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Biology

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The ferruginous duck breeds during May and June. The female builds a nest from reeds, grass and leaves and lines it with down from her breast. Well concealed in thick vegetation, she lays between seven and ten eggs which she incubates for 25 to 28 days. Ferruginous ducks share a seasonal pair bond, but the male habitually deserts the female during incubation (9). The chicks are tended by the female alone until they fledge at 55 to 60 days. They reach sexual maturity at one year (10). Ferruginous ducks are found singly or in small groups. They are active at night, foraging for seeds, aquatic plants, aquatic invertebrates, small fish, and amphibians. They feed by diving, dipping the head under water, up-ending, and dabbling (9).
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Conservation

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A European Action Plan was published in 2000 and an International Single Species Action Plan is being developed under the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement. Bulgaria plans to restore the habitat of two key breeding sites on the Danube, and has received funding for this purpose (8).
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Description

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Males of this diving duck species are a deep russet brown with a white triangular patch under the tail and a white belly. The edges of the wings are white, with this colouring visible only in flight. Females and juveniles are similarly patterned, but tend to be a duller brown, with no hint of red. The beak is short, giving the peaked head a particularly triangular appearance. The white eyes stand out from the dark feathers on the head (7).
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Habitat

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This species both breeds and winters on shallow lakes, marshes and pools with ample vegetation (7).
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Range

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Four main populations of the ferruginous duck are recognised, which breed in southwestern Asia, central Europe, eastern Europe, and north Africa. The wintering range overlaps with the breeding range, extending into the Middle East, north-east and west Africa and Southeast Asia (8).
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Status

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The ferruginous duck is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List (1). It is also listed on Appendices I and II of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS or Bonn Convention) (3), Appendix III of the Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (4), Annex I of the EC Birds Directive (5), and Annex 2 of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (6).
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Threats

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Although protected by law, the ferruginous duck is still excessively hunted due to misidentification or ignorance of the law. It is also at risk from habitat loss as wetland habitats are drained for agriculture (8).
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Status in Egypt

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Regular passage visitor and winter visitor.

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Ferruginous duck

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The ferruginous duck, also ferruginous pochard, common white-eye or white-eyed pochard (Aythya nyroca) is a medium-sized diving duck from Eurosiberia. The scientific name is derived from Greek aithuia an unidentified seabird mentioned by authors including Hesychius and Aristotle, and nyrok, the Russian name for a duck.[2]

Description

The breeding male is a rich, dark chestnut on the head, breast and flanks with contrasting pure white undertail coverts. In flight the white belly and underwing patch are visible. The females are duller and browner than the males. The male has a yellow eye and the females have a dark eye.[3]

Habitat

The ferruginous duck prefers quite shallow fresh waterbodies with rich submerged and floating vegetation with dense stands of emergent vegetation on the margins. In some areas it will use saline or brackish pools or wetlands. On passage and wintering will also frequent coastal waters, inland seas and large, open lagoons.[4]

Distribution

The breeding range of the ferruginous duck is from Iberia and the Maghreb east to western Mongolia, south to Arabia, although in the west is now scarce and localised and locally extirpated in some countries. The duck winters throughout the Mediterranean Basin and the Black Sea, smaller number migrate into sub-Saharan Africa via the Nile Valley.[4] Eastern birds winter in south and south-east Asia.[5]

Habits

These are gregarious birds, but less social than other Aythya species but where common it can form large flocks in winter, often mixed with other diving ducks, such as tufted ducks and common pochards. Forms pairs from January onwards and during courtship the male often curls his tail so that it dips into the water forming a triangular white patch of the undertail coverts. In areas where it is common it will form colonies at protected sites such as islands, often in association with gulls. Where scarce it nests singly, in dispersed and concealed sites.[4]

Eggs are laid from the end of April or early May in a nest which is sited on the ground close to water, or sometimes a floating nest is built among emergent vegetation. The eggs are incubated for 25–27 days and the fledging period is 55–60 days.[4]

These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They eat aquatic plants with some molluscs, aquatic insects and small fish. They often feed at night, and will upend (dabble) for food as well as the more characteristic diving.[4]

Conservation

The species is threatened by the degradation and destruction of its favoured habitats by anthropogenic causes which are very wide and varied including impoundment, drainage, pollution and mismanagement. The introduction of non-native species has also caused habitat degradation, e.g. the stocking of lakes with and accidental introduction of grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella has caused reductions in plant and animal biomass available for the ducks to feed on. In addition, the increased threat of drought due to climate change may pose a threat to the species in the drier parts of its range. Increased disturbance by fishing boats and anglers among marginal vegetation could cause abandonment of the breeding sites or disrupt the timing of breeding particularly in populated areas, e.g. western Europe. Ferruginous ducks are also threatened by hunting and large numbers are shot on passage in the autumn and in the wintering areas. Although protected in most European countries illegal and accidental hunting persists. It is one of the species to which the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) applies.[5] Among recent local initiatives it should be mentioned inclusion of the breeding habitats of the species in Armenia into network of Emerald Sites protected by the Bern Convention [6]

Gallery

References

  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Aythya nyroca". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2013.old-form url
  2. ^ Jobling, James A (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names. London: Christopher Helm. pp. 64, 277. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4.
  3. ^ Madge, Steve; Burn, Hilary (1988). Wildfowl An identification guide to the ducks, geese and swans of the world. Christopher Helm. pp. 252–253. ISBN 0-7470-2201-1.
  4. ^ a b c d e Snow, D.W.; Perrins, C.M. (1998). The Birds of the Western Palearctic Concise Edition Volume 1 Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press. pp. 242–244. ISBN 0 19 850187 0.
  5. ^ a b "Ferruginous Duck Aythya nyroca". Birdlife International. Retrieved 15 October 2016.
  6. ^ Ferruginous Pochard (Aythya nyroca) in Armenia. Archived 11 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine In online publication: "The State of Breeding Birds of Armenia". TSE NGO, Armenian Bird Census Council. Retrieved 27 May 2017
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Ferruginous duck: Brief Summary

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The ferruginous duck, also ferruginous pochard, common white-eye or white-eyed pochard (Aythya nyroca) is a medium-sized diving duck from Eurosiberia. The scientific name is derived from Greek aithuia an unidentified seabird mentioned by authors including Hesychius and Aristotle, and nyrok, the Russian name for a duck.

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