Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Evening Creature Feature, Bufflehead

I was able to get some shots off of a pair of Bufflehead over by Eastern Point Light. The lighting was prefect for picking up the colors off of the male. Bufflehead are our smallest duck, measuring in at a whopping 13 inches. They are so small that they get lost in the waves.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

One must ask, “From where did the name Bufflehead originate?” I have three independent resources that state in one way or another that it is from “buffalo” + “head” because of the comparison of the “remarkable shape of the head to that of the bull bison or buffalo.”

 ©2011 Steve Borichevsky

The usage started around 1731. It just goes to show that drug use was rampant in the 18th century.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

But nevertheless Bufflehead are wonderful little ducks and very shy. Their comfy zone is about 10 feet further than my lens can reach.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

This is the first time that I’ve been able to get good shots of the drake with his iridescent head.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Another factoid that I picked up on. The Bufflehead Bucephala albeola are in the same genus as the Common Goldeneye and Barrow’s Goldeneye. My big-boy waterfowl book warns against confusing this with other Common Goldeneye. (Okay, I’ll be sure to keep my binoculars clean.)

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Now I know you are all wondering why Bucephala albeola. Well, I’m going to tell you.

Bucephala is from Gr. bous, “ox or bull,” plus Gr. kephale,  “head”; for the shape of the head and not for  the famous horse of Alexander. B. albeola; L. albus, “white”; L. –olus, diminutive suffix; “little white head,” which is appropriate as the predominant color is white.

©2011 Steve Borichevsky

Now if you’re interested, I’ve got some pretty good shots of a female that posted a while ago. Check them out.

1 comment:

Roy said...

What a brilliant looking Duck.

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