Survival and Distribution of Black-bellied Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) in the Southeastern United States

Black-bellied whistling-duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis; BBWD) is a neo-tropical species distributed in coastal areas of northern South Amer- ica, Central America, and southern North America. Despite their pervasiveness, the population distribution, survival, and harvest-mortality of BBWD in the southeastern United States remains unclear. We used BBWD sightings reported to eBird to delineate range expansion from 2006–2016 in Ala- bama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas. Concurrently, we used band-recovery data from 759 BBWD captured in five states (Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Texas, and Louisiana) from 2014–2017 and Burnham live-dead models to calculate survival, recapture proba- bility, and annual recovery rate. We noted expanding BBWD distribution in the southern Atlantic flyway, and populations during our study period had a relatively high annual survival rate (0.851 ± 0.137; 95% CI range = 0.408–0.979), low recapture probability (0.035 ± 0.010; 95% CI range = 0.019–0.062), and low recovery rate (0.068±0.054; 95% CI range=0.013–0.280), although the limited number of resightings and recaptures affected uncertainty around our estimates. Future research should continue to refine population vital rate estimates for BBWD, with an emphasis on understanding popula- tion abundance and harvest rates.

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