Aythya Fuligula male tufted ducks closely resemble their counterparts in ring-necked ducks. The principle difference is the tuft of feathers that fall behind the head. In addition, the sides are white rather than gray, the bill lacks a white margin at the base, and in flight a white stripe at the back of the inner wing is displayed. The female tufted duck is similar in appearance to female scaup, but is black-brown with a smaller patch of white at the base of the bill. At the back of the head, there is a small protuberance of feathers, which is much smaller than the males.

Tufted ducks dive to feed on roots, seeds, and buds of aquatic plants and clams, snails, aquatic insects, and sometimes amphibians and small fishes. They also skim flies and duckweeds on the water surface.

This duck has a wide distribution in northern Eurasia, from Iceland to Kamchatka and between 45°N and 70°N. European populations winter southwards to North Africa, and only a small number of individuals reach sub-Saharan Africa. The birds of the south-west of the distribution area seem to be sedentary however. In the European Union the main wintering grounds are centred on the Baltic Sea, the Netherlands and the lakes of Central Europe. The population of north-western Europe is totalling 1000000 individuals. The population of Central Europe, the Black sea and the Mediterranean is estimated at 600000 individuals. Both populations have undergone a definite increase during the last decades

Their breeding habitat is close to marshes and lakes with plenty of vegetation to conceal the nest. They are also found on coastal lagoons, the seashore, and sheltered ponds.

Tufted ducks breed across Eurasia from Iceland and the British Isles east across Turkey, Russia and Siberia to the Kamchatka Peninsula and the Commander Islands. There are no breeding records of tufted ducks in North America. Female tufted ducks nest on islands in lakes or on sloped banks of small wetlands in reeds, tufts of grass, or under bushes close to water and lay an average of 9 eggs.

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