Status: Resident & winter visitor. Birds breeding in southeast England have been seen to move to Ireland, possibly influenced by cold weather.
Conservation Concern: Amber-listed in Ireland for its localised wintering range. The European population has been evaluated as Declining due to several key populations undergoing moderate ongoing declines.
Identification: Small and short-bodied, with large head and crest which is longer in breeding males than other plumages or females. Males with black plumage, white flanks, yellow eye and blue-grey bill. Females largely brown with paler flanks, resembles Scaup, especially with some showing extensive white band around the base of the bill.
Similar Species: Ring-necked Duck.
Call: Display call described as nervous, quick, bubbly series of accelerating notes
Diet: Feed predominantly on mussels, and to a lesser extent on crustaceans, insect larvae (particularly caddis-fly) and bryozoans.
Breeding: Show a preference for large open lakes in lowland areas, where nests are built in waterside vegetation. Many nests in close proximity to each other.
Wintering: Lowland freshwater lakes. Often seen on town lakes, canals and slow-moving rivers.
Where to See: Loughs Neagh & Beg in County Antrim the most important site, supporting >20,000 birds. Lough Corrib in County Galway, Lough Ree in County Longford, Lough Ennell in County Westmeath and Lough Derg (Shannon) in County Tipperary are other important wintering sites (1,000-6,000 birds).
Monitored by: Irish Wetland Bird Survey.