Common Pochard

Common Pochard    Aythya ferina

Etymology :

  • Aythya : Greek word for aithuia unidentified seabird mentioned by Aristotle
  • Ferina : Latin word ferinus wild, game derived from ferus wild

Vernacular Names: Sind: Torando, Hindi: Burar nar, Lal sir, Pun: Pochad, Ben: Ranga muri, Lal muri, Ass: Ranga muriya, Mani: Irupi, Nepal: Cheun, Guj: Tarandio, Lal-sir, Rakhodi Karchiya, Kutch: Dhusanda, Mar: Chota Lalsari, Ta: Sengalian

Distribution in India: Widespread winter Visitor in India

Description : Size of 42-49 cm .The breeding male has rufous-chestnut head, blackish breast, upper mantle, undertail-coverts, rump and tail, body is grey with vermiculation, becoming darker on upperwing-coverts, paler and more uniform silver-grey on flight feathers, with darker tips to primaries and secondaries, and almost white underwing. The bill is usually dark grey with black nail and broad, It has pale grey subterminal band; legs and feet bluish grey, and bright orange-red eyes. The female has dull brown head with pale grey eyestripe, throat, lores and cheeks, greyish-brown body, becoming darker above, wings are browner than the male. The bill is dull grey to blackish, with broad black tip and broad, pale grey subterminal band, and eyes warm brown.

Habitat: It is found in well-vegetated eutrophic to neutral swamps, marshes, lakes and slow-flowing rivers with areas of open water and abundant emergent fringing vegetation It breeds on saline, brackish and soda lakes, occasionally even in sheltered coastal bays. In winter it is found in larger lakes, reservoirs, fishponds, mineral extraction pits, brackish coast lagoons and tidal estuaries.

Food habits : It eats seeds, roots and green parts of grasses, sedges and aquatic plants, small invertebrates like aquatic insects and their larvae, molluscs, crustaceans, worms, amphibians and small fish. It feeds by diving, upending or dabbling on surface, and also filters mud on shore. They are some differences in foraging techniques between males and females, with male apparently deeper divers and dominant in agonistic encounters, sometimes displacing females from food-rich sites. They are crepuscular and may also feed throughout the night, especially in winter.

Breeding habits : They breed in Apr-May in Siberia, Spain and UK. They are seasonally monogamous, with pair-bond typically surviving until first or second week of incubation, although some males will accompany their broods. The nest is a shallow depression in thick heap of grass, reed stems and leaves, lined with down, on ground or over water, concealed in thick vegetation. Generally single-brooded, .They lay a clutch of 8–10 eggs . The incubation period is 24–28 days. The chicks have a fledging period of 50–55 days. The brood is deserted by female at onset of wing moult, and some young may leave own brood to join other female even when very small. Intra- and interspecific nest parasitism common and moderate levels of egg dumping appear to have little or no effect on success of host, The nest is also used by Netta rufina, fuligula and Anas platyrhynchos .