Redhead ducks have been present at the Fox River in downtown Waukesha, WI for the last couple of weeks. Today, 8 of them were present. With 10-degree temps in the morning, thin ice had formed overnight on the river. The ice kept the ducks near the open water area by the dam where the river is more narrow which gave nice views. As ice disappeared as the sun moved higher they moved out into the wider part of the river. Other duck species present today, Common Goldeneye Ducks (m-f), Red-breasted Mergansers (m-f), Lesser and Greater Scaups (m-f ), Bufflehead and American Coots. The wind made for a very cold day. Photographs taken on March 26th, 2014.
Binomial name: Aythya americana
Category: Duck, Geese, and Swans
Size: 19” long, 29” wing span
Weight: 2.3 lb.
Habitat: Lakes and ponds, in a general breeding range from the Mississippi River west and from northern Texas north into central Canada.
Diet: Dive for aquatic plants and parts such as seeds, leaves, algae, stems, tubers and roots. Some of these plants are water lilies, grasses, wild rice, wild celery and pondweeds. Their diet also includes aquatic insects, mollusks and small-sized fish.
Nesting: Redhead ducks usually find a new mate each year in late winter for the following spring. In midsummer a nest is constructed of new and old vegetation and lined with down. Nests are located in dense marshes, prairie potholes, and woodland free areas where water levels are at least 28” deep as they dive for their food. Redheads on occasion use nests that other ducks have constructed. The female lays on the average of 7-12 eggs.
Cool Facts: After the breeding season the adult male heads to big open waters, goes through a molt period, and is almost flightless for a month.