• BirdForum is the net's largest birding community dedicated to wild birds and birding, and is absolutely FREE!

    Register for an account to take part in lively discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck? - Help required in a confirmed ID, Kent, UK :) (1 Viewer)

goonfish

New member
United Kingdom
Hey there folks,

Hope all is good with everyone.

Was over at the RSPB reserve at Cliffe Pools in Kent, UK on Sunday trying to spy the Eurasian Spoonbill (which we did :)) but also spotted a few dabblers way off on one of the pools. Getting home and having taken a look at the images I'm wondering whether they were Greater Scaup (five in all) or possibly just a female Scaup mixing with a couple of Tufted Ducks?

I've scoured quite a few images and consulted the Collins and Wild Guides books and am struggling to pin it all down - for example, the female looks to have a clear white front to her face and the male in one of the shots just doesn't seem to have the right amount of black on the bill tip. Additionally, I think (or maybe I'm just trying to convince myself!) they just look bulkier and with more rounded, bulbous heads!

I've also done some research and the folks at the RSPB community have helped a little with their knowledge of ducks in eclipse plumage but someone also agreed that they looked like Scaup, especially the brown female with the very white fronted face. I just can't convince myself that they're Tufted - I just can't see any tufts and the size of their heads with the highest point towards the forehead makes me think Greater Scaup.

I've popped a few pics on here so maybe one of you fine individuals could take a look and see what you think - would be very grateful as have never yet seen a Scaup and would be one for the life list :) - Apologies for the low quality snaps, they were handheld with a full on 600mm telephoto from quite a few hundred yards.

Thanks for all your help, folks,

PS - Am new to the site this evening, so hello to all!

Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck.jpg Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck_2.jpg Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck_3.jpg Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck_4.jpg Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck_5.jpg Greater Scaup or Tufted Duck_6.jpg
 

goonfish

New member
United Kingdom
I pass on the fliers. All the others (inc. male) look like scaup: shaved-off-rear head-shape, bill size, bill-pattern.
Hey Butty,

Many many thanks and thanks very much for the response - you're a star. Now where's my scrapbook :)

Thanks again and all the best
 

Bismarck Honeyeater

Barely known member
Tufted Ducks for me I’m afraid. Scaup not so regular in summer as they are in winter. White on the face is quite common in female TD. Head shape should be rounder, flanks would be paler as would mantle in Scaup. They look broader in the beam too.
 

THE_FERN

Well-known member
Many years ago, possibly even now (?) the place to see Scaup at Cliffe was at the gravel pits at the top of the hill (along Salt lane on the right hand side as you descend) rather than the main reserve complex at the bottom. But I've not been there for a long time...
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I'm just going to jump in here and wish you a warm welcome to you from those of us on staff here at BirdForum (y)
We're glad you found us and please join in wherever you like ;)
 

Butty

Well-known member
Many years ago, possibly even now (?) the place to see Scaup at Cliffe was at the gravel pits at the top of the hill (along Salt lane on the right hand side as you descend) rather than the main reserve complex at the bottom. But I've not been there for a long time...
Exactly there (y) And even more than many years ago - when there was no 'reserve complex' at all. Sigh...
 

aeshna5

Well-known member
Structurally Tufted Duck for me. Scaup at Cliffe in early August would be pretty unusual. I don't think they occur there regularly anymore in the winter either.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Users who are viewing this thread

Top