Harteman Wildfowl, presented by Jan Harteman

White-headed duck

Oxyura leucocephala

Witkop stekelstaart / Weißkopfruderente / Erismature à tête blanche

The white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) is a stiff-tailed duck. This duck breeds in Spain and North Africa, with a larger population in western and central Asia. Their breeding habitat is large tracts of open water with dense stands of aquatic plants to provide cover and nesting sites. 

These birds dive and swim underwater. They are omnivorous, with vegetable matter predominating. They are reluctant to fly, preferring to swim for cover.

 

Despite uncertainty about the possible large-scale inter-year movement of birds between wintering sites, mid-winter counts indicate that the population of this species has undergone a very rapid decline, which qualifies it as Endangered. The Spanish subpopulation has now stabilised, and it is projected that the global rate of decline will be lower in the next ten years (Green and Hughes 1996).

The population is estimated to number 2,500 individuals in Spain and Morocco (J. A. Torres Esquivias and A. Green in litt. 2002); 400-600 individuals in Algeria and Tunisia (H. Azafzaf and P. Isenmann in litt. 2002); 5,000-10,000 individuals in the east Mediterranean and south-west Asia, and 10 individuals in south Asia. This totals 7,900-13,100 individuals, roughly equating to 5,300-8,700 mature individuals.

 

The greatest long-term threat to the species survival is thought to be competition and introgressive hybridisation (i.e. genetic swamping) with the non-native North American Ruddy Duck, Oxyura jamaicensis (Green and Hughes 1996, Green and Hughes 2001, Muñoz-Fuentes et al. 2007). Both male Ruddy Ducks and male hybrids are socially dominant over male White-headed Ducks during courtship (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996).

 

More information: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/100600359/0

 

Ringsize for captive bred birds: 10mm

 

Oxyura leucocephala 

Above: adult male in display

 

Oxyura leucocephala 

Above: adult male

 

Oxyura leucocephala 

Above: adult female

 

Oxyura leucocephala 

Above: fighting males

 

White-headed duck

Above: White-headed duck, female

 

Above: white-headed duck feeding behaviour

Een voorproefje van ons eigen filmmateriaal. Duikende witkopeenden! Wat ontzettend gaaf!!! Met dank aan de GoPro van Daan Den Uijl.

Geplaatst door Bert Kleijer op maandag 12 oktober 2015

Above: diving white-headed ducks

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