The Tufted Duck is a Eurasian duck that , in the winter months, is usually found across Asia, Europe, and Africa. It is a diving duck that will sometimes reach the eastern and western coasts of North America during the fall and winter migrating season, but this is lesser common. During the breeding season, they will go as far as Siberia and Iceland.
Tufted Ducks are somewhat smaller than mallards and the males are solid black with white sides. They also have a “tuft” on the back of their heads. Females are brown with a bit of white on their bellies. They might have a “tuft” as well, but can also have none. Their legs and feet are black as are their broad bills. Tufted ducks are sometimes confused with Ring-necked Ducks and scaups. They sometimes interbreed with Greater Scaups, which can be confusing for those trying to identify them.
We have found the Tufted a great species to raise in an aviary. Diving is their second nature, so they require ponds or pools that give them ample opportunity to dip under the water. They are not aggressive and get along well with other species. Of course, we do not have the small shellfish and crustaceans that these ducks so enjoy in the wild, but we have found that they will eat mealworms and duck pellets.