Ferruginous Pochard

Ferruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca), also commonly known as the Ferruginous Duck, Common White-eye, or White-eyed Pochard, is a shy species of waterfowl found in Euro Siberia. As a couple of their common names suggest, this species has bright white irises that contrast highly with their rusty head plumage. This same plumage extends down their chest and becomes paler and browner on the sides. They display a gray-black bill that slopes gently from their face. Ferruginous Pochard underbelly and under the tail are both white, as well as the underside of their wings that can only be seen in flight. The underside of the wings is completely white with gray edging, while the top of the wings only has white primaries and secondaries that are tipped with gray. Females are distinguished by their paler plumage and dark irises.

The Ferruginous Pochard population is more likely to be migratory rather than residents, though there are residents found in small pockets of Saudi Arabia, France, Switzerland, and a few other nations. Common breeding areas for this species spans from Iberia to western Mongolia, and into Arabia. The majority of the western wintering population is found around the Black Sea, while the eastern wintering population migrates to south and southeast Asia. While known as a “shy” species, Ferruginous Pochards are neither gregarious nor non-gregarious. Wintering periods are when the largest flocks of this species can be observed. Ferruginous Pochard can also be found in flocks with Tufted Ducks and Common Pochards. During the breeding season they prefer to nest near colonies of gulls for protection. While associating themselves with other species and conspecifics, they are not normally overtly social with them.

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