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Ardeola idae

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PELECANIFORMES ARDEIDAE

Scientific Name: Ardeola idae
Species Authority: (Hartlaub, 1860)
Common Name(s):
English Madagascar Pond-heron, Madagascar Squacco Heron, Madagascar Pond-Heron, Malagasy Pond Heron
French Héron crabier blanc

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Hawkins, F. & Safford, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Ekstrom, J., Evans, M., Martin, R, Pilgrim, J., Robertson, P., Starkey, M., Taylor, J., Symes, A.
Justification:
This species is listed as Endangered because it has a very small population which is undergoing a continuing decline because many of its breeding colonies are heavily and increasingly exploited for eggs and young. This exploitation is exacerbated by pressures on its wetland habitats.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Ardeola idae breeds on Madagascar (2,000-6,000 individuals [Delany and Scott 2002]), Aldabra (20-50 pairs in 2001 [Ndang’ang’a and Sande 2008] down from 100 breeding pairs in 1970 [Benson and Penny 1971]) in the Seychelles, Mayotte (10-20 pairs in 2007 [Ndang’ang’a and Sande 2008] (eastern Comoro Island, to France) and Europa (15 pairs [Ndang’ang’a and Sande 2008] (Réunion, to France). It has a large non-breeding range in Central and East Africa including the Comoro Islands, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo. It is present almost throughout Madagascar, but is always uncommon (ZICOMA 1999). It is rare in the south and probably commonest in suitable wetlands in the west (Morris and Hawkins 1998). A decline has been reported over the last 50 years, most notably on the high plateau (Morris and Hawkins 1998; Salvan 1970, 1971, 1972). Whilst it remains fairly widespread, populations are low, and increasing exploitation at breeding sites is likely to increase the rate of population decline (ZICOMA 1999)

Countries:
Native:
Burundi; Comoros; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Kenya; Madagascar; Malawi; Mayotte; Mozambique; Réunion; Rwanda; Seychelles; Tanzania, United Republic of; Uganda; Zambia; Zimbabwe
Vagrant:
Angola (Angola); Somalia; Yemen
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,000-6,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,300-4,000 mature individuals (T. Dodman in litt. 2002).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Behaviour This species is migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It breeds between October and March with a peak at the start of the wet season in November and December (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding is colonial, the species occurring historically in groups of up to 1000 pairs (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Kushlan and Hancock 2005), though now usually in much smaller numbers (Burger 1990), often as part of a mixed-species colony (Burger 1990; del Hoyo et al. 1992; Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It migrates westward in May, and returns to its breeding range in October (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Kushlan and Hancock 2005). First-year birds are reported to remain in the non-breeding areas during the breeding season (del Hoyo et al. 1992). It forages solitarily. Habitat It principally inhabits freshwater wetlands, particularly shallow waterbodies fringed with vegetation and adjacent trees (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Breeding In its Madagascan breeding range it occurs in grassy marshes, small lakes, ponds, ditches and rice fields, usually near trees and bushes (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), although it has been recorded nesting on islands where trees are scarce (Burger 1990). In Aldabra it uses mangroves, inland pools and lagoon shores (Kushlan and Hancock 2005), and is occasionally found to inhabit areas away from water (Benson and Penny 1971). Nonbreeding In its non-breeding range it is commonly found along the banks of small streams, including those inside forest. It is also found on rice paddies, and more rarely in mangroves and on the seashore (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Diet It feeds on fish, insects and small invertebrates (Morris and Hawkins 1998), as well as frogs and small reptiles including skinks (Scincidae) and geckos (Gekkonidae) (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Breeding Site It nests in trees and bushes in or near to marshes, lakes or ponds (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Kushlan and Hancock 2005). In Aldabra it also nests in mangroves (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). The nest is bulky and constructed of twigs (del Hoyo et al. 1992; Kushlan and Hancock 2005). It tends to be placed 0.5-4m above the ground (del Hoyo et al. 1992), and when the species occurs in a mixed colony with A. ralloides, it occupies the higher nesting sites (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Typical clutch is 3, incubation lasts about 20 days and chicks can feed alone at under 4 weeks old (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). 

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The principal threat for this species is thought to be habitat loss as a result of the clearing, drainage and conversion of wetland habitats to rice fields (Kushlan and Hancock 2005). Exploitation of eggs and young is heavy at many breeding sites and appears to be increasing in intensity (ZICOMA 1999), however the establishment of a local community association resource management process (Gestion Local Securisee or GELOSE) has significantly decreased these activities in these zones (Razafimanjato et al. 2007). The introduced fish Micropterus salmoides may compete for food (Salvan 1971, 1972). There is also evidence of hybridisation with Squacco Heron Ardeola ralloides on Madagascar (Ndang’ang’a and Sande 2008).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. Madagascar has recently ratified the Ramsar Convention, which should increase the priority given to wetland conservation. Forthcoming conservation efforts will focus on freshwater wetlands in Madagascar (R. Safford in litt. 2003).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct basic surveys on Madagascar to assess population size and provide a baseline for monitoring. Study its ecology to confirm the causes of decline. Research the extent, impacts and causes of hybridisation with A. ralloides. Locate and protect important breeding colonies under national protected area legislation. Reduce exploitation pressures through public-awareness campaigns.
Regulate access to sites during the breeding season including community led control.
Prevent development which reduces breeding habitat, including through the use of an EIA process for development.


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Ardeola idae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 August 2014.
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