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GAP Analysis Predicted Distribution Map

Redhead (Aythya americana)

Species Code: AYAM

Highslide JS
Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only.
© NatureMapping Program

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Predicted breeding range

= Core Habitat
= Marginal Habitat


Redhead photo

Fact Sheet: Basic (Grades K-6) | Advanced

Breeding Range Map
The green area shows the predicted habitats for breeding only. The habitats were identified using 1991 satellite imagery, Breeding Bird Atlas (BBA), other datasets and experts throughout the state, as part of the Washington Gap Analysis Project. Habitats used during non-breeding months and migratory rest-stops were not mapped.

NatureMapping observations map   Map with Breeding 
Bird Atlas records
Observations | Historic Gap points

Metadata (Data about data or how the map was made)


This species is common in freshwater ponds, lakes, wetlands, and slow-moving rivers at low elevations over much of eastern Washington. After the Mallard, the Redhead is generally the most common duck of the Columbia River, but it is apparently rare or absent in much of the southeastern and southwestern Columbia Basin. It probably also breeds north along major river valleys in northeastern Washington. Redheads are a rare and local breeder in Washington.

Good habitat in core areas of use included all freshwater bodies and wetlands in all steppe zones, plus locally in the Ponderosa Pine zone. Redheads are local in the Interior Douglas-fir zone in the northeast, which is also their peripheral area of use.

One of the more poorly known aspects of this species is the maximum elevation at which it will nest. Records are generally from lowland areas, but there are scattered probable records in the major river valleys of northeastern Washington into the Interior Douglas-fir zone. The scarcity of records suggests that zones above the Ponderosa Pine are the peripheral areas of use, at best, for Redheads, as does their noted preference for prairie habitats, but may actually reflect low sampling intensity in the northeast. Redheads are very rare breeders in western Washington where only two confirmed nesting records are known: one from Kent and one from Lake Dawn in the Olympic National Park. The latter is most unusual for a Redhead; it was a female with young on a montane-forested lake deep in the forests of the Olympic Peninsula. Some authorities believe that this record might be the result of escaped captive birds in the Sequim area, though the female was not banded and was very wary of observers.

Translated from the Washington Gap Analysis Bird Volume by Uchenna Bright
Text edited by Gussie Litwer
Webpage designed by Dave Lester