Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Genus: Bucephala
Species: Bucephala albeola

Male Bufflehead starting a dive. By marlin harms [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


The Bufflehead distinguishes itself among waterfowl. Characterized by exuberance and a minute figure of 12-16oz (Todd 1979), it remains one of the smallest diving ducks of North America, (Johnsgard 1979). The most endearing nickname commonly used is butterball, (Todd 1979). The nickname was bestowed with regard to its chubby figure during fall migration, (Boreal SongBird Initiative). This cavity-nesting boreal breeder (Gauthier 1993) is no sloth; it is energetic, lively and at times quite aggressive.

Diagnostic Characteristics
Feeding Ecology
Population Trends and Conservation Issues
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