British Waterfowl Association

Tufted Duck

pair of Tufted Duck swimming
Tufted Duck pair — Edward Giles
Tufted Duck male sitting on a log
Tufted Drake — Ian Gereg
Tufted Duck and ducklings
Tufted Duck and ducklings — Zoe Brodie-James

Aythya fuligula

Tufted Duck are popular in wildfowl collections but should only be kept where ponds are suitable for diving. Tufted Duck are the only scaup with a long crest at the back of their neck; very pronounced on drakes, less so on females. The drake is particularly attractive with green and purple hues of the head contrasting with a bright yellow eye.

Tufted Drake — BWA

Tufted Duck will become confiding in a collection. The drake has a soft repeated whistle whilst the female has a slightly harsher call.

Their wild habitat is fresh, slow-moving water with good surrounding cover, preferably reedbed. They often frequent ponds, lakes and reservoirs in flocks. They like to nest near or actually over the water, usually in reeds.

A Tufted drake on calm water
Tufted Duck male — Daniel J Field

This species readily hybridises with other members of the Aythya genus and also the Bucephala (Goldeneyes) and some dabbling ducks.

An orphaned Tufted Duckling (right) appreciating the company of a Mallard — Zoe Brodie-James

Ring Size

9 mm

This size is only a guide. Please read more about ringing here.

Tufted Ducks will sometimes use baskets or nest boxes; they nest late and with varied success. They lay a clutch of 8–10 eggs which hatch at 23–28 days. Parent rearing can be very successful. The young are very independent at an early stage. Wild birds take a lot of insects as ducklings, so they will do best if small high-protein pellets are added to their starter ration.


Harteman Wildfowl Aviaries, Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula