Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)
Photo by Patricia Bruno
How to identify
- Males are very striking with a large white patch that reaches from cheek to cheek over the back of their green and purple iridiscent head.
- As with most duck species, females are less boldly coloured and are grey, brown and dull white.
- Seen but not heard
- They are usually quite active and full of energy and are often conspicuous, but only make a grrrk alarm sound
Where to find
- Buffleheads are found in spring and summer in Alberta and migrate south in late fall.
- They are one of the last species of ducks to leave the party in Alberta before the winter sets in.
A day in the life of a bufflehead
- Buffleheads usually hang out in small groups of 10 or less and rarely rest on the water in flocks.
- Male courtship displays involve diving under water and then popping up underneath a rival male.
- Adding to the flock
- Females lay eggs shortly after spring migration in tree cavities, often in older flicker nests.
- 5 to 14 eggs are laid, and hatch mid-june after 30 days of incubation.
- A few days after hatching, ducklings are pushed out of the nest to water.
- About half do not survive the cold or predators.
- Like many birds, both male and females undergo an annual moult where all feathers are shed and a new set is grown.
- For a three week period during the summer moult, they cannot fly.
Why they matter to us and how you can help
- What EALT is doing
- A minority
- Buffleheads are uncommon in North America.
- Protect their habitat
- Habitat loss is a major concern for biodiversity today. EALT protects wetland habitats suitable for Buffleheads and other waterfowl.
- Make them home
- Because Buffleheads nest in tree cavities, constructing and installing suitable sized nest boxes near wetlands can help buffleheads find a nice place to build a nest.
http://www.hww.ca/hww2.asp?id=31 http://www.ducks.org/hunting/waterfowl-id/bufflehead Click here to return