Baer’s Pochard Duck
Baer’s Pochard Duck is a diving duck found in eastern Asia. It breeds in southeast Russia and northeast China, migrating in winter to southern China, Vietnam, Japan, and India. The name commemorates the Estonian naturalist Karl Ernst von Baer. Baer’s pochard duck’s breeds around lakes with rich aquatic vegetation, nesting in dense grass, flooded tussock meadows, or flooded shrubby meadows.
Male – The male Baer’s Pochard duck has a glossy greenish-black head and neck, blue-grey beak with black tip, white eyes, rich chestnut-brown breast, upper-parts are blackish-brown, wings and tail are dark brown, a white vent, speculum is white tipped with black, the belly is white, the fore-flank is whitish with the rest of the flank being light-brown, and greyish legs and feet.
Female – The female Baer’s Pochard duck is similar but slightly duller, less rufous, and the eyes are dark brown.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is very similar to the female but has a darker head and the male has white eyes.
Size: – Typical Adult is 16-18 inches.
Food: – Molluscs, shrimps, fish, aquatic insects, algae, aquatic plants and seeds.
Habitat: – Wetlands, vegetated-lakes, ponds, rivers, and reservoirs in the Amur and Ussuri basins in south-eastern Russia and north-eastern China. Winters in south-eastern China, Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and also in Korea and Japan.
Breeding Season: – Mid-May to July.
Eggs: – 9 to 15 (yellowish color).
Notes: – The Baer’s Pochard duck is an east-Asian diving duck. There has been a rapid decline in numbers of this duck in the last ten years and it has recently been classed as ‘Endangered’. Reasons for the decline include on-going hunting, and habitat loss due to wetland drainage.
The different types of wild ducks can be grouped into puddle, aka “dabbling” and diving ducks. The dabblers mostly feed in smaller bodies of shallow water or along shorelines, where they are able to tip their bodies forward to reach their food on the bottom. There are divers who feed in deeper water where they dive and pursue their quarry. Some of these birds, the Harlequin Duck for example, actually dives to the bottom of fast-flowing waters and feeds on life forms attached to rocks.