Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

This species tends to occur in small groups (2), which feed during the day and night, but are most active at dawn and dusk (4). This duck feeds on invertebrates and plant matter whilst wading, sifting through the water with the bill (6). Pair formation and breeding occurs during the wet season (from December to March) (6). Nesting occurs in cavities in tree trunks, particularly in black mangrove trees (6). Pairs are monogamous and very territorial, defending their nesting site aggressively against intruders. About six eggs are laid, which hatch after around four weeks. After a further six weeks the chicks will have developed adult plumage and will begin to fly (6).
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Description

The Endangered Madagascar teal is a small, fairly delicate looking duck (4). The two sexes are very similar in appearance and the entire plumage is a uniform light reddish-brown. The throat and chin are buff coloured and the bill is pinkish-grey (6). The wing has a black patch known as the speculum or mirror, which is bordered with white (6).
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Distribution

Range Description

Anas bernieri is endemic to western Madagascar. Its range encompasses a narrow coastal strip along the whole of the west coast and the extreme north-east (Langrand 1995; F. Razafindrajao per R. Safford in litt. 1999; ZICOMA 1999; H.G. Young in litt. 2007). It is known to breed at many sites in Menabe and Melaky on the central west coast, and at Ankazomborona on the far north-west coast (Razafindrajao et al. 2001): 100-500 were estimated to be present between Antsalova and Morondava in July-August 1993 (Morris and Hawkins 1998)and a flock of 67 was seen near Tambohoranoin 1998 (Anon. 1998c); and a new breeding population of 200-300 individuals was discovered at Ankazomborona, north of Mahajanga and some 720 km north of the Masoarivo breeding site. The population in Baie de la Mahajamba was estimated to be 150-200 birds in November-December 2003 (Joiner et al. 2006). The total population is estimated at 1,500-2,500 individuals (G. Young in litt. 2002 to Wetlands International 2002).

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Range

Lowlands of w Madagascar (population ±20 birds 1993).

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Range

As the English name suggests, this duck is endemic to Madagascar, where it is restricted to a narrow strip along the west coast and far northeast of the island (2). The very small population is fragmented and declining (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour Birds breed during the wet season months of December to March (Joiner et al. 2006; Kear 2005b), and moult at the beginning of the dry season when they become flightless for a period (Young 2006; Razafindrajao 2000). They then move short distances to coastal areas in search of suitable habitat for the dry season (Kear 2005b). During the breeding season the species occurs in solitary, dispersed pairs, but during the non-breeding season it is more gregarious and occurs in groups of up to 40 individuals (Scott and Rose 1996). Pair-bonds may last through consecutive seasons and investment by males is high and involves the protection of the female and young (Young 2006). Habitat Breeding The species breeds only in seasonally flooded, non-tidal areas dominated by Black Mangrove Avicennia marina, on the landward side of littoral forest (Joiner et al. 2006; Young 2006; H.G. Young in litt. 2007; Razafindrajao 2000). Non-breeding During its post-breeding moult, during which time it is flightless (Young 2006), the species seeks out lakes that are rich in aquatic vegetation, and in the subsequent dry season it is found in coastal wetland areas of shallow water and nutrient-rich mud, including saline and brackish areas (Kear 2005b; Razafindrajao 2000). Here it prefers open rather than vegetated wetlands (Young 2006) and is most often found in coastal mangrove forest, bays, estuaries and shallow saline wetlands just inland of mangroves (tannes), though it can also be found less frequently in marshes, dense deciduous forest, areas of open water and herbaceous savannah, especially where Hyparrhenia and Heteropogon grasses are present (Joiner et al. 2006). Diet Little is know about its diet except during moulting when it feeds on terrestrial and aquatic insects including Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera, in addition to the seeds of various plant families and the leaves and stems of monocotyledons (Kear 2005b). It usually feeds by dabbling in the mud while wading (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Young 1995). Breeding Site Nesting takes place in holes in Avicennia marina mangrove trees (Joiner et al. 2006; Kear 2005b) that have been created by storm damage or decay (Joiner et al. 2006). Ducklings fledge at 45-49 days (Young 2006).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Madagascar teals occur in wetland habitats. Habitat use changes with the season; in the dry season they are found mainly in shallow open bodies of water where there is little or no vegetation, but they also occur on sand bars in rivers, at the edges of mangrove forests and in estuaries. During the wet season when they nest, they prefer flooded mangrove forests (6).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Lewis, R., Rabenandrasana, M., Razafindrajao, F., Safford, R. & Young, G.

Justification
This species is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population, in one subpopulation, that is undergoing a rapid and continuing decline owing to habitat loss and hunting.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The total population is estimated at 1,500-2,500 individuals (H.G. Young in litt. 2002), roughly equivalent to 1,000-1,700 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is now extremely threatened throughout its breeding range, by extensive habitat loss and disturbance. The distribution of known sites suggests that the single subpopulation is being fragmented as areas of habitat become unsuitable (Young 2006; H.G. Young in litt. 2007). The species has limited dispersal capabilities and isolation may result in the loss of genetic diversity (Young 2006). Furthermore it is threatened by virtue of being highly specific to a series of habitats - which are themselves threatened - throughout its annual cycle (Razafindrajao 2000). Conversion of shallow, muddy water-bodies to rice cultivation (Young et al. 1993) has been so widespread on the west coast that in the non-breeding season the species now appears to be confined to the few suitable wetlands that are too saline for rice-growing, i.e. some inland lakes and coastal areas such as mudflats (Green et al. 1994). In 2004, during a dry-season survey in Menabe, this species was only found in saline wetlands (H.G. Young in litt. 2007). Pressures on coastal wetlands are exacerbated by the movement of people from the High Plateau to coastal regions, which is driven by the over-exhaustion of land (Joiner et al. 2006). Mangroves are under increasing pressure from prawn-pond construction and timber extraction, which also leads to massively increased hunting (Morris and Hawkins 1998). Subsistence hunting during the nesting season and the trapping of moulting birds are major threats (Young 2006). It is considered a delicacy by hunters and was found in markets in Sofia in 2011 (H. G. Young in litt. 2012). In contrast, the breeding site at Ankazomborona is not threatened by aquaculture and there is little pressure from subsistence hunters, though there is some pressure from sport hunters (Razafindrajao et al. 2001). Breeding birds may suffer disturbance from human activity, such as the collection of crabs (Joiner et al. 2006). The species is potentially in competition for the use of suitable nest-holes with the Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, parrots Coracopsis species and nocturnal lemurs, Lepilemur species and Cheirogaleus species, though lemurs are absent in mangroves (Joiner et al. 2006).

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This species is threatened throughout its range (2), largely by the massive destruction of wetland habitats that has occurred in Madagascar (4). Conversion of shallow water bodies, required by this species in the dry season, to rice cultivation has been rife on the west coast of Madagascar, and today, mangroves are in demand for prawn pond construction and timber extraction, both of which result in an increase in hunting for food (2) (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It has been recorded from Baly Bay National Park, Tsimanampetsotsa Strict Reserve (ZICOMA 1999), Analabe Private Reserve, Kirindy Mitea National Park and Lac Bedo Ramsar Site (H.G. Young in litt. 2007). A captive-breeding programme started in 1993 (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Young 1998), and these birds are used to study breeding behaviour (Young 2006). Studies on the ecology of the wild birds (including provision of nest boxes; R. Lewis pers comm. 2001) and a conservation programme at Lac Antsamaka (in Manambolomaty Ramsar Site) have also been initiated. Flightless birds moulting wing feathers were caught and ringed annually in May and June at Antsamaky (Young 2006), but birds are no longer congregating there (H. G. Young in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey the distribution and abundance of the species through standardised national surveys and/or the sharing of data between organisations, and search for new breeding sites on the west coast, e.g. north of Mahajanga (Thorstrom and Rabarisoa 1997; M. Rabenandrasana in litt. 2007). Study its ecological needs and complete further ecological studies at Ankazomborona (Thorstrom and Rabarisoa 1997). Develop captive breeding programmes and conduct research into the species's reproductive ecology; Ankazomborona may be a particularly suitable study site (Joiner et al. 2006). Ensure adequate protection of nesting, moulting and dry-season sites (Young 2006). Monitor movements using satellite telemetry (H. G. Young in litt. 2012).

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Conservation

This duck is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, which means that it faces a high risk of extinction in the wild (1). International trade in the species is controlled by its listing under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust initiated a captive breeding programme for this species in 1993. This programme has had great success and shed light on certain details of the life-cycle and behaviour of this elusive and shy duck. However, until major steps are taken to protect the remaining habitat of the species in the wild, reintroduction measures will be unlikely (4). Community education programmes and habitat protection are essential if this desperately threatened duck is to survive (4).
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Wikipedia

Bernier's Teal

At Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, North Carolina

Bernier's Teal Anas bernieri (also known as Madagascar Teal) is a duck species of the genus Anas. It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found only along the west coast.

This duck is 40 to 45 cm in length, and is predominately warm brown all over with conspicuous black scalloping, heaviest on flanks and breast. It has a black speculum, and its bill is pinkish gray and slightly upturned. It is somewhat difficult to distinguish between male and female ducks since they look very similar to each other.

It prefers mangroves and rarely leaves this habitat where it favors open shallow ponds and lakes, preferably brackish. They tend to eat invertebrates, plant materials, and insects. They nest in tree cavities, mainly mangrove. Its range encompasses the whole of the west coast and the extreme north-east. It is known to breed at two sites, Masoarivo on the central west coast, and Ankazomborona on the far north-west coast. It has an incubation period of 28–30 days and lays 4-10 eggs at a time.

Currently the Madagascar Teal is on the verge of extinction. There are only about 1500 left in the world. The reason these ducks are on the verge of extinction is because their natural habitat, mangrove forests are being destroyed for timber and fuel.

The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust is undergoing a successful breeding program since 1995 after a failed attempt in 1993 due to capturing four ducks which turned out to be all male.

The binomial commemorates the French surgeon Chevalier J A Bernier.

References[edit]

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