Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)


French: Petit Garrot German: Büffelkopfente Spanish: Porrón albeola

Anas Albeola


, 1758,

America = Newfoundland




Breeds from Alaska E through C Canada to Hudson Bay and Great Lakes, and S to NW USA; isolated breeding populations in NW & NC USA. Winters from S Alaska, Great Lakes and Nova Scotia S to N Mexico.

Descriptive notes

32–40 cm; male 335–600 g, female 230–470 g; wingspan 53–61 cm. Unmistakable. Male in breeding plumage has black head with striking iridescent gloss on... read more


Audible only at close range and comparatively infrequently heard: male gives grating call during... read more


Relativelysmall (1–100 ha), shallow (< 5 m deep) lakes and pools, usually without or with... read more

Food and feeding

Aquatic invertebrates (insects and their larvae, especially Odonata, Coleoptera, Corixidae and Tendipedidae, are often main food items in... read more


Starts late Apr/early May, as soon as areas become ice-free. Monogamous, with pair-bonds usually formed during migration (rarely before)... read more


Migratory, with initial movements away from breeding grounds to moulting areas by males in Jun... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common. Total world population at onset of breeding season estimated at c. 750,000 birds in mid 1970s and 800,000 in 1980,... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 25 January 2020).