Spencer Vaa

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science


The use of Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA) by American coots (Fulica americana) and ducks was studied during 1970 and 1971 in east-central South Dakota The Eriksrud WPA, a type IV wetland with 55 acres of water area and 35 acres of upland, contained 188 coot nests during the 2-year study. Of the 188 coot nests, 178 hatched for a success rate of 95 percent. Average clutch size of 130 completed clutches was 8.4. Average size of 21 coot broods from 4 to 6 weeks of age was 6.1. Coot production on the Eriksrud area was estimated at 543 young per year. Most coot nests were located in stands of cattail (Typha latifolia), the dominant plant species of the wetland. Condition of the habitat influenced the number of coots nesting on the area. Lowered water levels in 1971 left many emergents standing in very shallow water or on dry ground, limiting available nesting sites. Renesting by coots depended on the stage of incubation at the time of egg removal; 90 percent of the nests in which eggs were removed early in incubation resulted in renesting attempts. Counts of breeding pairs of dabbler ducks were made on four WPAs in 1971 and blue-winged teal (Anas discors), mallard (Anas platyrhynchos), and gadwall (Anas strepera) were found to be the most abundant. On the Eriksrud area, the most common nesting ducks were blue-winged teal and canvasback (Aythya valisineria), eight nests of each being located during the 2-year study. Mallards, ruddy ducks (Oxyura jamaicensis) , and a redhead (Aythya americana) also nested on the area. The most commonly observed duck broods on the Eriksrud area were those of blue-winged teal, ruddy duck, mallard and canvasback. One wood duck (Aix sponsa) brood was observed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Water birds -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 30-31)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Only