The Ferruginous Duck species is known colloquially by birders as “fudge duck”. Their breeding habitat is marshes and lakes with a meter or more water depth. These ducks breed in southern and eastern Europe and southern and western Asia. They are somewhat migratory, and winter farther south and into north Africa. The adult male is a rich chestnut color with a darker back and a yellow eye. The pure white under-tail helps to distinguish this species from the somewhat similar tufted duck. The female is similar but duller, and with a dark eye.
Male – The male Ferruginous Duck has a rich chestnut head, neck, and breast, grey beak and striking white eyes, a dark collar around the base of the neck, upper-parts are dark-brown, speculum is white, flanks are reddish-brown, a white belly and white under the tail coverts and legs and feet are grey.
Female – The female Ferruginous Duck is duller and browner with brown eyes, and like the male it has white under-tail coverts.
Eclipse – The Male in eclipse plumage is similar to the female but has a redder head and breast. It also differs from the female in having striking white eyes.
Size: – Typical Adult is about 16 inches.
Food: – Mainly aquatic plants, seeds, and roots, also small fish, molluscs, crustaceans, and aquatic insects.
Habitat: – Lakes, marshes, and ponds in western Europe, Russia, Asia Minor, and Tibet. Winters further south in Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Middle East, India, Thailand, and sub-Saharan Africa.
Breeding Season: – Early-May to mid-June.
Eggs: – 8 to 10 (pale-buff color).
Notes: – The Ferruginous Duck is a medium-sized Eurasian diving duck known colloquially as the Fudge Duck. The name ‘Ferruginous’ means rust colored. It has also been called the White-eyed Pochard.
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.