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Common Pochards, London UK (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Both of these I'm pretty sure are Common Pochards, but they're a bit unusual-looking one way or another!

Bird 1 (first 4 photos) was on the boating lake at Alexandra Palace Park, 10th Feb - apparently the only Pochard there, and coming to bread alongside Mallards, Tufted Ducks and Egyptian Geese. I was struck by the amount of black/dark grey on its face - this looked almost like it could be missing feathers at the time, but now looking at the photos it looks like it could actually be mud/staining. Or is it actually a plumage abnormality?

Bird 2 was in a group of Pochards at Walthamstow Wetlands on 11th Feb. It struck me as looking darker/duller and possibly slightly smaller than the other male Pochards in the group, but otherwise closer in plumage to the males than the females present. I wondered about an "intersex" plumage, or even a hybrid like Pochard x Ferruginous Duck. Looking at the photos now though, it looks a bit more female-like than it looked at the time. Any thoughts?

Hello Steve,
very few male Pochards have a darker, even blackish mask, form and extent reminiscent to your bird, but not so contrasting and not extending to cheeks.
So I think its mud covered to the head?

( I thought of a Canvasback then, before I saw my first one at a zoo)

Your second bird looks ok for a pure female Common Pochard without hybrid , they vary individually, sometimes so bad, that you think of an hybrid.
I did think about (escaped rather than vagrant!) Canvasback for the first bird too, but didn't want to suggest it in the first post! And discounted it anyway because they have a really extreme bill/face shape and this one was closer to Tufted Duck than Mallard in size.

Re the second, here is another pic that I just found with it and one of the other females in the group - this one really stood out and did look more similar to the males. But I guess it could just be at one end of female plumage variation...


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