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Pochard

Athya ferina Linnaeus, 1758

Fuligula ferina (L.): Elwes & Buckley, 1870: 340; Reiser, 1894: 188; Klain, 1909: 156; Anas ferina: Homeyer, 1877: 73; Nyroca ferina (L.): Boetticher, 1927: 184; Prostov, 1964: 51.

Order Anseriformes

Family Anatidae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU=A[3c+4c] + B[2(b(i+ii+iii+iv)+c(v)] + C[1 + 2(a(i))], BDA-III; International: BeC-III, BoC-II, BD-III/1, 2.

General distribution. A Palearctic species. It breeds from Iceland and Great Britain to Baikal lake in the east, in the north up to 66 N, in the south up to the basin of the Danube. There are isolated populations in Spain, Tunisia, Greece and Turkey.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. For the 19th century, there are no concrete breeding data [1, 2, 3, 4]. As breeding, it was reported for the first half of the 20th century [5], but in the second half it was again reported as migrating [6]. At the end of the 20th century, it bred along the Danube [7, 8, 9, 10], within the country [11,10, 12, 13, 14] and along the Black Sea coast [15, 16]. In the 1980s, the numbers were estimated at 20-50 pairs [8], later at 50-100 [17], 90-170 [18], 200-250 [19]. During mapping in 2002, 125 pairs were registered [20], most probably varying between 100-130 pairs [20, 21], and in the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Bulgaria 100-250 pairs are given [22]. It is found ubiquitously during migration [14]. 3 000 30 000 individuals winter in the country [17], mainly in the Burgas lakes. For the 1977-1996 period, an average of 16 883 individuals wintered, and the maximum was 42 146 individuals (1996) [23].

Habitats. Vast, deep and open water basins, with large water mirrors and vegetation along the periphery [20]. During migration and wintering it inhabits various wetlands, including large lakes and reservoirs [17, 23].

Biology. It incubates most often in high marsh vegetation, close to the water. It lays 8-10 (5-14) eggs [14, 24]. The food consists of water invertebrates (larvae of insects) and seeds, and parts of water and water loving plants [20].

Similar species. A monotypical species.

Negative factors. Drying up the marshes, abandoning and/or intensification of fish farms, disturbance by fishermen.

Conservation measures taken. Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act. Included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985) [14]. The major breeding places along the Black Sea coast and the Danube are protected. Management Plans have been worked out for Poda Protected Locality and Srebarna Natural Park.

Conservation measures needed. Amendment of the National Plan for the peservation and restoration of wetlands in Bulgaria. Development of Management Plans for the wetlands in which the species breeds. Implementation of appropriate measures for the fish farms.

References. 1. Elwes, Buckley, 1870; 2. Alleon, 1886; 3. Hristovich, 1890; 4. Reiser, 1894; 5. Boetticher, 1927; 6. Patev, 1950; 7. Paspaleva-Antonova, 1961a; 8. Paspaleva-Antonova, 1961b; 9. Paspaleva-Antonova, Michev, 1971; 10. Michev, Simeonov, 1985; 11. Donchev, 1974; 12. Paspaleva-Antonova, 1967; 13. Nankinov, 1985; 14. Nankinov et al., 1997; 15. Konigstedt, Robel, 1977; 16. Robel, 1973; 17. Kostadinova, 1997; 18. BirdLife International, 2004; 19. Nankinov et al., 2004; 20. Petkov, 2004; 21. Petkov, in press; 22. BSPB, in press; 23. Michev, Profirov, 2003; 24. Del Hoyo, Elliot, Sargatal, 1992.

Author: Nikolai Petkov


Pochard (distribution map)

Pochard (drawing)