Tufted duck

(Aythya fuligula)




Facts about this animal

The tufted duck is a large diving duck with a body-weight of 1.1 kg in males and slightly less in females.


Nest sites are variable and may be located in gull or tern colonies. 6 to 14 greenish-grey eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female alone for 23-25 days.

During winter, tufted ducks congregate to huge flocks.

The food of the tufted duck consists mainly of (bivalve) molluscs, aquatic insects and plant material.

Did you know?
that the tufted duck, as well as other diving duck species, could greatly expand its range due to the unintended introduction of zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) to European and North American waters? Zebra mussels are small clam shells, which attach to any solid object with tufts of fiber called "byssal threads." They are native to the Caspian Sea region of Asia, and were introduced into other regions via transoceanic ships that discharged ballast water, and within these regions by all kind of boats. A single zebra mussel female can produce in excess of 30,000 eggs, and the generations mature rapidly, making it difficult to control them. A body of water may have no detectable zebra mussels one year, and have its bottom covered with them the next. Colonies can have from 70,000 to 700,000 zebra mussels per square metre.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Aythya fuligula
Name (English) Tufted duck
Name (French) Fuligule morillon
Name (German) Reiherente
Name (Spanish) Porrón moñudo
Local names Czech: Polák chocholacka
Dutch: Kuifeend
Estonian: Tuttvart
Finnish: Tukkasotka
Greek: Mauroképhali
Hungarian: Kontyos réce
Italian: Moretta
Polish: Czernika
Portuguese: Zarro-negrinha
Romansh: Anda mora
Swedish: Vigg
CITES Status Not listed
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Quirin Herzog



Range Breeds in a wide range of the palearctic. Winters in the southern breeding range, Africa and southern Asia. Africa: Algeria, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda Asia and Oceania: Afghanistan Bangladesh Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Korea, PDR, Korea, Dem.Lao PDR, Lebanon, Malaysia, Maldives Micronesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen Europe: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania Luxemburg, Macedonia Yug. Rep., Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Fed.Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland. Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom North America: Canada, United States Vagrants may be encountered in a series of other countries and territories from Greenland to the Marshall Islands.
Habitat Freshwater wetlands including lakes, dams, quiet parts of rivers and ponds.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 2,700,000 to 4,100,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 476 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo

Tufted duck


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Andreas Trepte

Why do zoos keep this animal

The tufted duck is not a threatened species. Zoos keep them for educational purposes and as an ambassador species for wetland conservation. Depending of the location of its location and of the size and quality of its waterfowl ponds, tufted ducks may chose a zoo for wintering or even breeding.