Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)


White-headed Steamerduck (Tachyeres leucocephalus)


French: Brassemer à tête blanche German: Weißkopf-Dampfschiffente Spanish: Pato vapor cabeciblanco
Other common names: Chubut Steamerduck

Tachyeres leucocephalus

Humphrey and Thompson

, 1981,

Chubut Province, Argentina


In recent phylogenetic study, present species and T. patachonicus were found to form a clade, distinct from the other two congeners#R. Although species is locally abundant, not described until 1981; old records of occurrence of T. pteneres on Chubut coast presumably refer to present species. Previously considered to form a superspecies with T. pteneres and T. brachypterus. Monotypic.


S Argentina (Chubut) from Valdés Peninsula S to Comodoro Rivadavia; also S to Santa Cruz (breeding records in Bahía Laura)#R, and occasional to Beagle Channel (Tierra del Fuego).

Descriptive notes

61–74 cm; male 2600–4400 g, female 2450–3550 g. Head of male much whiter than in other Tachyeres, contrasting with rest of plumage; bill bright... read more


Vocalizations are considered to be very similar to those of T. brachypterus.


Entirely coastal, has not been recorded in freshwater lagoons; rocky coasts and sheltered bays.... read more

Food and feeding

Few specific data, although, as in other members of genus, diet was considered to be probably based around marine molluscs and crustaceans... read more


During spring and summer, overall season Oct–Feb, with most nests initiated before Dec. Usually in single pairs, although relatively... read more


Sedentary, although as in other Tachyeres, small-scale movements probably occur outside... read more

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Previously considered Near Threatened. Apparently abundant within very restricted range, with a population previously estimated at < 10,000 birds, but now... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-headed Steamerduck (Tachyeres leucocephalus). 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 9 April 2020).