Ferruginous Pochard

Europese Witoogeend

Ferruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca)

The Ferruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca) is a diving duck from the family of water birds that includes ducks, geese, and swans (Anatidae).

Species name

Dutch name:
Europese Witoogeend
English name:
Ferruginous (White-eyed) Pochard
German name:
French name:
Fuligule nyroca
Scientific name:
Aythya nyroca

Scientific classification




Rich dark chestnut head and neck, with small white chin spot .Narrow and inconspicuous black collar. Breast same color as head and neck, grading in to slightly lighter flanks; belly white, separated from white under tail- converts by dark brown band. Upperparts blackish with green gloss, which extends over scapulars and tertails, as well as upper tail- converts and tail . Upper wing dark brown, with broad clear white stripe extending over dark-tipped seconderies and all but outermost primaries; under wing whitish. Bill grey, paler at tip behind black nail. Legs and feet grey. Iris conspicuously "WHITE". eclipse plumage dull brown as Female but keeps White iris.

Lacking chestnut tones to head, neck and breast, which therefore dull brown; head paler in summer. Variable whitish marks on throat .Bare parts as male; Iris dark brown.

Very similar to female but lacks white under tail-coverts and has silvery brown under parts with blackish barring on breast.

Standard Measurements

Body Length (cm):
The male (drake) of the Ferruginous Pochard measures approximately 38-43 centimeters. The female measures approximately 38-43 centimeters.
Body Weight (grams):
The male will weight about 545-590 gram. The female will weight about 545-590 gram.
The weight is notoriously variable and can only be used as indication!

Ferruginous pochards are diving ducks which spend most of their time on water, and are ungainly on land. They are generally hardy, sociable and easy to maintain in captivity. They should be kept with deep water available for diving, three to seven feet suggested, or at least half the area 60cm and preferably one metre deep, with shallow sloping banks for easy exit from the water, also islands, good marginal vegetation and loafing areas. Water providing a good supply of natural animal and vegetable food is preferred.

These ducks may be kept in mixed collections with dabbling ducks, including smaller species such as teal. They should be fed wheat in water, encouraging their natural diving behaviour. Pellets should also be fed. They may breed better if a group rather than single pair kept, as this allows their normal group displaying activity.

30x30x35cm nest box with 12.5cm entrance hole suggested, placed under cover at the edge of the pond.


Ferruginous pochard are winter-hardy, although they should be wintered on ice-free water or shelter provided. Suitable for mixed collections, they are generally peaceable but drakes may fight one another in breeding season. Floating pellets and green food such as duckweed should be provided; some natural food will be available if they are kept on a deep pond with a muddy bottom.

These ducks are fairly easy to breed, provide nest baskets above water and nest boxes in secluded areas in bankside vegetation, laying from late May to June. They incubate well and the ducklings are usually easy to hand rear and willing to take food. Duckweed and live invertebrates are useful to supplement starter crumbs.

This species commonly hybridises with Aythya spp., Anas spp., all three Netta spp., and Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula); hybrids have also been reported with Anas spp. and Wood duck (Aix sponsa).

The female Ferruginous Pochard usually lays from 7-10 creamy yellow to dark reddish-creamy eggs and incubates them for 25-28 days.

Artificial incubating:

The ideal relative humidity for incubating most waterfowl eggs is 55% (ground nesters) and 40% (cavity nesters). The temperature is usually 37.4°C. Set ventilation as recommended by the incubator manufacturer. Eggs must be turned, either automatically or by hand, a minimum of 4 times a day. As the duckling develops there is a loss of water from the egg and the air sac gets bigger. In normal development of an egg with a 25-28 days incubation, the air sac occupies about a third of it three days earlier. Cleanliness is vital and ideally eggs should be moved to a separate hatcher at this point, where the humidity should be increased to 65% and even higher once they have pipped internally.

Bird banding:
Recommended closed leg band ring size for the Ferruginous Pochard is 9 mm.
The leg band ring can only be applied on a young diving duck at around 12-14 days old.

It doesn't matter what leg that you band, but it's good to have a consistent system.
Suggested: Left leg = Female, Right leg = Male
Maintenance food:
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular
Lundi Regular

Lundi Regular with a protein content of 20%, valuable Spirulina and high-quality by-products is optimally balanced in its composition maintenance food for water ornamental fowl of all kinds. Especially green teal and Whistling ducks that are not dependent on a very high protein content, are well supplied.

Lundi Regular contains all the minerals and vitamins in full form that are important for the animals. Therefore also suitable as breeding food.

Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium
Lundi Premium

Floating full food for all sea ducks, green ducks, eider ducks and geese, especially in the moulting and breeding phase ideally suited. Packed with wholesome raw materials, natural vitamins and trace elements, this performance food with a protein content of 30% forms the basis for lifelong vitality.

Vrijstelling CITES, bijlage X

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Photos of the Ferruginous Pochard