Canvasback

Aythya valisineria

Canvasbacks can be confused with Redheads. Drakes of both species have a reddish head, black chest, black under the tail and pale sides and back. The Canvasback drake's side and back are whiter and lighter than Redhead drakes. Also the Canvasback is larger and has a very distinctive head with its forehead sloping straight down to its long black bill and a distinctive red eye. The hen also has a long black bill with a sandy brown head and pale body.

Length: 22"
Weight: 3 lbs.

illustration of canvasback hen and eclipse drake

Normally late to start south, canvasbacks migrate in lines and irregular V's.

In feeding areas, compact flocks fly in indefinite formations. Their wingbeat is rapid and noisy; their speed is the swiftest of all our ducks.

illustration of canvasback wings

illustration of canvasback drake

Feeding behavior is highly variable. In some areas they feed at night and spend the day rafted up in open waters; in other areas they feed inshore mornings and evenings.

On the water, body size and head shape distinguish them from scaups and redheads.

Canvasback
illustration of a typical canvasback flock pattern

illustration of canvasback in flightside view illustration of canvasback in flight

Drakes croak, peep, and growl; hens have a mallard-like quack.