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Common Pochard

What am I?

A once common diving duck now in a rapid decline due to over hunting and urbanisation. Males have distinctive reddish chestnut head and neck with black breast and grey back. The females are mottled brown with greyish body, and pale cheeks and have the same distinctive flat bill and triangular head. They feed on aquatic plants, insects, molluscs, and small fish, often at night. Photo Credit: John Parish. 

How to spot them

Common pochard are likely to be mixed with the Tufted and other ducks on lakes, gravel pits or ponds. More common in winter, few breed in the UK. Males look very similar to the females in their eclipse phase when they moult all their distinctive plumage. The structure, mainly their bill and head, are the giveaway all year round.  

Where to see them

In Essex Heybridge basin gravel pit, Abberton Reservoir, Fingringhoe Wick and The Strood are all good locations to look. Mostly overwintering birds but some resident on the east coast 

Conservation status

The common Pochard is red listed in the UK  

Did you know?

The oldest ringed Pochard was 22years old, however, their average lifespan is 3 years. They produce one clutch a year of a maximum of  8-10 eggs 

Common Pochard duck bird

Photo Credit: John Parish