Ducks, Geese

Common Pochard

A stocky, medium-sized, dome-headed diving duck. The male has a distinctive brick-red head and neck, grey body, black breast and stern and a fairly large
black bill with a broad grey band. The female is browner with paler cheeks and flanks. Both show black bordered grey wing-bars in fast, whirring flight.

Red-crested Pochard

A large, square-headed duck, the male has a deep orange-crested head with red bill and black neck and breast, brown back, white flanks and black stern. Female is more coffee coloured with pale cheeks and dark bill. In flight, both sexes display broad white wing-bars; male looks black below. Swims high and proud.


Small duck with large grey bill. Male has dramatic white eyebrows on a brown head and pearlygrey flanks contrasting with the brown breast and spotted brown stern. Displays silvery-blue forewings in flight. Female similar to Common Teal, mottled brownish but with distinct eyestripes and pale supercilia, loral and chin  spots and larger bill. A fast and agile flyer. Habits: Gregarious and very social, mixing with other species.

Cotton Pygmy-goose

A miniature pied duck with a very small black bill. Breeding male has green-black upperparts, white underparts with black cap and breast band and pale grey flanks. Striking white wingbars are visible in flight. Non-breeding plumage resembles the drabber, browner female (also shown) but retain the white wingbars. Habits: Feeds on aquatic vegetation and animals. Engages in aerobatic courtship chases.

Common Shelduck

A large, pied duck with a broad chestnut breast band that wraps around the upper back, glossy green-black head and neck, red bill, black flight feathers, back and belly stripes, chestnut vent, green specula and dark pink legs. Size varies; females smaller but otherwise similar. A strong flier on long pointed wings.

Lesser Whistling-duck

A medium-sized duck, mainly orange-brown in colour with scaly pattern on back, large head, thin neck and long legs. Sexes alike. In flight, the large rounded wings look black below and distinct maroon patches are visible on the forewings and rump. Nests in treeholes, abandoned bird nests and reedbeds. A  gregarious bird, frequently seen perching on open tree branches.

Northern Pintail

A slender duck with a pointed tail. Male: greyish above; chocolate-brown head and upper neck; thin white stripe up neck side; bronze-green speculum. Female:
mottled buff-brown; pointed tail lacks longer tailpins; whitish belly. Non-breeding male like female, but mantle greyish. In flight, pointed tail between feet  distinctive. Highly gregarious; extremely common on vegetation-covered jheels; males often in separate flocks, especially on arrival in winter grounds; crepuscular and nocturnal; characteristic hissing swish of wings as flock flies over.

Northern Shoveler

Broad, long beak diagnostic. Male: metallic-green head and neck; in flight, dark head, back-centre, rump and uppertail-coverts contrast with white of back and tail; also, dull-blue upperwing-coverts against dark flight feathers; metallic-green speculum and white wing bar; in overhead flight, dark head, thick white neck, dark chestnut belly and flanks. Female: mottled brown, but blue-grey shoulders (wing-coverts) and dull green speculum distinctive. Pairs or small flocks, often amidst other ducks; swims slowly, with the beak held very close to water; sometimes up-ends.

Eurasian Wigeon

Medium-sized, stocky, short-necked duck. Chestnut-brown head, yellow forehead, pinkish grey breast of breeding male distinctive; also, grey upper body, black stern, white forewing. Female and eclipse male have plain grey-brown plumage, though male more russet. Both sexes have pale grey black-tipped bills. In flight, all plumages show white belly, pointed wing, pointed tail, dark specula. Gregarious; often in mixed flocks.

Ruddy Shelduck

Whitish-buff head; orange-brown plumage; in flight, orangish body, white wing-coverts, green speculum and blackish flight feathers distinctive; black tail and  ring around neck (breeding). Female has a whiter head and lacks neck-ring. Young birds look like female and have some grey in wings. Pairs or small parties, rather wary; rests during day on river banks, sandbars, edges of jheels; prefers clear, open water.