The White-winged Wood Duck

M J S Mackenzie, Janet Kear


The conservation of the rare White-winged Wood Duck Cairina scutulata in the wild, and its potential for breeding in captivity, are examined. The survival of the species appears to depend on the continued existence of dense, undisturbed primary rain forest in south-east Asia. The timber in these forests is valuable economically, and the clear-fell and replant programmes frequently adopted seem not to suit the duck. In captivity in England, the duck breeds well provided that it is kept in shady conditions. Unfortunately, however, reducing the sunlight in their pens also seems to increase the likelihood of birds contracting avian tuberculosis. It has been possible to obtain, for the first time, accurate information on body weight, age of maturity, breeding season, egg size, incubation period, and the downy young pattern. A tendency to white-headedness is not, as previously reported, confined to birds from Sumatra, but seems to be due to local inbreeding. The species is probably not so closely related to the Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata as is often supposed.

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