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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Bufflehead Ducks (Bucephala albeola)

Here's a little closer look at these very small diving ducks. Above is a Bufflehead drake (Bucephala albeola) and below is the female of the species. I find it interesting how the different waterfowl and ducks in particular exploit different parts of the shoreline and different foods. Dabbling ducks like Mallards exploit the shallowest waters near the shore because they only feed on what they can reach while floating on the surface. The Buffleheads pictured today generally are shallow divers that feed on crustaceans and molluscs they find on the bottom a little further out than the dabbling ducks and in deeper water. Diving ducks like the mergansers that feed more on fish than on bottom life dive deeper and stay down longer so they are often seen even further away from the shore in deeper water.