By indexer
132 days ago

Ferruginous duck

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This is one of the stranger names for a duck, but “ferruginous” simply means “rust-colored”. The name is certainly more memorable than the scientific name, which is Aythya nyroca.

The ferruginous duck is a diving duck that is found mostly in Asia and eastern Europe, although it winters in western Europe and north Africa. Four main breeding populations have been identified. Wintering populations are found on the estuaries and wetlands of south-east England. However, it is a rare bird, and its numbers have declined in recent years. It is protected in several countries, including Hungary and Romania.

It is a small bird, measuring about 16 inches (39-43 cm) in length. The head and body are a rich chestnut color, although the female is duller and browner than the male. The male has distinctive white eyes, whereas the female’s eyes are black. The wings are dark grey and white, and in flight the ferruginous duck can be mistaken for a tufted duck. They also have white tails and white bellies. The white eyes of the males were the reason why the duck was originally called the white-eyed pochard, and indeed the species are quite closely related and can interbreed.

Ferruginous ducks live in shallow fresh water that is well provided with vegetation, and they feed on water-plants and invertebrates. They both dive and dabble (that is, feed from the surface or just underneath). They often feed at night.

The duck breeds during April and May. The female builds a well-hidden nest from grass, leaves and reeds and lines it with down. She lays 8-10 eggs which she incubates for about 25 days. The ducklings are fledged at around 50-60 days and are sexually mature within a year.

The males often desert the females during incubation, and will probably mate with a different female the following year.

The problems with the European populations have been largely due to loss of habitat, especially with wetlands being drained for agriculture. Efforts are being made to preserve the species in several countries.

For example, in Hungary there has been a project to encourage ferruginous ducks to breed on islands in fishponds, where they have been hunted in the past. The ducks are able to share these breeding grounds with seagulls and terns. This benefits the ducks because terns are particularly aggressive towards predators, and they therefore act as guardians of the ducks’ nests as well as their own.

Without such protection, duck populations have been under considerable pressure, as nesting sites not on islands are liable to destruction by foxes and wild boar. Illegal hunting has also been a problem, for example in Greece.

However, European Union funds are available to help member countries preserve their wildlife resources, which will hopefully help populations of ferruginous ducks to reverse their decline.






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Faith Nice article
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fortune Very interesting, I did not know ferruginous name before
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iiiPhotography Amazing animal
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jessabumagat20 Wow! very interesting
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