My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

Redhead Duck, Aythya americana

Note: this post, while published, is a work in progress, as are all posts in this series, My Photo Life List. My goal is to photograph every species of bird that is seen on a regular basis here in Michigan, working from a list compiled by the Michigan chapter of the Audubon Society. This will be a lifelong project, that I began in January of 2013, and as I shoot better photos of this, or any other species, I will update the post for that species with better photos when I can. While this series is not intended to be a field guide per se, my minimum standard for the photos in this series is that one has to be able to make a positive identification of the species in my photos. The information posted here is from either my observations or the Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia, however, I have personally shot all the photos appearing in this series.

Redhead, Aythya americana

The Redhead is a medium-sized diving duck, 37 cm long with an 84 cm wingspan.

The adult male has a blue bill, a red head and neck, a black breast, and yellow eyes. The adult female has a brown head and body and a darker bluish bill with a black tip.

The breeding habitat is marshes and prairie potholes in western North America. Loss of nesting habitat has led to sharply declining populations. Females regularly lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads or other ducks, especially Canvasbacks.

Redheads usually take new mates each year, starting to pair in late winter. Following the breeding season, males go through a molt which leaves them flightless for almost a month. Before this happens, they leave their mates and move to large bodies of water, usually flying further north.

They overwinter in the southern and north-eastern United States, the Great Lakes region, northern Mexico and the Caribbean.

On to my photos, and this species made it easy, there were four, two males and two females that stayed close together:

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Redhead ducks

Updated January 16th, 2014.

Male redhead duck

Male redhead duck

Redhead duck

Redhead duck

 

Male redhead duck

Male redhead duck

This is number 75 in my photo life list, only 275 to go!

That’s it for this one, thanks for stopping by!

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10 responses

  1. Definitely a RED-head! 😉

    April 3, 2013 at 2:12 am

    • Yes, but they don’t seem to have the temper of a redhead. 😉

      April 3, 2013 at 2:36 am

  2. Always swimming or flying away-that’s what I see of ducks in this area. I like the red on these.

    April 3, 2013 at 6:17 am

    • That’s usually the way it goes, I was surprised to be able to get a couple shots of the redheads sleeping before they began swimming away. Jan has some fantastic photos of them, wood ducks, and other waterfowl coming up when she starts her own blog, but she cheats, 😉 maybe I should start carrying corn in my pockets.

      April 3, 2013 at 9:09 am

  3. This is good stuff you’re sharing QSP. Wish there could be more close-ups but I imagine that would be hard to do. I’m not sure I can have the same patience you have to observe them like this. I would probably scare them away.

    April 3, 2013 at 9:37 am

    • Thanks! I wish I could get more close-ups, but part of what I am doing is shooting all the birds in the wild. No bird feeder shots, no zoo shots, I’m tracking them down in their natural habitat, which does make it tougher. I have a new lens coming, I should get better photos with it.

      April 3, 2013 at 9:49 am

      • That’s good news, about the lens. Read the story of the Nikon’s near-demise. Sorry about that. I’m really inspired by what you’re doing here. I hope you’ll keep going till # 278.

        April 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

      • Thank you for your encouragement! The Nikon has never been right, since the day that I bought it. But, I thought that the problem was me, not the camera. It has died completely, and tomorrow it goes to its grave, in exchange for a new Canon camera and a new lens to go on it.

        April 3, 2013 at 11:33 am

  4. These guys are so adorable ! I’ve not had the chance to see one yet. One day perhaps. Good luck with the new camera ! I have a 60d also, so if you have any ??? let me know.

    April 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    • Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.

      April 3, 2013 at 10:42 pm