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Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis

Justification
This species has a moderately small population and is therefore classed as Near Threatened. It faces a number of threats and the population may be smaller than currently estimated. If it is found that the population size is very small and declining, the species may qualify as threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
Turbott, E. G. 1990. Checklist of the birds of New Zealand. Ornithological Society of New Zealand, Wellington.

Distribution and population
Oxyura australis occupies permanent deep water-bodies in southern Australia with the population estimated at c.12,000 mature individuals, or c.15,000 birds overall (R. Jaensch in litt. 2005 to Wetlands International 2006). The species is found particularly in the Murray-Darling basin and southern Victoria.

Population justification
The population has been estimated at c.12,000 mature individuals, equivalent to c.18,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification
The population is thought to be stable (Garnett and Crowley 2000).

Ecology
The species is found on terrestrial wetlands in temperate regions, that are freshwater to saline, and may be natural or artificial. It nests in rushes, sedges, Lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii and paperbark Melaleuca, and it lays 5-6 eggs. It feeds on aquatic insect larvae, seeds and plant matter. During autumn and winter the species aggregates in large flocks but disperses to smaller waterbodies when breeding. Aggregations also occur during drought.

Threats
It is threatened by drainage of deep permanent wetlands, or their degradation as a result of introduced fish, peripheral cattle grazing, salinisation and lowering of ground water. A small number are probably shot by accident during the duck hunting season. The western population is particularly threatened with predictions that rainfall there will fall as temperatures rise. In 2007, there was an ongoing drought in the species's range.

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify major perennial wetlands used by the species for breeding and moulting, and protect them against further degradation. Monitor population trends through regular surveys.

References
Garnett, S. T.; Crowley, G. M. 2000. The action plan for Australian birds 2000. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Jaensch, R. 2003. Records of northern waterbirds in the Barkly wetlands, Northern Territory, 1993-2002. Northern Territory Naturalist 17: 20-30.

Further web sources of information
Australian Govt - Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 - Recovery Outline

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Garnett, S., Taylor, J.

Contributors
Burbidge, A., Jaensch, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Oxyura australis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/09/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/09/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author Gould, 1836
Population size 12000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 545,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species