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Birding Málaga


Common name Red-crested pochard
Scientific name Netta rufina
Type Waterbirds
Status Resident

Large duck (approx 57 cm or 22.5 in). Males with unmistakable bridal plumage. Plumage of intense rufous colour on the head and front of the neck. Intense red bill and eyes. Black breast, nape, front area of the neck and anal area. Brown upperparts and white flanks. White spots also on the wings. Much more discreet females. Greyish bill with a pink spot on the end. Brown nape, posterior area of the neck and back. Whitish face and anterior area of the neck. Lighter ocher breast, flanks and belly. In flight both sexes exhibit white bands on the wings, wide and very striking. It is a diving duck (it is completely submerged to feed).



Where it lives

Sweet or brackish wetlands with borders of marsh vegetation on the banks; large, deep open water sheet and abundant submerged macrophytes (underwater vegetation).

How it lives

Species resident in the province. Males come into heat in autumn, displaying their colourful plumage thereafter. One laying in April of 8 to 10 eggs. Nest on the ground, near the water. Vegetarian food, especially aquatic plants and submerged algae at the bottom of the wetland.

Where it can be seen in Malaga

Frequent and common. It can be watched in the Fuente de Piedra lagoon, Laguna Dulce in Campillos and the mouth of the Guadalhorce.

Curious facts

The Red-Crested Pochard is halfway between dabbling and diving ducks. It can dive and stay underwater for more than half a minute in quite deep lagoons, but it also consumes plants in shallow waters with the typical balancing of dabbling ducks. Its Latin name means "red-haired duck" because when it is in heat the plumage of the crown is completely red.

Wintering Summer Resident Migration