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Oxyura leucocephala

warning Critically Endangered

The White-headed Duck is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) because of its extremely small breeding population, estimated at less than 50 mature individuals. In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Regionally Extinct (RE). The improvement in the species' status reflects its renewed breeding in Israel, although it is still unknown whether this is an accidental event or whether it will continue in coming years. In addition, the species is classified as Globally Endangered (EN).
CR Current Regional Assessment | RE Previous Regional Assessment | EN Global Assessment

Habitats Wetland Thickets
Presence In Israel Summer
Breeding In Israel Irregular Breeder
Migration Types Resident, Nomad
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean
Landscape Types Wetlands, Fresh Water, Marsh
Vegetation Types Marsh and Riparian
Vegetation Densities High
Nest Locations Ground
Diet Types Invertebrate, Herbivore
Foraging Grounds Water
Body Sizes Medium (500 - 1000g)
Threat Factors Wetland Drainage & Pollution, Hunting and trapping

The White-headed Duck was apparently resident in northern Israel until the early 20th century and bred in lakes and marshes, as well as being a common winter visitor (Tristram 1884, Meinertzhagen 1930). In the second half of the 20th century, there was no evidence of breeding in Israel, but in summer 2017 a family of White-headed ducks with ducklings was seen at a reservoir in the Jezreel Valley (Eldad Amir). White-headed Ducks winter in small numbers (up to 3,000 individuals) in water reservoirs in northern and central Israel. The largest wintering concentration is found in the reservoirs of the Kishon catchment.

The White-headed Duck breeds in marshes and pools with dense bank vegetation that grows into the water. It winters in fishponds and mainly in recycled-water reservoirs in the Mediterranean region.

  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

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

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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