Variant female Redheads with white heads - 3 photos

Female Redheads with variable amounts of white on their heads. Photo by Jeff DiMatteo.


Dave Ankney said this female Redhead had a snow white throat not visible in the photo and it had the most white on the head of the birds he has seen. Photo by Dave Ankney.


Redhead: female white-headed variant. Photo by Paul Link.



1. From Palmer, R. S. 1976. Handbook of North American Birds, Waterfowl, Vol. 3, pp. 164-165. "NOTES: Females usually have some white feathers on the head, especially on rear of crown and on upper nape (illustration in Weller 1957), the number of these seemingly increasing with age but the most conspicuous increase occurs during 2nd fall-winter. Nearly all wild [females] have a few white feathers, captive [females] rarely. The location of such feathers is an indication that they occur as a result of damage to feather follicles when the drake pinches the head of the [female] during copulation (Weller). A [female] in Feb. had a white throat, ventral upper neck, patches on forehead and lores, and also white feathers distributed sparsely on cheeks, nape, and sides and back of neck."


2. From Weller, M. W. 1957. Wilson Bulletin 69 (1): 4-38. Quote, page 25. "Adults...usually have white feathers on the back of the head (Fig. 13). These white head feathers are of particular interest; their numbers seem to increase with age as in hawks (Brooks 1920), but the most conspicuous change appears to occur during the second fall and winter. Nearly all wild hens have a few white feathers, but captive females rarely do. The location of these feathers suggests that they may develop as a result of damage to the feather follicle when the male pinches the female's head during copulation. However, attempts to induct formation of white feathers in four females by pinching the skin with pliers were unsuccessful. White feathers occur less frequently and less abundantly in other members of the genus Aythya in North American and in the European Pochard."