Title

Comparison of Spring Migration Ecology of American Black Ducks (Anas rubripes) and Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) in the Montezuma Wetlands Complex

Date of Award

4-27-2018

Semester of Degree

May

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Major Professor

Jonathan Cohen

CO-MP

Michael Schummer

Steering Committee Member

Joshua Stiller

Abstract

I compared behavior, habitat selection, and movements between American black ducks and mallards using the Montezuma Wetlands Complex (MWC) during spring. I did not detect differences in behavior between species within habitat types. Black ducks used open water more than mallards. Black ducks chose home ranges with less agriculture, developed, and forested wetland cover types and greater emergent marsh and open water relative to their availability within the MWC, but used cover types in proportion to their availability within their home ranges. Mallards chose home ranges with cover types proportional to their availability within the MWC and used cover types in proportion to their availability within home ranges. Local movement step lengths were similar between species at 0.5 – 25 km. Departure date was earlier with increasing percent use of agricultural areas in spring, a possible explanation for mallards departing the MWC earlier than black ducks in 2016.

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