Tufted ducks belong to the group known as diving ducks, and feed mainly on water animals. Their diet includes crustaceans, small molluscs such as snails, and insect larvae. They will search for these prey items amongst submerged water weed, under stones and other sunken objects.
As with most species of ducks, drake tufted ducks play no part in the incubation of the eggs or the rearing of the young ducklings. The nest is constructed in thick cover, preferably on an island out of reach of many predators. As well as using available materials, the duck will line the nest with down from her own breast. Incubation begins once the clutch is complete, which for tufted ducks is usually between 8 and 11 eggs. After about 25 days, the eggs all hatch within a 24 hour period. Young ducklings quickly learn who their mother is, and will then follow her everywhere. They leave the nest quite soon after the last egg has hatched and will find food for themselves whilst the parent acts as a guardian. Once the young ducklings have fledged their first true feathers, after about 50 days, they become independent.