Habitat Use and Productivity of Mottled Ducks on the Atchafalaya River Delta, Louisiana

We studied nesting habitat selection, nest density, and nest success of mottled ducks (Anas fulvigula) on islands in the Atchafalaya River Delta, Louisiana, 1995-1996. Nesting mottled ducks preferred shrub-moderate habitats and avoided shrub-sparse and marsh habitats. Other habitats were neither preferred nor avoided. Nest densities using non-random plot sampling in 1995 and line-transect sampling in 1996 averaged 3.9 nests/ha and 1.3 nest/ha, respectively. Mayfield nest success estimates on individual islands ranged from 6.0% to 67.1%. The Atchafalaya River Delta is potentially one of the most important areas for mottled ducks nesting along the Gulf Coast. In order to sustain high mottled duck use of islands, managers should consider implementing vegetation management practices that are aimed at maintaining shrub-moderate habitats.

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