Idling around: the red-crested pochard

red crested pochard

Throughout the spring and early summer, we’ve been delighted to see these not-so-common ducks at Idle Valley.  We spent quite a lot of time coming here before Lee’s operation, and met these ducks every time we came: the red-crested pochard.

red crested pochard (2).JPG

The pretty colours of these ducks really caught our attention, and at first we didn’t know what they were (we’re not experts!)  So we looked them up in our bird books when we got home and found out that they were red-crested pochards.

They breed on lakes and are regular vagrants to the UK, although it is suggested that the UK breeding population is mainly from escaped birds.  However they got here, they are certainly very attractive and a pleasure to see in the locality.

red crested pochard (3).JPG

You can just about see the female on the right in the above picture.  Typically, the female is duller than the male and lacks the rusty-orange head that makes the male bird stand out.  They both have broad white wingbars, and are bigger than the pochard.

They can sometimes be seen with tufted ducks or pochards, of which we’ve seen plenty at Idle Valley.  They feed by diving, dabbling just under the surface, and up-ending.

red crested pochard (5).JPG

red crested pochard (4).JPG

We feel very privileged to have these lovely ducks on our doorstep.  Next time you visit Idle Valley, have a look out for them!




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