Diurnal activities of Green-winged Teal and Pintail wintering in Louisiana

Alain Tamisier


Observations were made on American Green-winged Teal Anas crecca carolinensis and Pintail A. acuta wintering in Louisiana. Both species flocked by day in very large concentrations (up to 80,000 ducks) on some restricted resting grounds, both during the hunting periods and at other times. Lesser concentrations lasted no longer than one or two weeks. Teal and Pintail mostly sleep, preen and swim during the day. Preening lasts two to three hours per day at the beginning of the season and is related to the moult. Sleeping is the longest diurnal activity (eight to nine hours). Both these activities are often performed by standing ducks, flocked on the borders of the resting area or on floating organic matter where they face the sun the day long. Feeding is an insignificant diurnal activity. Timing and directions of the crepuscular feeding flights are fairly constant. Ducks reach the feeding grounds at night and return the next morning to the resting area. These data are quite similar to those obtained in the Camargue, Iran and Senegal and can be considered as characteristic of wintering dabbling ducks. Hunting pressure cannot be considered responsible for that diurnal gregarious behaviour and nocturnal feeding activity. An important diurnal requirement is large open areas where the birds can stand and sunbathe in flocks.

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