Amy Whitehead's Research

the ecological musings of a conservation biologist

Wildlife Wednesday: Whio


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]