BIRD OF THE WEEK / WEEK 5: January 29, 2018

© Liron Gertsman

Bird

Bufflehead

Species Name

Bucephala albeola

Appearance

32-40 cm length | 55 cm wingspan | 272-635 gm weight

Tied with the Green-winged Teal as the smallest duck in North America. They are able to puff up the feathers on their head making it appear unusually large.

The drake has a black back, a white neck, chest, sides and underside, and an iridescent green-purple head with a large white patch starting from behind the eye and covering the entire back of the head. The hen is black on top and grey below with a dark grey-black head and much smaller white patch.

Habitat / Behaviour

Pescavore | Coast, rivers, lakes, ponds

Inhabits ponds, lakes and rivers of boreal forests and taiga.

These diving ducks forage underwater for aquatic insects, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants and fish eggs.

Breeding

Monogamous | Cavity, tree nester | 6-11 colour eggs

Buffleheads benefit from their small size by making use of the tree holes created by Northern Flickers, as opposed to competing for the larger, less frequent holes used by the other larger cavity dwelling ducks such as the Goldeneyes.