We examined the feeding ecology of Northern Pintails (Anas acuta), Northern Shovelers (A. clypeata), and Ruddy Ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) wintering on drainwater evaporation ponds in California from 1982 through 1984. Pintails primarily consumed midges (Chironomidae) (39.3%) and widegeongrass (Ruppia maritima) nutlets (34.6%). Shovelers and Ruddy Ducks consumed 92.5% and 90.1% animal matter, respectively. Water boatmen (Corixidae) (51.6%), rotifers (Rotatoria) (20.4%), and copepods (Copepoda) (15.2%) were the most important Shoveler foods, and midges (49.7%) and water boatmen (36.0%) were the most important foods of Ruddy Ducks. All three species were opportunistic foragers, shifting their diets seasonally to the most abundant foods given their behavioral and morphological attributes.
Additional publication details
Feeding ecology of waterfowl wintering on evaporation ponds in California