White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala

An endangered species whose breeding range in Europe is limited to Spain (it also breeds in the Middle East and in North Africa). A number of records in NW Europe are thought to involve vagrants, but the species is popular in wildfowl collections and at least some records relate to escaped birds not vagrants.

A perceived threat to this species is through hybridisation with Ruddy Ducks. Ruddy Ducks have spread from their feral stronghold of the UK and some individuals have reached Spain where they interbreed with White-headed Ducks. The concern is that through repeated hybridisation, pure White-headed Ducks will eventually be lost. To combat that threat, a controversial programme has been implemented to eradicate Ruddy Ducks from the UK.

All of my photos so far involve captive birds.

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captive White-headed Ducks, Pensthorpe (Norfolk, UK), 9th March 2014

 

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captive White-headed Ducks, Martin Mere (Lancashire, UK), 28th December 2003

 

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captive White-headed Ducks, Martin Mere (Lancashire, UK), 26th December 2014