The Red Head Duck is one of the three chestnut-headed diving ducks found in the Northern Hemisphere, and is closely related to the Canvasback and the Pouchard. Although a well-known bird in aviculture, their parasitic nesting habits can cause them to be troublesome in the aviary.
While some individuals will make their own nest and incubate their own eggs, others prefer to dump their eggs in the nest of another species, often destroying the eggs of the original owner. Because of this I keep my Redheads with other species that mostly likely will nest where the Redheads cannot bother them. Red Heads can cause little trouble for Wood Ducks, Mandarins or any other species that utilize a raised nesting box. They can also be kept with smaller species that nest on the ground as long as most of nest boxes have entrances too small for the larger Red Head to enter.
Other than their tendencies toward parasitic nesting, Reds Heads for the most part have no other vices. They are a hardy species, are not aggressive to other birds, have no special needs to raise and keep in the aviary. They will often lay their first year. The eggs are bluish in color, and are rather large and thick shelled. Clutches consist of 9-14 eggs and are incubated for about 24 days. Ducklings of this species are not difficult to raise.
The Red Head only has one color mutation that I am aware of which is The Silver Red Head (pictured above). This color mutation was once more commonly kept but now seems to be declining.
For more information on the silver color mutation in Red Heads please see the Wood Duck page, as the genetics for silver work the same in both species