Transactions
of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station
Branta Cover Language of the article: Russian Cite: Grinchenko, A. B. (2011). Migration and wintering of the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) in the Crimea. Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 14, 112-116 Keywords: White-headed Duck, Crimea, Ukraine Views: 490 Branta copyright Branta license

Branta Issues > Issue №14 (2011)

Branta: Transactions of the Azov-Black Sea Ornithological Station, 112-116

Migration and wintering of the White-headed Duck (Oxyura leucocephala) in the Crimea

A. B. Grinchenko

The White-headed Duck was known as a rare migrating species in the Crimean Peninsula until the 1970s. There are only a dozen references in the literature on records of the species during this period. In spring 2006, Ukrainian Society for the Protection of Birds has carried out a survey of all large water bodies and coastal areas along Azov and Black Sea on Kerch Peninsula in order to confirm migration of the species through the area. It was revealed that autumn migration of the White-headed Duck through the Crimean Peninsula is extended and continues from August to November. Only single birds stay on the peninsula during winter. Spring migration of the species takes place in March, particularly in the first decade of the month. Occurrence of the Whiteheaded Duck in February and April is irregular. The species is associated with certain type of water reservoirs; particularly it is rarely noticed on fresh and hypersaline waters. Most birds were recorded on three water bodies, namely Yarylhach Lake, the eastern part of Astaninski Plavni and a small lake near the village Prymorske. This selective distribution of the species is likely determined by the specific forage conditions. Further survey of the food supply on these lakes will show if such a factor has significant impact on the distribution. Migration of the species in the Crimea occurs during nighttime only. Migrating White-headed Ducks reach the Crimea through the Sea of Azov; they probably belong to the species eastern population with breeding grounds at Eastern Manych. In spring, White-headed Ducks return from Turkish or Mediterranean wintering grounds across Kerch Peninsula. It is interesting that number of males in migrating groups constitutes only 15-20% of the total number of White-headed Ducks in the Crimea. Most males supposedly winter in more eastern areas, including the Caspian Sea coast where large wintering groups of the species are currently registered in Azerbaijan.

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