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Baer's pochard

Aythya baeri
Photo by Lester Wareham (The Holding Tank)

Common name:
Baer’s pochard (en); zarro-de-Baer (pt); fuligule de Baer (fr); porrón de Baer (es); Baermoorente (de)

Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

This Asian species breeds in the Amur and Ussuri basins, in south-eastern Russia and north-eastern China. It migrates south to winter from southern China, west to Bangladesh and eastern India, and south to Taiwan, Myanmar and occasionally Vietnam.

These birds are 41-46 cm long and weigh 650-700 g.

The Baer’s pochard is found breeding in shallow lakes and freshwater marshes, but also in fast-flowing rivers, as long as there is rich aquatic vegetation where they can build a secure nest. Outside the breeding season in lakes, reservoirs, rivers, freshwater marshes, rice fields and in islands within freshwater lakes.

They dive up to a depth of 2 m to hunt aquatic insects, molluscs, shrimps and fishes. They also eat algae, aquatic plants and seeds, especially during winter.

Baer’s pochards breed in May-July. The nest is made of aquatic vegetation and placed in a tussock, in floating vegetation, in dense reedbeds or sometimes in the branches of trees. There the female lays 9-15 eggs, which she incubates alone for 23-28 days while the male guards the nest and collects food for the female. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, but remain with their parents for 2-4 weeks.

IUCN status – EN (Endangered)
This species has a very large breeding range, but the global population is estimated at just 5.000 individuals. The population is estimated to be undergoing a fast decline caused by hunting and habitat loss due to wetland destruction in both their breeding and wintering grounds.

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