The Canvasback specific name, valisineria, derives from Vallisneria, or wild celery, which is the bird's preferred food. They also feed on aquatic insects and invertebrates. The Canvasback has been on the decline due to drying up or destruction of breeding marsh habitat.
General: 19 to 24 inches in length.
Adult Male Alternate: Dark rusty-red head and neck. Black breast, tail, upper and undertail coverts. Pale gray back and flanks. White belly. Red eye. Black bill. Long sloping forehead.
Adult Male Basic: Similar to alternate, but duller, especially around the back and breast.
Adult Female: Brown head and neck. Pale gray back and flanks. White belly. Brown eye. Black bill. Long sloping forehead.
Winters on lakes, ponds, bays, and estuaries. Breeds on marshes or ponds and lakes bordered by vegetation.
7-10 greenish eggs. The eggs have a 24-29 day incubation period. Fledging occurs in 56-68 days. The nest is a floating, basket-shaped, mass of reeds and grass anchored to marsh plants.
- Kit Carson Park, Escondido