Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

This species tends to occur in small groups (2), which feed during the day and night, but are most active at dawn and dusk (4). This duck feeds on invertebrates and plant matter whilst wading, sifting through the water with the bill (6). Pair formation and breeding occurs during the wet season (from December to March) (6). Nesting occurs in cavities in tree trunks, particularly in black mangrove trees (6). Pairs are monogamous and very territorial, defending their nesting site aggressively against intruders. About six eggs are laid, which hatch after around four weeks. After a further six weeks the chicks will have developed adult plumage and will begin to fly (6).
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Description

The Endangered Madagascar teal is a small, fairly delicate looking duck (4). The two sexes are very similar in appearance and the entire plumage is a uniform light reddish-brown. The throat and chin are buff coloured and the bill is pinkish-grey (6). The wing has a black patch known as the speculum or mirror, which is bordered with white (6).
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Distribution

Range Description

Anas bernieri is endemic to western Madagascar. Its range encompasses a narrow coastal strip along the whole of the west coast and the extreme north-east (Langrand 1995; F. Razafindrajao per R. Safford in litt. 1999; ZICOMA 1999; H.G. Young in litt. 2007). It is known to breed at many sites in Menabe and Melaky on the central west coast, and at Ankazomborona on the far north-west coast (Razafindrajao et al. 2001): 100-500 were estimated to be present between Antsalova and Morondava in July-August 1993 (Morris and Hawkins 1998)and a flock of 67 was seen near Tambohoranoin 1998 (Anon. 1998c); and a new breeding population of 200-300 individuals was discovered at Ankazomborona, north of Mahajanga and some 720 km north of the Masoarivo breeding site. The population in Baie de la Mahajamba was estimated to be 150-200 birds in November-December 2003 (Joiner et al. 2006). The total population is estimated at 1,500-2,500 individuals (G. Young in litt. 2002 to Wetlands International 2002).

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Range

Lowlands of w Madagascar (population ±20 birds 1993).

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Range

As the English name suggests, this duck is endemic to Madagascar, where it is restricted to a narrow strip along the west coast and far northeast of the island (2). The very small population is fragmented and declining (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Madagascar Succulent Woodlands Habitat

This species can be found in the Madagascar succulent woodlands ecoregion, which comprises a mosaic of succulent xeric adapted plants and deciduous forests that represent critical habitats for many species of animals and plants restricted to the western region of Madagascar. The succulent woodland ecoregion exhibits a tropical dry climate with a distinct dry season between May and October. During the wet season, November to April, rainfall may reach 750 millimetres (mm), within a yearly range of 575 mm to 1330 mm.

The geology of the western part of the ecoregion comprises unconsolidated sands on the coast and Tertiary limestones and sandstones inland. In the southern part of the ecoregion, there are also metamorphic and igneous basement rocks. The soils are generally sandy with richer alluvial soils around river areas. The flora species often have water storage adaptations, stem photosynthesis, and remain without leaves for long periods. Forests of the ecoregion may reach 15 m in height, with the endemic baobabs (Bombaceae family) Adansonia za and A. grandidieri as distinctive emergent species. Other canopy species belong to the families Euphorbiaceae and Leguminosae including several endemic species of Pachypodium. The shrub layer consists of the families Sapindaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Anacardiaceae, and Burseraceae.

Five mammals are endemic to this ecoregion: narrow striped mongoose (Mungotictis decemlineata decemlineata), pale fork-marked lemur (Phaner furcifer pallescens), the giant jumping rat, Berthe's mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae) and the red-tailed sportive lemur (Lepilemur ruficaudatus). Near-endemics include the large-eared tenrec (Geogale aurita), the lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi), and Coquerel's dwarf lemur (Mirza coquerli). Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi verreauxi), and the red-fronted brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus rufus) are both found in this ecoregion. Several animal species have the entirety of their very localized ranges within this ecoregion.

Among the bird taxa, Appert's greenbul (Xanthomixis apperti) and the white-breasted mesite (Mesitornis variegata), are considered endemic to this ecoregion. The following species are near-endemic: Madagascar teal (Anas bernieri), Madagascar plover (Charadrius thoracicus), and long-tailed ground-roller (Uratelornis chimaera). Out of the above birds, one is threatened (Madagascar teal), and three are considered vulnerable (white-breasted mesite, long-tailed ground-roller, Madagascar plover). The red-capped coua (Coua ruficeps) is found throughout this ecoregion.

Some of the ecoregion endemic reptiles include Oplurus cuvieri, Chalarodon madagascariensis, and the gecko Phelsuma standingi. Pyxis planicauda has a narrow distribution range within the ecoregion. One gecko species, Paroedura vazimba, is only known from Zombitse-Vohibasia National Park. A least two frog species are endemic to this region: the hyperollid Heterixalus luteostriatus and the mycrohylid Dyscophus insularis. The rare snake Liophidium chabaudi occurs in this ecoregion, as well as numerous other species with limited distributions such as Mabuya tandrefana, Furcifer antimena, and Brookesia brygooi.

There are exactly six anuran species found in the Madagascar succulent woodlands: Antsouhy tomato frog (Dyscophus insularis); Brown rainfrog (Scaphiophryne brevis); Dueril's bright-eyed frog (Boophis tephraeomystax); Goudot's bright-eyed frog (Boophis goudotii); Madagascar bullfrog (Boophis tephraeomystax); and Mocquard's rainfrog (Scaphiophryne calcarata).

  • Lowry, P.P. II, G. E. Schatz, and P.B. Phillipson. 1997. The classification of natural and anthropogenic vegetation in Madagascar. pp. 93-123 in: S.M. Goodman and B. D. Patterson (eds.). Natural change and human impact in Madagascar. Smithsonian Institution. Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 1560986832
  • World Wildlife Fund and C.MIchael Hogan. 2015. Madagascar succulent woodlands. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
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Madagascar Dry Deciduous Forests Habitat

Boophis goudotii is found in the Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion among other ecoregions in Madagascar. This ecoregion in western Madagascar represents some of the world’s most species rich and most distinctive tropical dry forests. They are characterized by very high local plant and animal endemism at the species, genera and family levels.This ecoregion also contains spectacular limestone karst formations, known as tsingy.

The climate of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests is tropical, with temperatures ranging from a mean maximum of 30° to 33°C and a mean minimum of 8° to 21°C. There is a wet and a dry season, with most of the rainfall from October to April. Precipitation declines from an annual average of around 1500 millimetres (mm) in the north to about 1000 mm in the south of the region.

The geology of the ecoregion is varied, being rather complex in some zones, and includes ancient Precambrian basement rocks, unconsolidated sands, and Tertiary and Mesozoic limestone. While most of the forest on the Tertiary limestone has been destroyed, the spectacular karsts of the Mesozoic limestone and the associated forest patches are more or less intact. The ecoregion is a mosaic of dry deciduous forest, degraded secondary forests and grasslands.

Some of the distinctive plants in the forests include the flamboyant tree, Delonix regia (family Leguminosae), and several species of baobabs (Adansonia, family Bombacaceae), including the Near Threatened Fony baobab (A. rubrostipa) and the Endangered Suarez baobab (A. suarezensis).

Endemic mammal species to the ecoregion include the Golden-crowned sifaka (Propithecus tattersalli), Mongoose lemur (Eulemur mongoz), Lowland western forest rat (Nesomys lambertoni), Golden-brown mouse lemur (Microcebus ravelobensis), Northern rufous mouse lemur (M. tavaratra), Western rufous mouse lemur (M. myoxinus), Perrier's sifaka (Propithecus diadema perrieri), Milne-Edwards’s sportive lemur (Lepilemur edwardsi), and the Endangered big-footed mouse (Macrotarsomys ingens). Lemur species, particularly the Brown lemur (Eulemur fulvus), may be critical to the regeneration of the forests because they are some of the few and potentially most important seed dispersers in this diverse forest. The dry deciduous forests are one of the primary habitats for the island’s largest predator, the Fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox), and some of the smaller endemic Carnivora.

The rivers and lakes of the Madagascar dry deciduous forests ecoregion are critically important habitats for the endemic and endangered Madagascar sideneck turtle (Erymnochelys madagascariensis). This species represents a significant "Gondwanaland relic", since its closest relatives are in the Podocnemis genus of in South America. The scrubland and bamboo forests of the ecoregion are the habitat of one of the most endangered reptiles in the world, the ploughshare tortoise (Geochelone yniphora). Other critical endemic reptiles of the ecoregion include the chameleons Brookesia bonsi and B. decaryi. At least three chameleon species are endemic to this ecoregion, including Furcifer tuzetae, F. rhinoceratus, and F. angeli. The dwarf chameleons Brookesia exarmata and B. perarmata are endemic to the Tsingy of Bemaraha. The colorful arboreal snake Lycodryas (Stenophis) citrinus is only recorded from Tsingy de Bemaraha and Namoroka region. Several geckos are endemic to this ecoregion including Paroedura maingoka, P. vazimba, P. tanjaka, Uroplatus geuntheri, and Lygodactylus klemmeri; the latter is only known from the Tsingy de Bemaraha. Futher, the region also holds several endemic skinks species including Mabuya tandrefana, Pygomeles braconnieri, and Androngo elongatus. Recently new species of plated lizard were described from the ecoregion – Zonosaurus bemaraha in the southern portion and Z. tsingy in the northern portion.

Notable amphibians in the ecoregion include the Near Threatened Ambohimitombo bright-eyed frog (Boophis majori); the Antsouhy tomato frog (Dyscophus insularis); the Betsileo golden frog (Mantella betsileo); Betsileo Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus betsileanus); the Betsileo reed frog (Heterixalus betsileo); the Central Madagascar frog (Mantidactylus opiparis); Forest Bright-eyed frog (Boophis erythrodactylus), who typically breeds in wide forest streams; Goudot's Bright-eyed frog (Boophis goudotii); Madagascar bullfrog (Laliostoma labrosum), a Madagascar endemic that is fossorial outside its breeding season; and the Marbled rainfrog (Scaphiophryne marmorata), who breeds in shallow temporary pools.

The ecoregion contains important habitats for 131 of the 186 resident terrestrial bird species listed for Madagascar. Several of these species are associated with lakes and rivers of the region, such as the Manambolo, Betsiboka, Mahajamba, and their satellite lakes. These species include Bernier’s teal (Anas bernieri), Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides), Humblot’s heron (Ardea humbloti) and the Sakalava rail (Amaurornis olivieri). These birds are dependent on wetlands and they are becoming increasingly isolated and restricted due to habitat fragmentation and conversion to rice paddy. Some of these species also use the fringes of the mangroves on the western coast of Madagascar. Several bird species are confined to the western forests, have limited or disjunct ranges, in some cases associated with habitat fragmentation including Van Dam’s vanga (Xenopirostris damii), and White-breasted mesite (Mesitornis variegata).

  • C.MIchael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund. 2015. Madagascar dry deciduous forests. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
  • Lowry, P.P. II, G.E. Schatz, and P.B. Phillipson. 1997. The classification of natural and anthropogenic vegetation in Madagascar. pp. 93-123 in: S.M. Goodman and B. D.Patterson (eds.). Natural Change and Human Impact in Madagascar. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C. ISBN: 1560986832
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Madagascar Mangroves Habitat

The endangered Malagasy sacred ibis (Threskiornis bernieri), is found in the Madagascar mangroves ecoregion as well as certain other western coastal Madagascar habitat and the Seychelles. These Madagascar mangroves shelter highly diverse mollusk and crustacean communities, while capturing sediment that threatens coral reefs and seagrass beds. Although up to nine mangrove tree species have been recorded, most of the Madagascar mangrove stands contain six species in four families: Rhizophoracae (Rhizopora mucronata, Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Ceriops tagal), Avicenniaceae (Avicennia marina), Sonneratiaceae (Sonneratia alba) and Combretaceae (Lumnitzera racemosa).

Some ot the other notable avian associates of the Madagascar mangroves are: the Madagascar Heron (Ardea humbloti, VU), Madagascar Teal (Anas bernieri, EN), Madagascar plover (Charadrius thoracicus, VU), and Madagascar fish eagle (Haliaeetus vociferoides, CR). The Malagasy kingfisher (Alcedo vintsioides) is also thought to occur in these mangroves. This habitat is important for migratory bird species, such as Common ringed plover (Charadrius hiaticula), Crab plover (Dromas ardeola), Gray plover (Charadrius squatarola), African spoonbill (Platalea alba) and Great White Egret (Egretta alba).

A number of mammalian taxa are found in the ecoregion, chiefly lemurs, tenrecs and bats. The sole terrestrial apex mammalian predator of the ecoregion is the Malagasy civet (Fossa fossana), a Madagascar endemic.

Tenrecs occurring in the ecoregion are: Large-eared tenrec (Geogale aurita), the tiniest extant tenrec; Greater hedgehog tenrec found in the Madagascar mangroves, an insectivorous mammal; Lesser hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi); and Tailless tenrec (Tenrec ecaudatus). Each of these tenrecs is endemic to Madagascar, save for the Tailless tenrec, which is also found on Comoros and a few other islands in the region.

Primates found in the Madagascar consist of several lemur species: the Endangered Verreaux's sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), endemic to western and southwestern Madagascar; the Vulnerable Black lemur (Eulemur macaco); the Vulnerable Red-fronted lemur (Eulemur rufus); the Vulnerable Sambirano Bamboo Lemur (Hapalemur occidentalis); the Endangered Coquerel's Mouse-lemur (Microcebus coquereli), a Madagascar endemic; the Vulnerable Decken's sifaka (Propithecus deckenii), a western Madagascar endemic; Sambirano Woolly Lemur (Avahi unicolor), a northwestern Madagascar endemic; Pale-forked crown lemur (Phaner pallescens), endemic to western Madagascar; Fat-tailed dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus medius); and Grey mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus).

Bats occurring here are the Near Threatened Malagasy rousette (Rousettus madagascariensis), a cave rooster capable of navigating the airspace of rather dense intact forest; Vulnerable Madagascan fruit bat (Eidolon dupreanum); Near Threatened Commerson's roundleaf bat (Hipposideros commersonii); Near threatened long-fingered bat (Miniopterus schreibersi); Rufous trident bat (Triaenops rufus); Malagasy giant mastiff bat (Otomops madagascariensis), a Madagascar endemic; Malagasy White-bellied Free-tailed Bat (Mops leucostigma), endemic to Madagascar and the Comoros islands of Anjouan and Moheli; Malagasy slit-faced bat (Nycteris madagascariensis), a narrow endemic to the Irodo River Valley in northern Madagascar; Mauritian tomb bat (Taphozous mauritianus); Trouessart's trident bat (Triaenops furculus), endemic to Madagascar and the outer Seychelles atolls; Manavi Long-fingered Bat (Miniopterus manavi), endemic to Madagascar and Comoros; Grandidier's Free-tailed Bat (Chaerephon leucogaster); Robust yellow bat (Scotophilus robustus); Malagasy mouse-eared bat (Suncus madagascariensis); and Malagasy serotine (Neoromicia matroka). Flying foxes found in the ecoregion are: Madagascan flying fox (Pteropus rufus), an important seed disperser who mates whilst hanging upside down.

Other mammals found in the ecoregion are the Madagascan pygmy shrew (Suncus madagascariensis); The only Rodentia member in the ecoregion is the Dormouse tufted-tailed rat (Eliurus myoxinus).

There are a limited number of reptilian taxa found in the Madagascar mangroves: Snake-eyed skink (Cryptoblepharus boutonii); and aquatic apex predator Nile crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus). Some sea turtles, primarily green turtle (Chelonia mydas, EN) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, CR), nest along the western coast within the Madagascar mangroves. The declining species Dugong (Dugong dugong, VU) is also found in the mangroves.

There is only one amphibian species present in the Madagascar mangroves: Mascarene ridged frog (Ptychadena mascareniensis).

There is particularly high diversity among the fish populations in the Madagascar mangroves,the families of which include: Mugelidae, Serranidae, Carangidae, Gerridae, Hemiramphidae, Plectrorhynchidae and Elopidae. The neighboring coral reefs that are associated with the mangroves have also been noted for extremely high fish diversity.

  • C.MIchael Hogan & World Wildlife Fund. 2015. Madagascar mangroves. Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and Environment. Washington DC
  • Hughes, R.H. & Hughes, J.S. 1992. A Directory of African Wetlands. UUCN, Gland Switzerland and Cambridge UK/UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya/WCMC, Cambridge, UK. ISBN: 2880329493
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour Birds breed during the wet season months of December to March (Joiner et al. 2006; Kear 2005b), and moult at the beginning of the dry season when they become flightless for a period (Young 2006; Razafindrajao 2000). They then move short distances to coastal areas in search of suitable habitat for the dry season (Kear 2005b). During the breeding season the species occurs in solitary, dispersed pairs, but during the non-breeding season it is more gregarious and occurs in groups of up to 40 individuals (Scott and Rose 1996). Pair-bonds may last through consecutive seasons and investment by males is high and involves the protection of the female and young (Young 2006). Habitat Breeding The species breeds only in seasonally flooded, non-tidal areas dominated by Black Mangrove Avicennia marina, on the landward side of littoral forest (Joiner et al. 2006; Young 2006; H.G. Young in litt. 2007; Razafindrajao 2000). Non-breeding During its post-breeding moult, during which time it is flightless (Young 2006), the species seeks out lakes that are rich in aquatic vegetation, and in the subsequent dry season it is found in coastal wetland areas of shallow water and nutrient-rich mud, including saline and brackish areas (Kear 2005b; Razafindrajao 2000). Here it prefers open rather than vegetated wetlands (Young 2006) and is most often found in coastal mangrove forest, bays, estuaries and shallow saline wetlands just inland of mangroves (tannes), though it can also be found less frequently in marshes, dense deciduous forest, areas of open water and herbaceous savannah, especially where Hyparrhenia and Heteropogon grasses are present (Joiner et al. 2006). Diet Little is know about its diet except during moulting when it feeds on terrestrial and aquatic insects including Hymenoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera, in addition to the seeds of various plant families and the leaves and stems of monocotyledons (Kear 2005b). It usually feeds by dabbling in the mud while wading (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Young 1995). Breeding Site Nesting takes place in holes in Avicennia marina mangrove trees (Joiner et al. 2006; Kear 2005b) that have been created by storm damage or decay (Joiner et al. 2006). Ducklings fledge at 45-49 days (Young 2006).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
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Madagascar teals occur in wetland habitats. Habitat use changes with the season; in the dry season they are found mainly in shallow open bodies of water where there is little or no vegetation, but they also occur on sand bars in rivers, at the edges of mangrove forests and in estuaries. During the wet season when they nest, they prefer flooded mangrove forests (6).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
C2a(ii)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Lewis, R., Rabenandrasana, M., Razafindrajao, F., Safford, R. & Young, G.

Justification
This species is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population, in one subpopulation, that is undergoing a rapid and continuing decline owing to habitat loss and hunting.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered
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Status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1), and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The total population is estimated at 1,500-2,500 individuals (H.G. Young in litt. 2002), roughly equivalent to 1,000-1,700 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The species is now extremely threatened throughout its breeding range, by extensive habitat loss and disturbance. The distribution of known sites suggests that the single subpopulation is being fragmented as areas of habitat become unsuitable (Young 2006; H.G. Young in litt. 2007). The species has limited dispersal capabilities and isolation may result in the loss of genetic diversity (Young 2006). Furthermore it is threatened by virtue of being highly specific to a series of habitats - which are themselves threatened - throughout its annual cycle (Razafindrajao 2000). Conversion of shallow, muddy water-bodies to rice cultivation (Young et al. 1993) has been so widespread on the west coast that in the non-breeding season the species now appears to be confined to the few suitable wetlands that are too saline for rice-growing, i.e. some inland lakes and coastal areas such as mudflats (Green et al. 1994). In 2004, during a dry-season survey in Menabe, this species was only found in saline wetlands (H.G. Young in litt. 2007). Pressures on coastal wetlands are exacerbated by the movement of people from the High Plateau to coastal regions, which is driven by the over-exhaustion of land (Joiner et al. 2006). Mangroves are under increasing pressure from prawn-pond construction and timber extraction, which also leads to massively increased hunting (Morris and Hawkins 1998). Subsistence hunting during the nesting season and the trapping of moulting birds are major threats (Young 2006). It is considered a delicacy by hunters and was found in markets in Sofia in 2011 (H. G. Young in litt. 2012). In contrast, the breeding site at Ankazomborona is not threatened by aquaculture and there is little pressure from subsistence hunters, though there is some pressure from sport hunters (Razafindrajao et al. 2001). Breeding birds may suffer disturbance from human activity, such as the collection of crabs (Joiner et al. 2006). The species is potentially in competition for the use of suitable nest-holes with the Comb Duck Sarkidiornis melanotos, parrots Coracopsis species and nocturnal lemurs, Lepilemur species and Cheirogaleus species, though lemurs are absent in mangroves (Joiner et al. 2006).

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This species is threatened throughout its range (2), largely by the massive destruction of wetland habitats that has occurred in Madagascar (4). Conversion of shallow water bodies, required by this species in the dry season, to rice cultivation has been rife on the west coast of Madagascar, and today, mangroves are in demand for prawn pond construction and timber extraction, both of which result in an increase in hunting for food (2) (6).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It has been recorded from Baly Bay National Park, Tsimanampetsotsa Strict Reserve (ZICOMA 1999), Analabe Private Reserve, Kirindy Mitea National Park and Lac Bedo Ramsar Site (H.G. Young in litt. 2007). A captive-breeding programme started in 1993 (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Young 1998), and these birds are used to study breeding behaviour (Young 2006). Studies on the ecology of the wild birds (including provision of nest boxes; R. Lewis pers comm. 2001) and a conservation programme at Lac Antsamaka (in Manambolomaty Ramsar Site) have also been initiated. Flightless birds moulting wing feathers were caught and ringed annually in May and June at Antsamaky (Young 2006), but birds are no longer congregating there (H. G. Young in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey the distribution and abundance of the species through standardised national surveys and/or the sharing of data between organisations, and search for new breeding sites on the west coast, e.g. north of Mahajanga (Thorstrom and Rabarisoa 1997; M. Rabenandrasana in litt. 2007). Study its ecological needs and complete further ecological studies at Ankazomborona (Thorstrom and Rabarisoa 1997). Develop captive breeding programmes and conduct research into the species's reproductive ecology; Ankazomborona may be a particularly suitable study site (Joiner et al. 2006). Ensure adequate protection of nesting, moulting and dry-season sites (Young 2006). Monitor movements using satellite telemetry (H. G. Young in litt. 2012).

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Conservation

This duck is listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, which means that it faces a high risk of extinction in the wild (1). International trade in the species is controlled by its listing under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3). The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust initiated a captive breeding programme for this species in 1993. This programme has had great success and shed light on certain details of the life-cycle and behaviour of this elusive and shy duck. However, until major steps are taken to protect the remaining habitat of the species in the wild, reintroduction measures will be unlikely (4). Community education programmes and habitat protection are essential if this desperately threatened duck is to survive (4).
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Wikipedia

Bernier's teal

Bernier's teal (Anas bernieri), also known as Madagascar teal, is a species of duck in the genus Anas. It is endemic to Madagascar, where it is found only along the west coast. Part of the "grey teal" complex found throughout Australasia, it is most closely related to the Andaman teal.

Taxonomy[edit]

At Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park, North Carolina

First described by Gustav Hartlaub in 1860, Bernier's teal is one of many dabbling ducks in the genus Anas.[2] It is one of the "grey teals", a group of related ducks found across Australasia. DNA studies suggest that it may have been a sister species with Sauzier's teal (which was found on the nearby islands of Mauritius and Réunion until it went extinct). Studies further suggest that its closest living relative is the Andaman teal, and confirm that it is related to the gray teal.[3] There are no subspecies.[4]

The duck's common and species names both commemorate Chevalier Bernier, a French naval surgeon and naturalist who collected nearly 200 specimens of various species while stationed in Madagascar.[5] The genus name Anas is a Latin word meaning "duck".[6]

Description[edit]

This is a small duck, measuring 40 to 45 cm (16 to 18 in) in length,[7][nb 1] and ranging from 320 to 405 grams (11.3 to 14.3 oz) in mass; males average slightly heavier than females.[9] Adult and immature birds of both sexes look the same, though males are slightly larger than females. The plumage is predominantly warm brown. The bill is reddish, and the legs and feet are a dull reddish-orange.[7]

Range and habitat[edit]

Bernier's teal is endemic to the island of Madagascar, where it is found in mangrove forests. It rarely leaves this habitat, where it favors open shallow ponds and lakes, mostly brackish. Its range encompasses the whole of the west coast and the extreme north-east. It is known to breed at a few sites, central and north-west coasts.[1] Subfossil evidence from the Holocene period shows that the teal formerly had a much wider distribution across the island.[10]

Behaviour[edit]

Voice[edit]

The male Bernier's teal whistles, while the female's call is described as "a croaking quak".[7]

Diet and feeding[edit]

Bernier's teal typically spends much of its day actively feeding. It wades at the edge of shallow water, filtering mud and dabbling at the water's surface.[7] It feeds on invertebrates, plant materials, and insects.

Breeding[edit]

All known nests of wild Bernier's teal have been found either above or close to water in grey mangrove trees, in holes 1–3 m (3–10 ft) above the water's surface. In captivity, the species will also use nest boxes. The birds add no materials to the nest. Instead, the female lays her eggs directly on floor of the cavity, covering them initially with wood shavings or rotting bits of wood and later with down feathers from her own breast. In captivity, clutch sizes varied from 3 to 9, with an average of 6.75 eggs per female. The eggs are pale buff in colour, smooth and elliptical in shape, measuring 46.0 x 34.6 mm (1.8 x 1.4 in) on average. This is smaller than the eggs of any of the other "grey teals". Only the female incubates the eggs.[11]

Conservation status[edit]

Bernier's teal is on the verge of extinction. There are only about 1500 left in the world. The reason these ducks are on the verge of extinction is because their natural habitat, mangrove forests, are being destroyed for timber and fuel, and to expand cultivation. Hunting for food is also a threat.[12]

The species is now held in wildfowl collections throughout the world, and several captive breeding programs exist. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust on Jersey, for example, has reared nearly 100 since starting their breeding program in 1995.[13] In the US, Sylvan Heights Bird Park in North Carolina and the Louisville Zoo in Kentucky have both successfully fledged ducklings.[14][15]

Note[edit]

  1. ^ By convention, length is measured from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail on a dead bird (or skin) laid on its back.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2013). "Anas bernieri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ "ITIS Report: Anas". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Kear, Janet, ed. (2005). Ducks, Geese and Swans: Species accounts (Cairina to Mergus). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 452. ISBN 978-0-19-861009-0. 
  4. ^ Monroe, Burt L. (1997). A World Checklist of Birds. New Haven, CT, US: Yale University Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-300-07083-5. 
  5. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2014). The Eponym Dictionary of Birds. Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1-4729-0574-1. 
  6. ^ Jobling, James A. (2010). The Helm Dictionary of Scientific Names. London, UK: Christopher Helm. p. 46. ISBN 978-1-4081-2501-4. 
  7. ^ a b c d Morris, Pete; Hawkins, Frank (1998). Birds of Madagascar: A Photographic Guide. Mountfield, UK: Pica Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-873403-45-7. 
  8. ^ Cramp, Stanley, ed. (1977). Handbook of the Birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa: Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1, Ostrich to Ducks. Oxford University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-0-19-857358-6. 
  9. ^ Dunning, Jr., John Barnard, ed. (2008). CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses (2 ed.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-1-4200-6444-5. 
  10. ^ Goodman, S.M. (1999). "Holocene bird subfossils from the sites of Ampasambazimba, Antsirabe and Ampoza, Madagascar:Changes in the avifauna of south central Madagascar over the past few millennia". In Adams, N.J.; Slotow, R.H. Proceedings of the 22nd International Ornithological Congress, Durban. Johannesburg, South Africa: BirdLife South Africa. pp. 3071–3083. 
  11. ^ Young, H. Glyn; Lewis, Richard E.; Razafindrajao, Felix (2001). "A description of the nest and eggs of the Madagascar Teal Anas bernieri". Bull. B.O.C. 121 (1): 64–67. 
  12. ^ Hirschfeld, Erik; Swash, Andy; Still, Robert (2013). The World's Rarest Birds. Princeton, NJ, US: Princeton University Press. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-4008-4490-6. 
  13. ^ "Madagascar Teal". Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Madagascar Teal Breeding Program". Sylvan Heights Bird Park. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  15. ^ House, Kelly (19 June 2009). "Zoo’s rare duckling not in danger of being found ugly". Courier Journal. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
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