Redhead

Hey guys welcome back! Today’s bird is a cool duck that doesn’t have a green head like some of us may be used to, but a red one! Well, it’s admittedly more of a cinnamon color, but still! The redhead is a diving duck that in terms of color pallette is very similar to the canvasback; reddish head and gray and black body. But in terms of silhouette, habitat, and behavior they’re much more like their closer relatives the scaup (we’ll get to them down the road a ways.)

Redheads are ducks I’ve personally only seen in Ohio, and even then I’ve only seen a couple. But that isn’t an indication of how common they are. In some places, particularly in areas in the Gulf of Mexico in the winter, there can be literally thousands together forming huge raft! Redheads have an interesting range. They breed in the upper American Plains and into the Canadian plains, and winter nearly every place else in the US and into Mexico.

Redheads are actually brood parasites, believe it or not. Though we don’t typically think of ducks as brood parasites, redheads often lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks like mallards, canvasback, wigeon and pintail. Like their scaup cousins, redheads are diving ducks, eating mostly plant materials. Seeing my first one was quite exciting. It’s one of the ducks I’ve always wanted to see. It was then 5 years until I saw another one! And both were quite far away (if you couldn’t tell by the above picture!) Next up, the great blue heron! See you then!

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