(Courtesy of Paul Slichter
Flora & Fauna Northwest
These ducks are the smallest North American species of diving ducks, reaching lengths of 15" (38 cm). The males are mostly white with a dark green head. They have a distinctive white patch on their head. Females are gray with a small white patch behind the eye. Unlike most diving ducks that need to get a running start on the water, Bufflehead can take off directly from the water. They fish in numbers, with one duck at the surface keeping lookout for predators while the others are diving for small crustaceans and aquatic insects. The Bay is a common wintering ground for the Bufflehead.