diving to depths of 60 m (200 ft). [46]




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