Sunday, March 29

Common pochard

   ›      ›   Common pochard - Aythya ferina.

The common pochard (Aythya ferina) is a medium sized diving duck belonging to the family Anatidae. The common pochard species is distributed in Indian Subcontinent, Asia and Europe.

Taxonomy of Common pochard

  • Scientific Name: Aythya ferina
  • Common Name: Common pochard
  • French: Fuligule milouin; German: Tafelente; Spanish: PorrĂ³n europeo;
  • Other names: Anas ferina Linnaeus, 1758;
  • Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Aythya ferina was previously included in the genus Anas. The common pochard species is considered closely related to the canvasback (A. valisineria).

Indian birds - Common pochard - Aythya ferina
Indian birds - Common pochard - Aythya ferina

Description

The common pochard is medium sized bird and the male is slightly larger than the female. The male measures 40 to 50 cm in length and weighs 600 to 1,250 grams. The female pochard weighs 450 to 1,100 grams. The wingspan is 70 to 80 cm. The male pochard has a long dark bill with a grey band. The head and neck are red and the breast is black. The back is grey. The female is brown bodied and has a narrow bill band.

Habitat

The common pochard species prefer open waters, less than six meter depth with abundant submerged macrophytes and emergent vegetation. They inhabit marshes, lakes, slow flowing rivers, reservoirs, sheltered coastal bays, lagoons and tidal estuaries.

Feeding habits

The common pochard species feed during the evening and night by diving or dabbling. They feed on aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plants, small fish and molluscs.

Breeding

The breeding season is during April and May. The nest is constructed on the ground near water edge concealed in waterside vegetation. They may also nest on floating mat of reeds.

Distribution

The pochard species are distributed in Europe and northern Asia. The pochard species migrate to Africa, South and East Asia and Indian Subcontinent for wintering. Populations in parts of Europe with milder climate are sedentary.

Movement Patterns

The northern population of the pochard species is highly migratory. They move southwards for wintering. Those pochard birds breeding in milder climates are sedentary. They only make short local dispersals in search of feeding grounds.

Status and conservation

The global population of the common pochard species is estimated to be 2,200,000 to 2,500,000 individual birds. Considering the extremely large range and size of the population, there is least concern in conservation. Hunting, disturbances from human activity, habitat destruction, eutrophication of wintering grounds, entanglement and drowning in fishing nets and nest predation are some of the conservation threats to these species. These birds are susceptible to avian influenza.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these pochard species and has listed them as of "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Aythya ferina
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Anseriformes
Family:Anatidae
Subfamily:Aythyinae
Genus:Aythya
Species:A. ferina
Binomial name:Aythya ferina
Distribution:Indian Subcontinent, Europe, Asia;
Feeding habits:aquatic plants, roots, tubers, shoots, seeds, aquatic invertebrates, fish and molluscs;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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Image source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2011.06.20_pochard,_St._James_Park,_London,_UK_013c.jpg
Author: William N. Beckon | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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