Definition of bufflehead in English:



  • A small North American diving duck related to the goldeneye, with a large puffy head. The male has white plumage with a black back.

    • ‘And wigeon and scaup, teal and shovelers, buffleheads and a few mottled ducks.’
    • ‘The sea ducks - common golden-eyes and buffleheads - are up in central Alaska.’
    • ‘Neophytes at duck identification often confuse a bufflehead with a male hooded merganser when the latter's crest is raised showing a large patch of white feathers.’
    • ‘The marsh hawk perches in a bare cottonwood tree, scowling at a flock of bufflehead ducks bobbing on the marsh.’
    • ‘These ducks are diving, not just dunking, but really diving under the water head first, going completely under like a merganser or bufflehead, and not appearing to be surface feeding at all.’


Mid 17th century (in the sense ‘simpleton’): from obsolete buffle ‘buffalo’+ head. The current sense (mid 18th century) may be an independent formation because of the duck's large square-shaped head.