Ferruginous Duck, Aythya nyroca

The Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) is a medium-sized species of diving duck found in Eurasia. Its breeding habitat is marshland and lakes with water depth of at least 3-4 feet. It breeds in southern and eastern Europe and southern and western Asia. It is somewhat migratory, and winters farther south into north Africa.

It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.

The adult male Ferruginous Duck is rich chestnut in color with a darker back and a yellow eye. The pure white under tail helps to distinguish this species from the similar Tufted Duck. The female is similar to the male, but with duller coloring and a dark eye.

This species is gregarious (sociable) and will form into large flocks in the winter, often mixed with other diving ducks, such as the Tufted Duck and Pochard. It feeds mainly by diving or dabbling. It eats aquatic plants with some mollusks, aquatic insects and small fish. It often feeds at night.

This species is colloquially known as the “Fudge Duck.”

Image Caption: Male Ferruginous Duck (Aythya nyroca) – Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, Scotland Neck, North Carolina. Credit: Dick Daniels/Wikipedia (CC BY-SA 3.0)