Northern pintail body condition during wet and dry winters in the Sacramento Valley, California

Journal of Wildlife Management


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Body weights and carcass composition of male and female adult northern pintails (Anas acuta) were investigated in the Sacramento Valley, California, from August to March 1979-82. Pintails were lightweight, lean, and had reduced breast, leg, and heart muscles during August-September. Ducks steadily gained weight after arrival; and body, carcass (body wt minus feathers and gastrointestinal content), fat protein, and muscle weights peaked in October-November. Fat-free dry weight remained high but variable the rest of the winter, whereas body and carcass weight and fat content declined to lows in December or January, then increased again in February or March. Gizzard weights declined from early fall to March. Males were always heavier than females, but females were fatter (percentage) than males during mid-winter. Mid-winter body weight, carcass fat, and protein content were significantly (P < 0.01) lower in the dry winter of 1980-81 than in 2 wet winters (1979-80 and 1981-82). Changes in pintail body weight and composition during winter are probably adaptations to mild climate, predictable food supplies, and requirements for pair formation and molt.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Northern pintail body condition during wet and dry winters in the Sacramento Valley, California
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 50
Issue 2
Year Published 1986
Language English
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description p. 189-198
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 189
Last page 198
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