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Common Pochard

From Opus

MalePhoto © by mikemik  Slovenia 4 March, 2018
Photo © by mikemik
Slovenia 4 March, 2018
Aythya ferina


[edit] Identification

42–49 cm (16½-19¼ in), a mid-sized diving duck.
Adult Male

  • Chestnut red head
  • Black bill with light stripe
  • Light grey body
  • Black chest, vent, tail and rump


FemalePhoto © by mikemikSlovenia,  4 March 2018
Photo © by mikemik
Slovenia, 4 March 2018
  • Dull brown/grey
  • Richer brown head
  • Pale markings at base of bill and around eye

[edit] Distribution

Breeds in western Europe from the British Isles and France east to Central Europe and more continuously from the shores of the Baltic and eastern Europe east across Asia south of the tundra to Mongolia and western China. Small numbers breed outside main range in Iceland, Spain, Italy and Greece, in Turkey and in Hokkaido, Japan. Now classified as "vulnerable" by IUCN because of recent steep declines throughout its extensive range.

A summer visitor to northernmost parts of range. Winters throughout the British Isles and western Europe, around the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas, in India, southern China and Japan. Small numbers winter in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vagrants recorded the Faroes, Azores, Madeira; Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands, Gambia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Philippines, Hawaii, the Aleutian Islands and California.

[edit] Taxonomy

MalePhoto © by Chalky WSomerset, UK, 3 April 2010
Photo © by Chalky W
Somerset, UK, 3 April 2010

This is a monotypic species[1].

[edit] Habitat

Usually breeds on medium-large, fairly deep freshwaters with some marginal vegetation. On passage and in winter often on larger, more open waters, particularly reservoirs and gravel-pits, also estuaries and sometimes on sheltered seas.

[edit] Behaviour

[edit] Diet

The diet consists of aquatic plants, seeds, roots of sedges and grasses; molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish, often feeding at night.

[edit] Vocalisation

FemalePhoto © by targetmanLincolnshire, UK, 23 June 2010
Photo © by targetman
Lincolnshire, UK, 23 June 2010

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[edit] References

  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from
  2. Carboneras, C., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Common Pochard (Aythya ferina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 22 May 2019).
  3. BirdLife International 2017. Aythya ferina (amended version of 2016 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T22680358A110610804. Downloaded on 22 May 2019.
  4. Fox, A. D.; Caizergues, A.; Banik, M. V.; Devos, K.; Dvorak, M.; Ellermaa, M.; Folliot, B.; Green, A. J.; Grüneberg, C.; Guillemain, M.; Håland, A.; Hornman, M.; Keller, V.; Koshelev, A. I.; Kostiushyn, V. A.; Kozulin, A.; Lawicki, L.; L.uigujõe, L.; Müller, C.; Musil, P.; Musilová, Z.; Nilsson, L.; Mischenko, A.; Pöysä, H.; Šciban, M.; Sjenicic, J.; Stipniece, A.; Švažas, S.; Wahl, J. 2016. Recent changes in the abundance of Common Pochard Aythya ferina breeding in Europe. Wildfowl 66: 22-40. Available at: Date accessed: 22 May. 2019.

[edit] Recommended Citation

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