Pink-headed duck Rhodonessa caryophyllacea was last seen in the wild in 1949. Since then it has never been sighted again in its former habitats which were mainly distributed in India but scarcely in Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. It is thought that the bird has gone extinct due to habitat loss and hunting. However, it has not yet been declared extinct by IUCN or Birdlife International, who consider it critically endangered because some of its former habitats have not been yet completely surveyed. Therefore, ornithologists and birders are urgently requested to search for this species in remote wetlands in Northern Myanmar and Northeast India.
In Northeast India, Pink-headed duck was recorded (1888-1932) in Assam and Manipur where it was considered to be uncommon. According to Allan Hume, it was found, although scarcely, all over Assam from Sylhet—now in Bangladesh—to Sadiya. However, it had never been recorded from Cachar district. Confirmed records of sighting, catching or hunting of these ducks came from Nagaon, Dhuburi, Sadiya and Goalpara. In the early or mid 1920s, nearly one dozen Pink-headed ducks were captured in southern Goalpara and shipped across to England. Salim Ali claimed to have seen these ducks in Alfred Ezra's Foxwaren Park during his visit to London in 1929. He had probably taken some photographs of these ducks.