Survival and Habitat Selection of American Black Ducks in Tennessee
Newcomb, Kira Cristina
AdvisorDavis, J. Brian
CommitteeKaminski, Richard M.
Gray, Matthew J.
American black duck (Anas rubripes) populations declined throughout North America from 1950–1990, but the breeding population since has stabilized. However, limited information exists on black ducks in the Mississippi Flyway, where wintering populations continue to decline. I radiomarked 111 female black ducks at Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) in winters 2010–2012 to estimate winter survival and investigate patterns of habitat selection. Winter survival (83–85%) was greater than or comparable to previous estimates for black duck populations in North America. Interval survival increased 0.6% with a 100 g increase in body mass, but survival differed between years and waterfowl hunting seasons relative to body mass. Black ducks selected habitats on TNWR and emergent/scrub-shrub wetlands throughout winter regardless of hunting season or time of day. High winter survival rates and consistent use of TNWR suggest the refuge provides an important complex of habitats for black ducks wintering in Tennessee.