British Waterfowl Association


smart Canvasback sitting down
Canvasback — Jonathan Beilby

Canvasbacks feed on vegetation, often diving to excavate what they can find on the bottom. The females select the nest sites, often in vegetation over water. 

Canvasback pair — International Wild Waterfowl Association

Aythya valisineria

The Canvasback is a common, large diving duck, native to North America. They have a well-established breeding population through central Canada, north through the middle of the continent into central and northern Alaska. They over-winter in the southern United States and along the west and east coasts of Canada as well. There is significant overlap between breeding areas and over-wintering spots. There are some isolated breeding populations along the Canadian border with the United States.

Canvasback family — Pinola Conservancy

This duck spends most of its breeding season in freshwater lakes and prairie potholes. They re-establish new mates each year, while aggregating in winter colonies. 

Canvasback drakes at Pinola
Canvasback drakes — Pinola Conservancy

Canvasbacks lay 5-10 eggs, the duck incubates for 24-26 days and she rears the young. Nests are often parasitized by their close cousin, the Redhead. Canvasbacks are relatively common in captivity.