Netta is a genus of diving ducks. Unlike other diving ducks, the Netta species are reluctant to dive, and feed more like dabbling ducks. These are gregarious ducks, mainly found on fresh water. They are strong fliers; their broad, blunt-tipped wings require faster wing-beats than those of many ducks and they take off with some difficulty. They do not walk as well on land as the dabbling ducks because their legs tend to be placed further back on their bodies to help propel them when underwater. The probably extinct Pink-headed Duck, previously listed as Rhodonessa caryophyllacea, has recently been shown by phylogenetic analysis to be closely related to the Red-crested Pochard, so has now been transferred to the same genus, as Netta caryophyllacea. However, this has been questioned due to numerous and pronounced peculiarities of that species.
Female has characteristic pale sides of face and neck, contrasting with dark brown cap and hind neck, reminiscent of female Melanitta nigra, but paler with thinner, bicolored bill.
Juvenile very similar to female but darker with more mottled underparts.
Listen to the sound of Red-crested Pochard
Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto
|wingspan min.:||85||cm||wingspan max.:||90||cm|
|size min.:||53||cm||size max.:||57||cm|
|incubation min.:||26||days||incubation max.:||28||days|
|fledging min.:||45||days||fledging max.:||28||days|
Clutch size is 8-10, sometimes 6 up to 14. Dump nests by 2 or more females not infrequent, up to 39 eggs reported in one. Also nest parasitism often recorded, with eggs laid in nests of Mallard, Gadwall, and others. The incubation lasts 26-28 days. The young fledge after 45-50 days and are self feeding cared for by females. She will brood small ducklings at night.
When fledged the young are independent. First breeding at 1 year, though some probably not until 2
Feeds by diving, upending head-dipping and dabbling .
Video Red-crested Pochard
Netta rufina is a widespread but patchily distributed breeder in west-central and southern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is relatively small (<59,000 pairs), and declined markedly between 1970-1990. Although the species declined in a few countries during 1990-2000, many populations (including the Russian stronghold) increased or were stable, and it underwent a moderate increase overall. This increase probably outweighs the earlier decline.
This duck has a fragmented distribution from the Iberian peninsula, southern and eastern Europe to Central Asia, mainly in steppe regions. The small population inhabiting north-western Europe (United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands) seems to originate from captive birds, and is currently increasing. The birds of south-western and western Europe are partly sedentary, partly migratory. They are totalling 25000 individuals, and seem to decline. The birds seen in Greece and southern Italy belong the population of the Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean regions, estimated at 50000 individuals.
Main autumn migration in west and east late October and early November; by December, most in winter quarters. Return movement February-March; most northern and eastern breeding areas re-occupied April and early May.