Pochard Aythya ferina   [Linnaeus, 1758]

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Order: Anseriformes Family: Anatidae
BTO Codes: PO, POCHA EURING No: 1980
Number in Britain: 38 thousand birds (Winter)
Conservation Status:
European: 2 Concern, most in Europe; Declining
Global: (Details)
Status in UK: (A)  Migrant/Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
Subspecies: Monotypic
Length: 46 cm Wingspan: 77 cm Weight: M/F: 930 g    
Scientific name from: Gr.: aithuia=a seabird described by Aristotle and L.: ferinus=wild game
World Distribution: BREEDS: Europe, n&c Asia, WINTERS south to c Africa, s Asia
Habitat: Lakes & slow rivers on migration also estuaries
Diet: Mostly plant material, also small animals
Identification Tips:
  Images from IBC or search flickr
  Videos from IBC
  Sound from xeno-canto
Crossley ID photos

Population and Distribution

Population Trend: No population trend available
Distribution: Atlas Mapstore   
British Population Size:
    Winter: 38 thousand individuals in 2004/05 - 2008/09
    Summer: 500 to . Pairs in
    First Record: 1544 [Fossil evidence from Middle Pleistocene, c. 500,000 yr ago]
    Latest Survey: Musgrove, A. et al. (2013) British Birds 106:64-100
    Conservation Status: AMBER because Species of European Concern, Recent Non-breeding Population Decline, Important Non-breeding Population
   Previous Assessments: 2002-2007 AMBER     1996-2001 AMBER  
   Races of Concern:
Habitat Occupancy (in the Breeding Season):
    No habitat data from BBS
Migration routes: Map of foreign ringing recoveries  and summary map from Time to Fly (in pop-up windows)
European Population Size:
    Summer: 100 to 180 thousand pairs
Population Assesment from Birds in Europe
Distribution in Europe mapped by the EBCC Atlas
Listed on the Appendices/Schedules of: WCA(II,III), WBD(II*,III*), Bern(III), Bonn(II), AEWA
Survey Results: Results from BirdTrack

Breeding and Survival

Egg Size: 62 x 44 mm Egg Weight: 66.0 g (of which 9 % is shell)
Number of Nest Records: 8
Clutch Size: 8 - 10 eggs
Incubation: 25 days   by the: Female
Fledging: 50 - 55days as: Precocial, downy
First Clutches Laid: Unavailable
Number of Broods: 1
Number Ringed: Annual Totals
Adult Survival: 0.650 ± 0.014       
Juvenile Survival: 0.550 (in First-Year)  
Age at First Breeding: 1 year Typical Lifespan: 3 years
Maximum Recorded Age: 22 years 0 months 10 days (set in 1999)
Read a summary of Ringing Recoveries


Ring Size: G*
Wing Length Adult: 217.3 ± 6.4 Range 208 - 225 mm, N =553
Juvenile: 215.1 ± 12.1 208 - 225 mm, N =107
Male: 218.7 ± 6.1 210 - 226 mm, N =436
Female: 212.2 ± 4.6 204 - 220 mm, N =116
Weight Adult: 1.13 ± 0.10 Range 0.98 - 1.30 kg , N =473
Juvenile: 1.15 ± 0.15 0.85 - 1.35 kg , N =86
Male: 1.14 ± 0.10 1.00 - 1.30 kg , N =375
Female: 1.07 ± 0.09 0.91 - 1.20 kg , N =97
British Trust for Ornithology (2005) Ringing Scheme data

Other Names

Common/Northern Pochard
Gaelic: Lach-dhearg-cheannach Welsh: Hwtaden Bengoch
Danish: Taffeland Dutch: Tafeleend
Finnish: Punasotka French: Fuligule milouin
German: Tafelente Hungarian: Barátréce
Icelandic: Skutulönd Irish: Póiseard
Italian: Moriglione Norwegian: Taffeland
Polish: Glowienka zwyczajna Portuguese: Zarro-comum
Spanish: Porrón común Swedish: Brunand
Local Names: Red-headed/Blue Poker
Collective Noun:Rush

For More Information...

Books and Monographs:
   Kear, J 2005 Ducks, geese and swans Oxford University Press [598.48 KEA]
   Cabot, D. 2009 Wildfowl Collins, London
See Also:
Find scientific papers on Google Scholar or Scirus by clicking the icon
Wikipedia entry
HBW account (subscription required)
BirdLife species page
Recent sightings and information from BirdGuides