Aythya americana

The redhead is a relatively large diving duck widespread through North America. The species is named for the males' striking red-orange head.

Redhead behavior and facts

  • Redheads feed by diving for seeds, plants, aquatic insects and small fish.
  • A male redhead's call resembles a cat's meow.
  • Redheads prefer non-forested prairies with water and dense vegetation for nesting sites.
  • Redheads are migratory – it is estimated that 80 percent of redheads spend the winter months in the Laguna Madre of Texas and Mexico.

Life history

  • The redhead breeds primarily in the northern Great Plains in freshwater wetlands.
  • Female redheads are known for dropping their eggs in the nests of other waterbirds.
  • The female lays an average of 7-10 eggs.


IUCN Least concern

Redheads, the Oregon Zoo and you

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