Red-crested Pochard/Netta rufina - Male + Female

Red-crested Pochard/Netta rufina - Photographer: Frank Schulkes
Red-crested Pochard/Netta rufina - Photographer: Весела Банова
Red-crested Pochard/Netta rufina - Photographer: Милен Генов
Red-crested Pochard/Netta rufina - Photographer: Милен Генов

L 53-57 cm, WS 85-90 cm. Breeds on fairly large, reed-fringed eutrophic lowland lakes and sea-bays, also on larger lagoons and salt- marshes. Migratory only in north. Regular vagrant, especially in autumn and winter, to Britain, 10-50 records annually, and a few breed. Habits much as for dabbling ducks, upending and dabbling for food in shallow, richly vegetated waters. Vegetarian.
IDENTIFICATION: Rather large, with long, bulky body and large, rounded head. In all plumages, very conspicuous, broad white wing-bars. - Adult male breeding: Rusty-orange head (palest on crown, but impression may vary depending on angle of light) and striking coral-red bill; breast, stern and centre of belly black, flanks white; swimming bird typically shows white narrow patch at side of mantle; upperparts plain brown. In flight, broad white wing-bars and peculiar white oval flank patches lined with black distinctive. Immediately told from a Pochard by red bill and darker, brown back. - Adult female: General appearance like a large, pale female Common Scoter, with off-white sides of head and foreneck and dark brown forehead, crown and hindneck; body plain brown, often diffusely patchy on flanks; bill dark grey with pink near tip. Eye brown. - Adult male eclipse: Like adult female but bill all red. - Juvenile: Like adult female but bill all dark.
VOICE: Rather silent. male has a loud, often repeated ‘baeht’, and a ‘stifled sneeze’. female pursued by male utters hard ‘wrah-wrah-wrah-…’ (likened to distant barking dog), and subdued ‘rerr-rerr’ during courtship on the water.

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