The Florida mottled duck (Anas fulvigula fulvigula ) is a unique subspecies found only in peninsular Florida. Estimates of the Florida mottled duck breeding population range from 28,000 to 49,000. Rapid changes in south Florida's landscape, mostly resulting from agricultural and urban development, raise concern about the ability of this relatively small population to maintain itself. Therefore, a better understanding of habitat use, movement, and survival patterns for Florida mottled ducks is needed to guide conservation efforts.
Beginning in September 2008, researchers with the FWC Waterfowl Management Program began a three-year study to determine how mottled ducks use the habitats in Florida throughout their annual cycle. Researchers will attempt to radio-mark 100 adult females each year. Fifty of the birds will be marked in or near the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) south of Lake Okeechobee, 40 will be marked in the urban/suburban area to the east of the EAA, and 10 birds will be marked in the Kissimmee River Basin north of Lake Okeechobee. Marked birds will be followed daily on the ground and weekly from the air.
The objectives of the project are to: 1) estimate annual survival rates of adult females, 2) identify cause-specific mortality sources, 3) estimate home range size, 4) identify any movement patterns associated with surface water availability, 5) identify the types of habitats used, 6) characterize the habitats used, 7) characterize nest sites, 8) estimate nest and nesting female survival, 9) and compare these parameters between urban and rural caught birds.
Update: The project has been completed. Results and publications will be posted as they become available.