Food habits of redheads (Aythya Americana) wintering in seagrass beds of coastal Louisiana and Texas, USA

T. C. Michot, M. C. Woodin, Andre J Nault

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Diets of wintering redheads (Aythya americana) have been studied in the past, but none of the previous studies compared diets of the upper gastrointestinal tract to determine if they differed due to sex, age, location, year, or time of year. We compared diets of redheads collected over seagrass beds at Chandeleur Sound, Louisiana (n = 287) and Laguna Madre, Texas (n = 495) during the winters of 1987-1988 to 1989-1990. We found no significant differences due to location, year, sex, age, or time of year. Halodule wrightii (shoalgrass) was the primary food of birds from both locations and comprised 74% (dry mass) of the combined esophageal and proventricular contents. Mollusks were of secondary importance and accounted for 21% (18% gastropods, 3% pelecypods) of the diet. Because wintering redheads depend almost entirely on a single seagrass species and associated fauna, protection and enhancement of Halodule beds should be the highest conservation priority within the winter range of this species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-250
Number of pages12
JournalActa Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae
Volume54
Issue numberSUPPL.1
StatePublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Chandeleur sound
  • Diet
  • Halodule
  • Laguna madre
  • Snail

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