A large diving duck whose drakes have a striking chestnut-red head and neck. The female is pale brown and with a slightly darker head and back to its neck. It has a black breast and black tail with a dove grey middle area.
In Britain these birds breed on gravel pits and reservoirs and has greatly benefitted from their proliferation. However they breed right across most of the former USSR in the area South of the tundra - the steppe. The birds migrate huge distance with records of birds from far East in Asia coming Westwards to winter in Western Europe. Just a few winter South of the Sahara - but Europe holds almost a million in the winter. The population estimate for Britain is 400 pairs and about 30 in Ireland. In North America the equivalent species is the Canvasback.
A big diving duck.
The following Bird On! picture is available:
Pochard (35mm Colour Slide by Roger Tidman)
Length 455 mm Closed wing 210 mm Weight 900 gms
A Bird On! Sketch by Chris Mead
Copyright © 1996 by Jacobi Jayne & Company and Chris Mead