belongs to the family Anatidae, and all species in this
family share the same characteristics. For instance they
all have webbed feet, flat broad bill for forging, and
specialized feathers that prevent water absorption.
Buffleheads is the smallest diving duck in North
America. This species is sexually dichromatic, which means
that the males have different coloration from the females. The
males are mostly white with a black back and their
head is big and puffy with a white patch. Additionally in flight the
male shows a large white wing patch. The female has a
brown back and a white belly. On the femaleís face,
under the eye, there is a small white patch.
Photo: M. Noonan
These birds are found in forests with fresh water ponds or
lakes during breeding season. Their wintering grounds are
concentrated near shorelines of oceans. Buffleheads are located throughout most of North
America during the nonbreeding season. Their diet consists of insects, crustaceans,
mollusks, and sometimes seeds.
Photo: M. Noonan
Buffleheads are not social and spend most of their
time alone. When forging, they dive for their food and eat it under
water. Buffleheads breed in Canada; their wintering grounds are in
North America. Buffleheads are cavity nesters which means they will nest in
tree holes and because of their small size they are able to use the
smaller holes made by Northern Flickers. They form monogamous pair bonds for many
years. The female will lay 8-10 ivory colored eggs and will incubate
them for 28-33 days. The young are born precocial which means they
are mobile, downy, able to find parents and food. The young will
leave their mother 50-55 days after they hatch.