Aythya americana - (Eyton, 1838)
Redhead
Other English Common Names: redhead
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Aythya americana (Eyton, 1838) (TSN 175125)
French Common Names: fuligule à tête rouge
Spanish Common Names: Pato Cabeza Roja
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.106196
Element Code: ABNJB11030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 11100

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Aythya
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Aythya americana
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 06Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 21Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B,N5N (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5N,N5M (26Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S4N), Alaska (S3S4B), Arizona (S4), Arkansas (S3N), California (S3S4), Colorado (S4B), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S2N), District of Columbia (S1N), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S4), Idaho (S4), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (S1B), Iowa (S2B,S4N), Kansas (S1B,S3N), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (S4N), Maine (SNA), Maryland (S2N), Massachusetts (S3N), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (SNRB,SNRM), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNRN,SNRM), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S3B,S4N), Nebraska (S4), Nevada (S4B), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (S4B,S5N), New York (SNA), North Carolina (S3N), North Dakota (SNRB), Oklahoma (S5N), Oregon (S4), Pennsylvania (S2S3N), Rhode Island (S2N), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (S4B), Tennessee (S4N), Texas (S3B,S4N), Utah (S3B,S3S4N), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (SNRN), Washington (S3N,S5B), West Virginia (S3N), Wisconsin (S2B), Wyoming (S4N,S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S4S5B,S5N), Manitoba (S4S5B), New Brunswick (S1B,S1M), Northwest Territories (S3S4B), Nova Scotia (SHB), Ontario (S2B,S4N), Quebec (S3), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M,S2N), Yukon Territory (S3B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDS: locally in south-central and southeastern Alaska, to western Canada and northwestern Minnesota, south to southern California and east to southern Wisconsin, northwestern Pennsylvania. Breeds in greatest abundance in the prairies and parklands of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, and South Dakota; nest densities are highest in the marshes of Nevada and Utah (Custer 1993). WINTERS: southern British Columbia, east to Nevada, northern Arkansas, and southern Illinois, eastern Indiana, eastern Michigan, New York, Connecticut, and eastern Maryland south to Mexico (most of), Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica and Bahamas; casual in Hawaii. Primary wintering areas in the U.S. include eastern New Mexico-western Texas to Red River (Texas-Oklahoma), Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, Atlantic coast from southern New Jersey to North Carolina, eastern Florida, and lakes Erie and Ontario (Root 1988). An estimated 80% of the total population winters on the hypersaline Laguna Madre along the Gulf Coast of northern Mexico and southern Texas (Custer 1993). Lake Winnipegosis in Manitoba is an important fall staging and molting area (Custer 1993).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Continued losses of easily drained shallow wetlands may impede efforts to maintain current population levels (Woodin and Swanson 1989). Use of permanent and semipermanent wetlands for breeding provides some buffer from the negative effects of drought (Custer 1993). Lack of strong fidelity to breeding sites allows opportunistic use of periodically available suitable water conditions (Custer 1993). Threats in the winter range include loss of shallow shoalgrass "meadows," and increased recreational and industrial use (Custer 1993). Declines in wildcelery have been accompanied by declines in redhead use (Custer 1993).

Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding population index has increased since the low point in the early 1960s; index was at or somewhat above the USFWS management objective during the 1980s (USFWS 1988, Custer 1993). Overall, reproductive success was excellent in the mid-1990s (USFWS).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Protect the large lakes that support large postbreeding populations (Custer 1993). Protect remaining winter habitat in the Laguna Madre (Custer 1993).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDS: locally in south-central and southeastern Alaska, to western Canada and northwestern Minnesota, south to southern California and east to southern Wisconsin, northwestern Pennsylvania. Breeds in greatest abundance in the prairies and parklands of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, and South Dakota; nest densities are highest in the marshes of Nevada and Utah (Custer 1993). WINTERS: southern British Columbia, east to Nevada, northern Arkansas, and southern Illinois, eastern Indiana, eastern Michigan, New York, Connecticut, and eastern Maryland south to Mexico (most of), Guatemala, Cuba, Jamaica and Bahamas; casual in Hawaii. Primary wintering areas in the U.S. include eastern New Mexico-western Texas to Red River (Texas-Oklahoma), Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida, Atlantic coast from southern New Jersey to North Carolina, eastern Florida, and lakes Erie and Ontario (Root 1988). An estimated 80% of the total population winters on the hypersaline Laguna Madre along the Gulf Coast of northern Mexico and southern Texas (Custer 1993). Lake Winnipegosis in Manitoba is an important fall staging and molting area (Custer 1993).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NYexotic, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, NT, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Bear Lake (16007), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Bonner (16017), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Cassia (16031), Custer (16037), Fremont (16043), Gooding (16047), Jefferson (16051), Kootenai (16055), Nez Perce (16069), Power (16077)
WI Brown (55009), Dodge (55027), Waukesha (55133)
WY Sublette (56035)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Lower Fox (04030204)+
07 Upper Rock (07090001)+, Upper Fox (07120006)+
14 Big Sandy (14040104)+
16 Bear Lake (16010201)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Little Lost (17040217)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+*, Clearwater (17060306)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeding begins in late April in the south to early June in the north. Clutch size is often 7-10 eggs in the redhead's nest, plus commonly several additional eggs laid in the nests of other waterfowl. Incubation lasts 24-28 days, by female (Terres 1980). Brood size averaged 7 in Iowa, 5 in Nevada (Custer 1993). Young are tended by female, which generally deserts the brood when young are about 8 weeks old; the young fledge generally at 10-12 weeks (Custer 1993). Breeding density: 4-10 nests/sq km in the northern Great Plains, 69-214/sq km of marsh in Nevada and Utah (Custer 1993).
Ecology Comments: Annual mortality rate is relatively high, 80% in first year, 40% in second year (Bellrose 1980).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates northward March-May, reaching Canada by mid-April. Migrates southward in fall, though northward movements from nesting areas to molting areas occur in some areas (usually not in Utah) (Custer 1993).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Herbaceous wetland, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river, Tidal flat/shore
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): HERBACEOUS WETLAND
Habitat Comments: Large marshes, lakes, lagoons, rivers and bays, wintering mostly in brackish and marine lagoons and bays, less frequently in inland fresh-water situations (AOU 1983). Birds arriving in fall on saltwater wintering areas, and those wintering in high salinity areas, generally make daily flights to nearby freshwater ponds to drink, preen, and bathe (but not to feed) (Custer 1993).

The most important breeding areas are concentrated in the prairies of the U.S. and Canada. Nests in large freshwater marshes (semipermanently and seasonally flooded palustrine wetlands with persistent emergent vegetation; optimum nesting conditions are wetlands that are 2 ha or more and not more than 0.4 km from a large permanent or semipermanent lake; nests usually are placed in dense bulrush or cattail stands that are interspersed with small areas of open water; nests usually are within 3-4 m of open water; bottom of nest usually is 4-24 cm above the water (Custer 1993). Broods use shallow ponds if emergent vegetation is available for escape cover; ideally these should have high invertebrate populations; later, access to deeper water with ample pondweeds is important (Custer 1993). After nesting, many move to large lakes to molt (Custer 1993). Commonly deposits eggs in nests of other waterfowl species.

Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Omnivorous, except in winter (Custer 1993). Winter diet includes shoalgrass rhizomes and wildcelery winter buds; at other times, eats tubers, rhizomes, seeds, other parts of aquatic plants, and aquatic invertebrates, including insects, crustaceans, and mollusks (Custer 1993). In breeding season in North Dakota, 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 (Woodin and Swanson 1989). Young eat mainly animal matter initially, then shift to mainly plant matter before fledging (Custer 1993). Feeds most often by head dipping or tipping up in shallow water; diving is infrequent in many areas; may dabble for food during the breeding season (Custer 1993).
Phenology Comments: Usually feeds in mornings and evenings; may feed at night.
Length: 48 centimeters
Weight: 1100 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Harvest declined from an average of 184,000/year in the 1970s to 37,400 in 1989-1991, paralleling a decline in the number of hunter days and in seasonal bag per hunter (Custer 1993).
Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Water levels should be kept constant during the laying and incubation periods to reduce losses from flooding and predators (Custer 1993).

See Marcy (1986) for specifications for the construction and placement of wire nest baskets.

Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Diving Ducks and Sea Ducks

Use Class: Breeding
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding , or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Little information on breeding home ranges; separation distance somewhat arbitrary. Territories not defended in eiders, but goldeneyes defend small (0.18 to 1.45 hectares) territories (Eadie et al. 2000). Philopatry to breeding area strong in Common Eider (Reed 1975, Wakeley and Mendall 1976, Swennen 1990), and Spectacled Eider (Grand and Flint 1997).
Date: 29May2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Notes: Contains all members of the tribes Aythini, Mergini and Oxyurini.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Staging area, Foraging area, Roosting area
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating or staging flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/square kilometer in appropriate habitat. Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary; set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Molting area, Migration staging area, Wintering area, Non-breeding feeding concentration area, Roost
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of recurring presence of molting, staging, or wintering flocks (including historical); and potential recurring presence at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds/square kilometer in appropriate habitat. For wintering occurrences, it would be preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 20 days annually. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.
Mapping Guidance: Map roosting and feeding areas with separate polygons in same EO.
Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Fidelity to molting sites (one or two lakes) high in Barrow's Goldeneye (van de Wetering 1997); fidelity to wintering sites probably high in Barrow's Goldeneye (Savard 1985). Separation distance somewhat arbitrary, set at 10 kilometers to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of foraging birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.
Date: 21Mar2001
Author: Cannings, S.
Notes: Contains all members of the tribes Aythini, Mergini and Oxyurini.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 21Aug1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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Citation for data on website including State Distribution, Watershed, and Reptile Range maps:
NatureServe. 2018. NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. Version 7.1. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available http://explorer.natureserve.org. (Accessed:

Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Bird Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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