Ferruginous White Eye
A small Eurasian species. Male and female are very
similar in color.
Ferruginous Males are a deep chestnut brown with a
white triangular patch under the tail and a white
belly. The white eyes stand out from the dark feathers
on the head. The edges of the wings are white, with
this coloring visible only in flight.
Ferruginous Females are similarly patterned, but
tend to be a duller brown, with no hint of red and the
iris of the eye is brown instead of white . The beak
is short, giving the peaked head a particularly
The Ferruginous duck breeds during May and June.
The female builds a nest from reeds, grass and leaves
and lines it with down from her breast. Well concealed
in thick vegetation, she lays between 8 to 10 pale
buff eggs which she incubates for 25 to 28 days.
Ferruginous ducks share a seasonal pair bond, but the
male habitually deserts the female during incubation.
The chicks are tended by the female alone until they
fledge at 55 to 60 days. They reach sexual maturity
their first year.
The old name for this species was White-eyed
Pochard but it was rightly considered that the reddish
coloring of the bird's plumage was a more distinctive
feature than the color of its eyes. The deep
mahogany-red color is most obvious in the male but can
also be seen in the female in good light. From a
distance, a more striking feature is the white
triangular patch under the tail. Some Tufted Ducks do
show a similar patch, especially in late summer, but
it is never as neat and contrastingly white as on a
Ferruginous Duck. If you are in any doubt, then the
peaked, almost triangular head of Ferruginous should
clinch the matter. In flight Ferruginous Ducks look
black and white like Tufted Ducks but their white wing
bars look even more striking since they extend across
all the primaries. The neater, more clearly defined
white belly is another useful feature.
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