We examined carcass composition and proximate food composition of ruddy ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis), northern shovelers (Anas clypeata), and northern pintails (Anas acuta) wintering on agricultural drainwater ponds in California during 1983-84. Lipids varied seasonally in northern shovelers and northern pintails. Protein did not fluctuate except in ruddy ducks whose protein mass increased over winter, suggesting that some protein was catabolized prior to arrival on wintering areas or that a buildup of protein occurred prior to spring migration. Waterfowl diets varied among species and time, but the nutritional composition of the diets was relatively stable. Ruddy ducks and shovelers consumed mostly animal foods rich in protein (53-60%) and low in Nitrogen Free Extract (NFE)(1-7%). Pintail diets contained more NFE (23-38%) and less protein (14-38%) because of greater consumption of plant foods. Nutritional composition of pintail diets varied with lower protein consumption occurring from November through January.