Landscape Ecology

, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 989–1000 | Cite as

Landscape effects on mallard habitat selection at multiple spatial scales during the non-breeding period

  • William S. BeattyEmail author
  • Elisabeth B. Webb
  • Dylan C. Kesler
  • Andrew H. Raedeke
  • Luke W. Naylor
  • Dale D. Humburg
Research Article


Previous studies that evaluated effects of landscape-scale habitat heterogeneity on migratory waterbird distributions were spatially limited and temporally restricted to one major life-history phase. However, effects of landscape-scale habitat heterogeneity on long-distance migratory waterbirds can be studied across the annual cycle using new technologies, including global positioning system satellite transmitters. We used Bayesian discrete choice models to examine the influence of local habitats and landscape composition on habitat selection by a generalist dabbling duck, the mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), in the midcontinent of North America during the non-breeding period. Using a previously published empirical movement metric, we separated the non-breeding period into three seasons, including autumn migration, winter, and spring migration. We defined spatial scales based on movement patterns such that movements >0.25 and <30.00 km were classified as local scale and movements >30.00 km were classified as relocation scale. Habitat selection at the local scale was generally influenced by local and landscape-level variables across all seasons. Variables in top models at the local scale included proximities to cropland, emergent wetland, open water, and woody wetland. Similarly, variables associated with area of cropland, emergent wetland, open water, and woody wetland were also included at the local scale. At the relocation scale, mallards selected resource units based on more generalized variables, including proximity to wetlands and total wetland area. Our results emphasize the role of landscape composition in waterbird habitat selection and provide further support for local wetland landscapes to be considered functional units of waterbird conservation and management.


Anas platyrhynchos Annual cycle Discrete choice Resource selection Waterbird Waterfowl 



Funding for this project was provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service Conservation Effects Assessment Project under grant 68-3A75-11-39. Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Missouri Department of Conservation, Ducks Unlimited, and Ducks Unlimited Canada also provided logistical support and/or funding. We thank K. Gardner, R. Theis, J.P. Fairhead, J. Jackson, J. Pagan, R. Malecki and D. Kostersky for their contributions to capture and handling of birds. C. Rota provided assistance with WinBUGS and J. Whittier assisted with Python. We thank A. Alba, K. Cheng, J. Cunningham, A. McKellar, and S. O’Daniels for comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank D. Haukos and two anonymous reviewers for comments that greatly improved the manuscript. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

10980_2014_35_MOESM1_ESM.docx (134 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 133 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • William S. Beatty
    • 1
    Email author
  • Elisabeth B. Webb
    • 2
  • Dylan C. Kesler
    • 1
  • Andrew H. Raedeke
    • 3
  • Luke W. Naylor
    • 4
  • Dale D. Humburg
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and Wildlife SciencesUniversity of MissouriColumbiaUSA
  2. 2.Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitUnited States Geological SurveyColumbiaUSA
  3. 3.Missouri Department of ConservationColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Arkansas Game and Fish CommissionLittle RockUSA
  5. 5.Ducks UnlimitedMemphisUSA

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