IUCN Species of the Day: Madagascar Pochard


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Peter Cranswick


The Madagascar Pochard, Aythya innotata, is classified as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. It is the rarest duck in the world and, with no sightings for 15 years, it was presumed extinct until 2006 when 20 individuals were surprisingly discovered. They were found living in a few remote lakes in the highlands of NW Madagascar, many hundreds of kilometres from the site where they had last been seen.

Widespread in upland Madagascar in the early twentieth century, the Madagascar Pochard disappeared following the introduction of exotic fish into lakes across the island. Its potential recovery is further threatened by extensive conversion of wetlands to rice production, and certain fishing practices which are deadly to diving ducks.

A species restoration project aims to protect remaining habitat, restore historically occupied wetlands and initiate a captive breeding programme. Eggs collected from nests in October 2009 hatched successfully in captivity and the ducks are now fully grown, thereby doubling the world population and founding a captive population which will hopefully ensure the survival of the Madagascar Pochard.


Geographic Range of the Madagascar PochardCredit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ 


To learn more about Madagascar Pochard, click here.  Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.


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To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.