- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
- 2012Critically Endangered
Date Listed: 01/12/1995
Lead Region: Foreign (Region 10)
Where Listed: Entire
Population location: Entire
Listing status: E
For most current information and documents related to the conservation status and management of Aythya innotata , see its USFWS Species Profile
The Peregrine Fund and Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust are conducting further surveys at the site of rediscovery, which is currently permanently guarded, and are now seeking the support of locals to gain formal protection for the area (R. Watson in litt. 2006; L.A. Rene de Roland in litt. 2008; Watson 2007; Cranswick 2010). Furthermore, together with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and the government of Madagascar, and with support from with Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa, a conservation breeding facility has been built, and a Malagasy warden was to be appointed to help protect the breeding site (Anon 2009). A small number of eggs were opportunistically taken from the wild in 2009, leading to hatching of the first captively-reared individuals (Jarrett 2010), with three clutches successfully hatched by the end of the year, producing 20 young (Cranswick 2010). The long-term aims of such efforts are to secure of the existing population and to establish another viable population in the wild (Cranswick 2010). Work is ongoing through WWT, the Peregrine Fund and two PhD students to identify potential areas for the release of captive-bred birds, which will probably necessitate some habitat restoration (Cranswick 2010, 2012). Efforts are underway to conserve the last vestiges of suitable habitat at Lake Alaotra (Morris and Hawkins 1998). The Malagasy government has ratified the Ramsar Convention, and Lake Alaotra became a Ramsar Site in 2003. Searches for the species continue, as do education and awareness programmes on the benefits of maintaining natural wetlands. However, implementation of any conservation policy for the area will be very difficult owing to Alaotra's huge economic importance for agriculture and fisheries (Pidgeon 1996). Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue searches for extant populations, with a particular focus around former high-plateau wetlands (Rene de Roland et al. 2007). Protect areas of least-modified wetland at Lake Alaotra. Continue community surveys and wetland awareness programmes. Conduct further surveys to determine the existing population size. Continue work to establish a captive-breeding programme. Carry out inventory of wetlands near remaining population to identify sites for release of captive-bred birds and assess the need for habitat restoration (Cranswick 2010).
The Madagascan pochard or Madagascar pochard (Aythya innotata; Malagasy: Fotsy maso, Onjo) is an extremely rare diving duck of the genus Aythya. Thought to be extinct in the late 1990s, specimens of the species were rediscovered at Lake Matsaborimena in Madagascar in 2006. As of March 2013, the population is around 80 individuals.
Threats and decline
Based on the accounts written by Webb and Delacour's in the 1920s and 1930s it seemed that the bird was still relatively common at Lake Alaotra. The duck probably started to decline dramatically sometime in the late 1940s or early 1950s. The cause of decline was the introduction of numerous fish species in the lake that killed most of the pochard chicks and damaged nesting sites. Adult birds are also likely to have become victims of introduced fishes. Rice cultivation, cattle grazing on the shores, burning of shore vegetation, introduced mammals (rats), gill-net fishing and hunting are all factors that led to the duck's disappearance from the lake. The last record of multiple birds at Lake Alaotra is from 9 June 1960 when a small flock of about 20 birds was spotted on the lake. Despite the rarity of the species in 1960, a male was shot, and the specimen is now held by the Zoological Museum Amsterdam. There is a very dubious report of a sighting made outside Antananarivo in 1970.
Searches and rediscovery
Before it was rediscovered in 2006, the last confirmed sighting of the species was at Lake Alaotra on the Central Plateau of Madagascar in 1991. The single male then encountered was captured and kept in the Antananarivo Botanical Gardens until it died one year later. Intensive searches and publicity campaigns in 1989-1990, 1993-1994 and 2000-2001 failed to produce any more records of this bird.
However, a flock of nine adults and four recently hatched ducklings were discovered at Lake Matsaborimena, in a remote area of northern Madagascar, in November 2006. The species was placed in the new "Possibly Extinct" category in the 2006 IUCN Red List; following the rediscovery, its old status of Critically Endangered was restored in the 2007 issue. As of 2008, only 25 adult birds had been counted in the wild.
In 2009, a rescue plan involving the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust removed a batch of ready-to-hatch eggs from a lake-side nest and incubated them in a lab that was set up in a tent beside the lake. After hatching, the day-old chicks were taken to a holding facility in a local hotel. Reared in captivity, they hatched eighteen ducklings in April 2012 at the captive breeding centre in Antsohihy, bringing the total population to 60. In April 2013, the population reached 80.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aythya innotata.|
- BirdLife International (2008). Aythya innotata. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 14 December 2009.
- "Critically Endangered Madagascar pochard population has quadrupled". Wildlife Extra. March 2013.
- BirdLife International (2007b): Madagascar Pochard - BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 26 August 2007.
- "Diving duck resurfaces". Birdlife. 20 November 2006.
- "Rare Madagascar duck successfully bred by Durrell". BBC News. 6 April 2012.
- BirdLife International (2007a): [ 2006-2007 Red List status changes ]. Retrieved 26 August 2007.
- Gill, Victoria (6 November 2009). "Quest to save world's rarest duck". BBC News. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Moore, Andy (6 April 2012). "World's rarest ducklings hatch in Madagascar". BBC News. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
- Gill, Victoria (6 April 2012). "World's rarest ducklings Madagascan pochards hatch". BBC News. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
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