Virginia Elena Patrone

Forever Extinct #6 White-headed Duck

As I was doing my researches to find new endangered species for my illustration series, I came across to this beautiful duck: I’ve never seen it before! The colour of the beak is the thing that most amazed me, and also how that light blue is in wonderful balance with the tone of their plumage. Nature is definitely incredible and she has a perfect taste for art.

Those beauties (Oxyura leucocephala) are endangered and they have been listed in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)  red list since 2000, and although there are some conservations sites and in-place research and monitoring programs, their number is constantly decreasing, and now the number of mature individuals is between 5,300 and 8,700.

They are native to the Palearctic, and they can also be found in the Ethiopia region. The largest population is found in Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Mongolia. Central and East-Asian populations tend to be migratory while populations in Spain and North Africa are non-migratory.

White-headedducks are diving ducks and are reluctant to fly in general: they prefer shallow margins of lakes in which they can dive repeatedly. They remain submerged for 5 to 7 seconds and dive again within seconds of surfacing.

The most serious threat for the White-headed Duck is the destruction of its natural habitats – nesting, resting and wintering sites.

The illustration depicts their general alert position, the one they assume when they are in danger to be predated, with a head-up tale.

Learn more about them: here, here and here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *