Hand-reared canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) of varying sex ratios were maintained in pens during winter 1980-81 (3M-3F, 6M-0F, 0M-6F) and winter 1981-82 (4M-2F, 2M-4F) and fed two diets (control and stress). They were observed during feeding trials to determine intrasexual and intersexual aggressive activity. There was little evidence that either diet or sex ratio affected the total number of aggressive encounters. Females fed both control and stress diets were more aggressive and spent more time in the small feeding areas than males in pens with 3M-3F, 4M-2F, and 2M-4F sex ratios. Stressed ducks tended to weigh less than controls throughout the study. Females in the 3M-3F and 4M-2F pens weighed less than those in the 0M-6F and 2M-4F pens, respectively. However, relative weight changes throughout the winter were similar for males and females. Thus, results of these experiments do not lead to conclusive rejection of either the behavioral dominance hypothesis or the fasting endurance hypothesis.
Additional publication details
Sex specificity of behavioral dominance and fasting endurance in wintering canvasbacks: Experimental results