Rosy-Billed pochard

Rosy-Billed Pochard [Netta peposaca]: Habitat, Behavior, and More

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Scientific Classification


Rosy-Billed pochard

Alternatively called rosy-bill or rosy-bill pochard, the (Netta peposaca) is a member of the Anatidae family. It feeds on seeds, roots, sedges, aquatic plants, and grasses. It is characterized as a diving duck with dabbling activity.

Nettais an Ancient Greek name that means “duck,” and “peposaca” is a Guaraní phrase that means “showy wings,” referring to a wide white stripe that is seen when the wings are spread. One of the males’ distinguishing characteristics is a bright red bill with a rounded knob.

Originating in Argentina, central Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil, the bird is endemic to South America. Populations from southern Argentina migrate northward during the austral winter, eventually reaching southern Bolivia and Brazil.

The species is also infrequently observed as a vagrant in the Falkland Islands.

Rosy-Billed pochard


  • Behavior: Exhibits both diving and dabbling behavior, feeding on seeds, roots, sedges, aquatic plants, and grasses.
  • Name Origin:Netta” is derived from Ancient Greek, meaning “duck,” and “peposaca” is a Guaraní term signifying “showy wings.”
  • Male Features: Notable for a vivid red bill with a rounded knob.
  • Distribution: Endemic to South America, specifically found in Argentina, central Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil.
  • Migration: Southern Argentina populations migrate northward during the austral winter, reaching Brazil and southern Bolivia.
  • Vagrant Status: Occasionally observed as a vagrant in the Falkland Islands.
  • Taxonomy: They (Netta peposaca) belongs to the Anatidae family, recognized alternately as rosy-bill or rosy-bill pochard.
  • Description: Characterized as a diving duck with distinctive features, including a striking red bill with a rounded knob, it showcases both diving and dabbling behaviors
  • Diet: They feeds on a variety of food, including seeds, roots, sedges, aquatic plants, and grasses.
  • Reproduction: Details about the reproductive habits and lifecycle of the species.
  • Vocalizations: Insight into the distinct vocalizations and sounds produced by them
  • Use by Humans: Information about the historical and present-day interactions between humans and the Rosy-billed Pochard, if any, including cultural significance or utilitarian aspects.
  • Conservation Status: An overview of the conservation status, emphasizing factors influencing population trends and any conservation efforts in place.

Species in same Genus

SpeciesCommon Name
Netta rufinaRed-crested Pochard
Netta erythrophthalmaSouthern Pochard
Netta peposacaRosy-billed Pochard
Netta bicolorBufflehead
Netta brunneaMadagascar Pochard
Netta fuligulaTufted Duck
Rosy-Billed pochard


Among the 31 genera that make up the Anatinae subfamily, the Netta genus has five species, one of which is the Netta peposaca. At first thought to be unique to the Northern Hemisphere, it underwent speciation in the Aythini tribe of the Palearctic.

The species, which Viellot first reported seeing in Paraguay and Buenos Aires in 1816, has unique characteristics, albeit there isn’t enough proof to suggest that it is closely related to the southern pochard. Notably, rosybills have the ability to hybridize with other birds, such as red-crested

pochards, in ornamental collections. There are no other classifications found for this monotypic species.


Like other members of the Anatidae family, they exhibits a notable degree of sexual dimorphism. The heads, necks, and breasts of males are strikingly purplish-black, with gray sides, a white crissum patch, and a bright red beak with a round knob.

The mating season is when the knob gets more intense in terms of size and color. Their unique yellow-orange legs add to their striking appearance, which contrasts with their dark plumage against white primaries when they soar.

On the other hand, females have drab brown plumage with bluish-gray bills and a prominent white crissum. With darker underparts, young birds bear a strong resemblance to females. The species does not have the eclipse plumage found in the northern genera, Anas and Aytha.

Males are slightly bigger than females, although both genders have bodies that are around 22 inches long and 2.2–2.6 pounds in weight. Their rear legs make it difficult for them to walk efficiently on land, and even though they are strong flyers,

their blunt-tipped wings require faster beats. The span of the wings is between 72 and 84 cm.

Rosy-Billed pochard

Distribution and Habitat

Key Points:

  • Netta peposaca nest in tall grasses in wetlands, primarily in regions from Córdoba to Río Negro in Argentina.
  • They inhabit shallow freshwater swamps, marshes, and small lakes, showing a preference for water-rich environments.
  • The species is fully migratory, with movements closely linked to water conditions and seasonal changes.
  • In central Argentina, dry periods prompt migration towards larger water areas in late summer.
  • Population size increases during wet periods, emphasizing their dependence on water availability.


Nesting HabitatWetlands in Córdoba, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires, southwards to Río Negro
Additional HabitatsShallow freshwater swamps, marshes, small lakes
Migration BehaviorFully migratory, movements tied to water conditions and seasonal changes
Seasonal MovementsMove towards larger water areas in late summer; seek water and food in fall
Population Response to ConditionsPopulation size increases during wet periods


They are friendly ducks can gather in large groups, sometimes numbering in the thousands.


The main foods that these ducks eat include water plants, roots, sedges, barnyard grasses, knotgrass, and certain animal products. Although they are considered diving ducks, they graze mostly on land, upending in shallow water, and dabbling on the water’s surface.

They emphasize the value of high-energy seeds for thermoregulation and temperature management in their diet, which primarily consists of seeds. Because it does not depend on a single food source,

this species—which is well-known for its varied diet—demonstrates flexibility in using several food sources.

Rosy-Billed pochard


Male and female can create a transient bond each breeding season, but they do not practice monogamy or everlasting mating. Vital displays that are specific to the spring courtship phase include increased drinking, mimic preenings, head bobbings, and neck

extensions. In tiny groups or lone pairs, breeding takes place in October and November; it is sometimes seen in rice fields. Females build nests over water using plant debris and line them with down. The female can lay up to 10 eggs in the nest of another bird,

ranging in color from cream to green. Fledging takes place after 50–75 days of incubation, which lasts 27–29 days. Ducklings are raised by females on their own; sometimes, broods from separate females combine, and the females take care of the young together.


As is the case with many bird species, rosy-bills use several cries for different functions. Their vocal repertoire encompasses the distinctive ‘honk’ of the Anatidae family, which is comparatively deeper than that of a mallard. Relatively quiet vocalizations are suggested by the few recordings.

These include gentle whistles, low murmurs, and quacking; males make more recognizable cries for courtship and communication throughout the breeding season. Despite not being recognized for their loud or intricate vocalizations, rosy-billed pochards’

sounds are important to their social interactions and environmental behaviors.

Rosy-Billed pochard

Use by Humans

They are frequently used by humans for a variety of purposes, such as eating them, keeping them as pets or for display, or even using them in horticultural projects. The species has been noted as a concern in rice fields and is under heavy hunting pressure in

Argentina. The challenges faced by the species are exacerbated by the combined risks of lead poisoning and direct hunting. The most common type of ammunition used in Argentina is lead shot, and studies on lead toxicosis are still in their infancy.

When lead pellet consumption and tissue levels were examined in ducks from Argentina’s shooting zones in 2013, it was found that rosy-billed pochards were more likely than other duck species surveyed to have consumed lead shot.

These birds mistakenly consume lead bullets, believing them to be stones necessary for the mechanical digestion of food in their gizzard. Not only were the bullets discovered in the gizzard, but they also left dangerous levels of lead in their bones, posing a risk to the birds’ health.

Studies suggest that because of the possible risk of lead poisoning from hunting activities, populations may be dropping due to overhunting pressure.

Common Names in Different Languages

LanguageCommon Name
EnglishRosy-billed Pochard
SpanishPato Crestudo
FrenchNette à bec rosé
ItalianMestolone argentato
DutchRosse Fluiteend
RussianРозовозобый крошечный утенок (Rozovozobyy kroshchnyy ootenok)
Chinese (Mandarin)粉嘴潜鸭 (Fěn zuǐ qián yā)
Japaneseベニガモ (Benigamo)
Hindiगुलाबी बीकवाल (Gulaabi Beekvaal)
Rosy-Billed pochard


1. What is the scientific name of the Rosy-billed Pochard?

  • Netta peposaca is the scientific name.

2. Where is the natural habitat of the Netta peposaca?

  • Originating in freshwater lakes, ponds, and marshes in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and southern Brazil, these ducks are native to South America.

3. What is the distinctive feature of the Rosy-billed Pochard?

  • The Netta peposaca is easily recognized by its unusual rosy-pink bill, which contrasts sharply with its black and white feathers.

4. What is the size of Netta peposaca?

  • The adult Ducks classified as pochards range in size from medium to large, often measuring 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) in length.

5. What do Netta peposaca eat?

  • Invertebrates, seeds, and aquatic plants make up the majority of their food. They filter food from the water with their unique bills.

6. Are they are good fliers?

  • Indeed, Netta peposaca can fly rather well. They can migrate over great distances thanks to their powerful, pointed wings.

7. Are Netta peposaca kept as pets?

  • Despite their remarkable beauty, keeping them as pets is not advised. Being wild ducks, they have unique dietary and environmental needs that are difficult to satisfy in a home environment.

8. Do Rosy-they migrate?

  • Indeed, it is well known that these ducks migrate, changing their habitat in response to variations in the weather and the availability of food.

9. Are they considered a threatened species?

  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List has they classed as “Near Threatened” as per my most recent information update in January 2022. Checking for the most latest updates on conservation status is crucial, though.

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