Other Names: Ferruginous Duck, Ferruginous Pochard, Common White-Eye
The White-Eyed Pochard has a body length of 40-46 cm, a wingspan of about 65 cm. Weight: 680-800 g. Longevity: 8 years.
The breeding male is a rich, dark chestnut on the head, breast and flanks with contrasting pure white undertail coverts. In flight the white belly and underwing patch are visible. The females are duller and browner than the males. The male has a yellow eye and the females have a dark eye.
Very quiet birds, except during the breeding season, when the male makes a barely audible sound “chuk-chuk” and the female gurgles “gaa”.
Swim and dive well.
Distribution and Habitat
Turkmenistan-Mediterranean species with fragmented areas in the temperate climate of the Palearctic, in the steppes, semi-desert and southern forest areas of Western Europe, North Africa, Mongolia. The breeding range of the bird is from the Iberian Peninsula and the Eastern Maghreb to western Mongolia, south to the Arabian Peninsula. In the western countries, the population is already scarce, localized and disappeared in some of them. The White-Eyed Pochard is wintering in the Mediterranean and around the Black Sea, a smaller number is migrating to sub-Saharan Africa through the Nile Valley. Eastern birds winter in South and Southeast Asia.
In Bulgaria it is a nesting, passing and partly wintering species. At the end of the 19th century it was common and numerous, often occurring along the Danube and the Black Sea coast. From the middle of the 20th century there was a decrease in the number.
White-Eyed Pochard inhabits mostly shallow fishponds, marshes and dams with mosaic vegetation, or large reed beds with small water mirrors and canals, sloping shores and muddy shallows and hydrophyte vegetation. During migrations – diverse wetlands. During winter – lakes, dams and small sea bays along the Black Sea coast.
This bird is predominantly a vegetarian, eating mainly seeds and aquatic plants that collect on the water surface or on the shore. This does not prevent, like most ducks, to supplement their diet with invertebrates, insects and their larvae, crustaceans, mollusks. Active is mostly morning and evening. During the day, he gives himself to idleness on the shallows or in the water.
These are fowl birds less social than other ducks, but often in the winter they can form large colonies with other diving. The White-Eyed Pochard is monogamous and its relationship with the partner usually lasts one season. It starts breeding in the second half of May. Its nest always builds in close proximity to the water, often on small islands or piles of old reed. It lays 6 to 14 yellow-green eggs. The female incubates 25-28 days. The small ones hatch well enough to be able to move and feed alone, but they start flying after the 55th day. Population maturity reaches one year of age.
Protected under the BDA. Included in the Red Book.