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Aythya valisineria


The canvasback is distinguished from other ducks by its sloping profile. The male has a rusty red head, white body, and black chest and rear end. The female is drabber and marked in brown and gray.

male Canvasback

female Canvasback

Distribution and Habitat

The canvasback breeds in prairie potholes from Alaska to the Northwest Territories, southward to Nevada and Minnesota. It winters on ocean bays, lakes and rivers across much of coastal and southern United States.

distribution of the Canvasback


The canvasback's species name of valisineria comes from Vallisneria americana, the scientific name for wild celery, the winter buds and rhizomes of which are the duck's preferred food during the non-breeding period. It also feeds on the seeds, leaves and roots of other plants, as well as on snails and insect larvae.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
class Aves
order Anseriformes
family Anatidae
subfamily Anatinae
genus & species Aythya valisineria

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Birds >> Order Anseriformes

This page was last updated on March 22, 2018.