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Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

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Forest and Rangeland Birds of the United States

Natural History and Habitat Use

Mottled Duck -- Anas fulvigula

RANGE: Breeds along the Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana and Texas into Mexico; in peninsular Florida; and locally inland in southeastern Colorado, western Kansas, Oklahoma, and northeastern Texas. Winters in the breeding range and casually along the entire Gulf Coast into Mexico. In Florida, does not migrate.

STATUS: Locally common.

HABITAT: Primarily inhabits extensive coastal marshes with a good interspersion of ponds but is also found in rice fields and on ponds and stream banks in pasture and farmlands. In Florida, inhabits ponds and lakes of pine flatwoods, everglades, cultivated and fallow fields, fresh and brackish marshes, mangrove swamps, and baldcypress-watertupelo hummocks.

SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: Freshwater and marine wetlands.

NEST: Builds a nest that is usually well concealed in a clump of grass, or on the ground under a bush, in meadows, generally within 500 feet of water. Prefers to nest near coastal marshes, but will also nest near ponds, bayous, or ditches. Is shy and sensitive to human disturbance.

FOOD: Feeds heavily on animal foods such as fish, crayfish, snails, and insects; also eats seeds of millet, rice, grasses, and aquatic plants.

REFERENCES: Beckwith and Hosford 1957, Bellrose 1976, Sincock et al. 1964, Singleton 1968.

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