A rare duck species has arrived at the McCormick Bird House. Four Baer’s pochards, two males and two females, are now residing in the building’s Wetlands exhibit.
Named for Estonian naturalist Karl Ernst von Baer, the diving duck species is native to eastern Asia. Baer’s pochards inhabit lakes, ponds, and coastal wetland areas with rich vegetation, nesting in aquatic vegetation and flooded meadows.
In 2012, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species as critically endangered. The rapid population decline, measured by observations in breeding and wintering grounds, is likely caused by hunting and loss of wetland habitat.
Baer’s pochards have a dark gray to black head, neck and back, with light brownish-red and white sides. Females have a greater difference in color between the head (which is more domed) and brown breast.