A medium-sized flock of about twenty-five Red-Head Ducks came by the dock here on our 101 acre private community lake in Cumberland County, TN on Friday, March 11, 2011. The Red-Head Ducks are migratory visitors that just stopped by on the way home. The Red-Head Ducks mostly live in the West and North-western US. The Red-Head Ducks are diving ducks. These ducks sometimes will eat small aquatic animals, aquatic insects, but they mostly eat lake and stream weeds. The Drake or male Red-Head Duck is the fellow with the very handsome red-head. The female or hen, has a medium to dark brown body with lighter brown accent coloring.
I have read that the Red-Head female often borrows the nests of other species of ducks. Sometimes the Red-Head hen will lay eggs in her own nest, sometimes she will lay her eggs in another’s nest and sit on the eggs until they hatch, and sometimes she will lay and leave. The Red-Head Ducks do make good parents when they do choose to raise their own brood. This parenting though, seems hit and miss with these ducks. I was quite pleased to see the flock here. They will likely be gone in a few days. The Red-Head Ducks are very similar in looks to the Canvas-back Ducks. A couple of differences are the Red-Head Duck has a more round head and the canvas-back has a sloped forehead and slanted-look to its bill. The Red-Head Ducks also have a blue-tinged bill. In one of the pictures here (row 1 left side), a hen with a light ring of buff color above its bill, looks to be a Lesser Scaup Duck. It must just be traveling with the big flock of its friends. Please click on the thumbnail image to see the larger picture. Enjoy!