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Waterfowl Identification in the Central Flyway

Bufflehead (Butterball)


Male - Winter

GIF -- Picture of Male Bufflehead-Winter

Body: Small duck, up to 1 pound, 12-14 inches long. White belly and sides with black back and dusky rump. Puffy-appearing head with multicolored iridescence and fan-shaped white patch. Bill short and bluish gray. Feet pinkish. Wings: Mostly black. Coverts and secondaries form large white patch. Voice: Squeaky whistle. In Flight: Small flighty bird. White belly. Puffy head. White head-patch and trailing edge of underwings evident.

Male - Fall

GIF -- Picture of Male Bufflehead-Fall

Ranging from a mottled grayish white to near-winter coloration. Head puffy and brownish. White head-patch streaked with dusky black. Bill, feet and wings same as in winter.

Female - All Seasons

GIF -- Picture of Female Bufflehead

Body: Grayish white with brown back, tail and rump. Head puffy-appearing and brown with small white patch behind eye. Bill and feet brownish gray. Wings: Brown with inner secondaries forming small white portion of speculum. Voice: Hoarse quack.

GIF -- Picture of Buffleheads in Flight


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