NatureMapping Animal Facts for Kids


Bufflehead, Diving Duck (Bucephala albeola)
Species Code: BUAL
Pato Zambullida - en Espaņol

distribution map

What they look like: The bufflehead is small, chubby duck with a small dark gray bill. The males are mostly white, but have a black back and head. The male has a large white patch extending from the eye to the back of the head. The male is slightly larger than the female. The female is dark brown and is lighter brown below. The female has a single white patch on her cheek.

Bufflehead photo by NP

Where are they? Most Buffleheads breed in the northwestern part of North America. As winter comes, Buffleheads migrate to water near the coasts of the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Oceans. When they migrate, they fly during the night under the cover of darkness. Should they face bad weather, they will fly during the day.

Where they live: Buffleheads live by lakes, rivers and bays. What do they eat? Buffleheads typically eat water insects, snails, crustaceans and water plants. Buffleheads usually are seen in small groups. As one or two feed, the others will stand watch for potential danger. While a flock is diving for food there is almost always at least one bird on the surface watching for danger.

Did you know?

  • The Bufflehead is the smallest diving or sea duck in North America.

  • The name buffalo head or "bufflehead" is a direct reference to the duck's large-headed appearance.

  • These beautiful ducks, fly fast with a rapid wing beat and usually close to the water but make no whistling sound in flight.

  • The Bufflehead is a diver and unlike other diving ducks can take flight from water without having to run along the surface.

Bufflehead Silhouette

Animal silhouettes available to purchase »

Photo Credit: Natures Pics

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