Sunday’s Duck O’ the Week (a day late)

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:


  1. nay
    Posted July 27, 2020 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    This one is called a “Redhead”? – Hahahahaha!

    • Posted July 27, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      :). I was just thinking that I’d like to have my hair coloured auburn like the drake’s head in pics 4 and 5.

  2. rickflick
    Posted July 27, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Year around presence in Idaho. Woo!

  3. Paul Matthews
    Posted July 27, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    As always, lovely photos of a beautiful duck. It is a bit of a painful reminder for me, though. Redhead is an uncommon duck here in Ottawa, but if you’re a serious birder you’re supposed to see it at some point during the year. And yet I’ve missed it these past few years. I hang my head.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 27, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      That demands a road trip! 😊

  4. Paul Matthews
    Posted July 27, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Trips. I vaguely remember those. Something people used to do, often for pleasure, way back before … March of this year (has it really only been a few months?).

    • Paul Matthews
      Posted July 27, 2020 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, was meant to be a reply to rickflick in the previous comment.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Yes, that crossed my mind. I guess you’d want to be self contained, as in a VW bus.

      • Posted July 27, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

        I heard that trailers and campers are flying off the shelves.. er… lots.

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