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Cape Teal Anas capensis
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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). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not 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)
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: # _the_WP15.xls#.
Cramp, S.; Perrins, C. M. 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
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.

Trend justification
The overall trend is increasing, although some populations may be stable or decreasing (Wetlands International 2006).

Behaviour This species is known to undertake considerable nomadic movements in response to changing water levels (many of its favoured sites are ephemeral) (Scott and Rose 1996), and it is an irregular and opportunistic breeder, varying its time of breeding with rainfall (Brown et al. 1982). Throughout both breeding and non-breeding seasons the species is dispersed in single pairs or small flocks of 3-7 birds; large flocks in the moulting season are recorded rarely, when some gatherings can be as large as 2,000 strong (Madge and Burn 1988, Kear 2005b). The species is diurnal, with most of its activity occurring between 0700-0900 (Hockey et al. 2005) and 1300-1700 (Brown et al. 1982), although occasionally the species may also forage at night (Hockey et al. 2005). Habitat This species frequents shallow saline lakes, seasonal and permanent brackish or saline pools and vleis, rivers, seasonally flooded wetlands, farm dams, state reservoirs, coastal shorelines, estuaries, lagoons, tidal mudflats and wastewater treatment pools (Johnsgard 1978, Madge and Burn 1988, Dowsett 2004, Hockey et al. 2005, Kear 2005b). In the East African Rift Valley it occurs from the lowlands up to 1,700 m (Scott and Rose 1996) on small, sheltered alkaline and brackish waters with little or no shoreline vegetation, moving to permanent alkaline waters when nearby temporal pools become dry (Baker 2003). In the Western Cape of South Africa this species moves to deep, open waters on which to moult, and prefers to breed on bare and grassy pans (Hockey et al. 2005). Diet It has an omnivorous diet, feeding on the stems, leaves and seeds of pondweeds, as well as aquatic insects, crustaceans and tadpoles (Johnsgard 1978). Breeding site Females prefer to locate nests on islands where possible, although nest sites can be some distance from the water. The nest itself is a hollow scrape in the ground, well concealed amongst small trees, thorny bushes or aquatic vegetation (Johnsgard 1978, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005b).

This species is susceptible to avian botulism (Blaker 1967, van Heerden 1974), especially when feeding on sewage and effluent ponds (Hockey et al. 2005), so may be threatened by future outbreaks of the disease. It is also potentially threatened by habitat loss through wetland destruction and degradation, for example Walvis Bay in Namibia (a key wetland site in southern Africa) is being degraded through changes in the flood regime due to road building, wetland reclamation for suburb and port development, and disturbance from tourism (Wearne and Underhill 2005). Utilisation The species is highly valued and commonly shot (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Little et al. 1995), although there is no evidence that the hunting of this species currently poses a threat.

Baker, N. E. 2003. A reassessment of the northern population of Cape Teal Anas capensis. Scopus 23: 29-43.

Blaker, D. 1967. An outbreak of Botulinus poisoning among waterbirds. Ostrich 38(2): 144-147.

Brown, L. H.; Urban, E. K.; Newman, K. 1982. The birds of Africa vol I. Academic Press, London.

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.

Dowsett, R. J. 2004. Comments on the distribution of Cape Teal Anas capensis. Scopus 24: 41-45.

Hockey, P. A. R.; Dean, W. R. J.; Ryan, P. G. 2005. Roberts birds of southern Africa. Trustees of the John Voelcker Bird Book Fund, Cape Town, South Africa.

Johnsgard, P. A. 1978. Ducks, geese and swans of the World. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London.

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

Little, R. M.; Vester, K. C.; Crowe, T. M. 1995. Temporal and spatial paterns of breeding activity of 12 duck species (Anatidae) in the cape provinces, South-Africa, and their implications for hunting seasons. South African Journal of Wildlife Research 25(1): 17-22.

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

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

van Heerden, J. 1974. Botulism in the Orange Free State goldfields. Ostrich 45(3): 182-184.

Wearne, K.; Underhill, L. G. 2005. Walvis Bay, Namibia: a key wetland for waders and other coastal birds in southern Africa. Wader Study Group Bulletin 107: 24-30.

Further web sources of information
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
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Malpas, L.

Dodman, T.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Anas capensis. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 Gmelin, 1789
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,320,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species
- Projected distributions under climate change