Common Pochard Duck
The Common Pochard Duck breeding habitat is marshes and lakes with a meter or more water depth. Pochards breed in much of temperate and northern Europe into Asia. They are migratory, and winter in the southern and west of Europe. These are gregarious birds, forming large flocks in winter, often mixed with other diving ducks such as tufted duck, with which they are known to hybridize. These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They eat aquatic plants with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish. They often feed at night, and will up-end for food as well as the more characteristic diving.
Male – The Male Common Pochard duck has a dark reddish-brown chestnut head and neck, dark grey beak with central band of light-grey and black tip, red eyes, black breast, rump, vent, and tail, with a light-grey body, and the legs and feet are greyish-yellow. Common Pochards look similar to the Redhead and the Canvasback.
Female – The female Common Pochard duck has a dull grey-brown plumage which is mottled on the head, neck, breast, and upper-back, a paler face, chin and around the brown eye, the beak is similar to the male but has a more narrow central band of grey, the tail and rump are dark brown, and the belly is white.
Eclipse – The male in eclipse plumage is similar to the female but has a darker grey back, and dark breast and head. It also has a broader central band on the beak compared to the female and retains the red eyes.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 19 inches.
Food: – Mainly aquatic plants, seeds, pond weeds, leaves and also molluscs, aquatic insects and larvae.
Habitat: – Wetlands, marshlands, and fairly deep freshwater lakes in the UK, north Europe and into Asia. They winter in south and west Europe, north Africa, India, southern China, and Japan.
Breeding Season: – Late April and May.
Eggs: – 6-9 (greenish-grey color).
Notes: – The Common Pochard duck is a medium sized diving duck. Their short legs set back on their body makes walking difficult so they spend most of their time in the water diving for food. When alarmed they prefer to swim away rather than flying off. These birds are widespread and abundant.
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.