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1 February 2007 Declining Body Condition of Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region
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Abstract

Overwinter body condition (e.g., fat) provides an index to the health of northern pintail (Anas acuta) populations and may be a factor in the decline of the continental pintail population that has been previously overlooked or understated. We compared body condition between 1984–1985 and 2002–2003, and found that body condition of pintails arriving during early winter in the Playa Lakes Region (PLR) of Texas, USA, has declined by an average of 32%. Body fat levels declined at varying levels with juvenile males showing the largest decline of 41%, followed by adult females with 39%, juvenile females with 30%, and adult males with an overall 18% decline. Declines are likely related to declines in migration and wintering habitat quantity and quality within the PLR and potentially across the Central Flyway. We recommend further acquisition and management of playas to ensure that these valuable habitats remain available to provide critical habitats for migrating and wintering pintails and other waterfowl in the Central Flyway.

JENA A. MOON, DAVID A. HAUKOS, and LOREN M. SMITH "Declining Body Condition of Northern Pintails Wintering in the Playa Lakes Region," Journal of Wildlife Management 71(1), 218-221, (1 February 2007). https://doi.org/10.2193/2005-596
Published: 1 February 2007
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