One of the fastest flying ducks, reaching speeds of 55 miles per hour in the air
Can be identified in flight by its white body and black chest
Usually quiet during non-breeding season
Reproduction and Life Cycle:
Begins courting and forming pairs in early spring, before it leaves the Bay region for its northern breeding grounds
The oldest recorded canvasback was 22 years old
Gets part of its scientific name, valisineria, from the scientific name of wild celery, Vallisneria americana, its favorite food
The largest diving duck species
Canvasbacks are powerful swimmers. However, like other diving ducks, they are clumsy on land because their legs are located far back on the body.
Nearly half of North America’s canvasbacks used to winter in the Chesapeake Bay region. That figure has since declined to about 20 percent because of lack of available food. However, canvasback populations appear to be slowly recovering due to better protection measures.