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White-headed duck (Oxyura leucocephala)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 182515710

Searching for White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) Breeding and Wintering Grounds in Central Anatolia and Monitoring of Its Populations

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 182515710) - White-headed duck - Awarded $10,000 on June 06, 2018

- News from the project - 

We conducted two field trip in October and looked for white-headed ducks in no-name wetlands of Central Anatolia and a summary of our field trips is published on the project's website. For some of these unnoticed wetlands, we probably were the first birdwatcher visitors ever. Still no sign of white-headed ducks. Our search will continue in November, when we will visit southern parts of Konya. Meanwhile, several people have submitted their white-headed duck sightings and provided some valuable information. It seems like some white-headed ducks prefer to stay in Lake Mogan where they can still find some food in October, until harsh and cold days start. 


- Project Summary -  

Vast steppes of Central Anatolia is home to several endangered bird species and among them are white-headed ducks which have fascinated people of Asia Minor for centuries. Various names given to the species by locals prove the interest the species gets from Turkish people. Now, white-headed ducks of the region are in trouble. Once relatively widespread and numerous, white-headed ducks have suffered steep declines in their numbers in Turkey, just as in most parts of its global range. Currently, they are found in the really small numbers and scattered through the semi-dry steppes of Central Anatolia Region of Turkey. Recent studies and observations have shown that the species can be found in remote and small wetlands in the region which are ignored by birdwatchers and scientists due to their small size and remoteness. The count done in Kazakshtan in 2016 when the researchers have spotted more than 20.000 individuals (higher than the global estimate of the time) proved that this cryptic species is out there somewhere, possibly living in small wetlands that are not visited by researchers and, as a result, we fail to make accurate population estimates and provide proper conservation for those unnoticed populations.

The current project, which will be launched on 01.09.2018, aims at tackling this issue by visiting relatively remote and unvisited wetlands of Central Anatolia and coming up with a proper population estimate. At the same time, we will also detect and document the threats the species is facing in the region and cooperate with stakeholders to eliminate them. Success of Spanish people in bringing back white-headed ducks from the brink of extinction in the recent decades shows that it's never too late for white-headed ducks and that the species has the potential to recover fast.

If you believe you can contribute to this project in any way, please feel free to contact me anytime by sending an email to kaanozg@yahoo.com. Official website of the project has been launched and you can follow the link dikkuyruk.com to go to the website. The website is only available in Turkish and has all kinds of information and a data submission form through which people can submit their white-headed duck sightings. Stay tuned for updates! 

 Photo credits: Serkan Mutan, 2012 (retrieved from trakus.org, on 03.04.2018) 

Project 182515710 location - Turkey, Asia