Working for birds in Africa

The Madagascar Teal, a most enigmatic duck

p 98-100

Résumé: Depuis sa découverte en 1860, la Sarcelle de Bernier, Anas bemieri, espèce endémique de Madagascar en voie de disparition a été peu étudiée à l'état sauvage. Des enquête entreprises en 1993 en ont trouvé des petits nombres à des lacs dans le nord-ouest de Madagascar. Les résultats de ces enquête suggèrent que la population mondiale restante est de 100 à 500 oiseaux seulement. L'apparence de 1'oiseau, ses origines, ses relations taxonomiques et les milleures chances d'observer les espèces sont examinées.

Abstract: The Madagascar or Bernier's Teal Anas bernieri was first described in 1860, after which it disappeared again. Very few were seen by early European travellers and, more unusually, almost no specimens were collected. The thorough Franco-Anglo-Americaine expedition of 1929-1932 collected two specimens, although the leader A.L.Rand did not see it at all. Only one individual, a female, reached Europe alive, living several years from 1927 at Cleres, the collection of Jean Delacour. It was not until 1970 that reasonable numbers of Madagascar Teal were found, in lakes north of Ambereny in western Madagascar. This included 60 at Lac Masama, a find that was even considered a rediscovery. In 1973 a thorough survey of these lakes was conducted, leading to an estimated population of 120 at Lac Bemamba. After 1973 only a handful of further sightings of the teal was made, with no more attempts to survey the species or to assess population trends until 1992. In this year only 16 were found at Bemamba and none at Masama and at both lakes serious habitat modification was found. H. Glyn Young

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