Skip to main content


ID Info
Silhouette DucksDucks
CanvasbackAythya valisineria
  • ORDER: Anseriformes
  • FAMILY: Anatidae

Basic Description

Often called the aristocrat of ducks, the Canvasback holds its long sloping forehead high with a distinguished look. Males stand out with a rusty head and neck and a gleaming whitish body bookended in black. Females are pale brown overall, but that Canvasback head shape still gives them away. This diving duck eats plant tubers at the bottom of lakes and wetlands. It breeds in lakes and marshes and winters by the thousands on freshwater lakes and coastal waters.

More ID Info
image of range map for Canvasback
Range map provided by Birds of the World
Explore Maps

Find This Bird

In the continental United States, spring, fall, and winter are the best times to go looking for a Canvasback. They gather in large groups on open water, where their white bodies gleam and the sloping forehead helps them stand out from other waterbirds. Because Canvasbacks are hunted, they tend to be wary and readily flush. To get a look before they take off, it's useful to have a spotting scope (or join a bird club outing where the trip leader is likely to bring one). Staying in a car or blind are also ways to get good views without agitating them.

Other Names

  • Porrón Coacoxtle (Spanish)
  • Fuligule à dos blanc (French)
  • Cool Facts