English Red-crested Pochard breeding population on the rise


The English breeding population of Red-crested Pochard is increasing, according to a new report from the Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP).

RBBP's recently published 'Non-native breeding birds in the UK, 2015-20' states that, of the 22 species assessed, Red-crested Pochard is the most abundant, with up to 67 pairs reported in a single year.

Red-crested Pochard at Priorslee Lake, Shropshire, last year (David Chapman).

The species is included under C2 of the British list (a naturalised established species which also occur in an apparently natural state). It is native to southern Europe, with its range extending from the steppe and semi-desert areas on the Black Sea to Central Asia and Mongolia.

Despite its feral status as a breeding bird in Britain, it has increased over the last two decades – though it only nests in England, where it remains localised. A large proportion of the population is found around the scattered lakes of the Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire and Wiltshire, where a high count of 363 was achieved in August 2019. Another notable recent gathering was that of 162 at Baston Pits, Lincolnshire, on 16 October 2022, where the species breeds in small numbers.