Mareca strepera 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae

Scientific Name: Mareca strepera (Linnaeus, 1758)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English Gadwall
French Canard chipeau
Anas strepera Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Source(s): Cramp, S. and Simmons, K.E.L. (eds). 1977-1994. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The birds of the western Palearctic. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Taxonomic Notes: Mareca strepera (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Anas.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Malpas, L., Ashpole, J
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species has an extremely wide distribution across the Palearctic and Nearctic regions, occurring in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Cuba, Jamaica, Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Western Sahara, Andorra, France, Monaco, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Turkey, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Mongolia, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma and Japan. The subspecies couesi was discovered on Teraina, Kiribati in 1874, but it has not been seen since and is now extinct (del Hoyo et al. 1992).
Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Albania; Algeria; Armenia; Austria; Azerbaijan; Bahamas; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Belarus; Belgium; Bermuda; Bhutan; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Canada; Cayman Islands; China; Croatia; Cuba; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; Egypt; Eritrea; Estonia; Ethiopia; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Guam; Haiti; Hong Kong; Hungary; Iceland; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Korea, Democratic People's Republic of; Korea, Republic of; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Latvia; Lebanon; Libya; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of; Malaysia; Malta; Martinique; Mexico; Moldova; Mongolia; Montenegro; Morocco; Myanmar; Nepal; Netherlands; Northern Mariana Islands; Norway; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Philippines; Poland; Portugal; Puerto Rico; Qatar; Romania; Russian Federation (Central Asian Russia, Eastern Asian Russia, European Russia); Saudi Arabia; Senegal; Serbia; Singapore; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain (Canary Is.); Sri Lanka; Sudan; Sweden; Switzerland; Syrian Arab Republic; Taiwan, Province of China; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Tunisia; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Turks and Caicos Islands; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; United Kingdom; United States; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Yemen
Regionally extinct:
Antigua and Barbuda; Cameroon; Congo, The Democratic Republic of the; Gibraltar; Greenland; Guadeloupe; Jamaica; Mali; Niger; Nigeria; Saint Pierre and Miquelon; Somalia
Present - origin uncertain:
Marshall Islands
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:73100000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme 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 global population is estimated to number c.4,300,000-4,900,000 individuals (Wetlands International 2015). The European population is estimated at 75,400-125,000 pairs, which equates to 151,000-250,000 mature individuals (BirdLife International 2015).

Trend Justification:  The overall population trend is increasing however some populations are decreasing, while others have unknown trends (Wetlands International 2015). This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (506% increase over 40 years, equating to a 56.9% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007). The European population is estimated to be increasing (BirdLife International 2015).
Current Population Trend:Increasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Behaviour The species is strongly migratory in the north of its range (Kear 2005b) although breeding populations in temperate regions are largely sedentary (del Hoyo et al. 1992). Males leave the breeding grounds in early-July (one month before the females and young), migrating to key waters to undergo a flightless moulting period lasting for c.4 weeks, after which they continue to the wintering grounds (Scott and Rose 1996). The return migration occurs from March to April (Scott and Rose 1996), and although the timing of the breeding season varies geographically the species generally nests late in the year (e.g. May-July) (Kear 2005b). It breeds in single pairs or loose groups (del Hoyo et al. 1992) and is usually observed in small parties outside of the breeding season, with large concentrations sometimes forming on passage (Madge and Burn 1988) or during the moulting period (Kear 2005b) (Madge and Burn 1988). Habitat The species inhabits highly productive (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005b) and eutrophic (Snow and Perrins 1998) freshwater marsh or lake habitats (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Kear 2005b) in open lowland grassland (Johnsgard 1978, Madge and Burn 1988), showing a preference for sheltered, shallow, standing or slow-flowing waters (Snow and Perrins 1998) with abundant emergent vegetation (Johnsgard 1978, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998, Kear 2005b) and grass-covered islands providing cover for nesting (Johnsgard 1978, del Hoyo et al. 1992, Snow and Perrins 1998). It may also be found on permanent, shallow, slightly alkaline marshes (Johnsgard 1978, del Hoyo et al. 1992), as well as on oxbow lakes, channels (Flint et al. 1984), reservoirs and gravel-pits (Kear 2005b). After hatching, females move their broods to deeper marshes or to the edges of large impoundments, sometimes more than 1 mile away from the nesting sites (Johnsgard 1978). Rarely (e.g. in the winter) (Madge and Burn 1988) the species occurs along sheltered coasts (del Hoyo et al. 1992, Scott and Rose 1996) at coastal marshes (North America) (Kear 2005b), estuaries (Flint et al. 1984, Madge and Burn 1988, Snow and Perrins 1998), deltas or lagoons (Snow and Perrins 1998). Diet The species is predominantly herbivorous (del Hoyo et al. 1992), its diet consisting of the seeds, leaves, roots and stems of aquatic plants (del Hoyo et al. 1992) (submerged and emergent) as well as grasses and stoneworts Chara spp. (Kear 2005b), occasionally also taking cereal grains on land (Brown et al. 1982, Snow and Perrins 1998). In addition, the species may take a small amount of animal matter during the winter (Africa), such as insects, molluscs, annelids, amphibians, amphibian spawn and small fish (Brown et al. 1982). Breeding site The nest is a well-hidden (Johnsgard 1978) hollow (Snow and Perrins 1998) in grass and leaves positioned on the ground in thick vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 1992) such as nettles Urtica spp. (Madge and Burn 1988), grass tussocks, thick bushes, rushes or tall grass (Brown et al. 1982). The species shows a preference for dense, dry herbaceous vegetation (Johnsgard 1978) and often nests far from water (Madge and Burn 1988, Kear 2005b). It may nest in dense concentrations on islands (Madge and Burn 1988, Kear 2005b) (neighbouring nests as close as 5 m apart) (Snow and Perrins 1998) although it is not a colonial species (Madge and Burn 1988, Kear 2005b). Management information The cyclical removal of adult fish from an artificial waterbody (gravel pit) in the UK (leaving small fish for piscivorous birds) resulted in an increase in the winter use of the habitat by the species as result of an increase in the growth of submerged aquatic macrophytes (Giles 1994). The removed fish (dead or alive) were sold to generate funds (Giles 1994).

Systems:Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):7.1
Movement patterns:Full Migrant
Congregatory:Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species is threatened by pollution (Kear 2005b) and disturbance from recreational use of freshwater wetlands (Kear 2005b, Pease et al. 2005). It also suffers mortality as a result of lead shot ingestion (Spain) (Mondain-Monval et al. 2002) and nest predation by American mink Neovison vison (Europe) (Opermanis et al. 2001). The species is susceptible to avian influenza, so may be threatened by future outbreaks (Melville and Shortridge 2006). Utilisation The species is hunted throughout most of its range (Kear 2005b) both for recreation (Bregnballe et al. 2006, Shortridge et al. 2006) and commercial uses (Balmaki and Barati 2006), but is rarely taken in large numbers except where it is particularly abundant (Kear 2005b). The eggs of this species used to be (and possibly still are) harvested in Iceland (Gudmundsson 1979).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CMS Appendix II. EU Birds Directive Annex II. The following information refers to the species's European range only: The cyclical removal of adult fish from an artificial waterbody (gravel pit) in the U.K. (leaving small fish for piscivorous birds) resulted in an increase in the winter use of the habitat by the species as result of an increase in the growth of submerged aquatic macrophytes (Giles 1994). The removed fish (dead or alive) were sold to generate funds (Giles 1994).

Conservation Actions Proposed
The following information refers to the species's European range only: Important wetland sites should be protected to minimise degradation and disturbance. Appropriate predator control should be undertaken in breeding areas. The impact of hunting should be researched and monitored to ensure bag numbers are sustainable and the use of lead shot banned.

Classifications [top]

5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.4. Wetlands (inland) - Bogs, Marshes, Swamps, Fens, Peatlands
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:breeding major importance:Yes
5. Wetlands (inland) -> 5.5. Wetlands (inland) - Permanent Freshwater Lakes (over 8ha)
suitability:Suitable season:non-breeding major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:Yes
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:Yes
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:No

Bibliography [top]

Balmaki, B. and Barati, A. 2006. Harvesting status of migratory waterfowl in northern Iran: a case study from Gilan Province. In: Boere, G., Galbraith, C. and Stroud, D. (eds), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 868-869. The Stationary Office, Edinburgh, UK.

Brazil, M. 2009. Birds of East Asia: eastern China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, eastern Russia. Christopher Helm, London.

Bregnballe, T.; Noer, H.; Christensen, T.K.; Clausen, P.; Asferg, T.; Fox, A.D.; Delany, S. 2006. Sustainable hunting of migratory waterbirds: the Danish approach. In: G. Boere, C. Galbraith and D. Stroud (eds), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 854-860. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, U.K.

Brown, L.H., Urban, E.K. and Newman, K. 1982. The Birds of Africa, Volume I. Academic Press, London.

Delany, S. and Scott, D. 2006. Waterbird population estimates. Wetlands International, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

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. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. and Sargatal, J. 1992. Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol. 1: Ostrich to Ducks. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Flint, V.E.; Boehme, R.L.; Kostin, Y.V.; Kuznetsov, A.A. 1984. A field guide to birds of the USSR. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.

Giles, N. 1994. Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula) habitat use and brood survival increases after fish removal from gravel pit lakes. Hydrobiologia 279/280: 387-392.

Gudmundsson, F. 1979. The past status and exploitation of the Myvatn waterfowl populations. Oikos 32(1-2): 232-249.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Johnsgard, P.A. 1978. Ducks, geese and swans of the World. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln and London.

Kear, J. 2005. Ducks, geese and swans volume 2: species accounts (Cairina to Mergus). Oxford University Press, Oxford, U.K.

Madge, S.; Burn, H. 1988. Wildfowl. Christopher Helm, London.

Melville, D.S. and Shortridge, K.F. 2006. Migratory waterbirds and avian influenza in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with particular reference to the 2003-2004 H5N1 outbreak. In: G. Boere, C. Galbraith and D. Stroud (eds), Waterbirds around the world, pp. 432-438. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh, U.K.

Mondain-Monval, J.Y., Desnouhes, L. and Taris, J.P. 2002. Lead shot ingestion in waterbirds in the Camargue, (France). Game and Wildlife Science 19(3): 237-246.

Murphy-Klassen, H.M., Underwood, T.J., Sealy, S.G. and Czyrny, A.A. 2005. Long-term trends in spring arrival dates of migrant birds at Delta Marsh, Manitoba, in relation to climate change. The Auk 122: 1130-1148.

Opermanis, O., Mednis, A. and Bauga, I. 2001. Duck nests and predators: interaction, specialisation and possible management. Wildlife Biology 7(2): 87-96.

Pease, M.L., Rose, R.K. and Butler, M.J. 2005. Effects of human disturbances on the behavior of wintering ducks. Wildlife Society Bulletin 33(1): 103-112.

Scott, D. A.; Rose, P. M. 1996. Atlas of Anatidae populations in Africa and western Eurasia. Wetlands International, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Snow, D.W. and Perrins, C.M. 1998. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Volume 1: Non-Passerines. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Mareca strepera. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22680149A86020572. . Downloaded on 18 September 2018.
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