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Maccoa Duck (Oxyura maccoa)

Maccoa Ducks are sparsely distributed in southern Africa. In Botswana there were a few records of this duck during the 1970s and early 1980s from Jwaneng, Nata, Moshaneng and Pitsane. Subsequently, Maccoas were found to be regular in southeastern and eastern Botswana with breeding proven at Jwaneng Golf Club dam and on several small pans. They are absent from the Okavango Delta and Chobe River but occasionally occur in the Makgadikgadi area.

During counts for the African Waterbird Census between 1991 and 2000, Maccoa Ducks were reported from almost 20 wetlands in SE and E Botswana. Only Phakalane sewage ponds regularly held regionally, sometimes globally, important numbers of this species, numbers usually being higher in the winter than in the summer. Jwaneng sewage ponds and the Golf Club dam were also favoured sites.

In E Botswana the old Francistown sewage pond complex was the best site for high numbers in both the wet and dry seasons. In the Makgadikgadi system up to 10 Maccoas have been reported at Sua Pan close to Nata Sanctuary and singles have been noted at Mea Pan.

Information on numbers and occurrence up to 2000 are given in Tyler, S.J. 2001. A review of waterbird counts in Botswana, 1991-2000. Babbler Special Supplement No. 1. Botswana Bird Club, Gaborone.

Since 2000 numbers have declined dramatically at Phakalane sewage ponds and the site is no longer important for them. Jwaneng sewage ponds continue to hold good numbers with a record 106 birds in January 2004. Bathoen Dam near Kanye had 34 in July 2004 and sites such as Bokaa Dam, Thagale Dam and Lobatse sewage ponds often hold 8-12 Maccoa Ducks with 18 at Bokaa Dam in July 2002.

The old Francistown sewage ponds sadly no longer hold sewage.

The total population in Botswana is probably about 200 birds but numbers near Mahalapye and Palapye are not known as this area is very poorly covered by counts. Although a small population, the increase in new dams, large and small, and in sewage ponds, have helped this species and it has few threats in Botswana (shooting and netting are not considered a significant problem).

However, in view of threats elsewhere within its range it is important to monitor the population of this species in Botswana. Any records of this species are welcomed, especially regular counts from any site or breeding records.


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