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Aythya nyroca

warning Endangered
EN (A2c,D1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Ezra Hadad, Lior Kislev, Yuvak Dax

The Ferruginous Duck is classified as Endangered (EN) because of the decrease in its range, which is estimated to have decreased more than 50% over 3 generations (22.8 years) and because of its population size that is below 250 adult birds. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002) it was classified as critically endangered (CR). The change in its status reflects an improvement in the population status relative to the early 2000s, some of which is probably a result of improved data gathering.
EN Current Regional Assessment | CR Previous Regional Assessment | NT World Assessment

Habitats Wetland Thickets
Presence In Israel Summer Breeder, Winter Visitor, Migrant
Nesting In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Resident, Nomad
Zoography Zones Mediterranean, Sudano-Zambezian
Landscape Formations Wetland Thickets, Wetlands, Freshwater Bodies
Vegetation Densities Medium
Nest Locations Ground, Wetland Thickets
Diet Types Invertebrate, Herbivore
Foraging Grounds Water
Body Sizes Medium (500 - 1000g)
Threat Factors Wetland Drainage & Pollution

The Ferruginous Duck is a rare breeder in reservoirs in the Judean Lowlands and in the reservoirs and sinkholes in the Dead Sea area, and a relatively rare passage migrant and wintering species in water bodies throughout Israel. Until the mid-20th century, it was a relatively common breeder (tens and possibly hundreds of pairs) in northern Israel, particularly in the Hula Valley. The species stopped nesting in northern Israel after the Hula Marshes and other wetlands in northern Israel were drained. In the 1970s, it was discovered nesting once again, in small numbers and not every year. The summering population comprised 100-200 birds in the 1980s, most of them in the Hula Valley and the Northern Valleys, but also on the Carmel coast and the Tel Aviv Metropolitan area (Paz 1986, Shirihai 1996).

Marshes and freshwater bodies surrounded by vegetation thickets.

The main reason for the decline of the Ferruginous Duck population is the loss and degradation of suitable nesting habitats – water bodies with well-developed bank vegetation. In addition, uncontrolled hunting affects the species on a global level and to a lesser degree in Israel as well. Plans to renovate water reservoirs in the Judean Lowlands and to seal them with polyethylene sheeting threatens the future of the species in Israel.

Conservation and rehabilitation efforts of Ferruginous Ducks include a breeding nucleus (in the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo) and releasing young into nature. The project has been ongoing since 2015, but there is still no evidence regarding the reintroduction and integration success of released ducks in the wild breeding population.

The Ferruginous Duck is an endangered species in Israel and globally threatened due to the overexploitation and deterioration of wetlands. Its population in Israel is very small, although in recent decades there is an increase in the breeding population and expansion of the species in the Judean Lowlands and the Dead Sea depression. The future of the species in Israel is dependent on the existence of reservoirs and pools with dense bank vegetation.

The Ferruginous Duck breeds in water pools and reservoirs with dense bank vegetation, therefore it is recommended to allow vegetation thickets to develop around water bodies. In addition, the species is very sensitive to lead residues in and around water bodies (Slobodian et al. 2015), therefore use of lead shot for hunting should be banned.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרלמן, י. 2013. ברווזים נדירים דוגרים בישראל סיכום ניטור קיץ 2013. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י. וחביב, א. 2014. ברווזים נדירים דוגרים בישראל סיכום ניטור קיץ 2014. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Slobodian, L., Lewis, M. & Lehmann, C. 2015 (2nd edition). Guidelines on National Legislation for the Protection of Species of Migratory Waterbirds and their Habitats. AEWA Conservation Guidelines No. XX, AEWA Technical Series No. XX, Bonn, Germany.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Avner Rinot, Ezra Hadad, Lior Kislev, Yuvak Dax

Current Occupancy Map

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel in the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and nesting density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values as calculated from observation records and expert opinions.

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Breeding density values are based mainly on the book Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Occupancy difference 1990-2020

A map that expresses differences in the breeding distribution between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative value - species previously present but is currently absent, positive value - species has not been recorded previously and is currently present, zero - no change in occupancy.

Relative abundance difference 1990-2020

A map that reflects the changes in the relative abundance of the species between the evaluation periods (1980-1990 versus 2010-2020). Negative values - decline in abundance, positive values - increase in abundance, zero - no change in abundance.

Red number

IUCN category

() districts
% of protected sites

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