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Time to go duck spotting as they spend winter at Suffolk Wildlife Trust's Lackford Lakes

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During the winter months at Lackford Lakes nature reserve, visitors will see thousands of ducks on the lakes. They arrive during the autumn from northern Europe to spend the winter. At this time of year ducks look their smartest, so it is a great time to see them on the reserve. One group of ducks that we see at Lackford Lakes are called diving ducks. These ducks dive underwater to find food in our lakes. We have three types of diving duck – tufted duck, pochard and goldeneye.

Tufted duck

Our most common diving duck at the lakes is the tufted duck. Dressed up as if off out to a black-tie dinner, the smart males have a purplish sheen to their black head. The females are chocolatey-brown with a paler panel on their sides. Tufted ducks, or ‘tufties’ as they are affectionately known, are deep-diving ducks capable of swimming to depths of six metres in search of food.

Tufted duck (29014071)
Tufted duck (29014071)


A distinctive duck of just four colours, in the drake (male), a red eye, chestnut head, black breast, and grey body. They appear to be very lazy, often sleeping when you find them at Lackford, but they do a lot of feeding at night. They dive a lot, usually immediately after a little ‘jump’ up from the water surface, like a swimmer off a diving board at the local pool.


Is a stunning black and white visitor every winter, which love these deeper bodies of water for dives of up to six metres. At the bottom of the water, they can turn over stones looking for caddis fly larvae and other creepy crawlies. It’s a special time to see them at Lackford now; as we move towards spring small groups of males can be seen displaying to the females, especially on milder days. They suddenly stretch their necks impossibly high, throw their heads back as if their neck were broken, then utter a two-tone sneezing sound to show off to watching females.

Throughout February, visitors can find out all about the ducks that winter at Lackford Lakes by following our winter duck trail around the reserve. Children can also try our special winter duck spotter sheet.

See suffolkwildlifetrust.org