Redhead

Redheads get their name from the male's cinnamon red head that stands out against its black breast and gray body. Females are plain and mostly brown in color. The bills of both are a blueish gray, with the bill of the female being paler than that that of the Male. While similar in color to canvasback ducks, they can be distinguished from their more rounded head shape and yellow eye color.
SCIENTIFIC NAME
Aythya americana
CLASSIFICATION
Bird
LIFE SPAN
5-10 Years
SIZE
16.5-21.3 ” | 1.3-3.3 lbs
STATE CONSERVATION STATUS
  • State Protected
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

Redheads can use a variety of habitat due to being opportunistic in nest site selection. They can be found on reservoirs, wetlands, streams, and bays.

  • Lakes and reservoirs
  • Marsh
  • Rivers and streams

Threats

  • Drought
  • Habitat Loss
  • Water Diversion

Natural History

Female Redheads are well known for their habit of “nest parasitism” where they lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, to be incubated and raised by others. Nests are built over water in dense vegetation and sometimes out of water, but still near a water source. Males do not assist with nest building, incubation, or chick rearing. After the ducklings hatch, they are mobile and ready to leave the nest within 24-48 hours.
Redheads are diving ducks and will dive to the bottom of a body of water to feed on mostly plants. They will occasionally ingest aquatic animals such as insects, mollusks, and other invertebrates. Redheads will gather in large flocks with other species of ducks and will feed on plants that are brought to the surface.

Fun Facts

Redheads have very erratic, rapid, and shallow wingbeats when flying which can help distinguish them from other ducks.