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Diet of Canvasbacks During Breeding

Jane E. Austin, Jerome R. Serie, and James H. Noyes


Abstract: We examined diets of canvasbacks (Aythya valisineria) breeding in southwestern Manitoba during 1977-81. Percent volume of animal foods consumed did not differ between males and females nor among prenesting, rapid follicle growth, laying, incubation, and renesting periods in females (Mean of X = 50.1%). Tubers and shoots of fennelleaf pondweed (Potamogeton pectinatus) and midge larvae (Chironomidae) were the predominant foods, comprising on average 45% and 23% of the diet volume, respectively. Continued importance of plant foods to canvasbacks throughout reproduction contrasts with the mostly invertebrate diets of other prairie-breeding ducks, and does not fit current theories of nutritional ecology of breeding anatids (i.e., females meet the protein requirements of reproduction by consuming a high proportion of animal foods).
This resource is based on the following source (Northern Prairie Publication 762):
Austin, Jane E., Jerome R. Serie, and James H. Noyes.  1990.  Diet of 
     canvasbacks during breeding.  Prairie Naturalist 22(3):171-176.

This resource should be cited as:

Austin, Jane E., Jerome R. Serie, and James H. Noyes.  1990.  Diet of 
     canvasbacks during breeding.  Prairie Naturalist 22(3):171-176.  
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.  
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/birds/canvdiet/canvdiet.htm
     (Version 30SEP2002).

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Jane E. Austin, Jerome R. Serie1, and James H. Noyes2, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Jamestown, ND 58401

¹ Present address: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, MD 20708
² Present address: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Forest and Range Science Laboratory, La Grande, OR 98750


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