The Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) has a long beak and a flattened forehead. The adult drake is a big duck that has a white stomach and a grey back, its chest is black, its head and neck are brown. The canvasback female looks a lot like the drake: almost the same size, long beak and flattened forehead. However, its colours are duller. In autumn, youth of both sexes look like the female, but their chest plumage is more mottled and their backs are darker. In November, the young drakes begin to look like their elders. In February, the adult plumage for both the male and the female is almost complete. This species mostly lives in central Canada and in northern United States. Some nest in the center of Alaska, in Manitoba, in New Mexico, and in the North East Territories. In mid-October, they begin to migrate to the south. Usually, these migratory flights can enclose about a hundred canvasbacks eating regularly in traditional migration stops where, as a result, thousands of individuals come together.
The courtship begins around mid-February. This duck species courts one or two females at the same time. It uses its bright feathers and makes a cooing that almost sounds like a turtledove. Canvasback couples usually end at the beginning of autumn.
In the nesting land, the female leads the drake to her nest, near her own place of birth. The nest is often close by free water among cattails and reeds. It is roughly built and covered with dull-brown down which the female pulls off her chest. The female canvasback lays 7 to 9 olive green or greenish buff eggs after an incubation period of 24 to 28 days. Because the drake leaves the nest early to go moulting elsewhere, the female stays alone to raise the ducklings. The ducklings will leave the nest one or two days after their birth to eat aquatic plants, insects, molluscs... The ducklings do not have feathers until their fifth week and are not able to fly until their eleventh week.