During the 1961 waterfowl hunting season, 360 stomachs of 10 duck species were collected from hunters near the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, Lake Marion, South Carolina. Based on percentage of total volume, 20 of the most important foods are listed. The six most important duck species in the kill were: mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), wood duck (Aix sponsa), widgeon (Mareca americam), pintail (Anas acuta) , black duck ( Anas rubripes) , and green-winged teal (Anas carolinensis). Six plant species made up 5 percent or more of the total volume of food items found in the stomachs of all ducks. Only seeds of oaks (Quercus sp.), corn, sweet gum (Liquidambar Styraciflua), and buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) were consumed. Some seed, but mostly the vegetative portions of hydrochloa (Hydrochloa carolinensis) and only the vegetative portions of southern rice cutgrass (Leersia hexandra) were taken. The more important game ducks concentrated on the refuge farmlands when water levels were below 72 feet mean sea level (msl). When levels reached 75 feet msl, natural foods became available, ducks dispersed from refuge areas, and hunting success increased greatly.
Additional Publication Details
Fall food habits of ducks near Santee Refuge, South Carolina