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    Author(s): L. Christopher Miller; R. Montague Whitling; Michael S. Fountain
    Date: 2003
    Source: Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Fish and Wildlife Agencies 56:160-171
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (728 KB)

    Description

    Although winter foods of mallards (Anas platyrhyncos) and wood ducks (Aix sponsa) have been documented in several studies, no such research has been conducted in natural bottomland hardwood forests in eastern Texas. We collected 40 mallards and 38 wood ducks and sampled available foods in eastern Texas during winters 1987-1988 and a 1988-89 to study food habits and preferences. Acorns from four oak species comprised > 89% and > 99% of the diets of mallards and wood ducks, respectively. Nuttall oak (Quercus texana) acorns made up > 67% of the diet of each species both years. Program PREFER indicated seeds of decidious holly (Ilex decidua) and willow oak (Q. phellos) acorns were favored by mallards and wood ducks, respectively; preferences overlapped widely among potential foods, however. Although bottomland systems provide critical habitat for wintering waterfowl, their contributions can be enhanced by applying established silvicultural techniques to encourage desirable oak species.

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    Citation

    Miller, L. Christopher; Whitling, R. Montague, Jr.; Fountain, Michael S. 2003. Foraging habits of mallards and wood ducks in a bottomland hardwood forest in Texas. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Fish and Wildlife Agencies 56:160-171

    Keywords

    acorns, food habits, food preferences, mallard, wood duck

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