Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
STATUS: Relatively common throughout range.
HABITAT: Inhabits inland waters with dense rushes or other emergent vegetation on mixed and shortgrass prairies, and northern boreal forests. May be found resting on mudbanks or stumps, or perching on low limbs of dead trees. Winters in both freshwater and brackish marshes, ponds, streams, and estuaries.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Lakes, marshes, ponds, pools, and shallow streams.
NEST: Nests in a depression on dry ground located at the base of shrubs, under a log, or in dense grass, usually 2 to 300 feet (but up to one-quarter mile) from water.
FOOD: Feeds in shallow marshes or temporarily flooded fields by dabbling, or by probing on mud flats. Consumes a diet that is about 90 percent vegetative, consisting of seeds of aquatic plants, grains, berries, wild grapes, mast, and (to a lesser extent) the vegetative parts of aquatic plants. Also eats some insects, small mollusks, and crustaceans.
REFERENCES: Bellrose 1976, Harrison 1975, Palmer 1976a, Terres 1980.