April 05, 2014

Gadwall ›


The Gadwall (Anas strepera) is a dull coloured dabbler. The grey-coloured drake displays a black rump, a white belly, a white alar speculum bordered with black and red, and a grey beak. The female is similar to the mallard, but smaller in size and has an orange sided beak and a white belly.

In Canada, this species is observed from west to east and it can also be seen in the north of the United States. It winters from the north to the south of the United States and as far as Mexico. The gadwall lives in deep water bodies (ponds, lakes, marshes) where vegetation is very fertile and where rivers and flat rivers have a slow flow. It mostly eats plants and aquatic vegetation, but during the laying period, small vertebrates and invertebrates are added to the usual menu.

The gadwall builds its nest in thick vegetation on the ground and close to water. The nest is composed of leaves and down. The female lays 8 to 11 eggs which will be sat on 24 to 26 days. The ducklings leave the nest 45 days after they have hatched, and the next year they will also be ready for their first nesting. The female lays only one brood a year. However, if this one is destroyed, it will be able to bear a second.X
April 05, 2014

Common Pochard ›

Common Pochard

The Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) is an average-size duck with a short tail. It can be distinguished by its long neck, its long beak, its flattened forehead and its lightly conical crown. The common pochard’s wings have a diffuse greyish line. During the period of courtship, the male displays a brownish red head and a black beak with a bright grey distal line. The eye is red, the chest black, the flanks and the back are of a bright gull grey. When it flies, the mean grey wing covers and the bright grey wing bar are visible. The female common pochard is brownish grey and her flanks and back are greyish. Its chest, crown, and neck are more of a dark brown. It has red brown eyes and displays diffuse bright and dark patterns on the head. The ducklings are similar to the female aside from their plumage which is more uniform and their iris is yellowish olive.

This duck eats aquatic plants, molluscs and larvae by diving to the bottom of waterbodies. During the nesting period, it is found in high dense borders of aquatic vegetation as well as in covert thick places away from predators. It likes mean depth ponds of fresh or brackish water, artificial water bodies with lush benthos, and underwater vegetation. This species can be found from north to south as well as from east to west in Canada and the United States.

Common pochard couples change every year and come together at the end of winter or in the beginning of spring. Drakes strut in loud groups while moving their head and doing their other grooming rituals. The nest is a small grass and reed platform covered with down. It is located close to a pond, on the ground in the midst of vegetation. Around May or June, the female lays 6 to 11 eggs that are sat on for 23 to 28 days. The ducklings are precocial and usually leave the nest early (40 to 45 days after their birth).

April 05, 2014

Common Merganser ›

Common Merganser

The Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) is bigger than the mallard. The drake displays a dark green head and a discrete crest. Its beak is red, thin, and hooked, and its neck, chest, and body sides are black. Its wings are white except for the extremities that are black. Its tail and rump are grey. During the spring period of courtship, it displays more of a pink-tinted chest. The female and duckling common merganser have a brownish red head, white underparts, and greyish upperparts. The eclipsed drake is similar to the female except for the wing front feathers that are white.

This duck species is widespread in North America. It can be found in Canada, from east to west and from north to south, as well as in the United States. The common merganser migrates to the south: Northern Mexico, Southern California, Mexico Gulf or Florida.

The common merganser likes to nest close to soft water bodies: rivers, wide rivers, lakes, and large ponds. It builds its nest in hollow trees and in cliff holes. The female's nest is set up in a wide hollow tree, on an escarpment or on a bank and usually welcomes 8 to 12 cream white eggs between April and May. It sits on its eggs alone for 28 to 35 days. The ducklings are precocial and fly for the first time between their 60th and 70th day.

April 05, 2014

Common Loon Duck ›

Common Loon Duck

Large-size duck, thick beak with slightly round culmen. The courting adult beak is black, bluish grey for the adults during winter and for the juveniles, but the culmen is always dark. During winter, their crown and nape are darker than their back; the nape darkness stretches to the sides of the neck, but there is a white band further up; alot of adults’ eyes are surrounded by white, whereas the pale and the dark parts of the face are more blended on juveniles.

It has an upstraight forehead, an angled crown in the front, and it horizontally holds its head. Juveniles scapulars are white striped, that is what differentiates them from the adults which have plainer backs during winter. The juvenile plumage is kept during winter, after which a partial mutation takes place in spring. Visible when they swim, most adults keep their spotted top coverts during winter. In flight, the stockier head and feet help to distinguish it from the arctic loon, pacific loon, and red-throated loon.

The strong yodeling call is heard throughout the year, but most importantly on nesting locations. As many others, it nests on large lakes. It migrates over water like the yellow-billed loon, while the other loons fly lower. It winters mostly in coastal waters or on wide ice-free water stretches.

April 05, 2014

Common Goldeneye ›

Common Goldeneye

The Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula) is an average-size stocky diving duck. It has a short beak and a bulky black head with bottle green shimmers. It displays a white spot on the cheek from its eye to the yellow iris. Its back and the back of its body are black whereas its neck, chest, flanks, and underparts are white. Its scapular feathers have white stripes. The female has a chocolate brown head, a whitish collar and chest, a white mark on the wing, a yellowish beak with a black extremity, and the rest of its body is grey.

From late March to June, the common goldeneye nests. Nests are located in tree holes and often from old black woodpeckers' nests. The common goldeneye will use it year after year and cover it with down. The female of this species lays 6 to 11 greenish blue eggs that will be sat on only by the female for 27 to 32 days. The common goldeneye ducklings are precocial.

The common goldeneye lives on lakes, brackish or salted water courses of coastal borders, estuaries or see arms. It can be found almost everywhere in Québec, more importantly in the boreal forest of Québec. It can be seen along the St-Lawrence river, especially during the wintering. This duck is an excellent diver and has a carnivorous tendency. In fact, it mostly eats molluscs, small crustaceans, insects, larvae, worms, and small fish. However, it also likes seaweeds, buds, shoots, and aquatic plant seeds. X
April 05, 2014

Cinnamon Teal Duck ›

Cinnamon Teal Duck

During the courtship period, the Cinnamon Teal Drake (Anas cyanoptera), during the courtship period, has a cinnamon-coloured head and body, a dark rump, tail and under tail coverts, red eyes, a long black beak, and yellowish feet. It also displays a bright blue spot on the wing top, white stripes on the back, and iridescent green wings. The female cinnamon teal's plumage is greyish brown. It also displays a white bordered blue spot on the wings, a grey beak, and brown eyes. The eclipsed drake looks like a female except that it has red eyes and that the front part of its wing is brighter. Ducklings are similar to an adult female.

Cinnamon teals can be found from south Canada to central Mexico as well as towards Nebraska's east and west. This species winters in the south of Texas and California, in Central America and also in South America. It usually nests in marshes, ponds, and lakes. It likes shallow highly alkaline soft waters.

April 05, 2014

Canvasback ›


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.