Red-crested Pochard

Netta rufina (Pallas, 1773) RQ RECPO 1960
Family: Anseriformes > Anatidae

Red-crested Pochard, Neil Calbrade

The handsome male Red-crested Pochard has a rather large, round, rusty-orange head and coral-red bill whilst the pale-cheeked female is more subdued.

It is highly possible that a few of the Red-crested Pochards seen in the UK have arrived from the European breeding population. However, due to its striking plumage, this is a species that is widely kept in captivity and it may be that most of the birds at large have a captive origin.

The Red-crested Pochard is established as a breeding bird in Britain, with Wetland Bird Survey data pointing to the Cotswold Water park as the main UK site, with over 200 birds regularly counted. The winter population is estimated to be around 600 individuals.


Red-crested Pochard identification is usually straightforward.


Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Red-crested Pochard, provided by xeno-canto contributors.


Develop your bird ID skills with our training courses

Our interactive online courses are a great way to develop your bird identification skills, whether you're new to the hobby or a competent birder looking to hone your abilities.

Browse training courses

Status and Trends

Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.


This species can be found on the following statutory and conservation listings and schedules.



Red-crested Pochard has a wide but scattered distribution around the UK. Whilst small numbers of wild birds from continental Europe probably occur, most of the birds observed in the UK come from naturalised breeding populations with the main population originating from the Cotswold Water Park (Lever 2009). Numbers have increased and there has also been a substantial increase in the breeding range distribution since the 1968–72 Atlas (Balmer et al.2013).


There is a naturalised, self-sustaining population of Red-crested Pochards, centred on the Cotswold Water Park on the Gloucestershire/Wiltshire border. In winter, Red-crested Pochards are widely distributed in south and central England, where they are found mainly in freshwater habitats.

Occupied 10-km squares in UK

European Distribution Map

European Breeding Bird Atlas 2


Red-crested Pochards have undergone a large range expansion over the last 40 years.

Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK


Red-crested Pochards are localised residents, recorded on less than 1% of complete lists.

Weekly occurence of Red-crested Pochard from BirdTrack
Weekly occurrence patterns (shaded cells) and reporting rates (vertical bars) based on BirdTrack data. Reporting rates give the likelihood of encountering the species each week.


Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.


View a summary of recoveries in the Online Ringing Report.

Foreign locations of birds ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland

Foreign locations of Red-crested Pochard ringed or recovered in Britain & Ireland
Encountered in: Winter (Nov-Feb); Spring (Mar-Apr); Summer (May-Jul); Autumn (Aug-Oct)


Lifecycle and body size information about Red-crested Pochard, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.


Sample sizes are too small to report Productivity and Nesting statistics for this species.


View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report


Sample sizes are too small to report Biometrics for this species.

Feather measurements and photos on featherbase


For information in another language (where available) click on a linked name

Welsh: Hwyaden Gribgoch
Catalan: xibec comú
Czech: zrzohlávka rudozobá
Danish: Rødhovedet And
Dutch: Krooneend
Estonian: punanokk-vart
Finnish: punapäänarsku
French: Nette rousse
German: Kolbenente
Hungarian: üstökösréce
Icelandic: Kólfönd
Irish: Póiseard Cíordhearg
Italian: Fistione turco
Latvian: lielgalvis
Lithuanian: šalmine antis
Norwegian: Rødhodeand
Polish: helmiatka (zwyczajna)
Portuguese: pato-de-bico-vermelho
Slovak: hrdzavka potápavá
Slovenian: tatarska žvižgavka
Spanish: Pato colorado
Swedish: rödhuvad dykand


Interpretation and scientific publications about Red-crested Pochard from BTO scientists.


Causes of change

The main drivers of the increases in this species are uncertain, but the naturalised population has arisen from captive birds. Numbers remain relatively small and it is unclear whether this species will fill an ecological niche which will enable it to increase further and become more widespread.

Links to more information from

Would you like to search for another species?