Increased Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola) Breeding Activity in Minnesota

Susan N. Ellis-Felege, Cassandra G. Skaggs, Gregory A. Knutsen


Buffleheads (Bucephala albeola) predominantly nest in the boreal forests and aspen parklands of Canada and Alaska. Historically, Buffleheads were common migrants but not summer residents in Minnesota. However, recent observations in Minnesota and surrounding states suggest increased breeding activity in the region. In 1978, the first Bufflehead brood in Minnesota was recorded at East Park Wildlife Management Area. Annually, Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) has conducted pair and brood surveys, with species-specific records available from 1990 to 2014. We report an increase in numbers of Bufflehead breeding pairs and broods at Agassiz NWR and new pair observations in surrounding areas.


Breeding range; Bucephala albeola; Bufflehead; cavity nesting; expansion; Great Plains; upper midwest

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