Saturday, December 11, 2010

Red-crested Pochard

Red-crested Pochard; St. James Park, London, UK; 4/8/10.
Red-crested Pochards (Above) are considered exotic in North America, but in Europe they are wild with their breeding habitat being lowland marshes and lakes in southern Europe and southern and central Asia. They are somewhat migratory, and northern birds winter further south and into north Africa.  But in the UK there is confusion due to the fact that there have been many escapees and deliberate releases over the years, as well as natural visitors from the European continent. However, it is most likely that they are escapees that are now breeding wild and have built up a wild population.

Red-crested Pochard with its crest puffed up; St. James Park, London, UK; 4/8/10.

A pair of Red-crested Pochards; St. James Park, London, UK; 4/8/10.

The red bill and red eyes are very identifying features of the male, whereas the female (Above and below) lacks both and looks very much like the North American Ruddy Duck.

What I thought was a female red-crested Pochard is actually a female Smew (Above) - as pointed out by Juan (see comments below), St. James Park, London, UK; 4/8/10. Thank you Juan.


~Val said...

The middle one puffs up like that brown-headed duck (forgot its name) from North Pond.

Katie said...

Someone reported seeing one in central Arizona. Do you have any information about where in the U.S. they have been seen?

Anonymous said...

Hi Katie,

I tried to research about U.S. sightings of the Red-crested Pochard, but only found informnation dealing with sporadic sightings in Arizona from 2002 to the present. Consesus seems to be that a small wild population has been established from probable escapees from private collectors of exotic birds. Jon

Juan said...

Hello, I wonder if the third picture is of a female Smew and not of a red-crested Pochard. I also saw that bird in London this winter and I thought it could be a Smew.

jon said...

By golly, Juan, I do believe you are correct - thanks for pointing this out to me, so I can make a correction. Jon