Canvasback

Canvasbacks are the largest diving duck species, sporting a large head, sloping forehead, and thick neck. Breeding males have a rusty brown head, black chest, white body, black tail, and red eyes. Females are light brown with a grayish-brown body and dark eyes.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Aythya valisineria
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
10-19 Years
SIZE
19-22 ” | 2.3-2.7 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • Priority Species
FEDERAL CONSERVATION STATUS
Least Concern
GAME STATUS
Game
GAME TYPE
Waterfowl
  1. Washoe
  2. Humboldt
  3. Pershing
  4. Churchill
  5. Mineral
  6. Lyon
  7. Douglas
  8. Carson City
  9. Storey
  1. Elko
  2. Lander
  3. Eureka
  4. White Pine
  1. Esmeralda
  2. Nye
  3. Lincoln
  4. Clark

Habitat & Range

Canvasbacks love to inhabit small lakes, deep-water marshes, ponds, and bays. They can typically be found in ponds lined with a dense border of cattails, reed grass, and rushes or wide open marshes. During migration season, they may use stopover sites such as estuaries, rivers, lakes, ponds, lagoons, even flooded agricultural fields!

  • Desert Playas
  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Marsh

Threats

  • Declines in Water Quality
  • Habitat Degradation
  • Habitat Loss
  • Human Development

Natural History

Canvasbacks consume seeds, plant tubers, insects, mussels, and small fish. They can dive seven feet below the surface of the water for aquatic plants. Female Canvasbacks sometimes lay eggs in other Canvasbacks’ nests to increase the chances of successful offspring. Redhead Ducks sometimes lay eggs in the nests of Canvasback’s, resulting in female Canvasbacks laying fewer of their own eggs.

Fun Facts

The word valisineria in its scientific name refers to wild celery, one of the Canvasback's favorite food. In order to start flying, Canvasbacks get a running start then are able to fly up to 56 miles per hour.