Oxyura maccoa


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Oxyura maccoa
Species Authority: (Eyton, 1838)
Common Name(s):
English Maccoa Duck
French Erismature maccoa

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Berruti, A., Butchart, S., Dereliev, S., Hines, C., Simmons, R. & Tyler, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Ndang'ang'a, P., Taylor, J. & Symes, A.
This species is listed as Near Threatened owing to its moderately small population size and ongoing declines resulting from a variety of threats. Further quantitative estimates of the rate of decline may qualify the species for Vulnerable.

2012 Near Threatened

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Oxyura maccoa has a large range, with the global population estimated to be 9,000-11,750 individuals and divided into a northern population occurring in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, and a southern population found in Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). South Africa supports the largest national population with 4,500-5,500 individuals (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). The total population for southern Africa is approximately 7,000-8,250 individuals. In East Africa and Ethiopia the main populations occur in Ethiopia (500-2,000) and Kenya (1,000), with an estimated 2,000-3,500 individuals in total (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007).

Angola (Angola); Botswana; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Kenya; Lesotho; Namibia; Rwanda; South Africa; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zimbabwe
Burundi; Malawi; Swaziland
Present - origin uncertain:
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population is estimated to be 9,000-11,750 individuals, roughly equivalent to 6,000-7,900 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is mainly sedentary (Kear 2005) but undertakes some small-scale post-breeding dispersive movements in search of suitable habitat during the dry season (Kear 2005). It is not thought to cover distances greater than 500km (Berruti et al. 2005). Breeding has been recorded in South Africa from July to April, with a peak during the wet season months of September to November (Johnsgard 1978). Further north breeding has been recorded in all months, and appears to be dependent upon rainfall (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). Breeding occurs in single pairs or loose groups (del Hoyo et al. 1992), with a density of up to 30 birds per 100 hectares (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996) and with males defending territories as large as 900 square metres (Johnsgard 1978, Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996). During the non-breeding season the species is more congregatory (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007), forming flocks of up to 1000 individuals (Kear 2005). Habitat Breeding During the breeding season it inhabits small temporary and permanent inland freshwater lakes (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007), preferring those that are shallow and nutrient-rich (Johnsgard 1978, Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996) with extensive emergent vegetation such as reeds (Phragmites spp.) and cattails (Typha spp.) (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996) on which it relies for nesting. It prefers areas with a bottom of mud or silt and minimal amounts of floating vegetation, since this provides the best foraging conditions (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996). It also breeds on man-made habitats, such as small farm wetlands in Namibia, and sewage-farm basins (Johnsgard 1978, Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996). Non-breeding Outside the breeding season it will wander over larger, deeper lakes and brackish lagoons (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). It is thought to find refuge on the larger lakes while moulting (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). Diet This species feeds primarily on benthic invertebrates including fly larvae (Diptera), Tubifex worms, Daphnia eggs and small fresh-water molluscs (Johnsgard 1978, Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996). It will also feed on algae, the seeds of Persicaria and Polygonum (Johnsgard 1978, Berruti et al. 2005, 2007), and the seeds and roots of other aquatic plants (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996). It forages by diving and straining the benthic substrate with its bill (Johnsgard 1978, del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding Site The species tends to nest over deeper water among emergent vegetation (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). The nest is usually constructed from reeds and cattails that have been bent down to form a basin (Johnsgard and Carbonell 1996), although old nests of Red-knobbed Coots Fulica cristata may sometimes be used.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Currently the links between population trends and threats facing this species are poorly understood. Pollution is a primary concern, since the species feeds mainly on benthic invertebrates, and is therefore more vulnerable to bio-accumulation of pollutants than other duck species (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). Habitat loss as a result of the drainage and conversion of wetland areas for agriculture is also a significant threat (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007), as are rapid changes in water level that result from landscape changes such as deforestation and can severely disrupt the breeding activity of the species (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). There is a high level of accidental mortality from entanglement in gill nets (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007). Hunting and poaching, competition with alien benthic fish and habitat alteration by introduced plants all pose less serious threats (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
In Kenya and Tanzania approximately 80% of the population is thought to occur in protected areas whereas in southern Africa this figure is much lower, with approximately 20% in South Africa and just 10% in Namibia (Berruti et al. 2005, 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect key wetland sites from the threat of drainage or habitat conversion. Determine the impact of pollution on the population. Prevent exploitation of the species. Limit habitat modification by alien invasive plants. Assess the impact of competition from alien benthic fish. Grant Protected Animal status for the species in Botswana (Hancock 2008), and the legal status of the species should be examined in the countries where it currently has no protection (Berruti et al. 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Oxyura maccoa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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