~ Canvasbacks in ALASKA ~


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Canvasback Description

Canvasbacks are migratory birds of the duck family almost exclusively found in North America.

Adults are 20 to 23 inches in length, with a weight ranging from 2.5 to 2.7 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females.

The male's breeding plumage consists of a chestnut brown head and neck with a black chest and white back. Their eyes are bright red in the Spring.

The female's plumage is much less conspicuous with a light brown color scheme on her back and neck, which helps her hide from predators especially while she attends to her eggs.

When breeding season is over, male Canvasbacks molt to a duller plumage and their eyes turn darker.

Canvasback Migration & Habitat

Canvasbacks spend their winters in the continental United States and as far south as Mexico. They tend to gather in Mississippi, Louisiana and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. In late winter, Canvasbacks begin to pair up with a mate in preparation for their annual migration.

In the Spring, they start their long journey north to their favorite breeding grounds in northern United States, central Canada and Alaska. For those who fly solo, they will still have a chance to find a mate once they reach the promised land.

Canvasback taking off in the Spring ...

Canvasback Breeding & Courtship

Unlike Swans or Arctic Terns who choose a mate for a lifetime, Canvasbacks pair up with a new mate every year. A Drake is seen during its courting ritual (right).

They usually nest in wetlands and marshes during the month of May.

The female incubates her eggs, light green in color, for up to 4 weeks. It is not uncommon for female Canvasbacks to raise a large brood of 8 to 10 ducklings. Males do not take part in the rearing of the youngs.

Protective Canvasback Mama

In a crowded pond, don't mess with a Canvasback mother with ducklings. This happy family was seen here cruising along the marsh, when drama occured just 5 seconds later... A lone female mallard was becoming aggressive towards the Canvasback ducklings. Mama came to the rescue.

Mama successfully warded off
the intruder...


Most of the time, the female leads the male. The drake just follows her where ever she goes.

Canvasback Chicks

Ducklings up close and personal. They are small but they navigate on the water very fast and rarely stand still. You must be quick to catch them at the right time...


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