Aythya Nyroca males of this diving duck species are a deep russet brown with a white triangular patch under the tail and a white belly. The edges of the wings are white, with this colouring visible only in flight. Females and juveniles are similarly patterned, but tend to be a duller brown, with no hint of red. The beak is short, giving the peaked head a particularly triangular appearance. The white eyes stand out from the dark feathers on the head.

Concentrated in lowland, continental middle latitudes, extending to high altitudes only sporadically (eg. in Georgia and Armenia). During breeding, prefers fairly shallow expanses of water, rich in submergent and floating vegetation, fringed by dense stands of emergent plants. Large river deltas often support substantial breeding numbers, as do open floodplains with numerous oxbows and shallow lakes/ponds. In some areas, saline, brackish or alkaline wetlands are commonly utilised for breeding, for example in Hungary, Romania and Turkey. In central and eastern Europe, extensively managed fishponds are an important breeding habitat, which are similar in character to natural floodplain wetlands. During the non-breeding season habitat choice is similar, though coastal waters, inland seas and large, open lagoons are also frequented.

The Ferruginous Duck is a little studied, partial migrant, widely distributed in Europe, Asia and Africa. During the first quarter of the 20th century, it was described as one of the most plentiful Anatidae species over a great part of its range. Since then, it has undergone a large, long-term decline globally. The species is regularly recorded in 77 countries and in at least 26 others as a vagrant.

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