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Mixed flock of duck species on the mudflats


Ducks are a group of birds usually associated with park ponds however many of the duck species listed here won’t be spotted in your local park because they prefer the food available in estuaries, on beaches and in rivers. Some of the ducks seen during the winter months around our coast will have travelled thousands of miles to call our shore their home!


I am smaller than a mallard and I have a grey looking head. When seen up close, the male has a finely barred or freckled plumage that appears grey at a distance. The rear part of my body and tail are black and I have a white patch on my side when I swim/rest.

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I am a large, heavy looking duck with a long body and long broad bill. The male of our species has a dark green head, a yellow bill with a white ‘scarf’. The females are mainly brown with an orange bill.

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I feed on plants and seeds. You will be lucky to spot me as there are not many of us around. You will instantly recognise me due to my long ‘pintail’. I am super fast and often referred to as the ‘greyhound’ of the ducks.

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Red-breasted merganser

I never live far from the water. When I search for food you will see me dipping my head underwater and also diving down under the water to retrieve small tasty fish. I also like to eat crustaceans & insects.

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We are famously seen in huge flocks, up to 100,000, along the northern coast of Germany during late summer and autumn. We go here to shed our feathers and grow some shiny new ones, for four weeks or so we are totally unable to fly.

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Watch out because I look a bit like a shelduck from a distance and people often confuse us. Take a closer look though and you will notice we are different colours and our beaks are very different.

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I mostly eat seeds in the winter, but you might spot me snacking on a tasty bug or two! I mostly feed in shallow water at night. If you see a large flock of ducks I am likely to be hidden amongst them.

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Tufted duck

You can probably spot me in your local park pond, clearing up after all the other ducks by eating the food that sinks to the bottom. You might be able to track me underwater by watching for a trail of bubbles.

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Our natural habitats are grasslands, wetlands, marine and intertidal areas. Some of my wigeon friends stay in the UK all year round and can be found breeding in the summer months in Scotland, Northern England and South East England.

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