Aythya valisineria

A large diving duck, the Canvasback breeds in prarie potholes and winters on ocean bays. Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.

Interesting Information

The species name of the Canvasback, Aythya valisineria, comes from Vallisneria americana, or wild celery, whose winter buds and rhizomes are its preferred food during the nonbreeding period.


Adult Description

  • Size: 48-56 cm (19-22 in)

  • Wingspan: 79-89 cm (31-35 in)

  • Weight: 862-1588 g (30.43-56.06 ounces)

  • Large, sleek duck.

  • Long sloping profile.

  • Male with rusty red head, white body, and black chest and rear end.

Sex Differences

Breeding male boldly patterned with red head and white body; female drabber and more subtly marked in brown and gray.


Similar to adult female.


Photo taken from: The Sibley Field Guide by David Allen Sibley

© 2003 Cornell Lab of Ornithology


Nests on marshes; winters on lakes, bays, and estuaries.


Feeds on aquatic vegetation, particularly wild celery, and mollusks. Forages in open water by diving from the surface; feeds by day or night.


Seeds, buds, leaves, tubers, roots, snails, and insect larvae.



Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
     Subphylum: Vertebrata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
    Subfamily: Anatinae
Genus: Aythya
Species: Aythya valisineria

Similar Species

Redhead with gray, not white body, a rounded head, a shorter profile, a brighter red head, and a blue bill.

Bird Sound

A "Grunt", "croak"

Eggs look like this

Photo taken from: ARCTOS Collaborative Collection Management Solution