Food Habits of Dabbling Ducks During Fall Migration in a Prairie Pothole System, Heron Lake, Minnesota

Ryan M. Wersal, Brock R. McMillan, John D. Madsen


We conducted an analysis of dabbling duck food habits in the fall of 2002 and 2003 in the Heron Lake system. Gizzard contents of hunter-harvested birds were analyzed using the percent aggregate volume method to determine what food items were consumed and in what quantity. Curltop Ladysthumb (Polygonum lapathifolium) was the food item consumed most often (82.2%) and in the greatest volume (34.2 ml). Sago Pondweed (Stuckenia pectinata) was the only food item of which multiple plant parts were consumed. However, the seeds and tubers only comprised 1.27 and 0.07 of the total aggregate percent.


Food habits; waterfowl; gizzard contents; aggregate volume; submersed macrophytes; Curltop Ladysthumb; Polygonum lapathifolium; Sago Pondweed; Stuckenia pectinata

Full Text:



Volumes that are more than six years old are freely available courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.


Questions or problems with the website? Contact William Halliday (info -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca).