Due to my encroaching senility, I completely forgot that Sunday is “Duck O’ The Week” day. Well, never fear: you’ll get your duck fix on Monday instead.
The photos come courtesy of evolutionist John Avise, and our goal is to learn all the ducks of North America. I’ll present John’s photographs, you try to guess the species, and then read the “reveal” below the fold, which comes with John’s Fun Duck Facts and a range map.
Click “read more” to get the ID, info, and a range map.
The duck: Redhead (Aythya americana)
The breeding drake of this well-named diving duck does indeed have a bright rufous head. The hen, by contrast, is tawny-brown all over, and in North America can easily be confused with females of the Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) or the Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) [see the relevant posts from prior Sundays]. Like several other duck species, Redhead hens occasionally lay some of their eggs in the nests of the same or a related species who then serve as duped foster parents. This “egg-dumping” phenomenon is formally known as facultative (as opposed to constitutive) “brood parasitism” or “nest parasitism”, and apparently it’s a successful reproductive tactic for hens that can get away with it.
A range map from the Cornell bird site: