The Bufflehead is the smallest North American diving duck. As of 2010 their population is steady. The Bufflehead nests in holes excavated by by other birds and often time by Northern Flickers
Bufflehead eggs are creamy-buff colored. The chicks hatch in approximately 29 – 31 days and fledge in 50 50 days.
Many Buffleheads are taken by hunters incidentally by hunters. These birds have a dark meat that can be strong tasting.
Adults are approximately 13″ – 16″ long with a wingspan of 24″.
Male are 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
Breeds along freshwater ponds, slow rivers and small lakes. The picture was taken of a Bufflehead on the Mohawk River just outside of Schenectady, NY.
Buffleheads breed in much of Alaska, Canada and the Northwestern USA. Ninety percent of the population is believed to breed from Manitoba westward. When Buffleheads migrate they winter in coastal waters or open inland waters on the either coast of North America and the southern United States into Mexico.
The bird’s diet consists largely of fish and invertebrates with a lesser amount of plant material.
General: The American Widgeon is sometimes called a “Baldpate” because the white stripe resembles a bald man’s head. The population declined in the 1980’s as a result of drought. Since then they have steadily increased in numbers.
The American Widgeon builds its nest near water. The eggs are creamy white. The chicks hatch in 23-25 days and fledge in 37-48 days.
This bird is known to wait at the surface and steal vegetation from diving ducks as they surface.
Hunters enjoy hunting this dabbling duck, its meat is considered excellent.
Identification: The Widgeon is a decent sized bird roughly 18″ – 23″ with a wingspan of 34″.
Male: The American Widgeon drake has a deep green streak running from its eye to the back of its head. The top of its head is white. its lower face and neck are streaked gray. The back, side and chest are pinkish-brown. In flight the male displays white shoulder patches.
Female and Juveniles: Head appears grayish overall, with finely-blended white and dusky streaks. Breast and flanks are pale reddish-brown; mantle is grayish-brown with some buff barring. Bill is small and grayish, with a black tip.
The American Widgeon is larger than a teal but smaller than a pintail, it’s a medium-size bird, In silhouette, the widgeon can be distinguished from other dabblers by its round head, short neck, and small bill
Habitat: American Widgeons can be found near and on marshes, ponds and shallow lakes. The Pictures here were taken in Spring during their migration north on the Mohawk River in Central New York. They had been feeding in a mowed corn field along with Mallards and Canada Geese.
Territory: Summers throughout most of Canada, Alaska, and the northern third of the United States. Winters along the North American coasts, the southern third of the United States, and Central America.
Diet: American Widgeons eat mostly aquatic plants, upland grasses and legumes. They also eat some insects and mollusks. The American Widgeon’s eats more vegetation than other dabbling ducks.