Anas querquedula Linnaeus, 1758

Querquedula circia (L.): Elwes & Buckley, 1870: 340; Querquedula querquedula (L.): Boetticher, 1927: 184.

Order Anseriformes

Family Anatidae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Vulnerable VU A[2(a+c)] + B[2(b(i+ii+)+c(i)] + C[1 + 2(a(i))], BDA-IV; International: BeC-III, BoC-III, BD-II/1.

General distribution. A Palearctic species. Common in the boreal, moderate, Mediterranean, steppe and desert climatic regions, up to 65 N, and in the east up to Sahalin island and Kamchatka peninsula [1].

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. A breeding summer visitor and passage migrant. In the past it was widely distributed along the marshes/swamps and lakes in the country [2, 3, 4]. In the second half of the 20th century, it was preserved as breeding only along the Danube and some internal water basins [5] and is now considered a rare breeding species with numbers between 100 and 150 pairs [6]. Probably, the population declined after the drying up of many wetlands in the country but it still remains one of the most widely distributed breeding ducks in the country. It breeds along the Danube, the Black Sea coast, the Thracian lowland, the Sofia field and Western Bulgaria, albeit with a low density [7, 8]. There exist different estimates of the population, from 20 - 40 pairs [9] to 200-300 pairs [10]. In the Atlas of Breeding Birds in Bulgaria 100 350 pairs are mentioned [8].

Habitats. Marshes of different sizes, fish farms, microreservoirs, sometimes temporary water basins with overgrowth along the shores.

Biology. It starts breeding in April. The nest is among the herbaceous vegetation not far from the shore of the water basin, covered with down, stems and leaves of plants. The clutch contains 7-10 eggs [6]. They feed mainly on different parts of plants, water invertebrates and larvae of water insects.

Similar species. A monotypical species, without similar species.

Negative factors. Destruction and damaging of the habitats, disturbance during the breeding season. The species is an object of hunting and probably some of the breeding population and its growth are shot during the hunting season, which limits the possibilities for reproduction and increase.

Conservation measures taken. Protected according to the Biological Diversity Act. Included in the Red Data Book of Bulgaria (1985). The major breeding places along the Danube have been declared Protected Territories: Orsoya, Srebarna Lake, Belene Island and Kalimok. The breeding places along the Black Sea coast: the lakes Durankulak, Shabla, Yatata and Poda are also protected. Management Plans have been worked out for 4 of the breeding places.

Conservation measures needed. Updating of the National Plan for the Preservation and Restoration of Wetlands in Bulgaria. Development of Management Plans for the wetlands in which the species breeds. Working out and implemeting appropriate agro-ecological measures for fish farms, aimed at the preservation and the attraction of the species to nesting.

References. 1. Blair & Hagemeijer, 1997; 2. Reiser, 1894. 3. Harrison, 1933; 4. Jordans, 1940; 5. Patev, 1950; 6. Nankinov et al. (1997); 7. Petkov, in press; 8. Iankov, in press; 9. BirdLife International/EBCC, 2000; 10. Nankinov et al., 2004.

Author: Nikolai Petkov

Garganey (distribution map)

Garganey (drawing)