Foods of 37 juvenile ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris) from 16 different wetlands were examined in eastcentral Maine in 1983-85. Invertebrates made up 70% aggregate dry weight (100% occurrence) of the foods of Class Ia-lla ( 24 days old) ducklings and 32% (86% occurrence) of Class lIb-III ( 25 days old) ducklings. These percentages may be as high as 85% for Ia-lla ducklings and 47% for lIb-III ducklings after adjusting for insect sclerites. Ducklings ate invertebrates from 44 taxa and seeds or fibers from 23 plant taxa. Freshwater sponges (Porifera) were the most important invertebrate and constituted 23% of the foods of all ducklings. Seeds of pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.) were the most important plant foods. Diets of ducklings from high-pH (>6.1) wetlands were more diverse (t = 2.54, P = 0.021) than those from low-pH (<6.1) wetlands and consisted of 33 invertebrate taxa. Only 17 taxa occurred in ducklings from low-pH ponds. Class Ia-lla ducklings from high-pH wetlands ate more invertebrates (77%) than ducklings from lower-pH wetlands (61%), although the difference was not significant (P = 0.21). Sponges made up the largest percentage of the diets and occurred in similar amounts in high- (34%) and low- (31.5%) pH wetlands.
Additional publication details
Foods of juvenile ring-necked ducks: Relationship to wetland pH