Conservation status: Amber

A medium sized diving duck. Males look black and white with a greenish black head and a circular white patch in front of the yellow eye. Females are smaller, and are mottled grey with a chocolate brown head. In flight, birds show a large area of white on the inner wing. First nested in Scotland in 1970, and since then birds have been attracted to nest in specially designed boxes put up on trees close to water. In winter, birds from Northern Europe visit the UK.



Latin name

Bucephala clangula


Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)

Where to see them

In summer, mainly in Highlands of Scotland. Best looked for in winter on lakes, large rivers and sheltered coasts, particularly in north and west Britain.

When to see them

Summer in the Highlands of Scotland for breeding birds; wintering birds arrive from August to December and return north in February and March.

What they eat

Mussels, insect larvae, small fish and plants


EuropeUK breeding*UK wintering*UK passage*
-200 pairs27,000 birds-



In the UK
Nearly UK-wide (winter); Scottish Highlands (summer)


Patrik Aberg, Xeno-canto

Similar birds