Redheads are very widespread across North America, particularly in migration and winter, and they winter in large flocks along the Gulf Coast. Redheads are well known for parasitizing other duck nests, and some females do not even build a nest of their own, but instead lay all of their eggs in the nests of other ducks.
As a diving duck, Redheads are rarely seen on land, and they require a running start across the water to take flight. Pairs form during the winter, and they move north to the breeding grounds together. The record known lifespan for a wild Redhead is 21 years.
Female Redheads are a gray-brown with a variable reddish wash on the head. (sorry, no images of Lucille Ball or Ann Margaret). Fine eye ring and line behind the eye. Similar to female Ring-necked Duck.
Juveniles, eclipse males are all similar in appearance. Depending on the age, sex and molt stage there can be significant difference in the appearance but all can usually be identified, if by nothing else, than “what else could it be?”
Now how about these two birds – above and below? The bill on the above bird is black, no hint of a white line extending back and down from the eye. Perhaps the lighting resulted in a bill that looked entirely black?
The bird below has the typical bill color and a stronger broken eye ring than other females on this page.
Sam is the founder of Birdzilla.com. He has been birding for over 30 years and has a world list of over 2000 species. He has served as treasurer of the Texas Ornithological Society, Sanctuary Chair of Dallas Audubon, Editor of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "All About Birds" web site and as a contributing editor for Birding Business magazine. Many of his photographs and videos can be found on the site.