Oxyura australis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae

Scientific Name: Oxyura australis
Species Authority: Gould, 1836
Common Name(s):
English Blue-billed Duck
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Burbidge, A. & Jaensch, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Garnett, S., Taylor, J.
This species has a moderately small population and is therefore classed as Near Threatened. It faces a number of threats and the population may be smaller than currently estimated. If it is found that the population size is very small and declining, the species may qualify as threatened.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2006 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Near Threatened (NT)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Oxyura australis occupies permanent deep water-bodies in southern Australia with the population estimated at c.12,000 mature individuals, or c.15,000 birds overall (R. Jaensch in litt. 2005 to Wetlands International 2006). The species is found particularly in the Murray-Darling basin and southern Victoria.

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 545000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population has been estimated at c.12,000 mature individuals, equivalent to c.18,000 individuals in total.

Trend Justification:  The population is thought to be stable (Garnett and Crowley 2000).
Current Population Trend: Stable
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 12000 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is found on terrestrial wetlands in temperate regions, that are freshwater to saline, and may be natural or artificial. It nests in rushes, sedges, Lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii and paperbark Melaleuca, and it lays 5-6 eggs. It feeds on aquatic insect larvae, seeds and plant matter. During autumn and winter the species aggregates in large flocks but disperses to smaller waterbodies when breeding. Aggregations also occur during drought.

Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 6
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is threatened by drainage of deep permanent wetlands, or their degradation as a result of introduced fish, peripheral cattle grazing, salinisation and lowering of ground water. A small number are probably shot by accident during the duck hunting season. The western population is particularly threatened with predictions that rainfall there will fall as temperatures rise. In 2007, there was an ongoing drought in the species's range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Identify major perennial wetlands used by the species for breeding and moulting, and protect them against further degradation. Monitor population trends through regular surveys.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Oxyura australis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22679827A40169770. . Downloaded on 26 November 2015.
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