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© Copyright: Images: Jari Peltomäki, Kari Pihlaviita, M., W. & F. von Wright: Pohjolan linnut värikuvin. Recording: Jan-Erik Bruun. All rights reserved.

Pochard

Aythya ferina

  • Name also: Common Pochard, Northern Pochard
  • Family: Waterfowl – Anatidae
  • Appearance: A medium-sized relatively long-necked and short-tailed diving duck with a longish beak and a sloping forehead. Males have grey backs and rust-coloured heads and necks. Females and non-breeding birds are brown. In all plumages Pochards have greyish wing bars.
  • Size: Length 42–49 cm, wingspan 67–75 cm, weight 770–970 g.
  • Nest: By the waterside, often floating, made of reeds, grass and straw, lined with down.
  • Breeding: Lays 4–16 eggs in May. Only females incubate, for 22–28 days. Ducklings leave the nest soon to forage in broods, staying close to their mother, and learn to fly within 7–9 weeks.
  • Distribution: breeds by nutrient-rich waters mainly in Southern and Central Finland. Finnish breeding population estimated at 10,000–15,000 pairs.
  • Migration: Nocturnal. Autumn migration in September, returning in April–May. Some males fly south earlier before their summer moult. Winters in Western and Southern Europe.
  • Diet: Benthic animals and vegetation.
  • Calls: Male’s mating call a hoarse, nasal whistle; female’s call harsh, and lower than call of Scaup.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected. Game bird in Finland. European red list status and also globally Vulnerable.

Breeding males have brownish red heads and necks, black breasts and tails, and ash grey wings and bellies. After moulting in June, males’ chests and tails become browner. Females are paler than related species, with mainly greyish brown plumage, grey flanks and backs, and darker brown heads, necks and breasts. Immature birds are a more uniform pale brown. In all plumages the absence of the distinctive wing bars seen on otherwise similar ducks is a good distinguishing feature.

Pochards have grey legs. Their beaks are blue-grey with darker grey tips and bases. Their irises are reddish yellow in summer, but in spring males have bright red eyes and females brown eyes.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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