Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
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.
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.