Seasonal survival of adult female mottled ducks

Jena A. Moon, David A. Haukos, Warren C. Conway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The mottled duck (Anas fulgivula) is a non-migratory duck dependent on coastal habitats to meet all of its life cycle requirements in the Western Gulf Coast (WGC) of Texas and Louisiana, USA. This population of mottled ducks has experienced a moderate decline during the past 2 decades. Adult survival has been identified as an important factor influencing population demography. Previous work based on band-recovery data has provided only annual estimates of survival. We assessed seasonal patterns of female mottled duck survival from 2009 to 2012 using individuals marked with satellite platform transmitter terminals (PTTs). We used temperature and movement sensors within each PTT to indicate potential mortality events. We estimated cumulative weekly survival and ranked factors influential in patterns of mortality using known-fate modeling in Program MARK. Models included 4 predictors: week; hunting and non-hunting periods; biological periods defined as breeding, brooding, molt, and pairing; and mass at time of capture. Models containing hunt periods, during and outside the mottled duck season, comprised essentially 100% of model weights where both legal and illegal harvest had a negative influence on mottled duck survival. Survival rates were low during 2009–2011 (12–38% annual rate of survival), when compared with the long-term banding average of 53% annual survival. During 2011, survival of female mottled ducks was the lowest annual rate (12%) ever documented and coincided with extreme drought. Management actions maximizing the availability of wetlands and associated upland habitats during hunting seasons and drought conditions may increase adult female mottled duck survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-469
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Volume81
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • Anas fulgivula
  • Chenier Plain
  • Program MARK
  • Texas
  • mortality
  • mottled duck
  • survival

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