Scientific name: Aythya fuligula
Status: Resident breeder and winter visitor
Breeding birds: 16,000 – 19,000 pairs
Wintering birds: 110,000
Conservation status: Green
Length: 40 – 47 cm
Wingspan: 67 – 73 cm
Weight: 450 – 1,000 g
In summer male tufted ducks have black heads, breasts and upper parts and white flanks and underparts. They have white flight feathers with black tips and pale grey underwings. They have black heads with purple and green iridescence and a long black crest at the back of the head.
Tufted ducks have pale blue bills with black tips, yellow eyes and black webbed feet and legs.
During winter their crests are shorted and their plumage is brown or buff.
Female tufted ducks are dark brown with a white area on the belly and her crest is shorter. Juveniles tufted ducks are similar to females with a darker bill and duller brown eyes. They do not have crests.
Tufted ducks nest in pairs or loose groups with nests near water about 10 metres apart. Females build a bowl shaped nest on the ground from grass and feathers and lined with dow and vegetation.
Tufted ducks lay 8-10 olive grey eggs which the female incubates alone for 26-28 days. The ducklings fledge about 45 days after hatching.
Tufted ducks eat mainly plant matter such as roots, seeds and buds of aquatic plants. They will also eat molluscs, crayfish, snails, crustaceans and aquatic insects as well occasionally small fish and amphibians.
Where to see them
Tufted ducks can be found all year round across the UK in reservoirs, lakes and ponds.
Did you know?
The scientific name is derived from the Latin for soot, “fuligo” and throat “hula”.