Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Found singly or in pairs, the white-winged duck is active mainly at dusk and dawn, feeding on seeds, vegetation, fish and other animal matter, as well as on aquatic snails, spiders and insects. It undergoes an annual moult in September or October and is flightless for a fortnight, moving into more densely forested swamps for protection from predators. Breeding occurs during the late dry season, when the female lays up to 16 eggs in a nest constructed in a tree hole, fork or hollow between three and twelve metres above the ground. Incubation lasts 33 days, and hatching is timed with the start of the heavy seasonal rainfall. The chicks disperse after 14 weeks of parental care (4).
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Description

This large, dark, forest duck has white wings when open, with only small patches of white visible when the wings are closed. Most of the body is a dull brown, but the head and upper neck are speckled with white, more densely on females than males. Juveniles are duller and browner than adults (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Asarcornis scutulata was historically widely distributed from north-eastern India and Bangladesh, through South-East Asia to Java and Sumatra, Indonesia. It has undergone a dramatic decline, such that its population is now estimated at c.1,000 individuals, comprising c.200 in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, c.150 on Sumatra, Indonesia, c.450 in India (Choudhury 2000) and Bangladesh (A. Choudhury in litt. 2007) and in the "low hundreds" in Myanmar (J. C. Eames in litt. 2007) following the identification of a significant population numbering tens of individuals in the proposed Hukuang Tiger Reserve. It has also recently been recorded in Bhutan (Choudhury 2007). It continues to decline throughout its range, and is probably extinct in Malaysia and on Java. The only recent records from Vietnam are from watercourses in dry dipterocarp forest in Yok Don NP, where it is rare but probably under-recorded (Eames in litt. 2012). It is likely to be extirpated elsewhere due to widespread forest and wetland destruction. There are no confirmed recent records from Laos, however, a few birds probably survive in the Nam Theun catchment (W. Duckworth in litt. 2012). In Myanmar it is locally common on ox-bow lakes within the Chindwin basin (Tordoff et al. 2007). In India, it has been recorded from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur (no recent report), with unconfirmed reports from Tripura and Mizoram. Its current distribution is chiefly in the eastern lowlands of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

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Range

India to SE Asia, Sumatra and Java.
  • 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/

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Range

Lost from many areas within its former range (4), the white-winged duck now has a patchy distribution across India and Southeast Asia (1).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits stagnant or slow-flowing natural and artificial wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous or swamp forests, on which it depends for roosting and nesting, usually in tree-holes. Although lowlands (below c.200 m) provide optimum habitat, it occurs up to 1,400 m, especially on plateaux supporting sluggish perennial rivers and pools.


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Inhabits slow-flowing streams or rivers and swamps within forested areas. The white-winged duck nests in tree holes during the day and has been seen around paddy fields (4).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Cairina scutulata

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2cd+3cd+4cd;C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Choudhury, A., Duckworth, W., Eames, J.C., Mahood, S. & Rahmani, A.

Justification
This forest duck is listed as Endangered because it has a very small and fragmented population which is undergoing a very rapid and continuing decline as a result of the loss of and disturbance to riverine habitats.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Status

The white-winged duck is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
There has not been a comprehensive analysis of recent records, but estimates of c.450 in India (A. Choudhury in litt. 2007), low hundreds in Myanmar and c.100 in Cambodia (J. C. Eames in litt. 2007) combined with an earlier estimate of 150 in Indonesia suggest that the species's population may precautionarily be considered to lie within the band 250-999 mature individuals. This equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Its decline is largely attributable to the destruction, degradation and disturbance of riverine habitats including loss of riparian forest corridors. The resultant small, fragmented populations are vulnerable to extinction from stochastic environmental events, loss of genetic variability, disturbance, hunting and collection of eggs and chicks for food or pets. Hydro-power development, inappropriate forest management, and pollution are more localised threats. It may be particularly susceptible to loss of large trees with nesting holes (W. Duckworth in litt. 2006).

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All populations found outside protected areas are believed to be at risk of extinction within 25 years, due to habitat loss. Wetland drainage for land, hydropower development, fragmentation, and deliberate burning all contribute to this projected loss. However, even populations found within protected areas are not free from risk. They are frequently hunted for their good quality meat and often suffer from disturbance and habitat contamination by pollution and pesticides (4).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust produced, and implements, an action plan for the species. In 1993, 21 protected areas were known to support populations. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Assam, were established because of its importance for this species. Sylvan Heights owns a number of captive breeding birds in the US however, few, if any, reintroduction attempts have been made (Kivi 2010, Sylvan Heights Bird Park). Conservation awareness materials depicting it have been widely distributed in Laos and Cambodia.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to clarify its distribution and status. Instigate regular monitoring of selected key populations and establish a captive breeding programme for future reintroductions and population supplementations. Promote strict enforcement of hunting regulations and minimise encroachment, disturbance and habitat degradation in all protected areas supporting populations. Campaign for increased protection of peat-swamp forest in Sumatra. Campaign against pesticide and oil pollution at key sites in north-east India. Promote widespread conservation awareness campaigns in and around key protected areas. Rapidly introduce the measures outlined above in newly discovered strongholds, e.g. northern Myanmar.

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Conservation

Whilst the white-winged duck is legally protected from hunting and egg collecting across its range, enforcement of this protection is lacking. Education programmes have been implemented and proposed conservation measures include strengthening control of exploitation, habitat management and control of pollution (4).
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Wikipedia

White-winged duck

The white-winged duck or white-winged wood duck (Asarcornis scutulata) is a large species of duck, formerly placed in the genus Cairina and allied with the dabbling ducks. However, mtDNA cytochrome b and NADH dehydrogenase subunit 2 sequence analysis[2] and the biogeographical pattern of distribution indicate that the anatomical similarity to the Muscovy duck is deceiving.[citation needed] Thus, this species might more appropriately be placed in a monotypic genus, as Asarcornis scutulata, which appears to be unrelated to the Muscovy duck but closer to the diving ducks.[citation needed]

Description[edit]

At Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, North Carolina

This is one of the largest species of duck. Length is 66–81 cm (26–32 in) and wingspan is 116–153 cm (46–60 in).[3] Males weigh 2.95–3.9 kg (6.5–8.6 lb), while females weigh 1.95–3.05 kg (4.3–6.7 lb).[4] The most noticeable feature on adult birds, is the dark body contrasting with a whitish head and neck. Males have mostly dull yellowish bill, blackish mottling on the head and upper neck, white lesser median coverts and inner edges of tertials and bluish-grey secondaries. In flight, white wing-coverts contrast with the rest of the wings. Females are smaller and usually have more densely mottled head and upper neck. The juvenile is duller and browner.[5]

This secretive species is only known to feed at night. Its diet consists of seeds, aquatic plants, grain, rice, snails, small fish and insects.[4] It inhabits stagnant or slow-flowing natural and artificial wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous or swamp forests, on which it depends for roosting and nesting, usually in tree-holes. Although lowlands (below c.200 m) provide optimum habitat, it occurs up to 1,400 m of altitude, especially on plateaus supporting sluggish perennial rivers and pools.[5]

Distribution and status[edit]

Historically, the white-winged duck was widely distributed from north-east India and Bangladesh, through South East Asia to Java and Sumatra. It is extinct in Java. In India, the duck is found only in the northeastern part of the country with main concentration in eastern Assam and adjacent areas of Arunachal Pradesh.[6] However, in 2002 it had a population of only 800, with about 200 in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, 150 on Sumatra, notably in Way Kambas National Park and 450 in India, Bangladesh and Burma.[7]

In India, the key protected areas for the white-winged duck are Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, Nameri National Park and Namdapha National Park.[8]

The white-winged duck occurs in dense tropical evergreen forests, near rivers and swamps.[9]

They tend to nest in tree cavities, and are threatened in part since the destruction of hollow trees is destroying their nesting localities. The draining of swamps and rivers and other forms of habitat destruction is also destroying the habitat that they could survive in. Additional threats include loss of genetic variability, disturbance, hunting, and collection of eggs and chicks for food or pets.[10]

Due to ongoing habitat loss, small population size, and because this duck is hunted for eggs, pets and food, the white-winged duck is evaluated as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[1] It is listed on Appendix I of CITES. The white-winged duck is also found the central Sumatra province of Riau, specifically in the peatland acacia plantations of a large pulp and paper company. The plantations at least temporarily provide suitable habitat between periodic harvests (once every 4–5 years). The ducks are frequently observed along canals where large and overhanging Acacia trees provide shade and cover from predators and a haven in which to feed and rest. The quiet and still water in the canals of the plantations provides an undisturbed and secluded location, away from local communities which may hunt the ducks or collect eggs. Near-by natural forest conservation areas and greenbelts also provide suitable nesting and roosting habitat in close proximity to the canals.[citation needed]

It is the state bird of the Indian state of Assam.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2013). "Asarcornis scutulata". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Kevin P.; Sorenson, Michael D. (1999). "Phylogeny and biogeography of dabbling ducks (genus Anas): a comparison of molecular and morphological evidence" (PDF). Auk 116 (3): 792–805. doi:10.2307/4089339. 
  3. ^ Ogilvie & Young, Wildfowl of the World. New Holland Publishers (2004), ISBN 978-1-84330-328-2
  4. ^ a b Cairina scutulata – White-winged duck. wildpro.twycrosszoo.org
  5. ^ a b White-winged Duck Cairina scutulata. Birdlife International. birdlife.org
  6. ^ Choudhury, A.U. (1996). Survey of the white-winged wood duck and the Bengal florican in Tinsukia district & adjacent areas of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Rhino Foundation for Nature in North East India,Guwahati, India.
  7. ^ "White-winged Duck Asarcornis scutulata". BirdLife International. Retrieved 21 September 2014. 
  8. ^ Choudhury, A.U.(2000). The Birds of Assam. Gibbon Books & WWF-India NE Reg. Office, Guwahati, India, ISBN 8190086618.
  9. ^ White Winged Wood Duck. WWF India. Retrieved on 2013-04-05.
  10. ^ Marshall Cavendish Corporation (2001). Endangered Wildlife and Plants of the World: Dee-fox. Marshall Cavendish. pp. 479–. ISBN 978-0-7614-7198-1. 
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