Prince William Conservation Alliance
Home About Us Calendar Resources Donate
Bufflehead (male)
Bufflehead (female)

Photos © Judy Gallagher; Reifel Refuge, Vancouver, Canada; January, 2010

Text by Myah Miller and Lindsay Polomsky

Bucephala albeola
Family - Anatidae

The Bufflehead duck is the smallest diving duck in all of Nothern America. They vary in size, ranging from 32-40 centimeters, with an average wingspan of 55 cm.

Male Buffleheads are mostly white containing black backs. Their heads are also black, but with green and purple shine. They have a bluish bill and orange feet.

Unlike males, females have less unique characteristics. They are brown with a white patch on their cheek.

Buffleheads frequently inhabit freshwater ponds, lakes, and costal waters. During winter, they are most commonly spotted in the United States (Northern Virginia) in tree cavities such as aspens, or polars. These cavities are lined with feather's from the females chest making a nice home for newly hatched baby Buffleheads.

Buffleheads dive and swallow their food underneath water. Their meal plan consist of aquatic plants, fish eggs, crustaceans, mollusks, and insects.

Unlike most ducks, Buffleheads are monogamous meaning they remain with the same mate for several years. Because of this they lay their eggs 2-3 days apart, which is slower than most ducks.

For breeding, the female returns to her birthplace. Males are not typically involved in incubation.

Buffleheads don't need to run to fly. HERE's a link that shows the behavior of buffleheads during mating season.


Bird Friends of San Diego County
All About Birds