General description.

Both sexes have a pale gray wing stripe and blue-gray bill. “Redheads” do most of their feeding at night and rest on the water during the day. A diving duck, they feed underwater on aquatic plants and small mollusks.

Female appearance.

The female “Redhead” is duller and browner with a light area around the base of her bill.

Breeding habits.

The “Redhead” breeding habitats are the marshes of Alaska and British Columbia, east to Minnesota and south to California.

Calls or song.

Like the meow of a cat, the "Redhead" male's spectacular call is a wheezy, "whee-ough". Females emit soft, repeated "err" sounds and guttural "kurr-kurr-kurrs".

Population and distribution.

The species has suffered greatly from hunting and destruction of habitat; as a result its numbers have declined and they are now the least common of all North American ducks. They winter in the southern half of the United States, often on salt water.

Nesting habits.

The “Redhead” makes a nest of reeds lined with white down, which is attached to marsh vegetation. The female lays 10-16 buff eggs. She is also known to lay eggs in the nests of other ducks, which raise the "Redhead" young.

Similar birds:

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