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Salvadori's Teal Salvadorina waigiuensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is widespread, from the low foothills to the highest alpine tarns; nonetheless, it persists in small numbers wherever it occurs, and its specialized habitat requirements ensure that its global population will remain small. It may be declining through hunting and habitat degradation and therefore qualifies as Vulnerable, although further information may show that it is less threatened than currently thought.

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.

Taxonomic note

43 cm. Small duck of montane rivers and lakes. Dark brown head. Body barred and spotted dark brown and off-white. Yellow bill. Orange legs. Similar spp. None of the many species of duck recorded in New Guinea have a yellow bill and uniform chocolate head or a barred body. Whistling-ducks, usually found in the lowlands, combine rather plain heads with pale spots or stripes on the flanks and Australian White-eyed Duck Aythya australis has uniformly plain brown plumage. Voice Various calls only given in courtship. Hints Elusive and rather unpredictable at all known sites.

Distribution and population
Salvadorina waigiuensis is endemic to the mountains of New Guinea (Papua, formerly Irian Jaya, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea). It is rare and local at lower altitudes. There are records at 70m in the Lakekamu Basin, but it occurs across the island in suitable montane habitat. There are recent records from few locations, a consequence of the inaccessibility of most of its range and the species's unobtrusive, shy and perhaps nocturnal habits (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994, J. Hornbuckle in litt 1999). The population has been variously estimated to be 2,500-20,000 birds and stable or slowly declining (Callaghan in prep., Callaghan and Green 1993). More recently (2005, 2008) the species was observed using an ephemeral lake at 1650 m in the Foja Mts of western New Guinea (B. Beehler in litt. 2012). This indicates that its movements are quite widespread and that it can cross expanses of closed forest in search of ideal habitat.

Population justification
The total population is estimated to number 2,500-20,000 individuals,and is thus best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Some local extinctions have been recorded and the species as a whole is suspected to be declining at a moderate rate, owing to hunting, predation by dogs and habitat degradation (Coates 1985, Callaghan and Green 1993).

Although recorded from 70-4,100m, this duck is uncommon below 600m and most common at the highest altitudes (Coates 1985, Beehler et al. 1986, Callaghan and Green 1993, J. Hornbuckle in litt 1999). It breeds beside fast-flowing rivers and streams, and alpine lakes, and has also been recorded on slow-flowing rivers (Coates 1985, Callaghan and Green 1993). It is not sociable, and one rarely encounters anything beside single adults or pairs (B. Beehler in litt. 2007). Breeding territories are variable in size owing to local conditions, for instance pairs have been found to occupy 1,600 m of stream on the Baiyer River (Kear 1975) but only 160m on the Ok Menga River (Bell 1969). The species uses small tributary streams as well as main river channels, a factor which may contribute to its perceived rarity. It lays clutches of two to four eggs alongside rivers or lakes in the dry season (Kear 1975). It is omnivorous, feeding by dabbling and diving (Kear 1975, Coates 1985).

Some local extirpations and declines have been attributed to hunting (Bishop 1987, K. D. Bishop in litt. 1994), predation by dogs, and habitat degradation, largely through increasing human pressure and siltation, especially from hydroelectric projects, mining and logging (Murray 1988, A. Mack in litt 1999, Callaghan in prep.), but these have only impacted small areas (B. Whitney in litt. 2000). The stocking of alpine rivers with exotic trout species has been suggested as a potential risk to food sources (Kear 1975, Callaghan and Green 1993).

Conservation Actions Underway
This species is protected by law in Papua New Guinea (Callaghan and Green 1993). It is known to be fairly common within the Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area where it has been a focus of specific study (Straus 2006). Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess best survey techniques. Survey rivers in areas with varying human population pressure. Assess hunting pressure through discussion with local hunters. Survey rivers upstream and downstream of hydroelectric, mining and logging activities. Survey rivers with high numbers of trout. Research ecology on both lakes and rivers. Address hunting through public awareness programmes.

Beehler, B. M.; Pratt, T. K.; Zimmerman, D. A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Bell, H. L. 1969. Field notes on the birds of the Ok Tedi River drainage, New Guinea. Emu 69: 193-211.

Bishop, K. D. 1987. Interesting bird observations in Papua New Guinea. Muruk 2(2): 52-57.

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

Coates, B. J. 1985. The birds of Papua New Guinea, 1: non-passerines. Dove, Alderley, Australia.

Kear, J. 1975. Salvadori's Duck of New Guinea. Wildfowl 26: 104-111.

Murray, A. 1988. A study of the birds of the Tabubil region, Western Province, Papua New Guinea. Muruk 3(3): 89-117.

Straus, N. 2006. Notes on the territory size of Salvadori's Teal in Crater Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Papua New Guinea. TWSG News: 75-76.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species accounts from the Threatened birds of Asia: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 2001).

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Derhé, M., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A. & Pilgrim, J.

Beehler, B., Bishop, K., Hornbuckle, J., Mack, A., Whitney, B. & Dutson, G.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Salvadorina waigiuensis. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Salvadori’s teal (Salvadorina waigiuensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans)
Species name author Rothschild & Hartert, 1894
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 234,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species