Which of our wintering ducks come from Russia?

Ornithologist Mike Toms reveals which of our winter ducks come from Russia.

Duck drinking among Common Pochard, Aythya ferina, ducks at Welney Wetland Centre, Norfolk, UK

Britain is a major wintering area for wildfowl, attracting birds from Greenland in the west to Siberia in the east.


Migrants make up a significant component of the ducks that we see here during the coldest months, and a considerable number of species come from Russia, including breeding populations of teal, wigeon, pochard, tufted duck and pintail.

These species winter in Britain in large numbers, with more birds present in years when the weather conditions elsewhere in Europe are particularly poor. Mallards also fly in from Russia, though the majority come from Iceland and northern Europe.

Not all migrating Russian ducks come to Britain. The bulk of the Russian gadwall population, for instance, winters on the Black and Caspian Seas, so only a few records exist of these individuals visiting the UK.

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Main image: © Tim Graham/Getty