Waterbirds foods in winter-managed ricefields in Mississippi

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



Ricefields are important foraging habitats for waterfowl and other waterbirds in primary North American wintering regions. We conducted a large-scale experiment to test effects of post-harvest ricefield treatment, winter water management, and temporal factors on availabilities of rice, moist-soil plant seeds, aquatic invertebrates, and green forage in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV), Mississippi, USA, fall-winter 1995-1997. Our results revealed that a large decrease in rice grain occurred between harvest and early winter (79-99%), which, if generally true throughout the MAV, would have critical implications on foraging carrying capacity of ricefields for migrating and wintering waterbirds. During the remainder of winter, food resources generally were similar among treatment combinations. An exception was biomass of aquatic invertebrates, which demonstrated potential to increase by late winter in ricefields that remained flooded. We offer revised calculations of foraging carrying capacity for waterfowl in MAV ricefields and recommend continuing research and management designed to increase availability of residual rice and aquatic invertebrates in winter.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Waterbirds foods in winter-managed ricefields in Mississippi
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
Volume 68
Issue 1
Year Published 2004
Language English
Contributing office(s) Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 74-83
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Wildlife Management
First page 74
Last page 83