Name: Ferruginous Duck
Europe &Asia, occasionally Northern Africa.
Excellent diver and swimmer.
Beautiful dark plumage. Only its back part is decorated with white.
The iris of the male is white, a unique characteristic for this species.
Only the females take care of the offspring.
Locations in Bulgaria:
The number of Ferruginous Ducks at Vaya and Mandra Lakes varies greatly over the year it inhabits wetlands along the Danube River, water basins on the Black Sea coast and fisheries and small reservoirs in-land. They use some of these various water basins in the spring when the breeding period starts. The most important wetlands for the species are Sreburna Lake and breeding ponds Mechka, Orsoja and Pazardzhik. It also nests in the marshes of Durankulak and Dragoman, as well as in Shabla Lake.
They have adapted to live in various water basins, shallow marshes, deep lakes and reservoirs. The ideal basins are those with still water and rich in water vegetation. Among the different types of wetlands, they prefer marshes and lakes. They feed predominantly on plant material. Sometimes, they include in their diet molluscs, crayfishes and insect larvae. They occur in Bulgaria during the breeding season or passing through during migration. The monogamous breeding pairs start to form later than most ducks, usually around March to May, with males leaving the females after the eggs have hatched. They will head out for their wintering grounds in September.
Numbers in Bulgaria:
Regular monitoring estimates between 150 and 230 breeding pairs in Bulgaria. The Ferruginous Duck is not a resident bird. It breeds here and passes during migration; very few can be seen during the winter months.
Nature conservation status:
It is a globally threatened species classified as Vulnerable according to the Bulgarian Red Data book and is Near Threatened globally. This is because of the loss of suitable wetland habitats. One serious threat is the deteriorating quality of its breeding places. Other threats include nests being disturbed during the breeding season and illegal killing.
The Ferruginous Duck is an excellent diver. It dives to look for food. In Bulgaria, it also uses methods like filtration by plunging its beak and head into water.