The consequences of climate change for bird populations have received much attention in recent decades, especially amongst cavity-nesting songbirds, yet little has been written on ducks (Anatidae) despite these being major elements of wetland diversity and important quarry species. This paper reviews the major known consequences of climate change for birds in general, and relates these to the limited information available specifically for ducks. Climate change can influence migration distance and phenology, potentially affecting patterns of mortality, as well as distribution and reproductive success in ducks. Studies addressing effects of climate change are, however, restricted to very few duck species, including mallard Anas platyrhynchos and common eider Somateria mollissima. Shifts in winter duck distributions have been observed, whereas the mismatch hypothesis (mistiming between the periods of peak energy requirements for young and the peak of seasonal food availability) has received limited support with regard to ducks. We propose a range of monitoring initiatives, including population surveys, breeding success monitoring schemes and individual duck marking, which should later be integrated through population modelling and adaptive management to fill these gaps.
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Vol. 19 • No. 4