Family: Anatidae, Ducks and Geese view all from this family
Description ADULT MALE Has light gray belly and flanks, the leading edge of which is pale and appears as a vertical white line in swimming birds. The plumage is otherwise mainly black, although in good light note the purple sheen to the head and neck. Note also the white border defining base of bill. ADULT FEMALE Has a grayish head with a white patch at base of bill, and a white "spectacle" around eye. Body plumage is brown, palest on belly and flanks. JUVENILE Similar to adult female, but with less well-marked bill.
Dimensions Length: 14-18" (36-46 cm)
Habitat Widespread and locally common within breeding range in summer on ponds and marshes. In winter, found on freshwater lakes, and on coasts, across southern states.
Observation Tips Easiest to observe in winter.
Range Florida, Northwest, Southwest, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Texas, Southeast, Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, Plains, Western Canada, California, New England, Rocky Mountains
Voice Mostly silent.
Discussion Distinctive diving duck that feeds on submerged seeds, roots, and invertebrates. Male in particular is strikingly marked, but both sexes can be recognized by peaked crown and tricolored bill: dark gray with a subterminal white band and black tip. In flight, all birds show whitish underwings and pale gray flight feathers, contrasting with darker upper wing coverts.