18-22" (26-56 cm). Cinnamon-red head and eye with black-tipped grayish blue bill. Dark gray to black breast and lighter gray wings, flanks, and back. Black under tail. Females uniformly dark brown with lighter, chestnut head and paler belly; pale eye ring.
Similar Species- Canvasback, female scaups
Deep, slurred quack: qwar-qwarq-qwar-qwarq.
Breeds locally in Alaska, east from there through parts of Canada to Minnesota, and south to parts of Southwest and Midwest; also breeds sporadically in portions of eastern states. Winters from southern British Columbia south to Nevada, northern Arizona, and parts of Midwest, and on East Coast from New England south to Mexico and Guatemala.
Found on large marshes, lakes, lagoons, rivers and bays. Winters mostly on brackish and marine lagoons and bays, less frequently in inland freshwater situations. In Idaho, prefers marshy ponds, lakes, and potholes, except in winter, when it uses deep, open water.
Feeds on leaves and stems of aquatic plants. Eats pondweeds, wigeon grass, algae, and seeds of sedges and grasses. Will eat some insects, mollusks, and small crustaceans. North Dakota study found breeding individuals ate 51-70% invertebrates (mostly chironomids) and 30-49% plant matter; seeds of shallow-marsh emergent plants were important in diet of females during a wet year.
Dives from water surface to obtain food. Builds concealed, cup-shaped nest over shallow water.
No references are available at this time.