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Common pochard

Common pochard
Male
Female
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Anseriformes
Family: Anatidae
Subfamily: Aythyinae
Genus: Aythya
Species: A. ferina
Binomial name
Aythya ferina
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Male common pochard, London, UK

The common pochard (Aythya ferina) is a medium-sized diving duck.

The adult male has a long dark bill with a grey band, a red head and neck, a black breast, red eyes and a grey back. The adult female has a brown head and body and a narrower grey bill-band. The triangular head shape is distinctive. Pochards are superficially similar to the closely related North American redhead and canvasback.

Females give hoarse growls. Males have whistles cut off by a final nasal note aaoo-oo-haa.

Their breeding habitat consists of marshes and lakes with a metre or more water depth. Pochards breed in much of temperate and northern Europe into Asia. They are migratory, and spend winter in the southern and west of Europe.

These are gregarious birds, forming large flocks in winter, often mixed with other diving ducks such as the tufted duck, with which they are known to hybridise.

These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They eat aquatic plants with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish. They often feed at night, and will up-end for food as well as the more characteristic diving.

Eggs, Collection Museum Wiesbaden, Germany

In the British Isles, birds breed in eastern England and lowland Scotland, in small numbers in Northern Ireland with numbers increasing gradually, and sporadically in the Republic of Ireland, where it may also be increasing. Large numbers stay overwinter in Great Britain, after the birds retreat from Russia and Scandinavia.

The pochard is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

References

  1. ^  

External links

  • Pochard at RSPB Birds by Name
  • Aythya ferinaBirdLife species factsheet for
  • Aythya ferina on Avibase
  • Common pochard videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
  • Common pochard photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
  • Aythya ferinaInteractive range map of at IUCN Red List maps
  • Audio recordings of Common pochard on Xeno-canto.
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