I photographed this pair of tufted ducks in a pond in a park in London where they are common. The male’s eyes are bright yellow, his beak is blue with a black tip, and he has a conspicuous tuft of feathers on the back of his head from which the species gets its common name.
Breeding season has passed and this male is changing into eclipse plumage; in a few weeks his white flanks will be brown. When breeding, his dark back and breast are black, his head has an even brighter purple and green gloss, and his white flanks are brilliant.
Tufted ducks are common throughout Eurasia. In winter, they sometimes show up on either coast of the United States and Canada. Rare bird alerts go out and birdwatchers rush to see them and check them off their life lists.
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I am a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History, an author, and a photographer. I live in New York City. I recently published my first popular science book, Field Guide to Urban Wildlife, an illustrated collection of natural history essays about common animals. I update my blog, Urban Wildlife Guide, every Sunday.
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