Rare ring-necked duck in Spain

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 March 2011

A flock of Ring-necked ducks hung around the Palace Lagoon at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

From Rare Birds in Spain, on Twitter:

27.2.2015 Aythya collaris. 1 male La Massona, PN AIguamolls Empordà, Girona.

Aythya collaris means ring-necked duck. They are rare in Europe, not so rare in their northern North American homeland.

Mandarin duck cleans his feathers, video

This video shows a male mandarin duck, cleaning his feathers in Houten in the Netherlands.

Rinke Rijksen made the video.

Mandarin duck looks for food, video

This is a video about a male mandarin duck looking for food in the Netherlands.

Michael de Vries made the video.

Rare harlequin duck in Scotland

This video from the east coast of the USA is about harlequin ducks, long-tailed ducks, brent geese and other birds.

From the Rare Bird Network in Britain, on Twitter today:

Aberdeenshire: HARLEQUIN DUCK 1 again today on River Don.

The only European country where this species nests is Iceland.

Smew helped by conservation

This video is called Smew (Mergellus albellus).

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare duck thrives in EU protected areas

The Smew, a duck that is a rare visitor to the UK in winter, is doing twice as well as two decades ago within areas protected by EU wildlife laws, reports the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT) and British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

Scientists studied data from wetlands throughout Europe and found that as a result of climate change nearly a third of these ducks now spend winter in north-eastern Europe, compared to just 6 per cent 20 years ago.

And in that region, numbers of Smew within Special Protection Areas designated by the EU Birds Directive have grown twice as fast as those on unprotected sites.

WWT’s Head of Species Monitoring, Richard Hearn, says: “The EU’s network of protected areas is obviously helping Smew adapt to climate change.

“Most Special Protection Areas were designated around 20 years ago using the data that we had then. Things have changed dramatically in the natural world since then and we need to respond to help ensure that Smew and other waterbirds remain well protected.”

The National Organiser of the BTO’s Wetland Bird Survey, Chas Holt says: “The UK data that contributed to this study were collected by the dedicated volunteers of the UK’s Wetland Bird Survey.

“The published results are an excellent example of how collaboration across a species’ range can generate outputs that are of direct relevance to conservation.”

In Latvia and Sweden, however, the protected area network supports fewer than one in five Smew and in Finland that proportion drops to just one in 50.

Hearn says: “In this newly occupied region there aren’t enough protected areas and that could constrict the population as they spread north.”

The authors emphasise that protected areas also need to be maintained at the southern end of the birds’ range, in western Europe, so that they have somewhere to retreat during particularly harsh winters, such as during December 2010.

In the UK, a small population typically of fewer than 200 Smew can be found in winter at favoured gravel pits and reservoirs in lowland England. This UK population has approximately halved since the late 1990s.

These results are based on data from the International Waterbird Census, coordinated by Wetlands International, from 16 countries since 1990 and the findings were published in the scientific journal Diversity and Distributions.

Duck courtship behaviour video

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the USA says about this 21 January 2015 video:

Even in the dead of winter, ducks provide us with some of the first signs of spring as they begin picking mates for the upcoming breeding season. The Macaulay Library dug into the video archives to put together this mash-up of interesting duck courtship behaviors, many of which are happening right now on ponds and lakes.

Got Mallards near you?: If so, take a look at this blog post that includes a guide to commonly seen mallard courtship behaviors.

Learn more in a webinar: Choose from our selection of archived webinars—presented by the Cornell Lab’s Dr. Kevin McGowan—to build your birding skills in waterfowl identification and understanding bird behavior.

Status and diurnal activity budget of non-breeding White-headed Ducks (Oxyura leucocephala) in Algeria

Originally posted on North African Birds:

Meziane, N., Samraoui, F. & Samraoui, B. 2014. Status and diurnal activity budget of non-breeding White-headed Ducks Oxyura leucocephala in Algeria. Ostrich 85(2): 177–184. doi:10.2989/00306525.2014.964790

PDF disponible (pour le moment) sur African Journals online.


In Algeria, the Globally Endangered White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala is resident throughout the year in the coastal wetlands of north-east Algeria and the Hauts Plateaux, where it occupies habitats that range from freshwater ponds and brackish marshes to hypersaline lakes. In autumn and winter, at two study sites sleeping (49% and 68%) and resting (9% and 20%) dominated, whereas feeding (7% and 10%) represented a minor proportion of, diurnal activities. There was no marked seasonal change in the activity pattern, as would be expected for a resident bird. The breeding and winter distributions of the species were similar, but seasonal and diel patterns of dispersion among habitats remain poorly known. Human encroachment…

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