• Redhead

    Common NameRedhead
    Scientific NameAythya americana
    Type of ReportOut-of-Season
    Date of Observation08/28/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameJim Mead
    Mailing Address798 Metcalf Drive
    Williston, VT 05495
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed08/31/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Bill & Mae Mayville also saw the bird with me.

    Latitude of Observation44º24'10.5"N
    Longitude of Observation73º13'56.5"W
    Place NameShelburne Bay
    Vermont eBird Checklist URLebird.org
    Time of Day04:10 PM
    Length of Time Observed25 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)80'
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)50'
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Mild NE wind 3 mph, 71ºF, blue skies

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Zeiss 8.5x42 FL T bins and Kowa TSN-884 Prominar Scope w/ 20x60 power eyepiece.

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    I have seen many Redheads in VT but this is only the second time seeing one in August. I also saw one at the Champlain bridge in Addison on 8/24/2014.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Shelburne Bay but observed bird from Shelburne Bay Park parking lot access to the bay. It was with 2 Gadwall and a few Mallards.

    Behaviors Observed

    It was tipping up and feeding with the dabblers. It also did a couple of quick dives. I saw it flap its' wings once. It also preened & scratch its' head with its' foot a couple of times. It did notice us but did not seem alarmed by our presence. It did not fly during my observation.

    Description of Vocalizations

    It did not vocalize during my observation.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    I first saw it from the big rock at the end of the Shelburne Bay parking lot, then drove over to the end of the road at the Shelburne Bay Park (just west of the Shelburne Bay parking lot) because it was much closer and I knew the sun angle would be better from there. I knew that species confirmation would be much more reliable from there. It was with a small group of dabblers very close to the western edge of the bay.

    Relative Size & Shape

    Medium sized diving duck with round head.


    The entire head and neck were reddish/rufous in color with an orange/yellowish iris & black pupil.

    Feet & Bill

    The feet and legs were very dark gray to blackish colored. The bill was quite dark with a black tip and a slight whitish colored line that was straight across the bill between them. It was flat across the bottom and down curved along the top edge.

    Upper Back

    The upper back was gray colored.

    Lower Back & Rump

    The lower back and rump were also gray colored.


    The wings at rest were also gray colored but I did see it flap once and the primaries & secondaries were whitish. The forewing was grayish.

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    The breast was pretty dark almost black colored. The belly was light colored (whitish) and the flanks were light gray colored. I did not see the under tail coverts.


    The tail was pointed upward most of the time. It was gray with a lighter tip.

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Canvasback was eliminated because this duck did not have a long neck or a long straight upper and lower edged all dark bill. Common Pochard is the species that would be most like this duck. I ruled it out because the Pochard would show a long whitish area on the upper mandible between a black base and tip. The base of the tip would be angular across the bill, not straight across the bill like this bird showed.

    Other Notes & Comments

    This was an adult male in transitional plumage. It was changing from basic to alternate but had a long way to go still.

    This report was written from notes taken:During the Observation

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