Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

Cape teal

Anas capensis

Kaapse taling / Kapente / Canard du Cap

 

The Cape teal (Anas capensis) is a 44–46 cm long dabbling duck of open wetlands in sub-Saharan Africa. This species is essentially non-migratory, although it moves opportunistically with the rains. Like many southern ducks, the sexes are similar. It is very pale and mainly grey, with a browner back and pink on the bill (young birds lack the pink). The Cape teal cannot be confused with any other duck in its range.

It is a thinly distributed but widespread duck, rarely seen in large groups except the moulting flocks, which may number up to 2000.

This species feeds on aquatic plants and small creatures (invertebrates, crustaceans and amphibians) obtained by dabbling. The nest is on the ground under vegetation and near water.

This is a generally quiet species, except during mating displays. The breeding male has a clear whistle, whereas the female has a feeble "quack".

 

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (IUCN, 2012).This species is susceptible to avian botulism (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974), especially when feeding on sewage and effluent ponds (Hockey et al. 2005), so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease. It is also potentially threatened by habitat loss through wetland destruction and degradation, for example Walvis Bay in Namibia (a key wetland site in southern Africa) is being degraded through changes in the flood regime due to road building, wetland reclamation for suburb and port development, and disturbance from tourism (Wearne and Underhill 2005). The species is highly valued and commonly shot (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Little et al. 1995), although there is no evidence that the hunting of this species currently poses a threat.

 

The Cape teal is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies. 

The AEWA is an intergovernmental treaty dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds and their habitats across Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Central Asia, Greenland and the Canadian Archipelago.

Developed under the framework of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), AEWA brings together countries and the wider international conservation community in an effort to establish coordinated conservation and management of migratory waterbirds throughout their entire migratory range.

 

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Above: adult pair, male right (bigger bird, bigger head)

 

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Above: adult Cape teal

 

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Above: adult pair, male in front

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