The Common Pochard – becoming less common

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Did you know the German name for Common Pochard is ‘Tafelente’, which means duck as game? It stresses the fact that, at least in Germany, the duck is regarded as a delicous dish at the dinner table.

It may be tasty, but this is  unlikely to be the reason for major declines of Common Pochard populations worldwide. The Common Pochard is still a familiar species, with an estimated population in Central Europe, Black Sea and the Mediterranean of 600,000 birds, and 250,000 birds in Northeast/Northwest Europe. However, numbers have been falling dramatically over the past decades. The duck is now listed as Vulnerable on the European Red List of Birds and the global IUCN Red List. This means either survival or productivity is decreasing (so more birds are dying or fewer young are being produced).

In January we are seeking participation from waterbird counters and bird watchers across Europe and North Africa to help collect sex ratio data for Common Pochard. This means simply recording the number of males and females in flocks. This can easily be carried out as part of the next International Waterbird Census (16th/17th January 2016)! Our partners, the Duck Specialist Group are leading this initiative and much more useful information is available on their website!

Photo © Anne & Chris Algar

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