Kingdoms / Animalia / Craniata / Aves / Anseriformes / Anatidae / Aythya / Species
< >  Aythya ferina - Common pochard (Click photographs/illustrations: full picture & further details)
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INFORMATION AVAILABLE

GENERAL & REFERENCES

EXTERNAL APPEARANCES

REPRODUCTION

BEHAVIOUR

NATURAL DIET

RANGE & HABITAT

CONSERVATION

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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Pochard
European pochard
Eurasian pochard
Northern pochard
Tafelente (German)
Fuligule milouin (French)
Milouin d’Europe (French)
Porrón europeo (Spanish)
Porrón común (Spanish)
Zambullidor europeo (Spanish)
Tafeleend (Dutch)
Brunard (Swedish)
Fuligula ferina

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases

Eclipse.

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References

Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

B1, B2, B3, B6, B8, B19, B25, B26, B27.

Other references:
B138

Aviculture references:
B29, B30, B31, B40, B44.9.w1, B94, B95, B97, B128.w1, B129.
D1, D8.

ORGANISATIONS
(UK Contacts)

ELECTRONIC LIBRARY
(Further Reading)
Click image for full contents list of ELECTRONIC LIBRARY

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TAXA Group (where information has been collated for an entire group on a modular basis)

Parent Group

Specific Needs Group referenced in Management Techniques

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Aviculture Information

Notes

General information:
  • Pochards are diving ducks which spend most of their time on water, and are ungainly on land. They are generally hardy, sociable and easy to maintain in captivity. They should be kept with deep water available for diving, three to seven feet suggested (B29), or at least half the area 60cm and preferably one metre deep (D1), with shallow sloping banks for easy exit from the water, also islands, good marginal vegetation and loafing areas. Water providing a good supply of natural animal and vegetable food is preferred.
  • These ducks may be kept in mixed collections with dabbling ducks, including smaller species such as teal. They should be fed wheat in water, encouraging their natural diving behaviour. Pellets should also be fed. They may breed better if a group rather than single pair kept, as this allows their normal group displaying activity.
  • 12x12x14 inch (30x30x35cm) nest box with 5 inch (12.5cm) entrance hole suggested, placed under cover at the edge of the pond (B128.w1).

(B29, B40, B94, B128.w1, D1).

Species-specific information:

  • Common pochards are winter-hardy, easy to maintain, and not aggressive.  Adults should be provided with a diet of pellets, grain, bread and plenty of green food.
  • These ducks are fairly easy to breed, lay in ground level nest boxes, nest baskets or holes above the water or in dense bankside vegetation, from May onward (B31), April to May (B29). They sit well but high losses are common in parent-reared ducklings. They will often lay a second clutch if the eggs are removed. Hand rearing the ducklings is not difficult; water should be provided for swimming from the beginning. Ducklings require much live food (e.g. insects, earthworms) initially, also fine-chopped green food.
  • This species hybridises readily, particularly with Amazonetta brasiliensis - Brazilian teal, Aythya nyroca - Ferruginous pochard, Aythya fuligula - Tufted duck and other Aythya spp. (hybrids with Aythya species are often fertile); also hybridises with Anas spp., Netta spp. and Bucephala clangula - Common goldeneye.

(B29, B31, B40, B94, B95, B97, B129).

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: L 11.0mm. (D8).

Individual Techniques linked in Wildpro

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 18-23 inches, 46-58cm (B3); 42-58cm (B1)
Adult weight General 900-1100g (B1).
Male 930-1100g average 998g (B3).
Female 900-995g average 947g (B3).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Head

Adult Bill Male Dark grey base, wide blue-grey subterminal band, broad black tip.
Variations (If present) Dark grey/blackish, narrow pale grey subterminal band, broad black tip.
Eyes (Iris) Male Orange-yellow to red.
Variations(If present) Female: brown or yellowish brown.
Juvenile Bill Dark grey/blackish.
Eyes (Iris) Yellow-olive.

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Legs

Adult Male Grey.
Variations (If present) --
Juvenile Grey.

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Plumage

Adult Male Head and neck chestnut, chest, tail, tail coverts and rump black, underparts and upperparts, vermiculated pale grey. Wings grey, primaries have dark tips, white tips to inner secondaries.
Variations (If present) Female: Head, neck, breast mid-brown, with poorly defined paler throat and facial stripes. tail, tail coverts and rump dark brown, underparts and upperparts grey-brown.

Eclipse: Similar to female but greyer, with darker breast and lacking facial pattern.

Juvenile Similar to female but underparts more mottled and lacks facial markings.

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts blackish brown, underparts yellow.
Bill: Horn-black.
Feet: Slate-black.

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Reproduction

Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins April/May.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

Nest is concealed in vegetation on ground or in water, a heap of grass, reeds and leaves, down lined.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average --
Range 8-10 (B1); 6-10 (B8).
Egg Description Green-grey or olive (B3, B8), 62x44mm, 66g (B3).

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Incubation

About 25 days (B1); 24-28 days (B8).

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Hatching

Synchronous.

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Fledging

50-55 days (B1, B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males One, occasionally two years old.
Females One, occasionally two years old.

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Behaviour

Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dive, upend and dabble on surface.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary nest or in loose groups, built by female.
Incubation By female only.
Newly-hatched Tended by female only.
Juveniles

Independent by or before fledging.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious outside nesting season.
Inter-specific --

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Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal pair bond. Male leaves female part way through incubation.

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Predation in Wild

--

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Activity Patterns

--
Circadian --

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Natural Diet

Adults

Seeds, vegetation, roots of aquatic plants, grasses, sedges, also small invertebrates (aquatic insects, worms, molluscs, crustaceans), small amphibians, small fish.

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Newly-hatched

--

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)

Normal

Iceland, eastward from western Europe through central Asia to south-east of former USSR; scattered populations from Turkey through the southern Palearctic to north-east China, north Japan.

  • London: In the London Area, "common winter visitor and migrant, scarce breeder." A few dozen breeding pairs in 2000, including several nesting in Inner London. Up to 200 or more birds at some sites in winter, such as Walthamstow Reservoir, Broadwater Lake and Wraysbury gravel pit. (J322.65.w1)

Southern populations sedentary, northern populations migrate south to Mediterranean basin, Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, south-west of former USSR, Indian subcontinent, south-east Asia, Japan.

Occasional and Accidental

Vagrant to Faeroes, Azores, Canary islands, Cape Verde Islands, Philippines, Guam, Hawaii.

Introduced

--

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Habitat

Shallow to deep freshwater lakes with good fringe or emergent vegetation, also swamps, marshes, slow-flowing rivers. Winter on larger more open lakes, reservoirs, slow-flowing rivers, coastal lagoons, occasionally tidal estuaries, sheltered coastal bays.

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Conservation

Intraspecific variation

--

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Conservation Status

Wild Population -
(Importance)

Abundant (B1)..

General Legislation
  • This species is listed on Schedule 2 - Part I (Birds which may be killed or taken outside the close season, 1 February to 31 August except where indicated otherwise: Notes on the revised schedules state "NOTE: The close season for ducks and geese when below high water mark is 21 February to 31 August") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
  • This species is listed on Schedule 2 - Part I (Birds which may be killed or taken outside the close season, 1 February to 31 August except where indicated otherwise: Notes on the revised schedules state "NOTE: The close season for ducks and geese when below high water mark is 21 February to 31 August") of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
  • This species is listed on Schedule 3 - Part 3 (Birds which may be sold alive at all times if ringed and bred in captivity: Notes on the revised schedules state "Birds which may be sold dead from 1 September to 28 February (NB: It is illegal to offer for sale at any time of the year any wild goose, moorhen, gadwall or goldeneye, although they are legitimate quarry species outside the close season)) of the LUK2 - Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 of the United Kingdom. (W5.Oct01)
CITES listing Listing not yet included.
Red-data book listing Listing not yet included.
Threats --

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Captive Populations

Well represented in European collections (B8)

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Trade

--

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