Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Aythya / Species
< >  Aythya valisineria - Canvasback (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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(Waterfowl)

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Can
Riesentafelente (German)
Fuligule à dos blanc (French)
Milouin aux yeux rouges (French)
Porrón coacoxtle (Spanish)
Pato lomo cruzado (Spanish)
Aythya vallisneria

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B26.

Aviculture references:
B29, B30, B31, B40, B94, B96, B97, B128.w1
D1, D8.

Other References

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Pochards are diving ducks which spend most of their time on water, and are ungainly on land. They are generally hardy, sociable and easy to maintain in captivity. They should be kept with deep water available for diving, three to seven feet suggested (B29), or at least half the area 60cm and preferably one metre deep (D1), with shallow sloping banks for easy exit from the water, also islands, good marginal vegetation and loafing areas. Water providing a good supply of natural animal and vegetable food is preferred.
  • These ducks may be kept in mixed collections with dabbling ducks, including smaller species such as teal. They should be fed wheat in water, encouraging their natural diving behaviour. Pellets should also be fed. They may breed better if a group rather than single pair kept, as this allows their normal group displaying activity.
  • 12x12x14 inch (30x30x35cm) nest box with 5 inch (12.5cm) entrance hole suggested, placed under cover at the edge of the pond (B128.w1).

(B29, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1).

Species-specific information:

  • Canvasbacks are winter-hardy, but should have shelter available during prolonged frosts. These ducks should be provided with ample water including a deep diving area, and seclusion with cover such as tall grasses and rushes. They may be fed grain, pellets, green food, grass, bread, extra green food - aquatic plants preferred.
  • These ducks are not easy to breed. Cover such as tall grasses and rushes are preferred for breeding, although the ducks will also use ground-level nest boxes and may lay in more open cover. Breeding may start end-March, but more usually at least a month later (B31), April to May (B29).
  • This species shows a strong tendency to hybridise with both Aythya spp. and Netta spp.; in particular, they should be kept separate from Aythya ferina - Common pochard and Aythya americana - Redhead during the main courtship period (end of winter). Hybrids have also been reported with Anas platyrhynchos - Mallard and other similar Anas species.

(B29, B31, B94, B96, B97).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: L 11.0mm. (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 19-24 inches, 48-61cm (B3, B1)
Adult weight General 850-1600g (B1).
Male 850-1600g average 1252g (B1).
Female 900-1530g average 1154g (B3).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Black, long.
Variations (If present) --
Eyes (Iris) Male Red.
Variations(If present) Female: brown.
Juvenile Bill Black.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Legs

Adult Male Blue-grey.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Blue-grey.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and long neck red-chestnut, high crown. Breast, rump, tail and tail coverts black, rest of body very pale grey, vermiculated. Wings grey, primaries darker than secondaries.
Variations (If present) Female: head (with high crown as male) and neck mid-brown with pale throat and whitish line back from eye, breast slightly darker brown, rump, tail and tail coverts dark brown. Underparts pale grey, upperparts brownish grey. Browner in summer.

Eclipse: duller than breeding plumage, pattern overlaid with brown.

Juvenile Similar to female but browner.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: upperparts brown with yellow patches on wings and back, underparts including sides of head and neck yellow.
Bill: Grey.
Feet: Grey.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins May/June.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Usually above shallow water, a bulky structure of plant matter, down-lined.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 9-10 (B1); 8-10 (B8).
Egg Description Bright olive or grey-olive (B3, B8); 63x45mm, 68g (B3).

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Incubation

About 24 days (B1); 23-29 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

63-77 days (B1); 60-77 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One year old.
Females One year old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive for waterweeds, also dabble and pluck.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building By female.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Tended by female
Juveniles

Sometimes abandoned by female relatively early.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Concentrate in large numbers (thousands) on traditional feeding sites.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal pair bonds.

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Predation in Wild

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Activity Patterns

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Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Basically vegetarian, consume stems, leaves, roots, seeds, tubers of aquatic plants, grasses, sedges, stubble, also aquatic insects, molluscs, small fish.

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Newly-hatched

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Central Alaska and western Canada south to north-eastern California and Minnesota, USA.

Migrates to coastal (Atlantic and Pacific) lowlands of USA and central America.

Occasional and Accidental Occasionally reaching Guatemala, sometimes Bermuda, Cuba, vagrants reaching Japan, Hawaii, Marshall Islands in Pacific Ocean.
Introduced

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Habitat

Shallow freshwater prairie marshes and swamps with extensive fringe vegetation and also open water. Larger lakes and coastal lagoons in winter.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Variable population (B1).

CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Serious declines in prolonged droughts. Previously high hunting pressure (B1, B8).

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Captive Populations

Reasonably common in collections (B8).

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Trade

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