Asarcornis scutulata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Anseriformes Anatidae

Scientific Name: Asarcornis scutulata
Species Authority: (S. Müller, 1842)
Common Name(s):
English White-winged Duck, White-winged Wood Duck
Spanish Pato Almizclero Aliblanco, Pato de Jungla
Cairina scutulata (S. Müller, 1842)
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.
Taxonomic Notes: Asarcornis scutulata (del Hoyo and Collar 2014) was previously placed in the genus Cairina.
Identification information: 66-81 cm. Large, dark, forest duck with contrasting whitish head and upper neck. Males have mostly dull yellowish bill, blackish mottling on head and upper neck, white lesser and median coverts and inner edges of tertials and bluish-grey secondaries. In flight, white wing-coverts contrast with the rest of the wings. Females are smaller and usually have more densely mottled head and upper neck. Juvenile is duller and browner. Similar spp. Female Comb Duck Sarkidornis melanotos has mostly whitish underparts and all dark wings. Voice Flight call is series of vibrant honks, often ending with nasal whistle. Also single, short, harsh honks. Hints Very secretive, often feeds only at night.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2cd+3cd+4cd;C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Choudhury, A., Duckworth, W., Eames, J.C., Mahood, S. & Rahmani, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Bird, J., Taylor, J. & Allinson, T
This forest duck is listed as Endangered because it has a very small and fragmented population which is undergoing a very rapid and continuing decline as a result of the loss of and disturbance to riverine habitats.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Endangered (EN)
2008 Endangered (EN)
2006 Endangered (EN)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Asarcornis scutulata was historically widely distributed from north-eastern India and Bangladesh, through South-East Asia to Java and Sumatra, Indonesia. It has undergone a dramatic decline, such that its population is now estimated at c.1,000 individuals, comprising c.200 in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia, c.150 on Sumatra, Indonesia, c.450 in India (Choudhury 2000) and Bangladesh (A. Choudhury in litt. 2007) and in the "low hundreds" in Myanmar (J. C. Eames in litt. 2007) following the identification of a significant population numbering tens of individuals in the proposed Hukuang Tiger Reserve. It has also recently been recorded in Bhutan (Choudhury 2007). It continues to decline throughout its range, and is probably extinct in Malaysia and on Java. The only recent records from Vietnam are from watercourses in dry dipterocarp forest in Yok Don NP, where it is rare but probably under-recorded (Eames in litt. 2012). It is likely to be extirpated elsewhere due to widespread forest and wetland destruction. There are no confirmed recent records from Laos, however, a few birds probably survive in the Nam Theun catchment (W. Duckworth in litt. 2012). In Myanmar it is locally common on ox-bow lakes within the Chindwin basin (Tordoff et al. 2007). In India, it has been recorded from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur (no recent report), with unconfirmed reports from Tripura and Mizoram. Its current distribution is chiefly in the eastern lowlands of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh (A. Rahmani in litt. 2012).

Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; Cambodia; India; Indonesia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Myanmar; Thailand; Viet Nam
Possibly extinct:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 370000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1400
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: There has not been a comprehensive analysis of recent records, but estimates of c.450 in India (A. Choudhury in litt. 2007), low hundreds in Myanmar and c.100 in Cambodia (J. C. Eames in litt. 2007) combined with an earlier estimate of 150 in Indonesia suggest that the species's population may precautionarily be considered to lie within the band 250-999 mature individuals. This equates to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend Justification:  This species's population is suspected to have decreased very rapidly owing to the widespread loss, degradation and disturbance of lowland riverine habitats. Resultant small and fragmented populations are susceptible to hunting - opportunistic collection of eggs and chicks - and other stochastic events.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 250-999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 1-89

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits stagnant or slow-flowing natural and artificial wetlands, within or adjacent to evergreen, deciduous or swamp forests, on which it depends for roosting and nesting, usually in tree-holes. Although lowlands (below c.200 m) provide optimum habitat, it occurs up to 1,400 m, especially on plateaux supporting sluggish perennial rivers and pools.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 7.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Its decline is largely attributable to the destruction, degradation and disturbance of riverine habitats including loss of riparian forest corridors. The resultant small, fragmented populations are vulnerable to extinction from stochastic environmental events, loss of genetic variability, disturbance, hunting and collection of eggs and chicks for food or pets. Hydro-power development, inappropriate forest management, and pollution are more localised threats. It may be particularly susceptible to loss of large trees with nesting holes (W. Duckworth in litt. 2006).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust produced, and implements, an action plan for the species. In 1993, 21 protected areas were known to support populations. Dibru-Saikhowa National Park and Dihing-Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary, both in Assam, were established because of its importance for this species.  Sylvan Heights owns a number of captive breeding birds in the US however, few, if any, reintroduction attempts have been made (Kivi 2010, Sylvan Heights Bird Park).  Conservation awareness materials depicting it have been widely distributed in Laos and Cambodia.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys to clarify its distribution and status. Instigate regular monitoring of selected key populations and establish a captive breeding programme for future reintroductions and population supplementations. Promote strict enforcement of hunting regulations and minimise encroachment, disturbance and habitat degradation in all protected areas supporting populations. Campaign for increased protection of peat-swamp forest in Sumatra. Campaign against pesticide and oil pollution at key sites in north-east India. Promote widespread conservation awareness campaigns in and around key protected areas. Rapidly introduce the measures outlined above in newly discovered strongholds, e.g. northern Myanmar.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Asarcornis scutulata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22680064A48065613. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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