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Canvasback Duck

Canvasback Ducks are wild diving ducks native to North America.

They are somewhat small ducks, weighing between 1.9 to 3.5 pounds (800g to 1.6 kg), and will be 13 to 19 inches (33 to 48 cm) long, with a sloping body.

The duck's head head and neck are chestnut red (light brown on females). The breast is black (dark brown on females); the sides and back are grayish-white (speckled grayish brown on females), with bluish-grey legs and webbed feet, and a long pointed black bill.

The duck lives around marshes and river deltas in the North American prairies, as far east as Minnesota / Iowa / Manitoba. In winter, it migrates either to the California coast, the lower Mississippi valley or the mid-Atlantic states. The ducks are good fliers; the flocks fly in a V-shaped formation.

The duck likes to live amongst plants such as cattails and bull rushes. Up to 80% of its diet is vegetation. During the winter, in the Chesapeake Bay area on the Atlantic coast, with the loss of marshy areas there, 80% of its diet there has become Baltic clams instead.

The duck dives for food. It likes tubers (particularly of pondweed), snails, insect larvae, seeds, buds, small crustaceans, and small fish. It uses its long bill to dig tubers out of pond mud.

The ducks can start breeding when they are 1 year old. The female lays about 5 to 11 drab-green coloured eggs, which hatch in about 24 days.

The meat of Canvasback Ducks is considered very tasty owing to their diet, particularly the wild celery.

Hunting them for commercial markets in America was outlawed in 1918.

Language Notes

loves wild celery (Valisneria americana), the latin name reflects this
the English name reflects that to English speakers, the back was canvas-coloured
in other languages such as French and Spanish, the names reflect the back being seen as white


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Also called:

Aythya valisineria (Scientific Name); Morillon à dos blanc (French); Riesentafelente (German); Pato coacoxtle, Pato lomo blanco, Porrón de lomo cruzado (Spanish)


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