The Brazilian Merganser (Mergus octosetaceus) is one of the most threatened waterfowl in the world and one of the most threatened birds in Americas. Its distribution is restricted to the center-south of Brazil, and parts of Paraguay and Argentina. The species inhabits clean rivers and streams, with rapids and still waters, bordered by forests and with fish abundance. Besides being naturally rare, it has been affected by several human activities that interfere directly or indirectly with its habitats. Until very recently, there was very little available information about Brazilian Merganser. Fortunately, in the last years, intense field studies have improved our knowledge about its habits, ecology and distribution. The information which has been arisen from these studies, although still basic, is helping the species conservation.
In 2006, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment (MMA) published the Action plan for the Brazilian Merganser Conservation, a strategic document with guidelines for conservation actions in long term.
In 2008, the Instituto Terra Brasilis started a project to mark and monitor Brazilian Merganser individuals using colour rings and radio transmitters in the Serra da Canastra region, state of Minas Gerais. We believe the coming results will lead to a major contribution to improve our knowledge about this species, in particular in its territoriality, migration and dispersal.
Brazilian Merganser photo © Carlos E.A. Carvalho/Instituto Terra Brasilis