Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 150, Issue 1, pp 183–193 | Cite as

Variation in home-range size and movements of wintering dabbling ducks

  • Pierre Legagneux
  • Christine Blaize
  • Franck Latraube
  • Jérôme Gautier
  • Vincent Bretagnolle
Original Article

Abstract

Despite a long historical record of radio-tracking analyses, basic home-range information is still lacking for most common waterfowl species, especially during the winter. We investigated how dabbling duck home ranges and daily foraging movements are influenced by extrinsic (site, temperature, date) and intrinsic factors (species, sex, age). We radio-tagged and monitored 125 individuals of three duck species (mallard Anas platyrhynchos, Eurasian teal A. crecca crecca and northern pintail A. acuta) in three French wetlands over four winters. Home-range sizes for a given species varied greatly among our study sites. Moreover, species differed according to home-range structure and distance traveled to reach their foraging grounds (teal had a more patchy home range and traveled farther distances than mallards). Foraging distances increased with temperature and time (over the winter season), but this effect differed among species, suggesting that they behave differently in response to food depletion and/or cold weather. The commuting behavior (i.e., the decision to leave the roost at night for foraging) differed among species and season. Teals were more risk-prone because they were more likely to leave the roost at night. In our study, ducks foraged at distances of 1–2 km from roosts, whereas distances of 2–48 km have been recorded in North America. We suggest that food supply, hunting pressure or population density may account for these inter-continental differences.

Keywords

Anatidae Dabbling ducks Nearest-neighbor cluster analysis Radio-tracking Space use 

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Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Legagneux
    • 1
  • Christine Blaize
    • 1
  • Franck Latraube
    • 1
  • Jérôme Gautier
    • 2
  • Vincent Bretagnolle
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre d’etudes biologiques de ChizéVilliers en BoisFrance
  2. 2.Réserve Naturelle des marais de Moëze-OléronSaint FroultFrance

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