Scientific Name: Bucephala albeola

Diet: Buffleheads eat more insects, insect larvae, and invertebrates in summer, and they eat more crustaceans in winter. Specifically, they eat clams, shrimp, snails, mollusks, damselfly larvae, caddis fly larvae, mayfly larvae, and other bug larvae. Buffleheads also eat some seeds.

Habitat: Buffleheads live in wooded lakes and ponds that are freshwater during the breeding season. During the winter they live mostly in saltwater in lakes, bays, and estuaries, but they sometimes live in freshwater during winter as well as saltwater.

Sound: The Bufflehead’s call is a soft, burry, ahh! ahh! ahh! that is repeated.

Nesting: Buffleheads are cavity nesters. They nest in aspen and poplar trees especially, but they also use old Flicker nest holes and nesting boxes. Buffleheads nest fairly close to the water and place their nests 2 to 42 feet off the ground. The nest is lined with down. Buffleheads lay 6 to 12 eggs, but they usually lay 9.

Behavior: Buffleheads dive for their prey, and eat it underwater. They prefer to hunt in shallow water.

Description/field marks: Buffleheads are about 13 to 16 inches long, and they have wingspans of about 22 inches. The male Buffleheads have white triangles on both sides of their greeny purpley heads, and their backs, bills, feet, and part of their wings are black. The other part of their wings and their sides, flanks, breasts, and undersides are white. The female Buffleheads are much plainer. They are dark brown on their wings, backs, tails, and heads, and the females are lighter greyish brown on their sides, flanks, and undersides. Their breasts are grey, and right under their eyes there are white spots that look a lot like a Common Golden-Eye’s spot.

This entry was posted in ducks and geese. Bookmark the permalink.