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Tufted Duck or.... Alentejo Portugal

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  • Tufted Duck or.... Alentejo Portugal

    Been back to the Lagoa de Santo André and besides spotting 5 Purple Swamphens, 1 Squacco Herron, 3 Marsh Harriers and a Bluethroat (+ the regular species) I shot this Duck. I believe it to be a Tufted Duck but there have been reports of a Ring-necked Duck as well.

    I am in doubt here but my luck is probably not so good so I go for Tufted Duck, although a hybrid might also be possible.

    Please advise.


    Attached Files
    Do you want to see the Birds of the Alentejo region in Portugal?

    For more information:

    Birdwatching Alentejo

    For Dutch:

    Vogels in Portugal


    You can stay at our holiday cottages at Monte Horizonte and we can show you the birds.

  • #2
    Hi Bert - your instincts are correct ... Tufted Duck!
    Russ Heselden


    • #3
      Russ; 10th Jan', 2003. Ring Necked Duck. East Park Pond, Hull. That was the last bird I ever 'Twitched'.

      In actual fact; I got on my push bike and took a five minute pedal. Then spent far longer, scrutinising the hell out of a good number of Tufties, before I was satisfied that, yes; That bugger was indeed a Ring Necked.

      See? I never was That clever! Decade down the line ....?

      Now, I could always turn round and pick up the tattered remains of my Collins. But, that wouldn't serve much purpose. Instead, if ye willing ~ and just for the craic / 'old times sake', in my case:

      Could ye please just outline what it is we should be looking for, to separate Tufted from Ringed? This might spark up some enjoyable memory, for me. It'll also, surely, do Bert more good than simply being told it's Not a Ringer


      • #4
        Thank you Ditch!
        Do you want to see the Birds of the Alentejo region in Portugal?

        For more information:

        Birdwatching Alentejo

        For Dutch:

        Vogels in Portugal


        You can stay at our holiday cottages at Monte Horizonte and we can show you the birds.


        • #5
          Fair enough Ditch - I was in a bit of a hurry earlier!

          Several things to look for (and talking here mainly about drakes, though the comments on shape, wing bars etc also apply to females):

          1). Head shape. Tufties have quite a rounded head shape with (you've guessed it) an obvious tuft in all plumages, though this can be surprisingly short. Bert's bird shows this well in his first photo. By contrast, Ring-necked Duck is tuftless and has a steep, high forehead and peaked crown. On the back of the head, where the crown meets the hindneck, there a bit of an indentation ... so altogether a completely different head shape to Tufted and very distinctive once you know it. Killian's pictures in 'Collins' show this to perfection.

          2). Bill. On Tufty the bill is largely medium grey with a dark tip, usually with a fairly subtle pale band just before the black bit. On a Ring-necked Duck the bill is really in-your-face tricoloured - dark grey, then an obvious white band and then a solidly black tip which is of greater extent than in a Tufty. A little more subtly, another thin white band is at the base of the bill on Ring-necked Duck and this can sometimes be surprisingly obvious even at a distance.

          3). Flanks. Very uniform white on a Tufted Duck (can look very pale greyish in bad light ... but uniform anyway!) whereas in a Ring-necked Duck the flanks are dove-grey with an obvious contrasting pure white flash (Collins calls it a 'spur') between the grey of the flank and the black of the breast.

          4). Don't rely on this, but once you get your eye in Ring-necked Ducks have a slightly more prominent tail, held a little higher than in Tufty. Not a major point but it helps to give a distinctive feel to the shape of a Ring-necked Duck.

          5). In flight, Tufted has a white wing bar and Ring-necked has a grey one.

          All in all Ring-necked is an obvious (and very beautiful) beast when you see the genuine article. Have a look at a few online photos and you'll see what I mean.

          Russ Heselden


          • #6
            Ye know ye birds, Russ! Phew!

            And now it's left me wondering: With so much 'obvious' distinction to look for ~ and me, though I honestly don't remember now, probably clutching my Collins as I looked over the pond ..... I can't help but wonder .....

            The pager said Ring Necked. East Park pond is hardly a major wetland habitat. One might as easily expect a 'rarity' to turn up on the local mill pond.

            I was the only, sad, sod standing there, peering at all these black and white ducks, with their beady eyes. I distinctly remember having one hell of a time finding a bird I could hammer into the right shaped hole.

            That was also the winter of 'The Hull Stringer' To this day, I'll swear some piece of used loo paper was reporting Waxwings, left, right and centre. I was racing after these reports, one after the other, in a taxi. Nuffn! That, very largely, put paid to my Twitching career.

            Got me wondering now; I don't s'pose Lee came haring up country, just to confirm a Ringer. I wonder: Could it possibly have been a genuine misidentification? One that I then proceeded to 'Make' a Ringer myself ~ because I was primed to expect a Ringer there?

            To this day, I remember finding it hard to pin that bird down amongst the Tufties. You make it sound easy.

            Anyone else ever see the East Park Ring Necked, 2003?

            If I had top teeth? I'd be chewing my bottom lip over this " Tick " now

            Murder, isn't it? Nine years on and Still a bird / Tick can come back to haunt us!

            Many thanks for the input, anyway, Russ


            • #7
              Well, it's one thing me making it sound easy ... quite another to be in the field, perhaps in slightly dodgy weather, perhaps with a pack of ducks bobbing about tightly together several hundred metres away on fairly choppy water and you're trying to pick out the one 'obvious' bird ... you know its there, because everyone has said so (in fact, didn't you hear that bloke with the big lens say he'd had fantastic views just moments before?). And you haven't got long before you have to leave, and the rain's really setting in now ... and ... wait ... I'm sure I saw it, just for a moment, behind that Tufted Duck. Must have been it ... or was it that one, there on the other side? The more you think about it, the more convinced you get. Of course you saw it. Didn't you?

              I know all too well how easy it is to slip into this kind of mindset, and if they're honest most other birders do too. I've done it before, and I'll probably do it again. It's all too easy to get carried away. There's probably whole fields of research there for a psychologist.

              I've known someone travel a considerable distance to twitch a Gyrfalcon, and then 'tick' a plastic bag which was caught in a hedge. Rabbits, poorly seen in the middle of a field, identified as both Corncrakes and Hoopoes (yes, really). And there have even been cases where birders have turned up to sites where a bird has been erroneously reported (i.e. it was never there in the first place) and yet still manage to convince themselves that they've seen it. Humans; we're strange things.

              Meanwhile, your own Ring-necked Duck will have to remain a matter of conscience. All I can add is that when I started out (albeit with inferior field guides) I thought that Ring-necked Duck would be a hard one to identify - and then I actually saw one. It's like they always say - 'you'll know it when you see it.'

              Russ Heselden



              • #8
                Ditch don't beat yourself up about missing waxwings. They are notoriously flighty little beggars. I'd been like you following up reported birds and missing them with the gripe that it was a stringy get putting the report in. Then I was in the right place at the right time and I got them, but they only hung around for about 30 minutes.
                So I was stuck, do I report them knowing that they'd gone or do I leave it. In the end I did report them but told them that the birds had flown.
                With the ring-neck, they are different enough to a tuftie to be able to get the id. As Russ says , when you see one - you'll know.


                • #9
                  Cheers, Keith. I genuinely do appreciate the sentiment there

                  But, no; This was some dick having a laugh. Every site I flashed over to showed absolutely no sign of ever having had any interest to birds. Just dead and wilted looking little trees.

                  What sort of settled it for me was when I found a bloke working in his garden, eight foot from the trees in question ~ at this latest site ~ and asked him. He said he'd been there all morning. And there had been No Birds in those bare trees.

                  I think that about did it. I could just picture some idiot, slumped over his steering wheel. Busting a gut with laughing at the same mug turning up, yet again, to stare at bare, weedy trees.

                  Ring Necked? Dunno. Looking back? I guess, for one thing, I didn't know that pond. I certainly didn't expect it to be chock full of Tufties!

                  I've never been the one to tell a Richard's from a Blyth's. (These days, I can't even discern their bloody names, in Collins, without my Reading glasses on!) I think turning up at the park, to find myself all alone, looking for a 'Black and white, beady eyed duck' ..... and finding a damned armada of the bloody things ....?

                  In fairness though, I genuinely do believe I remember seeing enough differences to allow myself the RND. If I'd had Russ's check list to work to though? I'd should've had it in no time, and for sure.

                  Oh well. I never did make the 400. I probably Twitched ('Took guided tours of'!) as many birds as I just happened across. I've seen some disgustingly rare birds. Yet stuff like Waxwing and Marsh Harrier have eluded me

                  Not to worry. I'm ex UK now. Can't ever make the UK 400. But, I've seen a self found Quail, very clearly, here. Hen Harriers are nothing to write home about. Corn Crake are always a possibility! (Drool!) One of these days I'll prove we have Goshawk in this part of Leitrim

                  Anyway; Sorry, Bert. Gone somewhat off subject here, haven't we? This is why I, some time since, suggested to Admin' that we could use a 'General Birding' Board here.

                  Somewhere to just chat sh!t about birds in general. Not having to be about rare birds. Birds of a given continent. Doing something in particular to birds. God knows; We've had a whole board dedicated to " Bluebirds " for two years now: Two posts!!!

                  Come on, peeps. Admin PM'd me back to say a 'General Bird Talk' board sounded a winner and would be considered for the next lurch. Ever felt ye had something to say that just didn't fit a given category? Want somewhere to chew the bird fat, without hijacking Bert's threads?

                  Lend a little muscle. PM Admin a nudge?