Thursday, 15 January 2015

Day 75 - Tremendous Tufted Ducks

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) at Fairburn Ings
Hi everyone, its Day 75, which is a nice number, halfway between 50 and 100 so it's sort of a mini milestone.

I'm looking at a lovely little bird today which I see in quite a few places I go but my pictures today are from the fabulous Fairburn Ings. Today its the turn of the wonderful tufted duck!

They're not as colourful as some ducks but I think they are still very pretty and look very relaxed as they paddle along. So what has my research today found out about these little guys? Here are the facts:

  • They are slightly smaller than a mallard (a post I've yet to do) and are generally around 44cm long with a wingspan of 70cm and weigh about 3/4 of a kilogram.
  • Tufted ducks are omnivorous (like humans - will eat plants and animals) and feed on the muddy bottoms of lakes or estuaries mostly by diving.
  • The pictures here are all males, females are a chocolatey brown all over.
  • They have an amber status, meaning there is some concern over their numbers as they have gone down a bit in recent years.
  • It seems they first started to live in the UK in 1849 after the accidental introduction of the zebra mussel which they like to eat. The first record of them breeding in the UK was in Yorkshire (nice place to live :-) in 1849.
  • There are around 19,000 pairs breeding in the UK and in the winter they are joined by lots more from Europe and Iceland
  • They live on average for around 4 years but the oldest recorded tufted duck was 24 years and 3 months.
So not as long lived as yesterdays curlew but 24 years still seems pretty impressive. If you want to find out more about these birds try these links:

Hope you enjoyed,


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