Bucephala albeola

Buffleheads are small diving ducks widespread throughout North America.

Bufflehead behavior and facts

  • The bufflehead's name is a combination of buffalo and head, due to the bulbous shape of the male's head when he puffs up the white feathers on the back of his head.
  • Buffleheads are identified by the large white patch on the back of their iridescent green and purple heads.
  • Buffleheads are highly active, diving almost continuously.Buffleheads feed in small groups, with one duck watching for predators while other ducks dive.
  • Buffleheads eat insects, aquatic plants and small invertebrates.

From birth to death

  • Buffleheads are small enough to nest in abandoned tree cavities made by woodpeckers.
  • They are monogamous, and females return to the same nesting site year after year.
  • Females lay a clutch of 6-11 eggs, and incubate them for an average of 30 days.
  • Bufflehead ducklings leave the nest the day after they hatch and fledge at 50-55 days.


IUCN Least concern

Buffleheads, the Oregon Zoo and you

The zoo's buffleheads live in the Cascade Stream and Pond aviary.