Ruddy Ducks

Project Name

Spatial Temporal Analysis of the invasion and eradication of the Ruddy Duck in the UK.



Project Collaborators



Fera ( KTP)

Project Description


The Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis is a North American bird introduced to the UK over 60 years ago. A small number escaped from captivity and formed a feral population which numbered around 6,000 by January 2000. Around 95% of the feral European population occurs in the UK.  In the early 1990s Ruddy Ducks, almost certainly originating from the UK, began to appear in Spain where they can hybridise with the native White-headed Duck Oxyura leucocephala. In the long-term hybridisation could lead to the extinction of the White-headed Duck so, following several years of research into the most effective methods, an eradication programme for Ruddy Ducks in the UK began in 2005. This work financed by the EU LIFE-Nature Programme and Defra with the objective to eradicate ruddy ducks in Europe to ensure the continued survival of the white-headed duck as a distinct species.

As part of the knowledge transfer partnership with Fera this project aims to investigate the invasion, expansion and subsequent eradication of the ruddy duck in the UK. We will employ a range of spatial and temporal methods to characterise the spread and contraction of the UK population through time and explore the impact of the control program.

Defra Project to Eradicate Ruddy Ducks