Tufted duck

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The tufted duck (Aythya fuligula) is a diving duck belonging to the family Anatidae. The tufted duck species is distributed in Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Europe and occasionally United States and Canada.

Taxonomy of the Tufted duck

  • Scientific Name: Aythya fuligula
  • Common Name: Tufted duck
  • French: Fuligule morillon; German: Reiherente; Spanish: Porrón moñudo;
  • Other names: Anas Fuligula Linnaeus, 1758;
  • Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aythya fuligula was previously included in the genus Anas. These species are considered closely related to A. novaeseelandiae and A. collaris.

Indian birds - Tufted duck - Aythya fuligula
Indian birds - Tufted duck - Aythya fuligula


The tufted duck is a diving bird and the male duck is slightly larger than the female. The male bird measures 40 to 50 cm in length and weighs 600 to 1,000 grams. The female duck weighs 550 to 900 grams. The wingspan is 65 to 70 cm. The male is all black except for its white flanks. The bill is greyish blue. The eyes are pale yellow. The female duck is brown with pale brown flanks.


The tufted duck species inhabit water bodies with abundant marginal and emergent vegetation. They occur in freshwater lakes, ponds, slow moving rivers, reservoirs, sheltered coastal habitats, lagoons, tidal creeks and estuaries.

Feeding habits

The tufted duck species are omnivorous and feed mainly by diving. They feed on aquatic plants, insects, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic vertebrates.


The tufted duck breed from May onwards. The nest is constructed with plant matter on floating vegetation. Ground nests are also seen concealed in bushes, close to water edge.


The breeding populations of tufted duck occur in Europe and north Asia (Russia, China and Mongolia). Wintering populations occur in central and south Europe, Africa, Indian Subcontinent, Middle East nations and Southeast Asia.

Movement Patterns

The population in the central and northwest Europe is sedentary and the other populations are migratory. The migratory populations reach the breeding grounds from April onwards. The autumn wintering movements start from September.

Status and conservation

The global population of tufted duck species is estimated to number 2,600,000 to 2,900,000 individual birds. The population and range are extremely large. Hence there is least conservation concern. Habitat degradation, land reclamation, human activity in the breeding grounds and hunting are the conservation threats. The species is susceptible to avian influenza

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these tufted duck species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Aythya fuligula
Species:A. fuligula
Binomial name:Aythya fuligula
Distribution:Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Europe, United States and Canada;
Feeding habits:aquatic plants, aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and molluscs;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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