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Wild Birds and Emerging Diseases: Avian Influenza transmission risk & the Migratory Ecology of African wild ducks

Comb duck

Very little is known about the migration patterns of wild ducks in Africa or their possible involvement in the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1. In February 2007, a project was initiated by an international team led by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, U. S. Geological Survey, CIRAD, and Wetlands International. Working closely with several environmental groups in Malawi, Nigeria, and Mali, our task is to deploy solar satellite transmitters (size in grams) on three species of wild ducks including garganey (12g), white-faced whistling ducks (18g), and comb ducks (30g). These represent a continental migrant, an African migrant, and a resident species, respectively.

Project Details

Ducks will be captured, tested, marked with transmitters and followed by satellite. The transmitters are programmed to send data to the satellite every 1-2 days. The larger 30g transmitters for comb ducks are GPS-Argos solar transmitters that are programmed to provide locations up to every 2 hours, mostly during daylight hours.


Our goal is to identify movements and major areas used by these species, to assess the potential for risks of disease spread. Follow the links on the menu bar for details on projects and to see migration maps for different species.

FAO Contact For This Project 
    Scott Newman
    EMPRES Wildlife Unit
    Food & Agriculture Organization, United Nations
    Rome, Italy 00153

USGS Contact For This Project
John Takekawa - Emeritus
(707) 562-2000
San Francisco Bay Estuary Field Station
505 Azuar Drive
Vallejo, CA 94592
View this person's Details

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