Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tufted Duck

The first Vermont record of this handsome duck was reported from Lake Champlain's Shelburne Bay on April 7, 2000.  Since then, Tufted Duck has been observed on the lake 13 out of 17 years.  While not reported from the lake in 2012, one was seen on Lake Carmi (Franklin County) on April 13.   Lake Carmi is about 12 air-miles from Lake Champlain.  All Vermont reports are male birds except when seen paired with a female which occurred in 2005, 2006 and 2009.  The seasonal distribution of Tufted Duck in the state is December through April and is usually found in the company of Lesser and Greater scaups.

Tufted Duck is an Old World species of diving duck (genus Aythya) with a breeding range extending from Iceland through northern Europe and Asia.  Vagrants observed on the East Coast of the U. S. likely come from populations located in Iceland and Europe.  On the East Coast the species has been documented in all four Canadian Maritime provinces and all U. S. states from Maine south to North Carolina.

The  male Tufted Duck in the photos below easily differentiated from male scaup by the pronounced head plumes, black back and white sides was observed on February 6 of this year on Lake Champlain from Chimney Point.

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