Wildlife in Italy: Tufted duck Clangula hyemalis Linnaeus, 1758

Wildlife in Italy: Tufted duck Clangula hyemalis Linnaeus, 1758

Systematic classification and distribution

Class: Birds
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidi
Kind: clangula
Species: C. hyemalis Linnaeus, 1758

Its range is included within the arctic circle; in Italy it is a step, locally and partially winter.

Tufted duck - Clangula hyemalis (photo Birdexplorers)

Tufted duck - Clangula hyemalis (photo wikimedia.org)

Tufted duck - Clangula hyemalis (photo www.avibirds.com)

Distinctive characters

Length: 55-70 cm
Wingspan: 65-80 cm

Adults have white lower regions. The male has a long pointed tail and a lighter dark beak near the end. In winter, the male has a dark spot on the cheeks that stands out against the background of the head and neck, mainly white, a dark chest and most of the white body. In summer, the male has a dark head, neck and back with a white spot on his cheeks. The female has a brown back and a relatively short pointed tail. In winter, the female's head and neck are white with the top of her head dark. In summer, the head is dark.


Seeds and fruits are the favorite food in the tundra formations. It is not particularly skilled in flight, which is characterized by rigid and frequent flapping of wings, often with inclinations on one or the other side.
Couples are formed in winter, or during the migration season. The nest is placed dry on the ground, well hidden in the undergrowth or among the rocks, however in the vicinity of a stream. It consists of a small concave area and is surrounded by plant material and large quantities of feathers and fluff which the female adds to it after laying about 5 or 6 eggs. After a short time after hatching, which takes place after a month, the chicks leave the nest, as they are already capable of swimming and diving, despite the fact that the mother still provides them for a long time. The first flight takes place about a week after hatching.