The Diving Ducks, including the Pochards *, Scoters, Eiders, &c. which obtain their food principally by diving beneath the water,—not merely as the true ducks do, by searching in shallow water with the posterior half of their body projecting vertically above the surface,—are often separated as Fuligulinae, and are distinguished by having a broad lobe, or expansion, beneath the hind toe. They have a stout body, thick plumage, and rather short wings, which appear as if attached farther backward than in other ducks, causing the birds to have a somewhat peculiar flight. They swim and dive well and fast, but walk badly on land in consequence of the backward position of the legs. Jerdon and Legge appear to have been misled by some authority into stating that they have only one moult, but they do not differ from other Ducks in this respect. They have no brilliantly coloured speculum on the secondaries. Although easily recognized as a group their differences do not, I think, entitle them to distinction as a subfamily.

Amongst the Pochards, one species known as the Red-crested Pochard is distinguished from the rest by its peculiar plumage, by the form of the bill, and by the number of rectrices. It is the only member of the present genus. It has a long bill, not much raised at the base, and tapering slightly throughout; the culmen is nearly straight; the nostrils are situated about one-third of the distance from base to tip, and the border of the feathered face above the gape is straight and approximately at right angles to the commissure. The lamellae are broad, prominent, and distant. Wings of moderate length, pointed. Tail short and cuneate, of 16 feathers. Hind toe broadly lobed; feet large. Male with a full occipital crest.

* Pronounced Pockards. These birds are also known in parts of England as Pokers.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Vol. 4
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