Red-crested Pochard Netta rufina
- Netta : Greek word for “Duck”
- Rufina : Latin word for “Golden Red”
Vernacular Name : Sind: Batsha, Rutabo, Hindi: Laal chonch, Laal sir, Sans: Rakta chood majjika, Pun: Lal siri pochad, Bi: Doommer, Ben: Bada rangamuri, Hero hans(M), Chobra hans(F), Mani: Irupi, Nepal: Dumar(M), Sanwa (F), Guj: Ratobari, Laal-chanch, Laalchanch karchiya, Mar: Chiklya badak, Motha lalsari, Ta: Kondai cheravi, Te: Yerra tala chiluva
Distribution in India: Wide spread winter visitor in India though limited to Costal Tamilnadu in South.
Description: Size of 53-57 cm ; wt. of male 900–1420 g, female 830–1400 g; wingspan of 84–90 cm. Breeding male unmistakable with dark chestnut head becoming rusty gold above and behind eye, short rounded crest, black nape, underparts, rump and back, white flanks and shoulder crescent, dark grey tail, dull grey-brown mantle, scapulars and forewing, rest of upper wing white; bill pale red, eyes, legs and feet brighter red; has eclipse plumage, similar to that of female, but iris and bill remain red, and body plumage is generally darker. Female has characteristic pale sides to face and neck, contrasting with dark brown cap and hind neck, uniform brown underparts (paler than upperparts), and has dark grey bill with pink tip and cutting edges, pink legs and brown eyes. The juvenile is very similar to female, but darker, with more mottled underparts and black-brown bill; young male acquires dull version of adult plumage by end of first winter.
Habitat: It is found in deep, large lakes and lagoons of fresh or brackish waters with abundant fringing vegetation, mainly inland.
Food Habits: It eats roots, seeds and green parts of aquatic plants, also potatoes, small-sized aquatic invertebrates and small fish. It feeds by diving , upending, head dipping and dabbling on surface, with foraging activity generally concentrated in early morning and evening. When in flocks, all birds tend to use same feeding method. Birds (most frequently females) observed feeding on plants brought by their mates to the surface has traditionally been considered as courtship feeding.
Breeding Habits: They breed from April –May in South Russia, Turkey and Spain. The nest is constructed, solely by female, from roots, twigs and leaves, lined with thick layer of down, on ground among thick vegetation, near water’s edge, occasionally on matted reeds in water. Single-brooded. They lay a clutch of 8–10 eggs , sometimes lays eggs in nests of other species. The incubation period is 26–28 days, done by female alone. The chicks are precocial and fledging period is 45–50 days. They are cared for solely by female, which may remain with young for up to 11 weeks.