- A flock of around 50 red-crested pochards was spotted in an irrigation tank of Jainath mandal centre in Adilabad district for the first time on December 16. An Adilabad-based Wildlife photographer Lingampalli Krishna said he captured photos of the rare and migratory birds.
- Krishna said that he discovered the flock in the tank situated in front of the ancient Sri Laxmi Narasima Swamy temple, when he was returning home after birding in the forests of Jainath mandal.
- He stated that the large diving ducks were recorded in the district for the first time. He claimed that the foresters appreciated him for discovering the buck species in the district.
- According to the officials of the forest department, the beautiful birds might have migrated from neighbouring Maharashtra. They are distributed in Europe, Central Asia, Africa and the Indian sub-continent.
Taxonomy of Red-crested pochard
- Scientific Name: Netta rufina
- Common Name: Red-crested pochard
- French: Nette rousse;
- German: Kolbenente;
- Spanish: Pato colorado;
- Other names: Anas rufinaPallas, 1773;
- Family: Anatidae › Anseriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
- Species author: (Pallas, 1773)
- The red-crested pochard is a medium sized bird and the males are slightly larger than the females. The male pochard measures 50 to 60 cm in length and weighs 900 to 1450 grams. The female bird weighs 800 to 1400 grams.
- The male had a round reddish-chestnut head, pinkish-reddish bill and black breast. The flanks are white and the back is shades of brown. The tail is black.
- The female bird is pale brown with darker back and crown. The face is whitish. A wheezing ‘veht’ call can be given by the male.
- These pochard species inhabit deep fresh or brackish water bodies. They occur in reed-fringed lakes, rivers, lagoons, estuaries, rivers, streams and sheltered coastal habitats.
- These pochard species feed by diving or dabbling. They feed on aquatic plants, roots, shoots, tubers, seeds and grains. They actively feed during early morning and evening.
- The red-crested pochard species nest on the ground near the water edge among thick vegetation. They breed from mid-April to early-June. They lay between 8 to 12 pale green eggs.
Status and conservation
- The two main threats to this species are habitat degradation and hunting. These birds are hunted in Iran for recreational and commercial purposes. The red-crested pochard species is susceptible to avian influenza.
- The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these pochard species and has listed them as of “Least Concern”.
- Red-crested pochards are migratory and disperse locally as well. Breeding occurs from mid-April through July at times in single pairs or loose groups. During this time, male pochards and non-breeders molt and become flightless for around four weeks from June through August.
- The birds travel to their wintering grounds in October after the molting and breeding seasons are complete. During winter migration, red-crested pochards form large groups with hundreds of other individuals. As a diurnal species, these birds are most active in the morning and in the evening.
Migration of birds takes place because
(a) they like to travel
(b) to find abundant food
(c) to meet other birds
(d) none of these.