Bucephala albeola - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Bufflehead
Other English Common Names: bufflehead
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Bucephala albeola (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 175145)
French Common Names: petit garrot
Spanish Common Names: Pato Monja
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104714
Element Code: ABNJB18030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Waterfowl
Image 11005

© Jeff Nadler

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae Bucephala
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 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: Bucephala albeola
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 (29Jan2018)

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 (S5B,S5N), Arizona (S5N), Arkansas (S4N), California (SNR), Colorado (S1B), Connecticut (SNA), Delaware (S4N), District of Columbia (S1S2N), Florida (SNRN), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S1B,S1N), Illinois (SNA), Indiana (S4N), Iowa (S3N), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (S3N), Louisiana (S4N), Maine (S5N), Maryland (S5N), Massachusetts (S5N), Michigan (SNRN), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S4N), Missouri (SNRN), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S4N), Nebraska (SNRN), Nevada (S4N), New Hampshire (SNA), New Jersey (SNA), New Mexico (S5N), New York (SNRN), North Carolina (S5N), North Dakota (S4), Ohio (SNRN), Oklahoma (S4N), Oregon (S2B,S5N), Pennsylvania (S4N), Rhode Island (SNA), South Carolina (SNRN), South Dakota (S1B,S2N), Tennessee (S5N), Texas (S5N), Utah (S3S4N), Vermont (S4N), Virginia (SNRN), Washington (S4B,S4N), West Virginia (S4N), Wisconsin (SNA), Wyoming (S2B)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S5B,SNRN), Labrador (S2M), Manitoba (S4S5B), New Brunswick (S3M,S2N), Newfoundland Island (S2N,SUM), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S3S4N), Ontario (S4), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S4B), Saskatchewan (S5B,S3M,S1N), Yukon Territory (S4B)

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: BREEDING: central Alaska, Mackenzie Delta, northern Prairie Provinces, northern Ontario, south to northern Washington, northern Montana; locally south to the mountains of Oregon, northern California, and northern Colorado (Andrews and Righter 1992). NON-BREEDING: Aleutians, Alaska Peninsula, Great Lakes, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, south to Baja California, mainland Mexico, Gulf Coast, Florida; occasionally in Hawaii. The most abundant wintering populations include those around Vancouver Island, along the Atlantic coast from the Bay of Fundy to Chesapeake Bay, and in northern California-southern Oregon, Mississippi, eastern New Mexico (Root 1988).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: Populations increased in the northeastern U.S., 1927-1966; during the same period, populations increased slightly in the Great Lakes region and the southeastern U.S., and declined in the West (Bellrose 1980).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: central Alaska, Mackenzie Delta, northern Prairie Provinces, northern Ontario, south to northern Washington, northern Montana; locally south to the mountains of Oregon, northern California, and northern Colorado (Andrews and Righter 1992). NON-BREEDING: Aleutians, Alaska Peninsula, Great Lakes, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, south to Baja California, mainland Mexico, Gulf Coast, Florida; occasionally in Hawaii. The most abundant wintering populations include those around Vancouver Island, along the Atlantic coast from the Bay of Fundy to Chesapeake Bay, and in northern California-southern Oregon, Mississippi, eastern New Mexico (Root 1988).

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, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, ON, PE, 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), Adams (16003), Bannock (16005), Bear Lake (16007), Benewah (16009), Bingham (16011), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Bonneville (16019), Boundary (16021), Camas (16025), Canyon (16027), Cassia (16031), Clark (16033), Clearwater (16035), Custer (16037), Elmore (16039), Franklin (16041), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Gooding (16047), Idaho (16049), Jefferson (16051), Jerome (16053), Kootenai (16055), Latah (16057), Lemhi (16059), Lewis (16061), Madison (16065), Minidoka (16067), Nez Perce (16069), Oneida (16071), Owyhee (16073), Payette (16075), Power (16077), Shoshone (16079), Twin Falls (16083), Valley (16085), Washington (16087)
ND Bottineau (38009)
OR Clackamas (41005), Deschutes (41017), Douglas (41019), Jefferson (41031)*, Klamath (41035)*, Lane (41039), Marion (41047)*
SD Brookings (46011), Hamlin (46057), Roberts (46109)
WA Chelan (53007), King (53033)
WY Albany (56001), Big Horn (56003), Campbell (56005), Carbon (56007), Converse (56009), Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Goshen (56015), Hot Springs (56017), Johnson (56019), Laramie (56021), Lincoln (56023), Natrona (56025), Niobrara (56027), Park (56029), Platte (56031), Sheridan (56033), Sublette (56035), Sweetwater (56037), Teton (56039), Uinta (56041), Washakie (56043), Weston (56045)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+
09 Willow (09010004)+
10 Yellowstone Headwaters (10070001)+, Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006)+, Upper Wind (10080001)+, Little Wind (10080002)+, Popo Agie (10080003)+, Muskrat (10080004)+*, Lower Wind (10080005)+, Upper Bighorn (10080007)+, Nowood (10080008)+, Greybull (10080009)+, Shoshone (10080014)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Upper Powder (10090202)+, South Fork Powder (10090203)+, Crazy Woman (10090205)+, Clear (10090206)+, Middle Powder (10090207)+, Little Powder (10090208)+, Angostura Reservoir (10120106)+, Beaver (10120107)+, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Upper Big Sioux (10170202)+, Upper North Platte (10180002)+, Pathfinder-Seminoe Reservoirs (10180003)+, Medicine Bow (10180004)+, Little Medicine Bow (10180005)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+, Glendo Reservoir (10180008)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+, Lower Laramie (10180011)+, Horse (10180012)+, Crow (10190009)+, Upper Lodgepole (10190015)+
14 Upper Green (14040101)+, New Fork (14040102)+, Upper Green-Slate (14040103)+, Big Sandy (14040104)+, Bitter (14040105)+, Upper Green-Flaming Gorge Reservoir (14040106)+, Blacks Fork (14040107)+, Muddy (14040108)+, Great Divide closed basin (14040200)+, Muddy (14050004)+
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Central Bear (16010102)+, Bear Lake (16010201)+, Middle Bear (16010202)+, Lower Bear-Malad (16010204)+
17 Lower Kootenai (17010104)+, Lower Clark Fork (17010213)+, Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Priest (17010215)+, Pend Oreille (17010216)+, South Fork Coeur D'alene (17010302)+, Coeur D'alene Lake (17010303)+, St. Joe (17010304)+, Upper Spokane (17010305)+, Hangman (17010306)+, Lake Chelan (17020009)+, Snake headwaters (17040101)+, Gros Ventre (17040102)+, Greys-Hobock (17040103)+, Palisades (17040104)+, Salt (17040105)+, Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Willow (17040205)+, American Falls (17040206)+, Portneuf (17040208)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, Raft (17040210)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Salmon Falls (17040213)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Big Wood (17040219)+, Camas (17040220)+, Little Wood (17040221)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Upper Owyhee (17050104)+, Jordan (17050108)+, South Fork Boise (17050113)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Middle Snake-Payette (17050115)+, Middle Fork Payette (17050121)+, Payette (17050122)+, North Fork Payette (17050123)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Hells Canyon (17060101)+, Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103)+, Lower Snake-Tucannon (17060107)+, Palouse (17060108)+, Upper Salmon (17060201)+, Lemhi (17060204)+, Upper Middle Fork Salmon (17060205)+, Middle Salmon-Chamberlain (17060207)+, Lower Salmon (17060209)+, Little Salmon (17060210)+, Lower Selway (17060302)+, Lochsa (17060303)+, South Fork Clearwater (17060305)+, Clearwater (17060306)+, Upper North Fork Clearwater (17060307)+, Lower North Fork Clearwater (17060308)+, Upper Deschutes (17070301)+, Lower Deschutes (17070306)+*, Middle Fork Willamette (17090001)+, Mckenzie (17090004)+, Clackamas (17090011)+, North Umpqua (17100301)+, Snoqualmie (17110010)+
18 Williamson (18010201)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bird (duck).
Reproduction Comments: Breeding begins mid-May in south to early June in north (Harrison 1978). Clutch size 6-11 (avg. 7-9). Incubation 28-33 days, by female (Terres 1980). In British Columbia, mean hatching date is mid- to late June (Savard et al. 1991). Young tended by female, fly 50-55 days after hatching. First breeds at 2 yr.
Ecology Comments: Usually seen in small groups of twos or threes. Female strongly defends brood territory. In British Columbia, breeding density not limited by nest sites but rather by territorial behavior (Gauthier and Smith 1987); also, may be excluded from some ponds at high Barrow's goldeneye densities (Savard et al. 1991).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates northward February-April. Begins moving southward from October into November.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Bay/sound, Lagoon, River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): Low gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Lakes, ponds, rivers and seacoasts (AOU 1983). Breeds in tree cavities in mixed coniferous-deciduous woodland near lakes and ponds (AOU 1983). Usually nests in natural tree cavities, or abandoned flicker holes. Females often nest in same site in successive years. NON-BREEDING: wintering on sheltered bays and estuaries as well as open freshwater situations (AOU 1983).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: In fresh water feeds on aquatic insects, snails, amphipods, small fishes, and some aquatic plants. In salt water eats crustaceans, molluscs, fishes, and some aquatic plants. Often feeds in small groups, diving or watching for danger.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Usually migrates at night.
Length: 34 centimeters
Weight: 473 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: Will use nest boxes (see Gauthier 1988 for specifications and recommendations on placement); should be at least 30 cm deep, at least 100 m apart, close to water in dense forest dominated by conifers.
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: 16Mar1994
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).

References
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  • Ringleman, J. K. 1990. Buffleheads. Colorado Outdoors 39:8-9.

  • Ringleman, J. K. and K. J. Kehmeier. 1990. Buffleheads breeding in Colorado. C.F.O. Journal. 24:46-48.

  • Root, T. 1988. Atlas of wintering North American birds: An analysis of Christmas Bird Count data. University of Chicago Press. 336 pp.

  • Savard, J.-P. L., G. E. J. Smith, and J. N. M. Smith. 1991. Duckling mortality in Barrow's goldeneye and bufflehead broods. Auk 108:568-577.

  • See SERO listing

  • Semenchuk, G.P. 1992. The atlas of breeding birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 391 pp.

  • Sibley, D. A. 2000a. The Sibley guide to birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Sinclair, P.H., W.A. Nixon, C.D. Eckert and N.L. Hughes. 2003. Birds of the Yukon Territory. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC. 595pp.

  • Stokes, D. W., and L. Q. Stokes. 1996. Stokes field guide to birds: western region. Little, Brown & Company Limited, Boston.

  • Swennen, C. 1990. Dispersal and migratory movements of eiders SOMATERIA MOLLISSIMA breeding in the Netherlands. Ornis Scand. 21:17-27.

  • THOMPSON,M.C., AND C. ELY.1989. BIRDS IN KANSAS VOLUME ONE.

  • Terres, J. K. 1980. The Audubon Society encyclopedia of North American birds. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.

  • Wakeley, J. S., and H. L. Mendall. 1976. Migrational homing and survival of adult female eiders in Maine. Journal of Wildlife Management 40:15-21.

  • Wildlife Management Information System (WMIS). 2006+. Geo-referenced wildlife datasets (1900 to present) from all projects conducted by Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, Canada.  Available at http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/programs/wildlife-research/wildlife-management-information-services

  • Wilkins, K.A., M.C. Otto and G.W. Smith. 2000. Trends in duck breeding populations, 1955-2000. Administrative Report. Office of Migratory Bird Management. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 19 pp.

  • Wood, MERRILL. 1979. BIRDS OF PENNSYLVANIA. PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIV., UNIVERSITY PARK. 133 PP.

  • eBird. 2016. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. Accessed in 2016.

  • eBird. 2018. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Available: http://www.ebird.org. Accessed in 2018.

  • van de Wetering, D. 1997. Moult characteristics and habitat selection of post-breeding male Barrow's Goldeneye (BUCEPHALA ISLANDICA) in northern Yukon. Technical Report Series No. 296, Canadian Wildlife Service, Quebec Region.

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