Check out those scaup and Ring-billeds carefully. Who knows? You might get lucky. Here a female Tufted Duck visiting from perhaps Japan or Russia scooped up one of Chignik River’s clams. They also eat aquatic vegetation. (January 26, 2017)
It’s always a thrill to add a new bird to a personal list – all the more so when the species is one that’s fairly rare. While it’s certainly not unheard of for a Tufted Duck or two to be mixed in with other ducks in Southwestern Alaska, they are still unusual enough that they aren’t included on North American range maps.
I found this Tufted Duck (foremost) feeding along Chignik River shore ice along with a Ring-necked drake and three female scaup (probably Greater Scaup). (January 21, 2017)
Even in silhouette the sleeping Tufted is easy to pick out from other ducks. From left to right: Male Greater Scaup, Tufted, female Greater Scaup, male Ring-necked, Canvasback, female Greater Scaup. (Chignik Lake, January 25, 2017)
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Aythya: from Ancient Greek, a term used by Aristotle believed to describe a duck or seabird
fuligula: from Latin fuligo = soot and gula = throat
Status at Chignik Lake, 2016-19: Rare Wintertime Visitor
Alaska Peninsula and Becharof National Wildlife Refuge Bird List, 2010: Accidental in Spring
Aniakchak National Monument and Preserve Bird List: Not Reported
Previous Article: Ring-necked Duck – a Species Moving Northward
Next Article: Canvasback – the Duke of Ducks
*For a clickable list of bird species and additional information about this project, click here: Birds of Chignik Lake
© Photographs, images and text by Jack Donachy unless otherwise noted.