Canvasbacks and Redheads

The ducks that winter around the Chesapeake Bay region will soon be gone.  Numbers seen are diminishing at different locations, including our creek.

It’s been a splendid season, with many photo opportunities, challenging fun, and a lot of lucky moments for me.

In my next few posts, I’ll finish up with some more of my favorite duck shots not already shared this season.

I’ll begin with the Canvasbacks and Redheads, both that sport a gorgeous ‘red’ head.  These two ducks will be migrating back to the northern mid-West United States, Alaska, and Canada for their summer breeding.

Some get confused on the difference between these two ‘red-headed’ ducks.  The easiest is to look for the color difference of the two ducks’ bills.

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Redhead (center blue bill) surrounded by male and female Canvasbacks (black bills)


Male Redhead                   (note the bill differences)                    Male Canvasback


Both are beautiful ducks!

More images of the Canvasbacks….

Canvasbacks (males)


Canvasbacks coming in for a water-landing


And more of the Redheads.

Redheads (male)


A final of the two, giving the double-eye stare.

“Double-eye Stares”


We will miss these wintering ducks!



41 thoughts on “Canvasbacks and Redheads

  1. Your post clearly shows the difference between these two species. Last week I photographed many of them sleeping, their heads tucked inside their wings, and I couldn’t tell what they were. Thank you Donna!

    • Thank you, Hien, and you’re welcome! I know that one Redhead is always hanging out with the Canvasbacks, and it takes me a while sometimes to spot him amongst them myself. 🙂

  2. Both species look truly wonderful, and very dignified too! They’re now my favourite ducks along with our own paradise shelducks. Thank you 🙂

    • They are so entertaining and watching them on a sunny day just brightens up those gorgeous heads. Your Paradise Shelducks have gorgeous contrasting coloring, they remind me of our Blue Geese. Thank you, Ms Liz, and you’re welcome!

  3. Your photos are amazing, Donna, and they show the differences between them so well. I remember how excited I was when I was finally able to tell them apart. They are among my favorite ducks.

  4. Donna, these are drop-dead gorgeous, and wonderful explanations, with great visuals, of the difference between the two. Thanks for sharing. Our canvasbacks and redheads are gone, but we still have a lot of scaups, mostly lesser.

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