are the biggest of the diving ducks found in the state. They are
generally more wary and less tolerant of human presence than some of the
other ducks. Numbers are far below historical levels, probably due to
losses of wetland habitat essential for breeding success.
Habitat: Marshes, sloughs, shallow lakes and ponds with emergent vegetation along the
Diet: Mostly the leaves, roots, and seeds of
aquatic plants, also some insects, crustaceans, and small fish.
Behavior: Primarily forages in water a few feet
deep, diving underwater for food. They also sometimes feed at the
surface, either grabbing food items from the water's surface, or tipping
down and submerging their head underwater.
Nesting: May through July. The nest of a
Canvasback is a basket of reeds and other dead vegetations, placed in dense
wetland vegetation or on nearby shoreline. The female usually lays between
8 and 11 eggs, and she alone incubates them. The young leave the nest
within a few hours of hatching, and find their own food. The female stays
with the young and protects them. The young fledge after about 9 weeks.
Song: Croaks or grunts.
Migration: Summers in the western U.S., northern Great Plains, Alaska, and western
Canada. Winters in the southern U.S., near the U.S. coasts, and Mexico.
Similar Species: Redhead
Conservation Status: Has been in general decline
the last several decades. However, they are still found over a wide
geographic area, and overall populations are not currently felt to be
IUCN lists the Canvasback as a species of "Least Concern".
Cornell University's "All About Birds - Canvasback"
Photo Information: March 30th, 2003 -- Western
Minnehaha County -- Terry L. Sohl
Additional Photos: Click on the image chips or
text links below for additional, higher-resolution Canvasback photos.