We have no wish to see the white-headed duck become the first European bird species to become extinct since the founding of the RSPB in 1889. SC037654, We use cookies on our website to help give you the best online experience. This confirmed that eradication from Britain was feasible and it was determined as necessary to ensure the survival of White-headed Duck in Europe. The reserve has seen more than thirty species of wading birds. This is happening in Spain and there is a real danger that if the number of ruddy ducks arriving in Spain were allowed to increase, they would inundate the white-headed duck population. They would not have made it here, however, without the help of humans. Ruddy ducks interbreed with white-headed ducks, producing fertile hybrids. Or will you help us continue to improve our content by making a DONATION. Catch up with the RSPB’s own nature detectives on the case as they look to save some very special places. The history of ruddy ducks in the UK Ruddy ducks were brought to the UK in the 1930s and 1940s for captive wildfowl collections. VIEW MENU. The programme began in September 2005, and initially ran until August 2010. The white-headed duck is the only stifftail to occur naturally in Europe, with a patchy distribution running from the western Mediterranean through to central and east Asia. Brim-full of character, hardy and easy on the eye, this species is one which is (or should be) disappearing from avaiculture in Europe. VIEW MENU. This fantastic wetland site is located north of Southport town centre and has some of the best wildlife in the region. Tell me more, Who to contact if you spot an injured or baby bird, Help nature thrive as a corporate partner, Climate change effects on nature and wildlife, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The white-headed duck is a symbol of successful conservation in Spain, in the same way the red kite is in the UK. See our ideas to keep you connected to nature during coronavirus, From our regular emails to your favourite social media, there’s more than one way to keep in touch with nature. Ruddy ducks are native to North America and, like white-headed ducks, are a member of the stifftail family. Ruddy Duck eradication makes us sad, but it is the right and proper thing to do to save the White-headed Duck from extinction. However, failure to tackle the spread of ruddy ducks in Europe could condemn the white-headed duck to global extinction. This has been seen in New Zealand where the introduction of mallards has resulted in the catastrophic decline of the native grey duck due to hybridisation. The results showed that eradication could only be achieved through a carefully controlled programme of shooting. Nature is an adventure waiting to be had. Escapees first bred in the wild in 1952, and by 2000 the UK population numbered 6,000 birds. Hunting and habitat loss have been the main causes. 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