By JEEANNE RAIMOND
The Redhead (Athya americana) is a medium-sized, long-billed, and short-bodied duck. Although the Redhead is a diving duck, it prefers shallow water and frequents marshes, ponds, lakes, and bays. Its flight is fast and strong, and it runs over water to get airborne.
Mainly a winter visitor here at Mission trails Regional Park, the Redhead can be seen on Lake Murray and sometimes on Kumeyaay Lake. San Diego is the furthest south for its breeding range. In summer, Redheads may range all the way to Alaska.
Redheads may crossbreed with Wood Ducks, Northern Pintails, Canvasbacks (which they closely resemble), Greater and Lesser Scaups, and Ring-necked Ducks. Now that could really confuse any serious birder!
— Jeanne Raimond is a trail guide at MissioN Trails Regional Park.