|Conservation status||Thought to have increased in numbers in recent decades.|
|Family||Ducks and Geese|
|Habitat||Lakes, ponds. In winter, coastal waters, rivers. Breeds on cold inland waters, such as small lakes, rivers, beaver ponds, mostly in forested country but also in open terrain. In winter mainly on shallow, protected coastal waters, such as bays and estuaries. May winter far inland on lakes and rivers, even in very cold regions where hot springs keep water open.|
Forages by diving and swimming underwater; rarely by dabbling in shallow water.
7-10, sometimes 5-14. Pale olive to blue-green. Incubation is by female, 28-34 days. Female covers eggs with down when leaving nest. Young: leave nest 1-2 days after hatching, are led to water by female. Young are tended by female, but feed themselves. Age at first flight about 8 weeks.
leave nest 1-2 days after hatching, are led to water by female. Young are tended by female, but feed themselves. Age at first flight about 8 weeks.
varies with season and habitat. On fresh water eats mainly aquatic insects, such as larvae of dragonflies and caddisflies. At sea eats mostly crustaceans and mollusks. Also eats much plant material, especially pondweeds, mainly in summer and fall.
Pairs are formed mostly in winter. Several males may court one female in communal display on water. Displays of male include a circular pumping action of the head; also turning head from side to side, flapping wings. Nest: Female selects nest site and may re-use it for several years. Sites are mainly in large tree cavities, also in rock crevices, abandoned buildings, burrows, or on ground under bushes in treeless country. Will also use nest boxes. Nest is shallow depression lined with down and sometimes other materials.
Text © Kenn Kaufman, adapted from
Lives of North American Birds
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Migrates late in fall and early in spring. Able to adapt to changing conditions; in recent years some have wintered on cold waters just downstream from dams on lower Colorado River, south of any previous wintering area.
- All Seasons - Common
- All Seasons - Uncommon
- Breeding - Common
- Breeding - Uncommon
- Winter - Common
- Winter - Uncommon
- Migration - Common
- Migration - Uncommon
See a fully interactive migration map for this species on the Bird Migration Explorer.Learn more
Songs and CallsSoft grunts and croaks during courtship; otherwise usually silent.
Learn more about this sound collection.