Redhead Duck (Aythya americana)



Male Redhead                                                                                                Female Redhead with young


There are about 23 known species of diving ducks in North America, Aythya americana being one of them. Aythya also known as pochards or “bay ducks” tend to flock and forage on inshore waters. Diving ducks tend to have sturdy stout bodies and short necks. They have legs placed far back on the bodies to help push them underwater (Reiger 2003). Almost the only visual aspect that the genders have in common is the pale blue bill. This bill has a white ring around the black tip of it that is about 1/2 inch long. The ducks can weigh anywhere from 680-1450g, with males being slightly heavier than females. Both sexes have an average wingspan of 8.98 inches (Hoak 2003). Males and females look very different.

Males have a copper-colored head with yellow eyes. The back flanks and wings are grey and the tail and chest are black. Contrasting with the dark colors is a white breast and belly. During molting which happens in June, male Aythya americana becomes more brown in coloration and then once again is back to its more vibrant colors by November. The males also have strong bluish colored feet to help push with catching and finding prey (Hoak 2003). Males make “a series of breathy, far-carrying hoots: hooh hoo hoooh! hooh Floyd 2008).

 Females are altogether less colorful than males. They have yellow brown head with slightly darker coloration on the crown. They also have brown eyes with a pale ring around them. Her body is a brown grey with a white belly fading into brown. Females also have bluish feet but theirs are not a bright as the males (Hoak 2003) . Females make a “low-pitched grurp, guttural but not harsh”(Floyd 2008).


Click HERE to hear the redhead call