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Hartlaub's Duck Pteronetta hartlaubii
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This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Taxonomic source(s)
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.

Pteronetta hartlaubi BirdLife International (2000)

Distribution and population
Pteronetta hartlaubii has a widespread distribution in Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Angola.

Population justification
The total population has been estimated to lie between 26,000 and 110,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2006). From the limited information available, it would appear to be locally common in Central Africa, west to Nigeria, being most numerous in Cameroon, Gabon, the Congo and DRC (Callaghan and Green 1993, Scott and Rose 1996). In West Africa, it has apparently suffered major declines and is now very scarce, with perhaps fewer than 1,000 individuals remaining (Scott and Rose 1996).

Trend justification
The overall trend is suspected to be decreasing (Wetlands International 2006).

The species is found in forested areas, in particular in secluded marshes and pools within dense, swampy, lowland tropical evergreen forest and gallery forest. It is also found along small rivers and streams in well-wooded savanna areas, and is recorded from salt pans in Congo and Cameroon (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2005). It requires areas of open water such as large rivers or lakes on which to moult (Madge and Burn 1988). The species is sedentary throughout its range and only local movements have been recorded (Scott and Rose 1996). It is likely to breed between August and November, although this is not certain as no nest has ever been found in the wild (Scott and Rose 1996). The species is normally encountered dispersed in pairs or small groups during both the breeding and non-breeding seasons, but it is known to aggregate into larger flocks (> 30 birds) on open water whilst undergoing moult (Madge and Burn 1988). The species generally feeds nocturnally (Kear 2005b), its diet consisting of aquatic invertebrates (insects, arachnids, crustaceans and molluscs), seeds and roots (F. Dowsett-Lemaire in litt.1999, del Hoyo et al. 1992). No nest has ever been found in the wild, however observations from captive populations suggest that nest sites are most likely to be in tree holes and hollow trees or occasionally on the ground amongst dense cover (Madge and Burn 1988, Kear 2005b).

The primary threat to this species is habitat loss due to forest destruction (Scott and Rose 1996). Other threats include hunting, increases in slash-and-burn cultivation, water pollution from mining and poison-fishing, and hydrological changes owing to logging (Holbech 1992, Holbech 1996, W. R .J. Dean in litt. 1999). However, in Cameroon and Nigeria, it appears to survive even in very disturbed areas (P. Hall in litt. 1999, M. Languy in litt. 2000, H. Rainey in litt. 2003) and the Central Africa populations are not considered to be threatened (F. Dowsett-Lemaire and R. Dowsett in litt. 2005). The species is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).

Callaghan, D. A.; Green, A. J. 1993. Wildfowl at risk, 1993. Wildfowl 44: 149-169.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Delany, S.; Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Holbech, L. H. 1992. Effects of selective logging on a rain-forest bird community in western Ghana. Thesis. MSc, University of Ghana, and University of Copenhagen.

Holbech, L. H. 1996. Faunistic diversity and game production contra human activities in the Ghana high forest zone, with reference to the Western Region.

Kear, J. 2005. Ducks, geese and swans volume 2: species accounts (Cairina to Mergus). Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Madge, S.; Burn, H. 1988. Wildfowl. Christopher Helm, London.

Nikolaus, G. 2001. Bird exploitation for traditional medicine in Nigeria. Malimbus 23: 45-55.

Scott, D. A.; Rose, P. M. 1996. Atlas of Anatidae populations in Africa and western Eurasia. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Wetland International - China Office. 2006. Relict Gull surveys in Hongjianao, Shaanxi Province. Newsletter of China Ornithological Society 15(2): 29.

Further web sources of information
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
O'Brien, A., Harding, M., Malpas, L.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pteronetta hartlaubii. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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 Least Concern
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author (Cassin, 1859)
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,280,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change