We examined the relationship between local water conditions (measured as the percent of total area of basins that was covered by water) and clutch size, egg volume, and hatchling mass of Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and Gadwalls (A. strepera) on four study sites in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and Minnesota, 1988-1994. We also examined the relationship between pond density and clutch size of Mallards and Gadwalls, using data collected at another North Dakota site, 1966-1981. For Mallards, we found no relationships to be significant. For Gadwalls, clutch size increased with percent basin area wet and pond density; hatchling mass marginally increased with percent basin area wet. These species differences may reflect, in part, that Mallards acquire lipid reserves used to produce early clutches before they reach the breeding grounds, whereas Gadwalls acquire lipid reserves locally; thus Gadwall clutches are more likely to be influenced by local food resources.
Additional publication details
Effects of water conditions on clutch size, egg volume, and hatchling mass of mallards and gadwalls in the Prairie Pothole Region