A common diving duck, The male has a chestnut head and a black chest. The female is a darker, duller grey-brown, the Pochard feeds on plant seeds, waterweed, snails and other aquatic invertebrates. Most of the birds in Britain come here from northern and eastern Europe for the winter, with just a few pairs staying to nest.
Modern farming practices have made UK wetlands one of the fastest disappearing habitats. Fortunately here at Sevenoaks we have a wide range of wetland habitats, which attract a range of different species.
Did you know that some wetland birds have specially adapted bills and feet depending on what sort of food they eat and what type of wetland they live in?
As you walk around the reserve you will see some species that live here all year round and other species that are migrants….meaning they travel here from other places to feed or breed.
The common sandpiper are green-brown above with a bright white belly and they show a brown rump and strong white wingbars when they fly. Wintering birds may be spotted along the south coast but passage migrants can be seen at the edge of freshwater lakes or on estuaries during spring and autumn.
A familiar bird of many of our wetlands, the coot is often seen on lakes, ponds and rivers. They spend more of their time on the water than their relative the moorhen and will dive to catch small invertebrates and eat waterweeds. Coot chicks are black with orange fluff around the face and body; they are independent within two months of hatching.
A fairly common dabbling duck found throughout the year, the Gadwall is only a little smaller than a Mallard. It nests in small numbers in the UK, on freshwater lakes with a lot of vegetation, but can be seen in larger numbers in winter at reservoirs, lakes, flooded gravel pits and coastal wetlands.