International Single Species Action Planfor the Conservation of theWhite-headed Duck

White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) Science Article 2


The White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals.It is also listed on Annex I of the European Union Directive on the Conservation of Wild Birds (79/409/EEC) (BirdsDirective), on Appendix II of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (BernConvention), on Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (BonnConvention), and Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES Convention).The White-headed Duck is a highly aquatic diving duck of the stifftail tribe Oxyurini. Globally, there are fourpopulations; two of which are declining, one stable and one increasing. The decreasing populations include the mainCentral Asian population of 5,000-10,000 birds and the Pakistan wintering population, which is on the verge ofextinction. The resident North African population (400-600 birds) is stable and the Spanish population (ca. 2,500birds) increasing. The White-headed Duck occurs regularly in 26 countries, and in another 22 as a vagrant. Ninecountries hold significant breeding numbers (Algeria, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, RussianFederation, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, and Uzbekistan), but most are concentrated in Mongolia, Kazakhstan, RussianFederation, and Spain. Birds occur commonly on migration in 10 countries, and in winter (December to February) in13. The most important wintering countries differ from year-to-year, presumably depending on weather conditions. Inrecent years, 10 countries have held over 1,000 birds (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Greece, Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel,Kazakhstan, Russian Federation, Spain, Turkey, and Uzbekistan-see Table 2). Seven countries hold significantnumbers of birds throughout the year (Algeria, Islamic Republic of Iran, Russian Federation, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey,and Uzbekistan).

Baz Hughes, James Robinson, Andy Green, David Li & Taej Mundkur, aeWA Technical Series No. 8,2006

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