Mottled Duck (Anas fulvigula) Movements in the Texas Chenier Plain Region

As a surrogate species for Strategic Habitat Conservation, the mottled duck (Anas fulgivula) is an indicator species to coastal marsh health and function. Currently, biologists have a relatively poor understanding of regional mottled duck movements. We outfitted adult female mottled ducks with solar satellite transmitters during summer 2009-2011. Movement patterns were measured among years and phenology, in relation to available habitat at the landscape level, and in association to potential disturbance. Movement distances were measured in ArcGIS and then evaluated using analysis of variance for independent variables of year, month, biological time period, and season. Average weekly distances traveled by mottled ducks were relatively short (<5,000 m) compared to other waterfowl. Movement occurrence and distance were linked to biological season with longest distances documented during the molt period. Movements also differed among years, with drought conditions associated with longer movement distances. Magnitude of movements may be an indicator of habitat quality for mottled ducks in the Texas Chenier Plain Region. By focusing on providing large freshwater pools and fresh/intermediate marsh during the molt period, managers could positively impact mottled ducks.

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