Pochard - Aythya ferina


The Pochard is a stocky diving duck, smaller than a Mallard. The male is pale grey with a rusty red head and neck, and a black breast and tail. The female is brown with a dark head and blotchy cheeks. In flight, birds show a pale grey wing-stripe.

Identification difficulty

Good places to look in summer are open lakes and gravel pits in lowland eastern England and Scotland. Found more widely in winter, often on larger lakes and even on estuaries.

When to see it

All year round

Life History

Pochards feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They eat aquatic plants with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish. They often feed at night, and will upend for food as well as the more characteristic diving.

UK Status

Birds breed in eastern England and lowland Scotland. More birds move here in winter from northern and eastern Europe.

VC55 Status

Quite common as a winter bird in Leicestershire and Rutland but rare as a breeding bird here.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map