Distribution Patterns of American Black Ducks Wintering in Tennessee

Since 1970, over 40% of all American black ducks (Anas rubripes) observed during mid-winter waterfowl surveys in the Mississippi flyway occurred in Tennessee. Local differences in distribution, migration chronology, and annual variation in abundance have not been investigated within the state. We used Tennessee recovery records from 1970-1987 to evaluate breeding locations of black ducks wintering in Tennessee and waterfowl survey data collected by Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1955-1992 to evaluate trends in geographic distribution and abundance, migration chronology, and influence of winter temperature on numbers of black ducks wintering in Tennessee. The inland subpopulation of black ducks is primarily confined to the Mississippi flyway. The primary breeding areas of black ducks recovered in Tennessee were within the Mississippi flyway, especially Michigan, Wisconsin, and Manitoba, Canada. Black ducks in the state consistently winter in largest numbers on Cross Creeks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and Tennessee NWR in westcentral Tennessee, but black ducks comprised a greater percentage of total dabbling ducks on reservoirs in eastern Tennessee. Black ducks wintering on state management areas have declined in recent decades, but those using NWRs have exhibited non-declining annual variation. Black ducks primarily winter in Tennessee from November to mid-February, and winter temperatures do not appear to influence number of black ducks wintering in Tennessee.

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