Tufted Duck
Aythya fuligula


First reported on 28 November 2004 at Strandfontein Waste Water Treatment Works in the Western Cape. The bird was photographed on 12 December 2004. A single bird has returned to the Western Cape mixed in with Southern Pochards for the last 5 years and was first found at this site on 18 July 1999. Initially, this bird was thought to definitely be an escapee, but now there are a number of people who are beginning to believe that it may well be a genuine vagrant.

While being a regular wintering visitor to Chad, Nigeria and Ethiopia, vagrant Tufted Ducks have also been recorded in Tanzania and Malawi and it is conceivable that this bird is a reverse migrant which has settled into the normal Southern Pochard movements which apparantly extend as far north as Kenya. Indeed, this bird could have been "collected" by Pochards in East Africa and they have remained together since. Previous investigations into the origin of the Strandfontein bird failed to turn up any wildfowl collectors who had lost a free flying Tufted Duck.


Photographed by Trevor Hardaker.


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