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Redhead duck behavior on lower Laguna Madre and adjacent ponds of southern Texas

Southwestern Naturalist

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Abstract

Behavior of redheads (Aythya americana) during winter was studied on the hypersaline lower Laguna Madre and adjacent freshwater to brackish water ponds of southern Texas. On Laguna Madre, feeding (46%) and sleeping (37%) were the most common behaviors. Redheads fed more during early morning (64%) than during the rest of the day (40%); feeding activity was negatively correlated with temperature. Redheads fed more often by dipping (58%) than by tipping (25%), diving (16%), or gleaning (0.1%). Water depth was least where they fed by dipping (16 cm), greatest where diving (75 cm), and intermediate where tipping (26 cm). Feeding sequences averaged 5.3 s for dipping, 8.1 s for tipping, and 19.2 s for diving. Redheads usually were present on freshwater to brackish water ponds adjacent to Laguna Madre only during daylight hours, and use of those areas declined as winter progressed. Sleeping (75%) was the most frequent behavior at ponds, followed by preening (10%), swimming (10%), and feeding (0.4%). Because redheads fed almost exclusively on shoalgrass while dipping and tipping in shallow water and shoalgrass meadows have declined in the lower Laguna Madre, proper management of the remaining shoalgrass habitat is necessary to ensure that this area remains the major wintering area for redheads.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Redhead duck behavior on lower Laguna Madre and adjacent ponds of southern Texas
Series title:
Southwestern Naturalist
Volume
37
Issue:
1
Year Published:
1992
Language:
English
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
65-72
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Southwestern Naturalist
First page:
65
Last page:
72
Number of Pages:
8