This is a smart diving duck of the Old World. At a distance the drake looks black with a white side panel but, close to, one can see the purple gloss on the head and neck, the dark tuft from which it gets its name and the grey bill. The duck is brown with a paler mid-body panel.
They have spread into the Britain from the Continent. They have benefitted from excavations for gravel and clay. They are long distance migrants breeding from Iceland in the West to Kamchatka in the East and wintering to the South. Many birds come West for the winter.
These are freshwater ducks feeding on whatever they can find by diving to a depth of up to three (sometimes seven) metres. Population estimate for Britain and Ireland now approaching 10,000 pairs. The equivalent bird in North America is the Ring-necked Duck and at sea the Scaup.
A familiar Old World diving duck.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Tufted Duck (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 435 mm Closed wing 200 mm Weight 700 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead