A species of duck previously thought to be extinct has been resighted on Madagascar. The Madagascar pochard, Aythya innotata, had not been sighted since 1991 despite constant surveys of marshy lakes with lots of reeds and emergent vegetation, believed to be their preferred habitat. However, the recent discovery attracted the attention of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust who found twenty adult pochards with at least seven recently hatched young in a steep-sided volcanic lake with little shoreline marsh and reeds.
Madagascar pochards eat vegetation growing beneath the water’s surface and dive to reach it. They were driven to the verge of extinction by habitat loss and the introduction of alien fish species that ate the plants, but appear to have found another ecological niche in which they have flourished.
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