skip to main content
The Royal Parks web site uses cookies. By browsing you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Read our cookie policy

The Mallard is probably the most well known wild duck on the lake in St James's Park and can be seen all year. The male has a dark green head and white collar around the neck and the females are a speckled brown overall with an orange bill. Their natural diet is mainly aquatic vegetation.

In contrast, the Tufted Duck, another common sight on the lake, is a migrant. Its numbers increase the in the UK during winter as they move to the UK from Iceland and northern Europe. The Tufted Duck is smaller than a Mallard; the male is mostly black with a distinctive tuft of feathers on the back of its head and white flashes on its sides. It is particularly fond of diving for its food, so you'll see them vanishing and popping up regularly in the chill winter waters.

Other British species of duck seen on the lake include: Shelduck, Wigeon, Gadwall, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Common Pochard and Goldeneye, but do also look out for more exotic water birds from our collection, such as Black Swans, Red-crested Pochard and others.

Both Canada and Greylag Geese are common around the lake. As these are aggressive species that also do a lot of damage to vegetation we ask you not to encourage them by feeding them.

There are plenty of birds other than pelicans and ducks that live or feed on the Lake, including the Moorhen and the Coot (not be confused as the former is smaller and has a red beak and forehead, whilst the latter has a white beak and forehead). Look out too for the Great-crested Grebe and the Little Grebe - one of the shyer birds that breeds here despite the bustle of city life.

Help us improve our website by providing your feedback.