Saturday, 20 February 2016

Bird of the week - Pochard

Another week, another diving duck.  After the recent smew and tufted duck on the blog I have been watching the local ducks with more interest.  The male pochard is a handsome chap with a bright red eye and finely marked plumage.

My Collins guide describes the female pochard as "the most nondescript duck: grey-brown ... tinged greyish ... tinged brownish".  To me she looks more silver and bronze coloured in the sunshine with the same fine markings on the body feathers as the male.  Her eye is dark brown.

Pochard (Aythya ferina) is mainly a winter visitor in the UK with only a small breeding population of a few hundred pairs (the rest go to Russia and Eastern Europe).

Populations across Europe have been in decline in recent years.  Pochard is now listed as vulnerable on the European Red List.

Read more about the decline in pochard numbers here.

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