© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, Jouko Lehmuskallio, M. & W. von Wright (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland). Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Tufted Duck

Aythya fuligula

  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A small, stocky diving duck with a thick neck and a largish head. Male black and white, female brown. Size of tuft on back of neck varies on birds of different sexes and ages, and seasonally. Broad white wing bar visible on birds in flight.
  • Size: Length 40–47 cm, wingspan 65–72 cm, weight 550–820 g.
  • Nest: Among vegetation, beneath a bush, or more openly inside a gull colony, made of piled up fragments of reedy plants, lined with down.
  • Breeding: 6–12 eggs laid in May. Some shared nests contain as many as 30 eggs or more laid by different females. Only females incubate, for 23–27 days. Ducklings leave the nest soon after hatching and learn to find food for themselves, though they stay together as a brood with their mother. They learn to fly within about 2 months.
  • Distribution: Breeds around many kinds of water body throughout Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 40,000–60,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Mainly by night. Flies south September–October, returning April–May. Winters in Western Europe and the southern Baltic, also increasingly in the Åland Islands.
  • Diet: Benthic animals, plants.
  • Calls: Male’s courtship calls include soft clicks and whistles, females make a shrill “krr krr” call.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected. Game bird (among the 13 duck species that may be hunted during the hunting season in Finland). European red list status (also globally) Least concern.

Males in breeding plumage are mainly glossy black, with bright white flanks and bellies. Their heads have a violet metallic sheen and a distinct tuft hanging over the back of the neck. Females and juveniles are almost entirely dark brown, with some whitish colouring on their underparts. Some females have a white ring around the base of the beak, like the markings on female Scaups, but almost always narrower. Tufted Ducks have broad white wing bars. Their legs are bluish grey with darker webbing. Their beaks are bluish grey with a dark hooked tip. Their irises are yellow.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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