Thursday, 14 November 2013

White-winged duck

Cairina scutulata

Photo by Dick Daniels (Carolina Birds)

Common name:
white-winged duck (en); pato-de-asas-brancas (pt); canard à ailes blanches (fr); pato de jungla (es); Malaienente (de)

Order Anseriformes
Family Anatidae

This species is patchily distributed through south-east Asia, from Bangladesh, extreme north-eastern India and Myanmar, through Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, and into Malaysia and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

These large ducks are 66-81 cm long and have a wingspan of 116-153 cm. The males tend to be larger, weighing 2,9-3,9 kg while the females weigh 1,9-3,1 kg.

The white-winged duck is found in slow-flowing streams or rivers and swamps, within tropical rainforests. They sometimes also use rice fields. This specis is found from sea level up to an altitude of 1.400 m.

They feed on seeds, aquatic plants, grain, rice, snails, small fishes and insects.

White-winged ducks breed late in the local dry season. They nest in a tree hole or hollow, usually 3-12 m above the ground, where the female lays 6-16 greenish-yellow eggs. She incubates the eggs alone for 33-35 days. The chicks leave the nest soon after hatching, following the parents around until they become independent, about 14 weeks after hatching.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a large but patchy breeding range. The population is estimated at just 250-1.000 individuals. The population is suspected to have declined very rapidly, owing to the widespread loss, degradation and disturbance of lowland riverine habitats. 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. In some localized areas, hydro-power development, inappropriate forest management, and pollution may pose further threats to this species. Conservation actions underway include the creation of a few protected areas and the distribution of conservation awareness materials to local populations in Laos and Cambodia.

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