Time Budgets of Mallards and Wood Ducks Wintering in a Flooded Bottomland Hardwood Forest

Flooded bottomland hardwood forests are critical habitat for mallards (Anasplatyrhynchos) and wood ducks (Aix sponsa) during winter. How these species allocate their time in such habitats is unknown, however. Therefore, diurnal time budgets of 48 mallards and 330 wood ducks wintering in such a forest were examined during a 554-hour sampling period from 19 January through 31 March 1991. Time budgets of the species differed (P<0.001). Mallards spent more time feeding, resting, and alert, and less time locomoting and perching than wood ducks. Intraspecific time budgets of mallard and wood duck drakes, hens, and pairs differed (P<0.001) as did those for early morning, mid-day, and late afternoon time blocks (P<0.001). Both species spent much more time locomoting and less time feeding than did ducks in other habitats. To compensate, mallards reduced resting time; wood ducks swam as they fed, thus locomoting and feeding behaviors were often indistinguishable.

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