Tufted Duck

The Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) is a medium-sized diving duck widely distributed across Europe and Asia. Adult males typically measure around 16 to 18 inches in length, with a wingspan ranging from 25 to 28 inches. They weigh approximately 1 to 2 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, measuring about 15 to 17 inches in length and weighing between 1 to 1.5 pounds. The Tufted Duck is known for its distinct appearance, with a black and white body, a tufted crest on the head of males, and a bluish-gray bill.

Distinguishing field marks of the Tufted Duck include the glossy black plumage of the males, along with a tuft of feathers on the back of their heads that can be raised or lowered. They have white flanks and a gray back, while females are less striking, with brownish-black bodies, pale cheeks, and a more subtle tufted crest. Both sexes have yellow eyes and a contrasting white band on their wings visible in flight.

Tufted Ducks are migratory birds, with populations in northern regions migrating southward during the winter months. They prefer freshwater habitats such as lakes, ponds, rivers, and marshes, where they dive for aquatic plants, seeds, and small invertebrates. During the breeding season, they nest in dense vegetation near water bodies, constructing nests from plant materials and down feathers.

These diving ducks are known for their ability to dive and swim underwater in search of food. They use their strong legs and webbed feet to propel themselves underwater, where they feed on a diet consisting mainly of aquatic plants and invertebrates. Tufted Ducks also have a distinctive call, a soft “krroo” or “karr” sound that is often heard during the breeding season.

Conservation efforts for Tufted Ducks primarily involve the protection of their wetland habitats, which are vital for their breeding, feeding, and resting. Wetland preservation, reduction of water pollution, and the management of hunting activities are important factors in maintaining healthy populations of Tufted Ducks. Monitoring their numbers and understanding their migration patterns are crucial for effective conservation measures aimed at ensuring the continued presence of these beautiful diving ducks in their habitats.

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