An accomplished diver, Baer’s pochard can stay submerged for around 40 seconds, reaching a depth of about two metres whilst looking for insects, molluscs, shrimps, fish and algae during the breeding season, and aquatic plants and seeds during migration and the winter season (4).
Males and females form pair bonds shortly after arriving at the breeding grounds from mid April onwards. The first eggs are laid in May, the last in June, until between 9 and 15 are in each nest. The nests are often built close together, and near those of other species as well. Some females will lay their eggs in the nests of the common pochard and the gadwell, but this strategy may be slightly ineffective, as the common pochard, at least, is known to lay her eggs in the nests of Baer’s pochards. Incubation lasts between 23 and 28 days – the eggs are warmed by the female alone, but the male will guard her and feed them both. In undisturbed areas the chicks that hatch first will remain close to the nest until all the eggs have hatched, but if disturbance occurs the parents are increasingly likely to abandon the final few eggs to move the successful hatchling away from the area. The ducklings are looked after by both parents for two or three weeks before they learn to dive and forage alone. The adults leave to moult whilst the ducklings form new flocks (4).