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Current status of Ruddy Duck in Europe?

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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 15:52   #1
Gonçalo Elias
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Current status of Ruddy Duck in Europe?

Hi all,

I would like to know what is the current status of Ruddy Duck in Europe.

This species was introduced in Britain some 50 years ago ans spread rapidly, first in UK, then in mainland Europe, it reached Spain and started to hybridise with the rares White-headed Duck.

Some control measures were carried out and as far as I know the species was totally erradicated from Spain and almost completely so in the UK, but I would like to have more details about this. Are there any left? What is the current trend of the population?

Thanks a lot
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 15:57   #2
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Non sure but I have never seen one in the UK myself
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 15:57   #3
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Last I saw was spring 2018, when a male spent 6 weeks at Swallow Pond, Wallsend, Northumberland. None that I know of since, but a lot of people are suppressing sightings now to stop them from being shot.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 16:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
Last I saw was spring 2018, when a male spent 6 weeks at Swallow Pond, Wallsend, Northumberland. None that I know of since, but a lot of people are suppressing sightings now to stop them from being shot.
There was one in Norfolk this year
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 16:14   #5
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Thanks all for the replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nutcracker View Post
Last I saw was spring 2018, when a male spent 6 weeks at Swallow Pond, Wallsend, Northumberland. None that I know of since, but a lot of people are suppressing sightings now to stop them from being shot.
I see. In fact conservation programs often involving control measures often hit this kind of resistance.

On the website of birdlife international I found this distribution map, it seems to me that it is clearly out of date...
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 16:38   #6
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I'm fairly sure that numbers in the UK are down to low double figures. As far as I know government agents still try to shoot any that they hear of and can locate, and some people therefore think it right to suppress locations.

The almost regular sightings of White-headed Ducks in England have dried up since Ruddy Ducks migrated down to Spain and Morocco each year, apparently bringing odd White-headeds back with them.

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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 16:44   #7
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According to waarneming.nl there is still low tens of birds and some breeding going on in the Netherlands. According to invasive species group, the biggest population of ca 200 used to be in NW France, where bureaucracy made it difficult for a control program to go on. Unfortunately faune-france.org is now down and I cannot check.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 16:59   #8
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While doing some search on Google, I found this report prepared by Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT). It is called

ERADICATION OF THE RUDDY DUCK OXYURA JAMAICENSIS IN THE WESTERN PALAEARCTIC: A REVIEW OF PROGRESS AND A REVISED ACTION PLAN, 2011–2015

Final Version - January 2011


Here is the link: https://rm.coe.int/16807469c5
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:18   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gonçalo Elias View Post

Final Version - January 2011
Nine years out of date . . . excellent information
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:27   #10
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Yes, the information provided in the report certainly does not reflect the present situation, but it has some interesting data showing that while numbers were reducing in the UK the species was expanding elsewhere in Europe. I just posted it to help understand the historical evolution.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:33   #11
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The real fun will be if one of the control groups shoots one and finds an American ring on it - or would they be too embarrassed to dare to admit it?
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:44   #12
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In order to protect the endangered White-headed Duck, the EU Invasive Alien Species (IAS) regulation (1143/214) came into force on 1 January 2015. The (North American) Ruddy Duck cannot be imported, kept, bred, transported, sold or exchanged, allowed to reproduce, or released into the environment in Europe.
https://www.waterfowl.org.uk/wildfow...es/ruddy-duck/
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:49   #13
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Why are you asking Goncalo?
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:50   #14
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I found some interesting information about the LIFE program foing on in France. It is called LIFE Oxyura and it runs from 01-OCT-2018 to 30-DEC -2023.

According to this document, over half of the Ruddy Ducks left in Europe are now in France.

Quote:
The white-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala) is a threatened Eurasian species, with a known population size estimated at 25 000 individuals. It is resident in North Africa, breeds and winters in Turkey and can be found in several EU countries over winter. The main threat to this species is genetic introgression by hybridisation with the ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), a species introduced from North America. Since 1997, 14 000 ruddy ducks have been killed in Europe. Approximately 400 remain, of which 55 % are in France and 45 % in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK, and occasionally Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland. In France, 250 to 350 ruddy ducks are also held in captivity, with a risk of escape into the wild. Actions undertaken in France since 1997 have not eradicated the ruddy duck due to insufficient resources and incoming ducks, particularly from the UK. The near-eradication of the UK’s population together with control measures implemented in Belgium and the Netherlands now make the eradication of ruddy duck in France a realistic possibility.
https://ofb.gouv.fr/sites/default/fi...xyura_LIFE.pdf
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:50   #15
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https://rm.coe.int/expert-meeting-re...020/16809e17d3

I follow this issue with interest, also reactions of diverse bunny-hugger groups which considerably delayed this project and some other real conservation.

It looks that these groups when allowed to, become more and more aggressive, but faced with determined actions they give up and switch to an easier target. They also do not become interested in real conservation at all. In their mind, nature is still a paradise where animals live happily, like rabbits in the Wallace and Gromit film.

Last edited by jurek : Sunday 20th September 2020 at 17:53.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:54   #16
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You can approach the BTO for the data drawn from Wetland Bird Surveys.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:55   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Burhinus View Post
Why are you asking Goncalo?
I am preparing a small Field Guide about the identification of non-native birds in Portugal (only species that breed or have bred in the wild and also those that have been reported regularly - not isolated escapes). I wish to include some updated and accurate information about their current status in Portugal and Europe.

In the case of the Ruddy Duck I am aware of the eradication program going on since 1999, but I would like to understand where we are now.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 17:58   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Burhinus View Post
You can approach the BTO for the data drawn from Wetland Bird Surveys.
Thanks. I can do that but I would like to get the broader European picture as well, according to the information I just quoted it seems that the "centre of mass" has moved from UK to continental Europe.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:00   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jurek View Post
https://rm.coe.int/expert-meeting-re...020/16809e17d3

I follow this issue with interest, also reactions of diverse bunny-hugger groups which considerably delayed this project and some other real conservation.

It looks that these groups when allowed to, become more and more aggressive, but faced with determined actions they give up and switch to an easier target. They also do not become interested in real conservation at all. In their mind, nature is still a paradise where animals live happily, like rabbits in the Wallace and Gromit film.
Rather a generalisation and if you don’t mind me saying, a little passive aggressive yourself.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:06   #20
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Originally Posted by Gonçalo Elias View Post
Thanks. I can do that but I would like to get the broader European picture as well, according to the information I just quoted it seems that the "centre of mass" has moved from UK to continental Europe.
I think if you are working on conservation projects with WH Duck, it would be good to introduce yourself as having this interest before canvassing forum members. Rightly or wrongly, not everyone has the same oulook so it is important people know up front, what you will do with the information once they provide it to you.

EDIT
I just read your post - Is this an identification guide for people responsible for controlling invasive species to use in the field? (So they shoot the right ones? - we lost quite a few Pochards (and other ducks ) in the RD cull, through presumably mistaken identity, so I can see why producing a guide just on invasive species (that are breeding) would help with control).

The trends and distribution of Ruddy Duck can be extrapolated from WeBS data - probably more reliable and complete than anecdotal observations I would think. Personally, I haven’t seen any Ruddy Ducks for a few years now.
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Last edited by Deb Burhinus : Sunday 20th September 2020 at 18:26.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:27   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Burhinus View Post
I think if you are working on conservation projects with WH Duck, it would be good to introduce yourself as having this interest before canvassing forum members. Rightly or wrongly, not everyone has the same oulook so it is important people know up front, what you will do with the information once they provide it to you.
I am not working on any conservation programs (not with WH Duck and not with any other species) and I am not at all interested in knowing specific locations for Ruddy Duck. My only purpose with this topic is to get a broad updated picture of the current situation of the species in Europe so that I do not make incorrect statements in the field guide. The guide is only about Portugal, so I am not getting into any detail about what is happening in other countries - I just want to include a brief mention to the countries where this species is still a problem. That's all.

Does this address your concerns?
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:38   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deb Burhinus View Post
EDIT
I just read your post - Is this an identification guide for people responsible for controlling invasive species to use in the field? (So they shoot the right ones? - we lost quite a few Pochards (and other ducks ) in the RD cull, through presumably mistaken identity, so I can see why producing a guide just on invasive species (that are breeding) would help with control).
No, it's for birdwatchers only. I only produce information for birdwatchers. You can see my website at www.avesdeportugal.info.

Currently we have no updated field guide for non-native birds (as you know, traditional field guides deal mainly with native birds). We badly need such a guide, so that birdwatchers and photographers can identify the exotics properly. That's what I am working on now.

This guide is not meant for conservationists. As I mentioned on my previous replies, I am not involved with any such conservation programs and besides I don't know of any plans to shoot Ruddy Ducks here in Portugal. In fact, Ruddy Ducks were never a serious problem in Portugal, we had isolated records some years ago, but I think there were none in recent years. Both Ruddy Duck and WH Duck are very rare in this country, the reason I want to include Ruddy Duck in the guide is to make sure that people know how to tell them from WH Duck in case they see one.

I hope that now you are less worried about my intentions.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:54   #23
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Here you are Goncalo, some population statistics information as at February 2020 from the Office Français de la biodiversité, let me know if you want me to translate from the French:

Le 25 février 2020, les experts de plusieurs pays européens se sont réunis à Londres pour faire le point sur la lutte contre l’érismature rousse. La France était représentée par l’Office français de la biodiversité, coordinateur du projet LIFE Oxyura qui vise à endiguer la reproduction de ce canard en milieu naturel.

L’érismature rousse est une espèce exotique envahissante originaire d’Amérique. En Europe, elle menace sa cousine à tête blanche, notamment à cause du croisement entre les deux espèces. Pour préserver l’espèce indigène, un plan de lutte européen contre l’érismature rousse a été mis en place.


Le bilan de l’avancement de ce plan d'actions, réalisé en cette fin février, est plutôt favorable :

En France, les effectifs continuent de diminuer avec désormais moins de 60 individus.
Le Royaume-Uni, qui a connu un pic à 6 000 érismatures rousses en 2000, compte désormais seulement 12 individus grâce à l’action conjointe des autorités et de la communauté ornithologique. C’est la première année où aucune reproduction naturelle n’est observée depuis 1953.
Les Pays-Bas restent une source d’inquiétude avec environ 80 oiseaux soumis à une faible pression.


La Belgique ne totalise qu’une dizaine d’individus.

L’Espagne n’observe plus d’érismatures rousses alors que la population d’érismatures à tête blanche se porte bien et compte environ 2 500 individus.
Cet échange fera l’objet d’une recommandation officielle aux États concernés. La France semble en bonne voie pour atteindre une pleine maitrise de cette espèce au profit de la conservation de l’érismature à tête blanche
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 18:56   #24
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Rather a generalisation and if you don’t mind me saying, a little passive aggressive yourself.
If you are unhappy, I can be aggressive aggressive. The Ruddy Duck problem and the associated number of ducks killed and the monetary cost were increased several times because 'animal rights' activists delayed the cull. Knowing perfectly that the ducks were breeding, so they are making the problem worse.
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Old Sunday 20th September 2020, 19:00   #25
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Here you are Goncalo, some population statistics information as at February 2020 from the Office Français de la biodiversité, let me know if you want me to translate from the French:
Merci beaucoup Richard, c'est très utile et je comprends parfaitement le français.
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