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Birds by name
Conservation status: Amber
In winter and spring, male pochards are very distinctive. They have a bright reddish-brown head, a black breast and tail and a pale grey body. Females are more easily confused with other species; they are brown with a greyish body and pale cheeks. However, during the 'eclipse' – when ducks grow new feathers – the males look very similar to the females. They become more camouflaged so that they don't draw the attention of predators.
Swans, ducks and geese (Anatidae)
Good places to look in summer are open lakes and gravel pits in lowland eastern England and Scotland. They're much easier to see in winter across the whole of the UK, often on larger lakes and even on estuaries.
Pochards are most common in the UK during autumn and winter, when large numbers fly from eastern Europe and Russia to escape the bitterly cold weather there. They're quite rare breeding birds in this country.
Plants and seeds, snails, small fish and insects.
* UK breeding is the number of pairs breeding annually. UK wintering is the number of individuals present from October to March. UK passage is the number of individuals passing through on migration in spring and/or autumn.
Please note that the map is only intended as a guide. It shows general distribution rather than detailed, localised populations.
Herman van Oosten, Xeno-canto