Little is known about Mexican Duck Anas diazi biology and populations. We analyse long-term (1960–2000) trends of Mexican Duck numbers in Mexico and employ contemporary count data (1991–2000) from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service midwinter surveys to identify key sites for conservation using a complementarity approach. The overall Mexican Duck population showed a significant long-term increase of 2.5% per year, with large fluctuations throughout the study period. The Northern highlands population increased at an annual rate of 7.7%, while the Central highlands population showed no significant long-term trend. During the last decade, counts in both the Northern and Central highlands exhibited no significant change. At the site level, significant long-term increases occurred in four localities in the Northern highlands (Laguna Babícora +13.9% annually, Laguna Bustillos +25.9%, Laguna Mexicanos +20.4% and Laguna Santiaguillo +16.9%) and in three localities in the Central highlands (Languillo +15.3% annually, Presa Solís +8.9%, Zacapu +13.4%). Two sites in the Central highlands showed significant declines, in the long term (Lago de Chapala, -5.2% per year) and during the last decade (Lerma, -11.8% per year). The Northern highlands held 16% and the Central highlands 84% of the Mexican Duck population in the period 1960–2000; during the last decade, these figures were 31% and 69%, respectively. A set of priority sites for conservation of the Mexican Duck was identified, consisting of 15 sites holding more than 70% of the midwinter Mexican Duck counts in Mexico. Ten sites from the priority set also qualify for designation as wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, by holding ≥ 1% of the estimated population. Four of the priority sites are in the Northern highlands and 11 in the Central highlands, of which eight are distributed along the Rio Lerma drainage. The most urgent actions that need to be undertaken are to estimate the current minimum population size in Mexico; to establish a programme for monitoring populations in the priority sites, especially those located within the highly degraded Rio Lerma drainage; and to determine the most feasible management actions for the species, concentrating efforts around the priority sites.
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