thumbnail

Factors affecting the distribution of mallards wintering in the Mississippi alluvial valley

The Auk

By:
, , and

Links

Abstract

The Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV) is the principal wintering area for Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the Mississippi Flyway. Here, we consider it a distinct habitat (sensu Fretwell 1972), i.e. fitness is relatively homogeneous among ducks within the MAV but different from that of ducks in other such habitats. We analyzed recovery distributions of Mallards banded preseason (July-September 1950-1980) to test hypotheses concerning the effects of winter temperatures, precipitation, and population levels on Mallard winter distribution. When two groups of years that comprised extremes of warm and cold winter weather were compared, recovery distributions of all four age and sex classes (adult males and females, young males and females) differed significantly; recoveries were located farther south in cold years. Recovery distributions also differed between wet and dry years in the MAV for all groups except adult males, higher proportions of recoveries of adult females and of young males and females occurring in the MAV during wet winters. Although differences in continental Mallard population size were associated with differences in recovery distributions only of adult males and young females, the proportion of young males and of all young Mallards recovered in the MAV increased during years of low populations. We conclude that temperature, water conditions, and population size affect the habitat suitability of Mallard wintering areas and that Mallards exhibit considerable flexibility in winter distribution associated with these factors.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Factors affecting the distribution of mallards wintering in the Mississippi alluvial valley
Series title:
The Auk
Volume:
100
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1983
Language:
English
Publisher:
American Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s):
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description:
15 p.
First page:
932
Last page:
946
Public Comments:
This publication received an award for Outstanding Publication from the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society