The status of the Nordic populations of the Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) in a changing world - L.Dalby et al.
Dabbling ducks (Anas spp.) are important migratory quarry species, protected as a shared resource under international legislation. However, there is a lack of sufficient high-quality data on vital demographic rates and long-term trends in numbers to judge the conservation status of many duck populations at the flyway level. In response to reported declines in the North-West European flyway population of the Mallard, we compiled available data on this species in the Nordic countries up to 2010. Generally, national breeding numbers showed increasing trends, wintering abundance showed variable trends, and productivity measures indicated stable or increasing trends. Major knowledge gaps were identified, namely the size of hunting bags, the influence of the released Mallards and the role of short-stopping in explaining changing patterns of wintering abundance across the North-West European flyway. Numerically the Nordic breeding population appears in “good condition”, and the wintering numbers have been either stable or increasing in the last two decades. The annual number of releases needs to be determined in order to judge the sustainability of the current levels of exploitation. Overall, none of the indicators showed alarming signs for the Mallard population in the Nordic countries when considered in isolation. However, the widespread decline in wintering numbers elsewhere across North-western Europe requires urgent pan-European action.
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