Ferruginous duck

(Aythya nyroca)


Ferruginous duck IUCN NEAR THREATENED (NT)


Facts about this animal

The ferruginous duck is a small diving duck with a length of 40-42 cm and a body-weight of 580 g in males and 520 g in females

During the breeding season, the male's plumage has a rich chestnut colour with a darker back and a yellow eye. The pure white undertail helps to distinguish this species from the somewhat similar tufted duck. The female is similar but duller, and with a dark eye.

The ferruginous duck is a migratory species. Spring migration lasts from te end of Fegruary to May, autumn migration from September to November.

Breeding takes place from mid-May to July. The nests are usually close to water, often on floating mats of aquatic vegetation. 7 to 11 pale buff or yellowish grey eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female alone for 25-27 days. The young are able to fly at an age of 55-60 days.

The food consists of aquatic plants, such as green algae (Characeae) and duckweed (Lemna sp.) with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish. Ferruginous ducks often feed at night, and will dabble or dive for food.

Did you know?
that the ferrugineous duck is of special concern to conservationists because its population has undergone a marked decrease? The species is, therefore, listed in Appendix I of the African Eurasian Waterfowl Agreement, and a specific action plan has been drawn up for its conservation in Europe.


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Aythya nyroca
Name (English) Ferruginous duck
Name (French) Fuligule nyroca
Name (German) Moorente
Name (Spanish) Prooón pardo
Local names Czech: Polák malý
Dutch: Witoogeend
Estonian: Valgesilm-vart, Ruskevart
Finnish: Ruskosotka
Greek: Baltópapia
Hungarian: Cigányréce
Italian: Moretta tabaccata
Plish: Podgorzalka
Portuguese: Zarro-castanho
Romansh: Anda da palì
CITES Status Appendix III (Danemark)
CMS Status Appendix I Included in AEWA



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Range Breeds in the western palearctic and winters in in the Mediterranean, southern Asia and Africa. Africa: Algeria, Cameroon (?),Central African Republic, Chad, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Togo (?), Tunisia Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen Europe: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Macedonia former Yug. Rep., Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Fed., Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine Vagrants may be encountered in several countries more on all three continents, and even on the Seychelles.
Habitat Coastal lagoons, freshwater lakes, dams, ponds in forest-steppe, steppe and semi-desert.
Wild population No global estimate available. The birds migrating in the Western Palearctic and Africa are estimated at 17,000 to 58,000. The largest concentration of breeding birds is found in the Danube Delta.
Zoo population 406 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo

Ferruginous duck


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 18 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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