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These ducks are easily recognizable by their distinctive rusty-red heads.

Redhead Ducks 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.


Description of the Redhead


The Redhead is a large diving duck with a steeply sloping forehead and a bluish-gray bill with a black tip.

Males have a gray body, black breast, and reddish head and neck.  Length: 19 in.  Wingspan: 29 in.


Females have a brownish body, head, and neck.

Seasonal change in appearance

Males in nonbreeding plumage are similar but browner.


The immature Redhead is similar to the adult female.


Redheads inhabit lakes, marshes, and salt bays.


Redheads primarily eat roots, leaves, seeds, and other plant material, but will also eat insects and mollusks.


The Redhead dives in shallow water to forage.


Redheads occur throughout most of the U.S. and Canada, breeding in the northwestern portions of the U.S. north to Alaska, and wintering across a broad swath of the central and southern U.S., as well as the Pacific, Gulf, and Atlantic Coasts. The population fluctuates considerably, based largely on habitat conditions.

Fun Facts

Redheads often lay eggs in the nests of Canvasbacks or other ducks, or in unincubated “dump” nests which have been known to contain as many as 87 eggs.

In winter, flocks of tens of thousands of Redheads may be found off the coast of Texas


Female Redheads give a nasal yelp, while males give a distinctive “meow.”


Similar Species

  • The Canvasback has a more gently and evenly sloped forehead, a dark bill, and whiter upperparts.


The Redhead’s nest is bulky basket of dead vegetation lined with down, and placed in a marsh.

Number: Usually lay 9-15 eggs.
Color: Olive.

Incubation and fledging:
The young hatch at about 23-29 days and leave the nest almost immediately, but cannot fly for about 4-6 weeks.


Bent Life History of the Redhead

Published by the Smithsonian Institution between the 1920s and the 1950s, the Bent life history series of monographs provide an often colorful description of the birds of North America. Arthur Cleveland Bent was the lead author for the series. The Bent series is a great resource and often includes quotes from early American Ornithologists, including Audubon, Townsend, Wilson, Sutton and many others.

Bent Life History for the Redhead – the common name and sub-species reflect the nomenclature in use at the time the description was written.



The redhead or American pochard ranks as one of our most important game birds, for it is well known and widely distributed; from its main breeding grounds in central Canada and the northern Central States it spreads out its migrations to both coasts and appears, at some season of the year, in nearly every State.

Spring: Dr. F. Henry Yorke (1899) says of the spring migration:

The first spring flight of this well-known duck passes the frost line whilst the ice still remains upon our lakes, water only existing in open holes or channels; the birds follow closely after the canvasback and like that bird appear in good-sized flocks. They stay but a short time, working rapidly toward the north and going to the far end of the British possessions. The second issue arrives about a week after the first has departed; if abundance of food be present, they stay until the advent of the third issue, then travel north also beyond the boundary line. The third begins to pair upon reaching latitude 440 and spreads all over the country up to Manitoba.

Courtship: Dr. Alexander Wetmore (1920) gives the following interesting account of the courtship of the redhead:

The peculiar mating display of these birds seen on several occasions was observed to advantage on June 4. A party of four males and three females were swimming in open water, two of the birds apparently being mated. Suddenly one of the females began to display, approaching one of the males with her head held high, sometimes jerking it up and down and again holding it erect, and at intervals calling quek que-e-ek, the last a peculiar rattling note. The male chosen extended his neck, holding his head erect, frequently whirling quickly to show the female his back, or again sank down with his head drawn in while the female bowed before him. At short intervals she opened her mouth and bit at him gently or, if be was swimming, sprang quickly in front of him with her head erect and back partly submerged. She transferred her attentions from one male to another in turn, even approaching the one who apparently was mated. The males showed considerable jealousy over these favors and drove each other about in fierce rushes. At intervals they called, the note being a curious drawn-out groaning call, resembling the syllables whee ough given in a high tone. As it was given the male sometimes raised his breast, elevated his head, and erected his crest. Again he threw his head straight back so that it touched his dorsum above the rump, with the throat up and the bill pointing toward the tail. The bill was then thrown up and head brought again to the erect position as the call was made. The curious actions of the male in calling continued after he was mated, and the strange call note was heard often. Mated males were seen driving savagely at their mates and biting at them while they escaped by diving.

Nesting: My first experience with the nesting habits of the red- head was gained in North Dakota in 1901 where we found it breeding abundantly in all of the larger sloughs where there was plenty of deep open water in the center, surrounded by extensive areas of cat-tail flags (Typha latifolia), bulirushes (Scir pus lacustris), and tall reeds (Phragrni~ea commwni~); its nest was most often found among the flags or bullrushes, growing in water a foot or more deep, and least often among the Phraginite.s which usually grew in shallower or drier places. I quote from my own published notes (1902) as follows:

We first met with it on June ~ in a large slough in Nelson County, where the water was not over knee-deep, except in a few scattered open spaces, and where the reeds and flags were somewhat scattered and open. A pair of Canada geese nested in this slough and two pairs of marsh hawks, but it was chiefly tenanted by yellow-headed blackbirds, coots, and long-billed marsh wrens. The blackbirds fairly swarmed in this slough, and the constant din of their voices was almost bewildering, especially whenever one of the marsh hawks sailed over the slough, which sent them all up into the air at once, cackling and squeaking, hovering and circling about for a few moments, and then settling down into the reeds again. Redheads were flying back and forth across the slough, kilideers, willets, and Wilson phalaropes were flying about the shores, and long-billed marsh wrens were singing among the flags on all sides. While wading along a shallow ditch through a small patch of last year’s flags, a big brown duck sprang into the air from a clump of tall reeds, and, after a short search, I found my first nest of the redhead, well concealed among the reeds. It was a handsome nest, well made of dead reeds, deeply hollowed and lined with broken pieces of the reeds mingled with considerable white down, especially around the upper rim; it measured 16 inches in diameter outside and 8 inches inside, the upper part of the rim being about 10 inches above the water; it rested on a bulky mass of dead reeds built up out of the shallow water, the whole structure being firmly held in place by the live growing reeds about it. It held 11 handsome eggs, in which incubation had just begun. I could not photograph this nest, as it was raining hard, but I collected the nest and eggs, which are now in my cabinet.

We found the redheads breeding in two large, deep sloughs in Steele County. One of these, in which we found four nests of the redhead, is illustrated in the photo- graph. In the open part of this slough, shown in the foreground, the water was too deep to wade, but, in the southern end of the slough, shown in the background, the water was seldom deeper than the tops of our hip boots, and in many places quite shallow. The principal growth was the tall slough reeds, quite thick in some places, and often as high as our heads, with numerous thick patches of tall cat-tail flags and several patches of the “queen of the prairie” reeds growing in the drier portions. The redheads’ nests were all located in the shallower parts of the slough where the reeds and flags were growing less thickly.

The redheads’ nests found here on June 10 contained 6, 10, 14, and 16 eggs, re- spectively, none of which were collected. The latter of these is shown in the photo- graph, it was located in the center of a tangled mass of broken-down dead flags, in a nearly dry, open space, near the edge of the slough, well concealed from view by the arching over of the dead flags above it. The bird proved to be a close sitter as we twice flushed her from the nest. We tested one of the eggs and found it far advanced in incubation.

Mr. J. II. Bowles (1909) gives the following attractive account of the nesting habits of the redhead in Washington:

They are essentially lovers of shoal bodies of fresh water, and in summer resort in considerable numbers to the larger lakes of central Washington for the purpose of rearing their young. One of their favorite breeding grounds may be found at Moses Lake, a beautiful body of water situated in the north central part of the State. At this place, in the summer of 1906, it is certain that at least 150 pairs remained to nest. Paddling our canoe along the margin of the lake, close to its heavy fringe of cat-tails, we would flush a pair or two at intervals of every hundred feet. As is cus- tomary with all waterfowl during the nesting season, they were remarkably tame, allowing such a close approach as to give an excellent view of the handsome nuptial plumage of the male.

Leaving the canoe and plunging at random into the sea of rushes, fortune may favor us sufficiently to permit of our happening upon one of their nests. This is a heavy, deep basket of rushes placed in the thickest of the growth, either upon a small muddy island left by the receding water, or built up amongst the flags upon the mat- ted dead stems which cover the surface of the lake in these places. It is a structure of such beauty as to cause the bird student to pause almost breathless upon its discovery. The mother duck has heard his noisy approach long since and departed, first carefully spreading over the eggs a heavy blanket taken from the lining of the nest. This consists entirely of down of the most delicate shade of white faintly tinged with gray, which the duck plucks from her own breast. A faint glimpse only can he obtained of the 12 or 14 greenish-drab eggs which seem comp]etely to fill the nest, hut let the sun be shining brightly with the dense green rushes for a background, and be sure that fatigue, soaked clothing, mosquitoes, and a dozen other discomforts will in- stantly vanish from remembrance at the sight.

Mr. Robert B. Rockwell (1911) writes of the nesting habits of this species in the Barr Lake region of Colorado:

The redheads’ nests, like those of the teal, exhibited a wide variation in structure and location. The first two nests were found June 10, 1906. These, containing five fresh eggs and nine incubated eggs, respectively, were within 2 feet of each other, in burrows in the top of a large muskrat house at the edge of a small lake in a sparse growth of cat-tails. The birds had burrowed in about 18 inches, lined the cavity ~vith down, and deposited the eggs at the end of the cavity. A careful examination of all the muskrat houses seen (and they were so conspicuous that in all probability none was overlooked) during the balance of 1906 and the full nesting seasons of 1907 and 1908, failed te reveal any other similarly located nests of this species.

On May 31, 1907, we found a beautiful set of 11 fresh eggs in a large, bulky nest somewhat resembling an overgrown nest of Lhe coot; but much less compact and not so neatly cupped or lined as the average coot’s nest. There was little or no downy lining in the nest which was built in an avenge growth of cat-tails over about 18 inches of water, and some 20 yards from the open water of the lake. There was no apparent attempt at concealment, and it was very conspicuous owing to its large size. The female flushed widely, with a good deal of noise, when we were fully 40 yards from the nest, thus attracting our attention to it. Eight of these eggs hatched on or about June 20, the remaining three being addled.

The finest nest of this species which came to our attention was found June 15, 1907, in a dense cat-tail swamp between two small rush-encircled lakes. It was a beautifully built structure of dead cat-tail blades, mostly broken into small pieces1 well built up above the surface of the water (which at this spot was only a few inches deep), deeply cupped, plentifully lined with down, and well concealed in the dense cat-tail growth.

Eggs: The redhead incubates on a large set of eggs; my notes re- cord various numbers from 6 to 22, but many of the largest sets con- tain eggs of other species; probably the redhead itself usually lays from 10 to 15 eggs. The redhead also seems to be careless about laying its eggs in other ducks’ nests. In North Dakota we found one of its eggs in a ruddy duck’s nest and in three eases we found three to four of its eggs in the nests of the canvasback, on which the lat- ter duck was incubating. These two species seem to have a peculiar habit of building nests in which large numbers of eggs are laid, by both species, but are apparently not incubated; we found two such nests in Saskatchewan, one of which contained 19 eggs; this set is now in my collection and apparently contain.s eggs of the redhead, canvasback, and mallard; it was evidently a canvasback’s nest orig- inally. Messrs. Willett and Jay (1911) mention a nest found at San Jacinto Lake, California, which contained 27 eggs and which “was undoubtedly the product of at icast two females, as there were 17 eggs of one type and 10 of another. In fact the 10 eggs may not be redheads’ at all, as they resemble very much the eggs of the pintail.”

The eggs of the redhead can generally be distinguished from those of other species by their color, size, and texture, but I have seen eggs that were puzzling; the nest, however, is always distinctive; it is built like that of the canvasback, but the down in it, which is usually mixed wit.h the reeds or flags, is whiter than that of the canvasback. Although the down is practically white, certain portions of it have a slight grayish tinge. The down in the nests of this and all other species of diving ducks is more closely matted or in less well-defined,

The shell of the egg is extremely hard and tough, with a smooth, glossy surface; it will dull the cutting edges of an egg drill in a short time. The color varies from “pale olive buff,” matching almost exactly certain types of mallard’s eggs, to a pale “cream buff” or cartridge buff.” The eggs are larger t.han mallard’s eggs and more glossy and they are very different in color from canvasback’s eggs. Taking into account the nest, the down, and the size, color, and tex- ture of the eggs, there should never be any difficulty in recognizing a redhead’s nest, even if the bird were not clearly seen. In shape the eggs vary from a somewhat rounded to a considerably elongated elliptical ovate; they are sometimes nearly oval. The measurements of 79 eggs in various collections average 61.2 by 43.4 millimeters; the eggs showing the four extremes measure 66.8 by 43.5, 66.2 by 45.5, 58 by 41.8 and 61.5 by 41.2 millimeters. Incubation is per- formed by the female alone and lasts for a period of 22, 23, or 24 days.

Plumages: Tlie downy young is quite different from other duck- lings, being more uniformly colored with less contrast between the light and dark areas. The upper parts, including the crown, back, rump, and tail are “light brownish olive,” but the deep color of the basal portion of the down is much concealed by the light yellowish tips; the side of the head and neck, including the forehead and a broad stripe above the eye, are “olive-ocher” paling to “colonial buff” on the throat and chin; the remainder of the under parts is “colonial buff” with deeper shadings; there are shadings of “ch am- ois” on the sides of the head and neck, but no conspicuous dark markings; in some specimens there are suffusions of brighter yellow in all of the lighter-colored parts, such as “amber yellow” or “citron yellow”; there is a yellowish spot on each of the scapulars and on each side of the rump. All of the colors become paler and duller as the duckling increases in size.

The plumage develops in the young redhead in the same sequence as in the young canvasback and when 7 or 8 weeks old it is fully feathered, except the wings, and is a little more than half grown. The scapulars and back are dark gray, edged with brownish, the breast reddish brown, the belly mottled with brown and white, and the head is reddish brown. This is the juvenal plumage in which the sexes are alike and somewhat resemble the adult female; young birds, however, are more mottled, with less clear brown above and less clear white below. The contour feathers are fully acquired and the young bird is nearly fully grown before the wings are fairly started. ‘Young males are generally browner and darker than young females, partic- ularly on the breast and head. By November the black feathers begin to appear on the breast and neck of the young male, each black feather being tipped with brown, which wears off later; in December the red feathers appear in the head and neck, and the gray vermicu- lated feathers in the back, scapulars, and flanks are assumed; and by January, or February at the latest, the plumage is practically adult, though the full perfection of the adult pluxnage is not acquired for at least another year. The progress toward maturity in the young female is practically the same, though the change is not so conspicuous. Probably young birds breed during their first spring.

The adult male has a partial eclipse plumage, involving a double molt of much of its plumage; the molt into this plumage begins early in August, the flight feathers are shed about the middle or last of August, and the full winter plumage is complete again in October or November. In the eclipse plumage the head and neck become browner, the breast and under parts become mottled, as in the breed- ing female; there are many brown feathers in the back, the rump is largely brownish, and the crissum is veiled with light edgings. The adult female assumes during the nesting season and the sum- mer a more mottled plumage than is worn in the winter; the clear dark brown of the upper parts is veiled with lighter edgings, and the clear white of the under parts is mottled with brownish.

Food: The favorite feeding grounds of the redhead during the summer are in the open lakes of the interior where it dives in deep water or in shallower places to obtain the roots and bulbs of aquatic plants or almost any green shoots which it can find; it is not at all particular about its food and is a gluttonous feeder. It also dabbles with the surface-feeding ducks in the muddy shallows where it finds insects, frogs, tadpoles, and even small fishes and water lizards. Audubon (1840) says that “on several occasions” he has “found pretty large acorns and beechnuts in their throats, as well as snails, entire or broken, and fragments of the shells of various small unios, together with much gravel.”

Dr. D. G. Elliot (1898) writes: Redheads feed much at night, especially if the moon is shining, and at such times are exceedingly busy, and the splashing of diving birds the coming and going of others, and the incessant utterings of their hoarse note, are heard from dark to daylight. They also feed by day, if the weather has been stormy, but on quiet, pleasant days they rarely move about much, but remain quietly out in the open water, sleeping, or dressing their feathers, or occasionally taking a turn beneath the surface as though more in an exploring mood, than for the purpose of seeking food.

Among the vegetable food of the redhead, Dr. F. Henry Yorke (1899) has recognized in its food the following genera of plants: VaZli~neria, Limnobium, Zizania, Iris, Nympkaea, Nupkar, Myrio- phyllum, Callitricite, and Utricular-ja.

In its winter home on or nearthe seacoast it frequents the tidal estuaries, as well as the ponds, and feeds in company with the can- vasback, the scaup ducks, and the baldpate, diving in deep water for the roots, as well as the stems and buds of the wild celery (Val- li.sneria), on which it becomes very fat and its flesh assumes a flavor almost indistinguishable from that of the canvasback. But it does not wholly confine itself to this food, feeding largely on other aquatic plants and on marine animal life, which detracts from the flavor of its flesh.

Behavior: Prof. Walter B. Barrows (1912) says of the flight of the redhead: It travels in V-shaped flocks like geese, and ifies with great rapidity, but the common statement that its speed reaches 100 miles per hour is certainly a gross ex- aggeration. It is safe to say that no species of duck when migrating flies more than 50 or 60 miles per hour: most species hardly more than 40 miles.

Doctor Elliot (1898) writes: The flocks rarely alight at first, even when there may be numbers of ducks con- gregated on the water, but traverse the length of the sound or lake as if reconnoiter- ing the entire expanse and trying to select the best feeding ground. After having passed and repassed over the route a few times, the flock begins to lower, and gradu- ally descending, at length the wings are set and the birds sail gradually up to the chosen spot, usually where other ducks are feeding, and drop in their midst with many splashings. But while this is the usual method adopted by newcomers, sometimes the program is changed and the birds, attracted by a large concourse of their relatives, particularly if the day be calm and the sun shining with consider- able heat, will suddenly drop from out the sky with a rapid zigzag course, as if one wing of each duck had been broken, and they cross and recross each other in the rapid descent, their fall accompanied by a loud whirring sound, as the air is forced between the primaries. On such occasions the flock is mixed all up together in a most bewildering manner, until, arriving a few feet above the water, the wings be- come motionless and the birds glide up to and alight by the aide of their desired companions.

Early in the morning, and again late in the alternoon, the redhead regularly takes a “constitutional.” The flocks that have been massed together during the night or the middle of the day, rise from the water, not all together hut in companies of several dozen, and stringing themselves out in long, irregular lines, each bird a little behind and to one side of its leader, fly rapidly up and down, at a considerable height over the water. Sometimes these morning and evening promenades are performed at a great elevation, so that the movement of the wings is hardly per- ceptible. On such occasions they appear like a dark ribbon against the sky, and the comparison is strengthened by the fact that every movement of the leader elevating or depressing his course is imitated exactly by all those which follow, and so the line has frequent wavy motions like currents passing through it, as when a ribbon is held in the fingers and a flip given to it which causes it to undulate along its whole length.

Doctor Elliot (1898) has well described the note of this species as a “hoarse guttural rolling sound, as if the letter R was uttered in the throat with a vibration of the tongue at the same time. It is easily imitated, and the bird readily responds to the call of its supposed relative.” Rev. J. H. Langille (1884) gives an entirely different impression of it; he writes:

Not infrequently the males are quite noisy, loudly uttering their deep-toned me-ow, which is the precise imitation of the voice of a large cat. The female, especially if rising from her nest or out of the water, has aloud, clear squak, on a higher tone than that of the mallard or dusky duck, and so peculiar as to be readily identified by the ear, even if the bird is not in sight.

Doctor Yorke (1899) confirms this impression, saying: “The redheads’ cry whilst floating about in compact bunches resembles the mewing or cry of a cat, but their call is a very modest quack.”

Fall: The fall migration of the redhead follows soon after that of the canvasback and spreads out over much the same route; from its main breeding grounds in the central part of the continent, the prairie regions of southern Canada, and the Northern States, it mi- grates almost east, through the region of the Great Lakes to the coasts of southern New England, southeast to the Chesapeake Bay region, and south through the Mississippi Valley to the Gulf coast; there is also probably a southwestward migration to the Pacific coast and a southward one to Mexico. Redheads migrate in large flocks by themselves or late in the season they often mingle with scaup ducks. They become very abundant in the fall along the southern coast of New England, especially in the large fresh or brackish ponds on Marthas Vineyard, where several thousand of them are reported as congregating every fall; some of the ponds, which are controlled by sportsmen, are planted with Vallisne~ia, Potamogeton, and other duck foods which have attracted an increased number of redheads and scaup ducks. A party of four men are said to have killed 110 of these two species in five hours’ shooting.

Game: Redheads are abundant on the Chesapeake, where they are shot in large numbers with the canvasbacks from the batteries; when feeding on wild celery their flesh is of fine flavor. They are very popular as game birds on the lakes and sloughs of the Mississippi Valley; they travel about in large flocks and are easily decoyed to wooden decoys set near the hunter’s well-concealed blind or sink box. A net set on poles around the gunner’s boat. or duck float may be rendered quite inconspicuous by weaving branches or grass into it so that it will match its surroundings; the ducks do not seem to notice it and very good shooting may be had from such a blind. Doctor Yorke (1899) writes:

Their playgrounds are in open waters upon large lakes, or some distance from the shore on the coasts, where they float about in rafts or flocks. They are easily lured to shore by tolling, either by a red handkerchief raised and lowered, or by some odd moving object, for they are most inquisitive birds; sometimes a dog is trained to run along the shore and bark at the water’s edge1 the gunner lying concealed close by; even after being shot at, they soon seem to forget the occurrence and gradually work in again to the object which had previously attracted them. Should, however, a few baldpates be mixed up with them, these soon spoil the game; heing more suspicious, the bald pates will keep turning and swimming back without approaching within shot, drawing the redheads with them Even upon a flight, the baldpatea lead many flocks of redheads away out of shot by their shying away from any object which they distrust and which the redheads would have unhesitatingly approached.

Winter: The redhead winters as far north as it can find open water; Mr. Thomas Mcllwraith (1894) states that for two seasons a flock of 100 or 150 remained in Lake Ontario all winter, about half a mile from shore, opposite the village of Burlington. The birds spent most of their time at one particular place, sometimes diving sometimes sitting at rest on the water, and always close together, as if for greater warmth. ‘When the weather moderated in March they shifted about for a few days, and then went off to the northwest, the direction taken by most waterfowl when leaving this part of Ontario in the spring

Occasionally they linger too long in freezing lakes and some of them perish, but they are usually more hardy and better able to take care of themselves than the canvasbacks. Even in its winter haunts on the seacoasts the redhead prefers to feed in fresh-water ponds, associating, with baldpates, scaup ducks, mallards, and shovellers; it also frequents brackish ponds and salt-water estuaries in company with the canvasbacks. It must venture out onto the ocean at times, for it is known to winter in the Bahamas, occurring there in large flocks.

On the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina the redhead is abun- dant in winter. I saw many large flocks in Back Bay and Currituck Sound, usually flying high in the air. The practiced eye of the experienced gunner can recognize them at a distance by their flight; they seem, to me, to move their wings more rapidly than canvas- backs; they look darker and shorter; and they fly in more irregular formations and more erratically. On pleasant smooth days, especially if they have been shot at in the morning, they may be seen flying out to sea in large flocks to spend the day in safety; they return again toward night to the fresh-water bays to feed on the roots of foxtail grass and wild celery.

Mr. J. A. Munro (1917) says that the redhead is “the commonest duck on Okanogan Lake,” British Columbia: in winter. Late in January, when their feeding grounds at the south end of the lake hecome frozen, they congregate in enormous flocks in the vicinity of Okenagsn Landing. The prevailing winds are southerly and serve to keep the shallow water here free of ice. Several specimens of pondweeds (Potamogeton) afford an abundant food supply. By February 15, the flocks have reached their maximum and number several thousand. They remain in these large hands until March, when they move north. A small number remain and breed. Males outnumber females in the propor- tion of 15 to 1. Courtship commences about the last week in February. This is interesting in view of the fact that they are one of the last ducks to breed.

Breeding range: Central and western North America. Probably breeds in Newfoundland (Sandy River) and has been found breeding in southeastern Maine (Calais). Otherwise east to southeastern Michigan (St. Clair Flats). South to southern Wisconsin (Lake Kosh- konong), southern Minnesota (Heron Lake), central western Nebraska (Garden and Morrill Counties), southern Colorado (San Luis Valley), northwestern New Mexico (Lake Burford), southwestern Utah (Rush Lake), central Nevada (Ruby Lake), and southern California (River- side and Los Angeles Counties). West nearly to the coast in south- ern California (Ventura County), to the inland valleys farther north (San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys), central Oregon (Klamath and Malheur Lakes), central Washington (east of the Cascade Mountains), and central southern British Columbia (Swan Lake). North to central British Columbia (Lac la Hache), central Alberta (Edmonton), Great Slave Lake (Fort Resolution rarely), central Saskatchewan (Saskatchewan River), and south central Manitoba (Lake Winni- pegosis).

Winter range: Mairdy in the southern United States. East to the Atlantic coast and to the Bahamas. South to the West Indies (Cuba and Jamaica), the Gulf of Mexico, and central western Mexico (Mauzanillo). West to the Pacific coast of Mexico and the United States. North to southern British Columbia (Okanogan Lake), southeastern Arizona (San Pedro River), northeastern Colorado (Barr Lake), northern Arkansas (Big Lake), probably southern Illinois, and eastern Maryland (Chesapeake Bay). More rarely north to Lake Erie and Ontario and southern New England.

Spring migration: Early dates of arrival: Indiana, central, March 6; Ontario, southern, March 14; Iowa, central, March 8; Wisconsin, southern, March 10; Manitoba, southern, April 12; Maine, Scarboro, March 27. Average dates of arrival: Ohio, Oberlin, March 10; Ontario, southern, March 24; Iowa, Keokuk, March 7; Minnesota, Heron Lake, March 26; Manitoba, southern, April 21.

Fall migration: Early dates of arrival: Ontario, southern, Sep- tember 10; Virginia, Alexandria, October 5; Iowa, Iowa City, Octo- ber 6; Missouri, St. Louis, October 16; Texas, San Angelo, October 1. Average dates of arrival: Ontario, southern, September 19; Pennaylvania, Erie, October 7; Virginia, Alexandria, October 12.

Casual records: Has wandered on migrations northwest to southern Alaska (Kodiak Island).

Egg dates: California, Colorado, and Utah: Twenty-seven records, April 23 to July 7; fourteen records, May 24 to June 9. Minnesota and North Dakota: Eighteen records, May 18 to June 28; nine records, June 3 to 17. Manitoba and Saskatchewan: Nine records, June 1 to July 6.

About the Author

Sam Crowe

Sam is the founder of 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.

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