Food Habit Study Of Mallards And Pintails On Catahoula Lake, Louisiana, With Notes Of Food Habits Of Other Species

As a waterfowl wintering area, Catahoula Lake is of national significance and one of the most important natural wintering areas in the nation. It is the key to waterfowl abundance and hunting success in Central Louisiana. For a ten year period from fall of 1960, through the winter of 1970, there was a yearly average usage of 20,000,000 duck days for Catahoula Lake (Louisiana Wild Life and Fisheries Commission, 1970). Ducks found in greatest abundance were pintails and mallards. A food habit study of mallards and pintails was conducted to determine foods eaten by these waterfowl. Notes were also made of the food habits of other ducks that use the Lake. During the course of the study, gizzards were collected from 139 ducks and gullets were collected from the same birds when they contain food. Mallard and pintail predominated in the collection with 57 and 42 respectively, and six other species were represented in the 39 other gizzard/gullets. Chufa, (Cyperus esculentus) was found to be most important waterfowl food on Catahoula Lake.

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