BIRDS OF ICELAND : Aythya fuligula, Tufted Duck

Aythya fuligula; the European Tufted Ducks are probably the most common ducks in Iceland next to the coastal eider duck. However, they settled on Iceland only recently (end of the 19th century). The male is easily recognizable by its purplish-black/white appearance and the tuft on the head. The female is very similar to the female scaup being all brown. They differ slightly in size (the scaup is larger), the tufted duck female also has a small tuft which is rarely seen though. The easiest way of telling them apart is the very conspicuous white patch around the bill and the white ear spot of the scaup. Female tufted ducks sometimes have a small white patch around the beak too but never so conspicuous. They never have the white ear spot. Like the scaups, tufted ducks are diving ducks. Diving ducks characteristically lie deeper in water than the dabbling ducks (e.g. mallards, gadwalls, teals) and have to take off from the water surface with some speed (splashing water). Tufted ducks breed all over Iceland near richly vegetated waters. The tufted ducks stay in Iceland during winter on ice-free lakes.

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A brief introduction to Iceland birds
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk
- unless stated otherwise

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Show other photo's of the Tufted Duck:
 Female Tufted Duck.
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 Female Tufted Duck.
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