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Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: in Hawaiian Islands (Oahu); in North America in southern California, southwestern Arizona, central and eastern Texas, and Gulf Coast Louisiana south to central Mexico (to Nayarit, Jalisco, valley of Mexico, northern Veracruz); locally in southern Florida, the West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Grand Bahama south to Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, and Trinidad), El Salvador, central Honduras, and northwestern Costa Rica; in South America from Colombia, northern Venezuela, and Guianas south, west of Andes, to northwestern Peru, and east of Andes to southern Bolivia, Paraguay, and northeastern Argentina; in Old World in East Africa, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, and southwestern Burma (AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: in Hawaiian Islands (Oahu), southern California and southern Arizona, Gulf Coast, and central to southern Florida south to Oaxaca, Tabasco, and Quintana Roo, and in the breeding range elsewhere in Neotropics, South America, and Old World (AOU 1998).

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Range

S US to Argentina; e Africa, Madagascar and s Asia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Physical Description

Morphology

Appearance

Adult Description

A medium-sized duck with long neck and legs.

Head, neck, chest and belly buffy to tawny-cinnamon.

Immature Description

Juvenile similar to adult.

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Size

Length: 51 cm

Weight: 710 grams

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Type Information

Type for Dendrocygna bicolor
Catalog Number: USNM 135588
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1894
Locality: Unlucky Lake, ca 2 mi N of Mexican Boundary At Monument 221, San Diego, California, United States, North America
  • Type: Wetmore & Peters. March 20, 1922. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 35: 42.
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Type for Dendrocygna bicolor
Catalog Number: USNM 135588
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): E. Mearns
Year Collected: 1894
Locality: Unlucky Lake, ca 2 mi N of Mexican Boundary At Monument 221, San Diego, California, United States, North America
  • Type: Wetmore & Peters. March 20, 1922. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington. 35: 42.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Behaviour This species makes irregular local movements within Africa, the periodic appearance of huge numbers in some areas suggesting that it is highly mobile and apt to undertake long-distance movements in search of suitable habitat (Scott and Rose 1996). Populations in Madagascar appear to be sedentary, but it is known to be locally migratory in East and West Africa, distributions in these areas varying highly between years according to the water regime (in Cameroon the presence of the species is related to flooding) (Scott and Rose 1996). The timing of the breeding season is largely determined by water availability (del Hoyo et al. 1992): populations north of the Zambezi River breed during months of low rainfall, while those in the south breed in the wet season (Scott and Rose 1996). This species breeds in single pairs or loose groups and remains in dispersed pairs or small groups whilst undergoing the post-breeding moult (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982). During the non-breeding season congregations of 20-30, several hundreds or even thousands may occur in feeding areas (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Hockey et al. 2005). The species is active both diurnally and nocturnally (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982), foraging mainly during the first two hours after dawn and last two hours before sunset (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat This species inhabits shallow freshwater or brackish wetlands with tall grass (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982). Such habitats include freshwater lakes, seasonal freshwater pools, slow-flowing streams, marshy areas, swamps in open flat terrain and flooded grasslands (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982, Kear 2005a). It also very frequently occurs in areas of wet rice cultivation (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982, Kear 2005a), and seeks the cover of densely vegetated wetlands while it is vulnerable and flightless during its moulting period (Kear 2005a). Diet The species is predominantly vegetarian, feeding on aquatic seeds and fruits, bulbs, leaf shoots, buds and the structural parts of aquatic plants such as grasses and rushes, although it does occasionally take small aquatic insects (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982, Hockey et al. 2005). It is also shows a preference for cultivated rice grains (Hohman et al. 1996). Breeding site The nests of this species are predominantly mounds of plant material, often floating on water and well concealed amidst vegetation (Johnsgard 1978, Brown et al. 1982). In India however, the species is primarily tree-nesting, utilising hollow trees and even disused stick nests of large birds such as kites or crows (Madge and Burn 1988).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Comments: Shallow fresh and brackish waters, preferring marshes, lagoons, wet cultivated fields, and occasionally forest (AOU 1983). Closely associated with rice culture in some areas (e.g., Florida). Generally on ground or in water; seldom perches in trees. Nests on hummocks among reeds and marshy vegetation (AOU 1983), in areas between ponds and swamps, or on levees and dikes and on rafts a few inches or more above water in flooded fields (Harrison 1979). Commonly lays eggs in the nests of other fulvous whistling ducks, sometimes in nests of ruddy duck and redhead.

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Some breeders from Florida migrate to Cuba (Turnbull et al. 1989).

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Eats grain (especially rice), seeds, and structural plant material; forages in fields and on or near the bottom in shallow water .

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: > 300

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Global Abundance

>1,000,000 individuals

Comments: Counts of 2820 birds from Lagunas de Topolobampo, Mexico; counts of 1000 birds not uncommon in South America; in Sahel, Africa, estimate about 100,000 birds; approximately 10,000 birds in January 1987 at Hail Haor, Bangladesh; up to 2300 counted on Lake Turkana, Kenya; record of 12,000 birds at Lake Chuali, Mozambique (Hoyo et al. 1992). Counts in United States unknown. Survey-wide relative abundance according to Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) for 1966-1996 is 1.68 birds per route (Sauer et al. 1997). In winter, Christmas Bird Count (CBC) shows 0.32 birds per 100 survey hours survey-wide for 1959-1988 (Sauer et al. 1996). In the U.S., the highest winter densities occur in eastern Florida and coastal Texas (Root 1988).

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General Ecology

Characteristically gregarious.

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Dabbler

No obvious courtship displays. Dabbles at and just below waterline. Makes shallow dives and tips-up. A filter-feeder, not a grazer.

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Cyclicity

Comments: Feeds mostly at night.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: The longest-living banded animal was 6.5 years of age (Clapp et al. 1982). Possibly, these animals live considerably longer in captivity with anecdotal reports suggesting they may live 20 years.
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Reproduction

Clutch size usually is 12-14. Incubation, by both sexes, lasts about 28 days. Young are tended by both parents, first fly at 55-63 days.

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Dendrocygna bicolor

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 4
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

History
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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