White-headed Duck

About the White-headed Duck

Also known as: White-headed Stifftail

The White-headed Duck is a species of freshwater diving duck that is found in western and central Asia. There are also populations that breed in Spain and northern Africa. These darling fowl are stiff-tailed ducks, sporting long and stiff tail feathers.

White-headed Ducks are omnivorous. They find food by diving under the water, often preferring vegetation to prey items (which may include insect larvae and small invertebrates).

The White-headed Duck has a conservation status of Endangered as of July 2013. They face population threats including habitat loss. Across the western part of their range they also face a huge threat from hybridization with non-native Ruddy Ducks.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 23 July 2013
Scientific Name
Oxyura leucocephala
  • Anseriformes
  • Anatidae
  • Oxyura
  • O. leucocephala
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Endangered (as of 21 March 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
17 to 19 inches
20.8 to 27.2 ounces


From IUCN Red List:
The White-headed Duck is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. Despite uncertainty about the possible large-scale inter-year movement of birds between wintering sites, mid-winter counts indicate that the population of this species has undergone a very rapid decline, which qualifies it as Endangered. The Spanish subpopulation has now stabilised, and it is projected that the global rate of decline will be lower in the next ten years (Green and Hughes 1996).

International Names

Chinese (汉语) 白头硬尾鸭
Czech (Cesky) kachnice bělohlavá
Danish (Dansk) Hvidhovedet Skarveand
Dutch (Nederlands) Witkopeend
Finnish (Suomi) valkopääsorsa
French (Français) Érismature à tête blanche
German (Deutsch) Weißkopf-Ruderente
Italian (Italiano) Gobbo rugginoso
Japanese (日本語) カオジロオタテガモ [kaojirootategamo]
Norwegian (Norsk) Hvithodeand
Polish (Polski) sterniczka
Russian (русский язык) Савка
Spanish (Español) Malvasía Cabeciblanca
Swedish (Svenska) Kopparand
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