Family Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Least Concern

Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina)


French: Nette rousse German: Kolbenente Spanish: Pato colorado

Anas rufina


, 1773,

Caspian Sea and lakes of the Tartarian Desert


Usually considered a link between dabbling ducks and Aythya pochards. Has also (mistakenly) been placed in genus Rhodonessa. Hybridization recorded in captivity and among feral populations with N. peposaca and several species of Anatini and genus Aythya#R#R. Monotypic.


Scattered populations breed in W Europe E from S & E Spain, France and Netherlands; bulk of population from Black Sea and Turkey E to NW China and W Mongolia. Winters in Mediterranian Basin, C Europe, around Black and Caspian Seas E to India and SW China.

Introduced to Britain, where a large breeding population exists at one site.

Descriptive notes

50–58 cm; male 900–1420 g, female 830–1400 g; wingspan 84–90 cm. Breeding male unmistakable with dark chestnut head becoming rusty gold above and... read more


Considered to be generally rather silent, except during courtship, when male utters a rasping... read more


Favours rather deep, large lakes and lagoons of fresh or brackish waters with abundant fringing... read more

Food and feeding

Essentially vegetarian; roots, seeds and green parts of aquatic plants, also potatoes; Chara one of main items, up to 89·7... read more


Starts Apr/May, mainly from early May, but typically mid May in S Russia, with nests containing eggs found as late as third week of Jun in... read more


Partially migratory, with (in Europe) main autumn migration during late Oct to early Nov, returning... read more

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Patchily distributed, locally common. Large concentrations of this species hard to find; 1500 breeding pairs in delta of R Ebro, NE... read more

Recommended citation

Carboneras, C. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Red-crested Pochard (Netta rufina). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 14 December 2019).