BUFFLEHEAD


Bucephala albeola


Description:

Buffleheads are diving sea ducks and unlike its counterparts, the Bufflehead can take off into flight without having to "run" across the waters surface. These birds feed on aquatic plants and insects, snails, and small crustaceans. Believe it or not, these small birds nest in tree cavities. For breeding, the female returns each year to its birthplace. There she lays one egg for 6 to 11 days. Males do not play a role in the incubation. All this happens between April and May. Buffleheads are winter visitors to our area.


Appearance:

General: 13 to 15 inches in length.

Male: Small, round, chubby, mostly white bird with black back. Black head with green and purple shine. Head also has a large triangular patch from its eye to the back of its head. Bluish bill and orange feet.

Female: All brown with a white patch on its cheek.


Habitat:

Lakes, rivers, and coastal shores.


Nesting:

6-12 pale buff or ivory eggs with a 31 day incubation period. Fledging occurs 50-55 days after hatching. The nest consists of a down lined woodpecker hole up to 20' above the ground.


Observed Locations:

  • Lake Murray, La Mesa
  • Mission Bay
  • San Elijo Lagoon, Cardiff-by-the-Sea





Click on an image to see the larger version.

details
Female

details
Female

details
Female

details
Female

details
Female

details
Male

details
Male

 

 


Home | References
Copyright © Scott Streit, 2000.