Tufted Duck - Aythya fuligula


    The Tufted Duck is a medium-sized diving duck, smaller than a Mallard. The adult male is all black except for white flanks and a blue-grey bill. It has an obvious head tuft that gives the species its name. The adult female is brown with paler flanks. In flight it shows an obvious white stripe across the back of the wing.

    Identification difficulty

    Found across the UK at most times of year. Look in suitable habitat such as a local reservoir, gravel pit or lake.

    Life History

    These birds feed mainly by diving, but they will dabble. They eat molluscs, aquatic insects and some plants and sometimes feed at night. Their breeding habitat is close to marshes and lakes with plenty of vegetation to conceal the nest.

    UK Status

    It breeds in the UK across lowland areas of England, Scotland and Ireland, but less commonly in Wales, with most birds being residents. Numbers increase in the UK in winter because of birds moving to the UK from Iceland and northern Europe.

    VC55 Status

    A common winter bird and bird of passage in Leicestershire and Rutland, but quite uncommon here as a breeding bird.

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    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

    Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
    Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

    UK Map