Ferruginous Duck

Aythya nyroca - Fuligule nyroca

  • Order 


  • Family


  • Genus


  • Species



Güldenstädt, 1770

  • Size
    : 42 cm
  • Wingspan
    : 63 à 67 cm.
  • Weight
    : 650 à 800 g

8 years

Geographic range


Description identification

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. breeding
Fuligule nyroca
♀ adult plum. post breeding

The Ferruginous Duck is a small diving duck, smaller than the Mallard and Common Teal. Sexual dimorphism is less pronounced than with them. The adult male is typical. He is tricolored, black, chestnut and white. What is striking is the chestnut-mahogany color of the head, neck, chest and flanks. Also striking are the white undertails separated from the chestnut flanks by a vertical black bar. The upper parts are black-brown. The white belly is only visible in flight. The head is special. The forehead is flat and the crown rounded, but it has erect feathers that give it a distinctly rounded appearance. The iris is white. The rather long beak is gray-blue with a black tip and an indistinct whitish sub-terminal ring. In flight one can not miss the clear white wingbars on the primary and secondary remiges of the wings, dark otherwise. Viewed from below, one can clearly see the underside of the wings light edged with black and the contrast between the white abdomen and its chestnut context.
The adult female is duller, browner and could be mistaken for an adult female Common Teal. She is distinguished by the lack of a topknot and the brown eye. In addition, the white undertail is clearly delineated as in the male. The female Teal sometimes has white undertail, but never to this extent. She does, however, have a pale face at the base of the beak, which the nyroca never shows.
The male in eclipse looks very much like a female but retains the white iris. The juvenile also looks like an adult female but its plumage is less warm, especially on the head. His undertails are not pure white, his belly is stained with brown and his beak is gray. He too can be mistaken for a female-type Teal.
The Ferruginous Duck occasionally hybridizes with the Mallard and Common Teal, producing hybrids that can be identified as such as they are adult males (see the gallery).It's more difficult with Ferruginous Duck hybrids of female type.

Subspecific information monotypic species

Foreign names

  • Fuligule nyroca,
  • Porrón pardo,
  • perra,
  • Moorente,
  • cigányréce,
  • Witoogeend,
  • Moretta tabaccata,
  • vitögd dykand,
  • Hvitøyeand,
  • chochlačka bielooká,
  • polák malý,
  • Hvidøjet And,
  • ruskosotka,
  • morell xocolater,
  • Jarpönd,
  • podgorzałka (zwyczajna),
  • baltacis,
  • kostanjevka,
  • Белоглазый нырок,
  • メジロガモ,
  • 白眼潜鸭,
  • เป็ดดำหัวสีน้ำตาล,
  • 白眼潛鴨,

Voice song and cries

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. post breeding

The voice of Aythya is always unpleasant to a human ear. For example at take-off, the Ferruginous Duck produces a sequence of harsh, loud, croaking notes, arrh arrh arrh..., kiarrh kiarrh kiarrh....
At the courtship, the adults express themselves more discretely. The male produces soft ouek ouek... as well as louder wiouh wiouh. The female responds with enticing jek jek jek....


Fuligule nyroca

The Ferruginous Duck is mainly a bird of the plains. In the breeding season it frequents shallow fresh and brackish water with abundant aquatic vegetation and a substantial subaquatic flora.

It is not always easy to observe.
In the off season, it moves to larger bodies of water, such as lakes, reservoirs, weirs and larger sections of rivers, where it mingles with other waterbirds. In coastal areas, it gathers in lagoons and marshlands. Its length of stay depends on the availability of resources.

Behaviour character trait

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. breeding

He is mostly active in the morning and in the evening. During the day, he enjoys taking it easy. In the event of daytime disturbance, such as from fishing activities, he feeds at night.

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult
Generally during the breeding season he has relatively solitary habits. His habit of feeding within, or close to, wetlands vegetation makes it easily overlooked and accentuates the impression of great discretion. However, in winter he is gregarious and forms small groups or congregates with bands of other ducks, such as teals, pochards, Tufted Ducks, etc.. It is then easier to find. It is nevertheless much less common than the Tufted Ducks and Pochards and one never observes, even in the east, large flocks of Ferruginous Ducks. Even a hundred individuals is already a very nice number.


Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. breeding

Its flight is reminiscent of that of other Ferruginous Ducks.

Dietfeeding habits

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult

The Ferruginous Duck is mainly vegetarian, feeding on aquatic plants, algae (Characées), seeds, which it collects like a true duck between two waters by diving or directly at the surface, or by splashing, that is by tipping and plunging the front of the body. It does not disdain invertebrates and small vertebrates to complete its diet, insects and their larvae, crustaceans, molluscs, small fish, ...

Reproduction nesting

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult

The Ferruginous Duck nests on the edges of shallow, small-sized freshwater bodies, usually packed with vegetation and wildlife.

It can Reproduce in the year following its birth. It is monogamous and the pair usually lasts only through the season. The breeding period is decoupled from that of other duck species as the mating pairs form later and arrive at the breeding site at best mid-March. The nest is built on the ground nearby the water, sometimes even atop a vegetation island in the middle of a lake. There is only one clutch per year, averaging 7 to 10 eggs. The incubation period, lasting roughly 25 to 28 days, is solely in the realm of the female. The ducklings will not take flight before day 55, at which point they become self-sufficient.

Geographic range

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. breeding

The Ferruginous Duck reproduces in the heart of the Eurasian continent in temperate latitudes, from Eastern Europe to Mongolia. Isolated population cores exist in Europe (Spain, Balkans), North Africa (Algeria, Tunisia), Asia Minor, the Middle East, the Indo-Persian region, and China. The wintering range extends around the Mediterranean, to sub-Saharan Africa, and south of our continent to southern China.

Threats - protection

Fuligule nyroca
♂ adult plum. breeding
IUCN conservation status
in the Wild

The Ferruginous Duck species has a quite restricted and mainly fragmented distribution. Demographically, it is declining and consequently is classified as Near Threatened by BirdLife International. The main threat to this species is the disappearance of wetland areas. In some regions of its distribution range, illegal hunting can represent a serious problem for its conservation.

Other sources of interest

QRcode Fuligule nyrocaSpecification sheet created on 27/07/2023 by
Translation by AI Oiseaux.net
published: - Updated: 03-02-2021
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