Ducks (Mallard, Red Crested Pochard, Shoveller, Tufted Duck)
There are 14 species of duck that breed in the UK. At Wildwood we have 4 of these species in our waterfowl enclosure, who are out splashing in the ponds throughout the day. These are a mix of dabbling ducks which seek food by up-ending in the water or dabbling on the surface and diving ducks which dive down further. All eat algae and small crustaceans.
The females of each species are more drab than the males, usually mid brown. Mallards are our most common duck, a dabbling duck, the male having a distinctive iridescent green/blue head and both male and female having a blue bar on their wings.
The red crested pochard is the same size as the mallard and is a diving duck. The male has an orange rounded head and a red bill, whilst the female is smaller and brown all over, without the orange head.
The shoveller looks similar to the mallard with similar markings for males and females, but with a broad, flattened black bill shaped like a shovel, used for dabbling at the water surface.
The tufted duck is a small diving duck with a tuft on the head as the name suggests. The male is black with white sides, a yellow eye and blue-grey bill, the female is deep red-brown.