An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Buffleheads Migrating

bufflehead2  270There is so much to love about Buffleheads.  First and foremost, they are almost exclusively monogamous – one of the few ducks that often keeps the same mate for several years. They are relatively tiny – our smallest “diving” duck. (Ducks are divided into “diving” and “dabbling” ducks, according to their method of feeding.)  So small are they that these cavity-nesting birds can fit in and often choose Northern Flicker holes in which to raise their young. We typically only see them during their nocturnal spring and fall migration to and from their breeding grounds in the boreal forests of western Canada and Alaska, when they rest and refuel on ponds and lakes during the day. If you chance upon a pair when the sun is out, be sure to notice the striking purple and green iridescent head feathers of the male (on right).

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7 responses

  1. Susan Elliott

    Love bufflehead! The males remind me of fishing bobbers because of the pattern on their heads and how they bob into the water.

    March 28, 2016 at 7:32 am

  2. mariagianferrari

    Gorgeous creatures! I was unaware of the distinction between diving and dabbling ducks–thank you!!

    March 28, 2016 at 9:12 am

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  4. A handsome pair! I saw my first sighting of hooded mergansers last week – 3 pairs on the pond up the road. (I usually only see American mergansers, mallards and black ducks on the river here.)

    March 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm

  5. Evergreen Erb

    I actually see Buffleheads all winter long on Lake Champlain, and when I went to the Vermont eBird site, and looked at the bar graph for Bufflehead, it does confirm that they are here and visible most of the year, except the summer. I love this site, Mary.

    March 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    • Yes, I check this site before most of my bird posts, Evergreen — I should have written, “…they are most common during their nocturnal spring and fall migration…” Thanks!

      March 28, 2016 at 1:13 pm

  6. Sandra Holland

    Just like all of your posts …..wonderful and
    Interesting. Love them all. Something to look firward to every day!

    March 28, 2016 at 3:07 pm

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