The Common Pochard is a medium-sized diving duck that is widely distributed across Europe and Asia. In appearance, it is distinguished by its round head, steep forehead, and red eyes. Its body is typically black with a white breast and flanks, while the feathers on the wingtips are a striking blue-grey color.
They are found in shallow fresh or brackish water bodies like lakes, ponds, marshes, and rivers. They breed in densely vegetated wetlands, and their nest is a scrape in the ground lined with plant material and down from the female. They lay up to 10-12 eggs and the young leave the nest within 24 hours of hatching, being able to swim and feed themselves.
The Common Pochard feeds primarily on aquatic plants, invertebrates and small fish. They are excellent swimmers and divers, and can remain underwater for up to 30 seconds. When diving, they use their powerful legs and wings to propel themselves through the water.
The Common Pochard is a migratory bird, and populations in the northern parts of its range migrate southwards during the winter months. In some parts of its range, it is hunted for sport, which has led to declining populations in certain areas.
The conservation status of the Common Pochard is currently listed as "Least Concern," due to its widespread distribution and relatively stable population. However, it is vulnerable to habitat loss due to wetland drainage, pollution, and other human activities that affect freshwater ecosystems.
The Common Pochard's unique appearance and impressive abilities make it a fascinating bird to observe in the wild. With its reliance on wetland habitats, its preservation is also a vital component of the conservation of these critical landscapes and the ecological services they provide.