Tufted duck

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Tufted duck
Male / Female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Aythyinae
Genus: Aythya
Species: A. fuligula
Binomial name
Aythya fuligula
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Tufted Duck Range.png
Global range     Year-Round Range     Summer Range     Winter Range

The tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) is a small diving duck with a population of close to one million birds. The scientific name is derived from Ancient Greek aithuia an unidentified seabird mentioned by authors including Hesychius and Aristotle, and Latin, fuligo "soot" and gula "throat".[2]


The adult male is all black except for white flanks and a blue-grey bill with gold-yellow eyes. It has an obvious head tuft that gives the species its name. The adult female is brown with paler flanks, and is more easily confused with other diving ducks. In particular, some have white around the bill base which resembles the scaup species, although the white is never as extensive as in those ducks. The females' call is a harsh, growling "karr", mostly given in flight. The males are mostly silent but they make whistles during courtship based on a simple "wit-oo".

The only duck which is at all similar is the drake greater scaup which, however, has no tuft and a different call.

The tufted duck is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.


The tufted duck breeds throughout temperate and northern Eurasia. It occasionally can be found as a winter visitor along both coasts of the United States and Canada. It is believed to have expanded its traditional range with the increased availability of open water due to gravel extraction, and the spread of freshwater mussels, a favourite food. These ducks are migratory in most of their range, and overwinter in the milder south and west of Europe, southern Asia and all year in most of the United Kingdom. They form large flocks on open water in winter.


Their breeding habitat is close to marshes and lakes with plenty of vegetation to conceal the nest. They are also found on coastal lagoons, the seashore, and sheltered ponds.


These birds feed mainly by diving, but they will sometimes upend from the surface.[3] They eat molluscs, aquatic insects and some plants and sometimes feed at night.



  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Aythya fuligula". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 64, 165. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  3. ^ Ogilvie, Malcolm A. (1986). "Tufted Duck". In Lack, Peter. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and Ireland. London, UK: T & AD Poyser. p. 110. ISBN 978-1-4081-3828-1. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 

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