One of the smallest ducks
found in the state, the Bufflehead can be distinguished by the male's large
white patch on the back of its otherwise black head. Its small size allows
it to use nest cavities of Flickers and other
similarly sized cavities, giving it an ample supply of nesting locations.
Habitat: Prefers small ponds and lakes
with surrounding woodland for breeding. Winters on small ponds, lakes, and
rivers inland, also in shallow bays and estuaries along the coasts.
Diet: Primarily insects and insect
larvae in the summer. Primarily crustaceans and mollusks in the
winter. Also will occasionally eat plant material.
Behavior: Nearly always feeds by submerging and
obtaining food underwater. Buffleheads are not as gregarious as many
ducks, and are often found in pairs or small flocks.
Nesting: June and July
Song: Squeaky whistling and low grumbling.
Migration: Summers primarily in Canada and
Alaska. Winters along North American coasts, throughout much of the
southern half of the U.S., and points south.
Birdhouses: Will use appropriately sized nest boxes
Conservation Status: Generally stable throughout its range.
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Bufflehead"
Photo Information: December 18th, 2008 - San
Francisco, California - Terry Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Bufflehead photos.