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General and References

Alternative Names (Synonyms)

Rosenschnabelente (German)
Peposakaente (German)
Nette demi-deuil (French)
Canard peposaca (French)
Pato picazo (Spanish)
Pato negro (Spanish)

Names for newly-hatched

Duckling, downy.

Names for non-breeding males or other colour-phases


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Species Author

Debra Bourne

Major References

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

Aviculture references:
B7, B29, B31, B40, B94, B97, B128.w1
D1, D8

Other References

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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


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.
  • N.B. The three Netta species (narrow-billed pochards) are less specialised, and in comparison to the Aythya species (broad-billed pochards) dive much less frequently, spend more time on land and are closer in behaviour to the Dabbling Ducks.
  • 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:

  • Rosy-billed pochards (Rosybills) are winter-hardy, but may require extra food in winter and shelter should be available in prolonged frost. They should be maintained on large ponds with a reasonable depth for diving. They are sociable and suitable for mixed collections. These ducks may be fed grain and pellets, with duckweed and extra green foods.
  • These ducks are easily bred; close ground cover and ground-level nest boxes should be provided for nesting, close to water, with the ducks nesting from mid-May onward (B31); usually April to May (B29). Reliable incubators and rearers, may also be artificially incubated and hand-reared; ducklings easy to rear if given plenty of duckweed and finely-chopped green foods.
  • Readily hybridise with Netta rufina - Red-crested pochard with the resultant hybrids fertile; the two species should not be kept in same enclosure. Hybrids have also been reported with other closely-related species, plus some Anas spp., Dendrocygna viduata - White-faced whistling-duck, Aix sponsa - Wood duck and Sarkidornis melanotos - Comb duck .

(B7, B29, B31, B94, B97)

Aviornis UK Ringing Scheme suggested average closed ring size: M 12.0mm (D8).

Management Techniques

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External Appearance (Morphology)

Measurement & Weight

Length 22 inches, 56cm (B3); 55-56cm
Adult weight General About 1000-1200g (B1)
Male Mean 1181g (B25); mean 2.6 lbs. (B8).
Female Mean 1004g (B25); mean 2.2 lbs. (B8).
Newly-hatched weight --
Growth rate --

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Adult Bill Male Bright red with large basal knob and black nail.
Variations (If present) Female: slate grey with black nail.
Eyes (Iris) Male Red.
Variations(If present) Female: brown.
Juvenile Bill Slate grey.
Eyes (Iris) Brown.

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Adult Male Yellow-orange, webs dusky.
Variations (If present) Grey-yellow.
Juvenile Grey-yellow.

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Adult Male Head and neck glossy purple-black, breast black, flanks and abdomen vermiculated black and white (appear grey), undertail coverts white, tail and uppertail coverts black, black extending in band in front of undertail coverts. Upperparts black-brown with very fine white speckling, tertials and upperwing coverts brown-black, primaries and secondaries white with black tips, more black on outer primaries.
Variations (If present) Female: brown, with head, neck and underparts paler, crown, hindneck and upperparts darker. White around bill and small amount on throat, buff sides to face, sometimes with white on face. White undertail coverts as male, wing as male
Juvenile Similar to female but darker brown underparts

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Newly-hatched Characteristics

General: Upperparts pale buff brown, underparts bright yellow.
Bill: Bluish grey.
Feet: Grey

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Reproductive Season

Time of year Begins February/March in Paraguay, otherwise October/November.
No. of Clutches --

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Nest placement and structure

In dense waterside vegetation, with a downy lining.

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Egg clutches

No. of Eggs Average 10 (B1)
Range 8-12 (B8); up to 30 with dump-nesting (B1).
Egg Description Cream to greenish.

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27-29 days (B1); 25-19 days (B8).

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50-75 days (B8).

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Sexual Maturity

Males --
Females --

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Feeding Behaviour

Adults Dabble, head-dip and upend in shallows, also graze on land, less frequently dive.
Newly-hatched --

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Parental Behaviour

Nest-building Solitary or in loose groups.
Incubation By female.
Newly-hatched Tended by female.

Broods sometimes amalgamate.

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Social Behaviour

Intra-specific Gregarious, form flocks of thousands in winter.
Inter-specific Nests sometimes parasitised by Heteronetta atricapilla - Black-headed duck. (RefLink)

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Sexual Behaviour

Seasonal pair bond.

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Predation in Wild


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Activity Patterns

Circadian --

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Natural Diet


Basically vegetarian: seeds, vegetative parts, roots of aquatic plants, grasses, and sedges.

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Range and Habitat

Distribution and Movement (Migration etc.)


From Atacama to Valdivia in central Chile; south-eastern South America from southern Brazil and Paraguay to Rio Negro in south-eastern Argentina.

Southern populations migrate north to lower latitudes, reaching southern Bolivia and Brazil.

Occasional and Accidental

Rarely to Tierra del Fuego, vagrant to Falklands.



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Shallow small lakes, swamps, marshes with abundant floating vegetation, in open country, rather than open and deep waters.

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Intraspecific variation


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Conservation Status

Wild Population -


CITES listing --
Red-data book listing --
Threats Destroyed as pests by farmers due to crop damage.

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Captive Populations

Popular in collections.

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