Amy Whitehead's Research

the ecological musings of a conservation biologist

Wildlife Wednesday: Whio ducklings

2 Comments

ducklings

These whio (pronounced “fee-0”) ducklings were just a few days old when I took this photo.  They were some of the lucky ones, hatching in a river valley where introduced predators were kept at low numbers due to the hard work of Department of Conservation staff (who seem to be as threatened as the species they protect).  All of eggs and ducklings just over the hill where there was no predator control got munched by hungry stoats!

I know I’ve featured whio before on Wildlife Wednesday (the inaugural post in fact) but I have a special place in my heart for these bluest of blue ducks (and a lot of photos), having spent 5 years of my life working with them.  March is Whio Awareness Month and I had great intentions of writing an enthralling post about the plight of the whio and the work that’s bring done to protect them. But it’s the end of March already and I have a week full of meetings and deadlines, so it will have to wait for another day. But luckily the good folk at the Department of Conservation and Whio Forever have been busy telling their stories.  Head over to the Whio Forever website to learn more about project – a partnership between the Department of Conservation and Genesis Energy.

Related articles

WHITEHEAD, A., EDGE, K-A., SMART, A., HILL, G., & WILLANS, M. (2008). Large scale predator control improves the productivity of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Biological Conservation, 141 (11), 2784-2794 DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.08.013

WHITEHEAD, A., ELLIOTT, G., & MCINTOSH, A. (2010). Large-scale predator control increases population viability of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Austral Ecology, 35 (7), 722-730 DOI: 10.1111/j.1442-9993.2009.02079.x

I should also note that this is my first post to be posted to the Research Blogging blogroll.  I wonder if this will help to make whio more popular than my most popular post so far about kakapo?

 

Wildlife Wednesday: Whio

3 Comments

To kick off my research blogging, I’ve decided to try and start a weekly ritual of posting photos from my travels in the wilds working with weird and wonderful wildlife (okay I’ll stop with the bad alliteration now!).

So I’m going to kick this off with a photo of the whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos or blue duck), a threatened duck that lives in fast flowing rivers of New Zealand.  I did my PhD research on these guys and spent a lot of time sitting on riverbanks being eaten alive by sandflies taking photos in the pouring rain.  It was great fun. This particularly handsome fellow was a lone male in the Whirinaki River in the North Island.  I’ll tell you some more about their interesting life history and the conservation problems that they face sometime soon.

whirinaki 097

Related articles:

Whitehead, A. L., Elliott, G.P., & McIntosh, A.R. (2010). Large-scale predator control increases population viability of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Austral Ecology 35: 722–730. [online] [email for pdf]

Whitehead, A.L., Edge, K.-A., Smart, A.F., Hill, G.S., & Willans, M.J. (2008). Large scale predator control improves the productivity of a rare New Zealand riverine duck. Biological Conservation 141: 2784–2794. [online] [email for pdf]