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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Ducks at a Distance
A Waterfowl Identification Guide


GIF -- Picture of canvasbacks

Normally late to start south, canvasbacks migrate in lines and irregular V's. In feeding areas, compact flocks fly in indefinite formations. Their wingbeat is rapid and noisy; their speed is the swiftest of all our ducks. Feeding behavior is highly variable. In some areas they feed at night and spend the day rafted up in open waters; in other areas they feed inshore mornings and evenings.

GIF -- Picture of Flock Pattern

On the water, body size and head shape distinguish them from scaups and redheads. Drakes croak, peep, and growl; hens have a mallard-like quack.

GIF -- Picture of Wings

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