Although this species is clearly more abundant than once believed, it has been retained as Near Threatened owing to moderately rapid declines in China, as measured by survey data and inferred from very high levels of hunting.
AERC TAC. 2003. AERC TAC Checklist of bird taxa occurring in Western Palearctic region, 15th Draft. Available at: #http://www.aerc.eu/DOCS/Bird_taxa_of _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.
Mareca falcata (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Anas.
Anas falcata Georgi, 1775
Distribution and populationAnas falcata
48-54 cm. Relatively bulky dabbling duck. Breeding male unmistakeable, with grey body, large, maned head with green and bronze iridescence, white throat, buff and black undertail-coverts, and elongated, arched tertials. Female and eclipse plumage male fairly uniform dark brown, with paler buff belly. Similar spp. Female and eclipse male best separated from other Anas species by combination of buff belly, greyish legs, and distinctive shape: relatively short, heavy, but bouyant body with rather long dark grey bill. Voice On breeding grounds, male has a short, low whistle, followed by a wavering uit-trr. Female has a hoarse quack.
has a large range, with an estimated global extent of occurrence of 1,000,000-10,000,000 km2
. It breeds over much of south-east Siberia, Russia
, south to northern Mongolia, China,
. Although the global population was previously estimated to be 35,000 individuals, recent counts indicate that it is considerably higher, with perhaps as many as 89,000 in total (Lei and Barter in litt.
2007). The majority of birds spending the non-breeding season in China (78,000), Japan (9,000), North Korea
and South Korea
(2,000) (Wetlands International 2002, Lei and Barter in litt.
2007). It also regularly winters in small numbers in Bangladesh
, north-east India
where it is rare and irregular (H. S. Baral in litt.
, and northern Laos
, and Vietnam
, where it is a very rare visitor (A. W. Tordoff in litt.
2005). Vagrants have been recorded from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Canada, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Malta, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Turkey, and the Aleutian Islands of the United States (Madge and Burn 1988). Escapes from waterfowl collections mask the extent of vagrancy to western Europe. The species appears to be declining in southern China, remaining common only in Dongting Hu, Hunan Province (S. Chan in litt.
2005) and there have been notable declines at least locally in the breeding range, for instance, on Lake Udyl the total number of Falcated Duck broods has fallen from 530 to 120 broods since the 1980s (Poyarkov 2006). Of 14,763 individuals counted in a 2005 survey of China, 13,605 were in Hunan Province, and 970 in Hubei Province (M. Barter in litt.
2005). Populations in Japan and Korea appear to have remained stable or declined only slightly (S. Chan in litt.
2005). It also appears to have become less frequent in Nepal (H. S. Baral in litt.
2005). Population justification
Although the global population was previously estimated to be 35,000 individuals, recent counts indicate that it is considerably higher, with perhaps > 89,000 individuals in total (Lei and Barter in litt
2007). The majority of birds spend the non-breeding season in China, (c.78,000 individuals), Japan (c.9,000 individuals), North Korea and South Korea (c.2,000 individuals) (Wetlands International 2002; Lei and Barter in litt
. 2007).Trend justification
The species appears to be declining in southern China, remaining common only in Dongting Hu, Hunan Province (S. Chan in litt. 2005) and there have been notable declines at least locally in the breeding range, for instance, on Lake Udyl the total number of Falcated Duck broods has fallen from 530 to 120 broods since the 1980s (Poyarkov 2006). Populations in Japan and Korea appear to have remained stable or declined only slightly (S. Chan in litt
. 2005). Overall, the population is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline.Ecology
The species breeds by water-meadows and lakes in lowland valleys, both in open and partly wooded areas. It winters on lowland rivers, lakes, flooded meadows, and, less frequently, coastal lagoons and estuaries (Madge and Burn 1988). It is usually seen in pairs or small parties, with large flocks formed outside the breeding season, mixing with other dabbling ducks (particularly Eurasian Wigeon A. penelope
and Northern Pintail A. acuta
) (Madge and Burn 1988). The breeding season is May to July. Birds dabble and up-end for food in open water near emergent vegetation, or sometimes graze in waterside grassland or crops (Madge and Burn 1988). Threats
Hunting for food, for subsistence and local markets, is probably the major threat. This is particularly true on the non-breeding grounds in China, with an estimated 33,000-37,000 individuals of this species taken along the lower and middle Yangtze River basins in each of the four winters from 1988-1992 (Madge and Burn 1988). Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a number of protected areas. Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue to monitor non-breeding populations. Formulate national and local hunting or shooting regulations (Madge and Burn 1988). Educate people about the plight of waterfowl, and provide alternative employment opportunities for local hunters (Madge and Burn 1988). Improve management of existing wetland nature reserves on the non-breeding grounds (Madge and Burn 1988)
Lu Jianjian. 1993. The utilisation of migratory wildfowl in China. In: Moser, M.; Prentice, R.C.; van Vessem, J. (ed.), Waterfowl and wetland conservation in the 1990s - a global perspective, pp. 90-92. International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau, Slimbridge, U.K.
Madge, S.; Burn, H. 1988. Wildfowl. Christopher Helm, London.
Poyarkov, N. D. 2006. Falcated Duck in Russia. TWSG News: 21-22.
Wetlands International; IUCN SSC Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group. Undated. Ducks, Geese, Swans and Screamers: an action plan for the conservation of Anseriformes; second external draft for comment. Wetlands International & IUCN.
Wetlands International. 2002. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.
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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Pilgrim, J., Taylor, J.
Baral, H., Barter, M., Cao, L., Chan, S., Tordoff, A.W.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Mareca falcata. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/01/2015.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 26/01/2015.
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.