Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Redhead (Aythya americana)


French: Fuligule à tête rouge German: Rotkopfente Spanish: Porrón americano

Fuligula americana


, 1838,

North America


Closely linked to A. valisineria and A. ferina; despite greater superficial similarity to latter, apparently closer to former. Monotypic.


Main breeding range in SW Canada and W USA S to California, New Mexico and Nebraska; populations also in Alaska, S Great Lakes region, and SC Mexico (Jalisco and the Federal District). Winters throughout most of S USA and Mexico to SW Guatemala.

Descriptive notes

41·5–54 cm; male 910–1220 g, female 910–1110 g; wingspan 74–85 cm. Breeding male has head and upper neck chestnut-red, lower neck and breast black,... read more


Male in spring and during courtship gives cat-like “meow”, guttural “purr” and, less frequently, a... read more


In breeding season, prefers rather deep freshwater swamps, lakes and marshes with extensive areas... read more

Food and feeding

Essentially vegetarian; chiefly seeds, leaves and stems of grasses, sedges, algae and other aquatic plants, tubers, grain, etc.; also... read more


Starts Apr/May, e.g. in prairie pothole region, nesting attempts generally initiated between early May and late Jul, whereas in... read more


Migratory; moves S to winter in lowlands of southern Canada, USA, Mexico and Central America (to... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Estimate of c. 600,000 in mid 1970s reflects average of population estimates between 1955 and 1994, during which breeding population... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Redhead (Aythya americana). 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 21 November 2019).