Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Canvasback

Aythya valisineria 

Grote tafeleend / Riesentafelente / Milouin à dos blanc

Both sexes have long, sloping foreheads and slender black bills. The drake's head and neck is reddish-brown, which turns very dark above the bill. The breast, mantle and tail are black; the rest of the body is gray that is finely vermiculated. The hen is quite unlike others of this genus, the head and neck are brown, with a white line running through the eye and the rest of the body a light grayish-buff. The legs and feet of both sexes are drak grayish-blue.

 

The largest of the pochards, the colors of the Canvasback are similar to the Redhead (Aythya americana) and the European pochard (Aythya ferina). It's slender build makes it readily distinguishable from the other two species. They breed over much of western western North America, from central Alaska, through Canada south to Utah and east to Nebraska and Iowa. They maybe year-round residents in part of the range, but most Winter along the Pacific Coast, east through Mexico, the Mississippi Valley and the Atlantic Coast.

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN 2012).

 

Canvasback in aviculture

In the wild, nests are made of a cup reeds in shallow water, usually hidden very well. In captivity, you should try to make the water source hidden using reeds or pampas grass. Hens begin to lay their clutch of 7 to 10 eggs towards the end of April. In the wild, nests are made of a cup reeds in shallow water, usually hidden very well. Incubation lasts about 26 days.
They are not as often seen in American aviaries as their close relative, the Redhead, or the European pochard in European aviaries. Canvasbacks require a more specialized wetland "environment" to be kept and bred successfully. The water source needs to be large and surrounded by plenty of vegetation. Canvasbacks are hardy during the Winter, and require only slight protection from the elements. They are calm and mix well with other species. Canvasbacks are among the fastest flying of all waterfowl.

 

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Above: adult drake Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drake Canvasback

 

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Above: adult female Canvasback

 

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Above: old male Canvasback

 

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Above: adult female Canvasback

 

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Above: adult pair of Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drake Canvasback

 

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Above: a group of Canvasbacks

 

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Above: adult drakes Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drakes Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drake Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drake Canvasback

 

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Above: adult drakes Canvasback (foreground)

 

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Above: adult female Canvasback

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