Ferruginous duck

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The ferruginous duck (Aythya nyroca) is a medium sized diving duck belonging to the family Anatidae.

The ferruginous duck species is distributed in Indian Subcontinent, Asia, Africa and Europe.

Taxonomy of Ferruginous duck

  • Scientific Name: Aythya nyroca
  • Common Name: Ferruginous duck
  • French: Fuligule nyroca; German: Moorente; Spanish: Porrón pardo;
  • Other names: Anas nyroca Güldenstädt, 1770; Ferruginous pochard; fudge duck;
  • Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Güldenstädt, 1770)
Aythya ferina was previously included in the genus Anas. These duck species are considered closely related to A. australis, A. innotata and A. baeri.


The ferruginous duck species are medium sized birds, measuring 35 to 40 cm in length and weighing 450 to 750 grams. The wingspan is 60 to 65 cm.

Both the males and females are dark chestnut colored. The backs are darker. The belly and undertail region is white. The male ducks have a distinctive pale yellow iris.
Indian birds - Ferruginous duck - Aythya nyroca
Indian birds - Ferruginous duck - Aythya nyroca


The ferruginous duck species inhabit shallow wetlands with emergent and littoral vegetation. They occur in marshes, swamps, pools, ponds, mudflats, fish ponds, reedbeds and sheltered coastal habitats.

Feeding habits

The ferruginous duck species feed by diving or dabbling. They are omnivorous and feed on aquatic plants, invertebrates, insects, molluscs, crustaceans and small fish. They usually feed during the night.


The breeding season of these ducks is mainly from April to June. The nest is constructed as a low platform on reeds and other plant matter placed on the ground close to water edge. The nest may also be made as floating platform on floating vegetation.


Breeding populations of the ferruginous duck species are present in central and eastern Europe including Romania, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Russia, Hungary, Serbia and Ukraine.

In south-western Asia, breeding populations occur in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, China and Indian Subcontinent including Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

In Africa, these duck species occur in Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria. The wintering range extends to the Middle East, north-east and West Africa and South-East Asia.

Movement Patterns

These ferruginous duck species are partially migratory. Winter migration occurs from early September to mid-October. The migration to the breeding grounds takes place from March onwards.

Status and conservation

The global population of the ferruginous duck species is estimated to be 163,000 to 257,000 birds. There have been rapid decline in the duck population in Europe. Hence it is currently listed as near threatened.

The conservation threats include, habitat degradation, draining of wetlands, human activity in the breeding grounds, agricultural pollutants, introduced predators and fishing activities.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these duck species and has listed them as "Near Threatened".

Biological classification of Aythya nyroca
Species:A. nyroca
Binomial name:Aythya nyroca
Distribution:Indian Subcontinent, Europe, Asia and Africa;
Feeding habits:aquatic plants, roots, tubers, shoots, seeds, aquatic invertebrates, small fish and molluscs;
IUCN status listing:
Near Threatened

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Image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Aythya_nyroca_at_Martin_Mere_1.jpg
Author: Francis C. Franklin | License: CC BY-SA 3.0
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