Bufflehead - Bucephala albeola

Description: 13-15" (33-38 cm). A small, chubby duck. Male largely white, with black back, black head with greenish and purplish gloss, and large white patch from behind eye to top and back of head. Female all dark, with single whitish patch on cheek. A fast flier, with a rapid wingbeat.

Habitat: Breeds on wooded lakes and ponds; winters mainly on saltwater bays and estuaries.

Nesting: 6-12 pale buff or ivory eggs in a mass of down placed in a woodpecker hole up to 20' (6 m) off the ground.

Range: Breeds in Alaska and in Canada east to western Quebec, and south in mountains to Washington and Montana. Winters along Atlantic to northern Florida and across southern United States, south to Mexico and Gulf Coast.

Voice: Male has a squeaky whistle; female, a soft, hoarse quack.

Discussion: These beautiful ducks, smaller relatives of the goldeneyes, fly fast and usually close to the water but make no whistling sound in flight. They tend to travel in smaller flocks than goldeneyes and often feed closer to shore. While a flock is diving for food there is almost always at least one bird on the surface watching for danger.