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Reddish Vale Country Park

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, and is more easily confused with other diving ducks. In flight it shows an obvious white stripe across the back of the wing.

 

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

 

Tufted ducks dive to a considerable depth (down to 14 m) in search of food such as aquatic creatures and water plants, in the mud and stones. Larger fish or vegetable matter may be brought to the surface to eat. Insects and duckweed floating on the surface are also scooped up.

 

The rapid expansion of the tufted duck populations in Britain during the late 19th/early 20th century is thought to be due to the colonisation of Britain by Zebra Mussels (brought into London docks in the 1820s) and the increase of man made lakes and reservoirs.  

Tufted Duck

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Reddish Vale Country Park

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Lifespan, 14yrs

Wingspan, 67-73cm

Weight, 450-1,000g

UK breeding, 8000-9000 pairs,

UK wintering, 90-100,000 individuals

Tufted Duck