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Feeding ecology of mallards wintering in Nebraska

Journal of Wildlife Management

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Abstract

Food use by mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) wintering on the Platte River in south central Nebraska was determined from mid-December to early March 1978-80. Mallards foraged in river channels, irrigation drainage canals, and agricultural areas. Plant matter formed 97% of the diet (dry weight) and diets did not vary between sexes (P > 0.05). Waste corn was the principal food consumed and formed 46 and 62% of the diets of males and females, respectively. Milo, common duckweed (Lemna minor), smartweed (Polygonum spp.), and barnyardgrass (Echinochloa muricata) composed most of the remaining plant matter ingested. Mallards fed intensively in riparian wetland habitat to obtain invertebrates, but few were consumed because of limited abundance. Dietary protein was lower than reported among mallards wintering in Louisiana. Field feeding occurred primarily in grazed corn stubble and cattle feedlots. The distances traveled to feed, and the duration and timing of feeding varied with snow cover and season phenology. Competition for food was markedly higher during the cold winter of 1979 when heavy snow cover was present.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Feeding ecology of mallards wintering in Nebraska
Series title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume
47
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1983
Language:
English
Description:
p. 1044-1053
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Wildlife Management
First page:
1044
Last page:
1053
Number of Pages:
9