Pochard

Scientific name: Aythya ferina

Did you know: The Pochard, a medium-sized diving duck, is distinctive for its bright reddish-brown head in males, a feature that sets it apart from other ducks during the winter and spring seasons!

What Do Pochards Look Like? (how to identify them)

The Pochard is known for its unique appearance. Male Pochards boast a vibrant red-brown head, contrasting with their black tail and breast, and a palish grey body during winter and spring. The females, more understated, are brown-coloured with a greyish body and pale cheeks.

Differences Between Male And Female Pochards

While males are distinctly coloured with vibrant heads and contrasting bodies, females are more subdued in their brown and grey plumage. However, during eclipse, which is when males grow new feathers, they resemble females more closely, sporting a more camouflaged look.

What Do Pochards Eat?

Pochards have a diverse diet, ranging from plants and seeds to small aquatic creatures like small fish, snails, and insects. They often feed by diving, making the most of their aquatic habitats.

Where Do Pochards Live? (inc. migration info)

Pochards are widespread across the Palearctic. They breed primarily in Scandinavia and Siberia’s steppe regions and migrate south and west for the winter. In the UK, they are mostly winter visitors, favouring sheltered coasts, marshes, and estuaries.

Bird Calls & Songs (the unique voices of Pochards)

The Pochard’s vocalisations are fascinating. Males are generally quiet, emitting soft whistles during courtship, while females produce a low growl when disturbed. The ducklings have a distinctive short contact call, particularly when distressed.

Fun Pochard Facts (kid friendly)

  • Pochards are slightly bigger than Mallards and have long necks.
  • They can fly at impressive speeds of 22-24 metres per second.
  • Pochards are strong divers, often reaching depths of 2.5 metres to find food.
  • The male Pochard changes its plumage after the breeding season, known as ‘eclipse’ plumage, to blend in and avoid predators.
  • They are known to form large flocks in winter, mixing with other duck species.
  • Pochards breed in marshes and lakes with at least a metre of water depth.
  • Their nests are often on cliffs or islets, safe from predators.
  • They lay 8-10 eggs, which are greenish-grey and broadly oval.
  • The Pochard’s conservation status is classified as Red in the UK, indicating significant conservation concern.
  • They are part of the duck, geese, and swan family, with a scientific name of Aythya ferina.

Pochard Images

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Male
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Female
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Hatchling
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Nestling
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Chick
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Fledgling
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Juvenile

Facts About The Pochard

Diet: Plants and seeds, snails, small fish and insects.
Bird Family: Ducks, geese and swans
Length: 46cm
Wingspan: 77cm
Weight: 930g
Scientific Name: Aythya ferina

The Pochard Can Be Seen In The UK During The Following Months

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December