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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 World Assessment

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

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

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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