Southern Pochard (Netta erythrophthalma)

Southern Pochard

[order] ANSERIFORMES | [family] Anatidae | [latin] Netta erythrophthalma | [authority] Wied, 1832 | [UK] Southern Pochard | [FR] Nette brune | [DE] Rotaugen-Ente | [ES] Pato Morado | [NL] Bruine Krooneend


Monotypic species


Netta is a genus of diving ducks. Unlike other diving ducks, the Netta species are reluctant to dive, and feed more like dabbling ducks. These are gregarious ducks, mainly found on fresh water. They are strong fliers; their broad, blunt-tipped wings require faster wing-beats than those of many ducks and they take off with some difficulty. They do not walk as well on land as the dabbling ducks because their legs tend to be placed further back on their bodies to help propel them when underwater. The probably extinct Pink-headed Duck, previously listed as Rhodonessa caryophyllacea, has recently been shown by phylogenetic analysis to be closely related to the Red-crested Pochard, so has now been transferred to the same genus, as Netta caryophyllacea. However, this has been questioned due to numerous and pronounced peculiarities of that species.

Physical charateristics

Broad white wing-band, conspicuous in flight. Male has slight peak to rear of crown, has no eclipse plumage.
Juvenile resembles female, but top of head more brownish. Whitish eye-stripe less pronounced. Body coloration lighter brown..

Listen to the sound of Southern Pochard

[audio: Pochard.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 50 cm size max.: 53 cm
incubation min.: 26 days incubation max.: 28 days
fledging min.: 54 days fledging max.: 28 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 5  
      eggs max.: 15  


Africa, South America : East, Southeast, South Africa, Amazonia


Large bodies of rather deep, permanent, standing waters from sea-level to 2500 m in Africa.
Shallow marshes, lakes and pools with abundant submerged vegetation up to 3600 m in South America.


Season variable according to locality and water levels. In single pairs. Nest is depression lined with grass, reed stems, down and some feathers, on ground or over water in thick vegetation.
5-15 eggs. Incubation 26-28 days. Chicks have olive brown above, yellow on underparts and face. Fledging 56 days.

Feeding habits

Chiefly seeds but also roots and vegetative parts of aquatic plants, grasses and sedges. Also aquatic invertebrates, like molluscs, insects, crustaceans etc’.
Feeds by diving, head-dipping and upending, and by dabbling on surface, often at water’s edge.

Video Southern Pochard


copyright: Joe Angseesing


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Southern Pochard has a fragmented range and is found from Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Argentina to Chile. Here it occurs in a wide variety of shallow fresh waters with submerged vegetation, from the lowlands up to 3,700 meter.
Southern Pochard status Least Concern


Mainly sedentary, but subject to some dispersive movements during local dry season. This particularly affects South African birds, which move North and concentrate in areas of suitable habitat as far North as Kniya.

Distribution map

Southern Pochard distribution range map

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