NT
Falcated Duck Mareca falcata



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
Although this species is clearly more abundant than once believed, it has been retained as Near Threatened owing to moderately rapid declines in China, as measured by survey data and inferred from very high levels of hunting. Almost qualifies for a threatened listing under criteria A2bd+3bd+4bd.

Population justification
Although the global population was previously estimated to be 35,000 individuals, recent counts indicate that it is considerably higher, with perhaps > 89,000 individuals in total (Lei and Barter in litt 2007). The majority of birds spend the non-breeding season in China, (c.78,000 individuals), Japan (c.9,000 individuals), North Korea and South Korea (c.2,000 individuals) (Wetlands International 2002; Lei and Barter in litt. 2007).

Trend justification
The species appears to be declining in southern China, remaining common only in Dongting Hu, Hunan Province (S. Chan in litt. 2005) and there have been notable declines at least locally in the breeding range, for instance, on Lake Udyl the total number of Falcated Duck broods has fallen from 530 to 120 broods since the 1980s (Poyarkov 2006). Populations in Japan and Korea appear to have remained stable or declined only slightly (S. Chan in litt. 2005). Overall, the population is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline.

Distribution and population

Mareca falcata has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2. It breeds over much of south-east Siberia, Russia, south to northern Mongolia, China, and Japan. Although the global population was previously estimated to be 35,000 individuals, recent counts indicate that it is considerably higher, with perhaps as many as 89,000 in total (Lei and Barter in litt. 2007). The majority of birds spending the non-breeding season in China (78,000), Japan (9,000), North Korea and South Korea (2,000) (Wetlands International 2002, Lei and Barter in litt. 2007). It also regularly winters in small numbers in Bangladesh, north-east India, Nepal, where it is rare and irregular (H. S. Baral in litt. 2005), Taiwan (China), and northern Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, where it is a very rare visitor (A. W. Tordoff in litt. 2005). Vagrants have been recorded from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malta, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, and the Aleutian Islands of the United States (Madge and Burn 1988). Escapes from waterfowl collections mask the extent of vagrancy to western Europe. The species appears to be declining in southern China, remaining common only in Dongting Hu, Hunan Province (S. Chan in litt. 2005) and there have been notable declines at least locally in the breeding range, for instance, on Lake Udyl the total number of Falcated Duck broods has fallen from 530 to 120 broods since the 1980s (Poyarkov 2006). Of 14,763 individuals counted in a 2005 survey of China, 13,605 were in Hunan Province, and 970 in Hubei Province (M. Barter in litt. 2005). Populations in Japan and Korea appear to have remained stable or declined only slightly (S. Chan in litt. 2005). It also appears to have become less frequent in Nepal (H. S. Baral in litt. 2005).

Ecology

The species breeds by water-meadows and lakes in lowland valleys, both in open and partly wooded areas. It winters on lowland rivers, lakes, flooded meadows, and, less frequently, coastal lagoons and estuaries (Madge and Burn 1988). It is usually seen in pairs or small parties, with large flocks formed outside the breeding season, mixing with other dabbling ducks (particularly Eurasian Wigeon M. penelope and Northern Pintail Anas acuta) (Madge and Burn 1988). The breeding season is May to July. Birds dabble and up-end for food in open water near emergent vegetation, or sometimes graze in waterside grassland or crops (Madge and Burn 1988).

Threats

Hunting for food, for subsistence and local markets, is probably the major threat. This is particularly true on the non-breeding grounds in China, with an estimated 33,000-37,000 individuals of this species taken along the lower and middle Yangtze River basins in each of the four winters from 1988-1992 (Madge and Burn 1988).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor non-breeding populations. Formulate national and local hunting or shooting regulations (Madge and Burn 1988). Educate people about the plight of waterfowl, and provide alternative employment opportunities for local hunters (Madge and Burn 1988). Improve management of existing wetland nature reserves on the non-breeding grounds (Madge and Burn 1988).

Identification

48-54 cm. Relatively bulky dabbling duck. Breeding male unmistakeable, with grey body, large, maned head with green and bronze iridescence, white throat, buff and black undertail-coverts, and elongated, arched tertials. Female and eclipse plumage male fairly uniform dark brown, with paler buff belly. Similar spp. Female and eclipse male best separated from other Anas species by combination of buff belly, greyish legs, and distinctive shape: relatively short, heavy, but bouyant body with rather long dark grey bill. Voice On breeding grounds, male has a short, low whistle, followed by a wavering uit-trr. Female has a hoarse quack.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J. & Ashpole, J

Contributors
Baral, H., Barter, M., Cao, L., Chan, S. & Tordoff, A.W.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Mareca falcata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019.