Birds of Seabrook Island

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ANECDOTES

  Mottled Duck
 
 

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  Order Anseriformes - Waterfowl
   Family Anatidae - Ducks, Geese, and Swans
      Subfamily Anatinae - True Ducks
         Tribe Anatini - Dabbling Ducks
  Waterfowl vary in size - from teal to swans. They all have webbed feet and dense, waterproof plumage. Most nest on the ground and the nest is lined with down plucked by the female from her breast. Except for two small groups not found in North America, all belong to one (or two) families.
Ducks, Geese, and Swans are waterfowl with their bill finely serrated or grooved on the edge. Their tongue is fleshy. Their front toes are webbed. Males have a functional penis. They are strong fliers and many migrate long distances. 
True Ducks are sexually dimorphic. The female incubates and cares for the young - the male usually deserts early. Ducks undergo a simultaneous molt of their flight feathers and are flightless until the flight feathers of the alternate plumage regrow. Thus, males wear their nuptial plumage on the winter grounds where pair formation occurs in most species. 
Dabbling Ducks all belong to the genus Anas. They feed on or near the surface or "upend," tilting their body vertically to feed on aquatic vegetation.     
 
Dark Dabblers
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area
Donnelley Wildlife Management Area
     
  Mottled Duck, Anas fulvigula
 
  Cornell     USGS     Wiki     ToL     EoL
        YEAR-ROUND - Uncommon (local)  / Rare
            MARSHES, IMPOUNDMENTS (fresh or brackish)
MORE PICTURES
 
   The Mottled Duck is a dark duck with a warm, brown-colored body, much like the female and young Mallard, but the bill is bright yellow and the throat is buffy and unmarked. There are very narrow white bars outlining the speculum.     
Mottled Duck
     
Mottled Duck. Jenkins Point
   
  RANGE: Mottled Ducks breed in Florida and along the Gulf Coast (separate populations) with introduced populations of Florida stock in many of the impoundments and reserves in our area. They freely interbreed with Mallards (and other Anas) and conservation measures attempt to limit the introduction of domesticated Mallard stock to their breeding areas where they would mate with Mottled Ducks. The Mottled Duck is a relatively recent resident - the species is not listed in Potter's 1980 reference for the Carolinas.       
  BREEDING: Monogamous. One brood. The female builds a shallow bowl of grass and reeds, lined with down and breast feathers. The nest is located in drier parts of the marsh or on a ridge - usually near water. She lays 8-12 (5-13) eggs which are incubated for 24-28 days. Young are precocial and leave the nest shortly after hatching. They can make short flights at about 50 days and fledge at 60-70 days. Young are tended by the female.
  DIET: Omnivorous. Mottled Ducks take more animal food than the Mallard - mollusks, crustaceans, fish, and insects. They also eat a variety of aquatic plants. They forage in shallow water, mostly by dabbling and occasionally by upending. Young dive for food but adults seldom do.
  VOICE: Like the Mallard but the female's quack may be weaker and softer.
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Kiawah - rare, year round.
      Coastal - fairly common permanent resident. Hilton Head - fairly common winter visitor.
      Caw Caw - uncommon, year-round. ACE - uncommon, year-round, breeds. Huntington Beach - exceptional April, June.
   CBC: ACE 26, 10, 17, 25, 41, 60, 536, 75; Charleston 33, 43, 50, 4, 95, 26, 0, 22;
            St  Helena/Fripp x, x, x, x, x, x, 2, 0; Hilton Head 0, 0, 0, 3, 0, 0, 0;
            McClellanville 40, 189, 44, 26, nc, 18, 172, 7; Winyah Bay x, x, 20, 50, 84, 50, 47, 36; Litchfield/Pawley's 2, 12, 0, 0, 6, 0, 0, 11.
   SCBBA: Breeding: Jasper, Colleton, and Georgeton Counties. Breeding areas have probably expanded along the coast.
   P&G: 1,213 Mottled Ducks were released in the Santee Delta and Bear Island - Combahee areas during 1975-1982. Breeding was confirmed by 1980 in at least 4 locations.
   Avendex: 4 reports.
   Potter: The population of this introduced species is increasing along the coast northward to the vicinity of Litchfield and Pawley's Island.
  ●   Uncommon / rare. In January 2007, a Mottled Duck (above) was seen in a lagoon on Jenkins Point, feeding and resting with Hooded Mergansers. They could be seen at any time of the year - eyes open!
   The Mottled Duck is common at Bear Island WMA and I have seen populations on South Island (Yawkey Estate near Georgetown) and on Bulls Island (Cape Romain NWR). I have also seen Mottled Ducks on the marshes where Main Road joins the Savannah Highway - they are probably now common all along the coast. Look for nondescript brown ducks and you may have a Mottled Duck. They have a paler neck and face than the other species.
   Except for domestics, these are our only summer/breeding dabblers.
   
   
Bear Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
  
Click for more information. Directions are included at this web site. It is about a 65 mile trip from Seabrook each way.

   The area is managed to provide quality habitat for wintering waterfowl, and other wetland wildlife including threatened and endangered species such as wood storks and bald eagles; to provide habitat for upland game and non-game species; and to provide recreational opportunities for the hunting and non-hunting public.
   Public hunting on the WMA includes waterfowl (by special drawing only), white-tailed deer, mourning dove and small game. The diverse area provides excellent bird watching, attracting waterfowl, bald eagles, wading birds, shorebirds and song birds. Two observation platforms and miles of dikes provide access.
   The most common ducks harvested at Bear Island WMA include both species of teal (blue-winged, green-winged), gadwalls, and pintail. The total harvest consists of about 10% widgeon. Mottled Ducks are common at Bear Island and a few pintails use the marsh, but mallards are essentially nonexistent, accounting for less than 3% of the harvest.
   
    Donnelley Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
   Click for more information. Directions are included at this web site. It is about a 55 mile trip from Seabrook each way. Map.

   Donnelley Wildlife Management Area is a good companion to nearby Bear Island Wildlife Management Area. Donnelley has more woods – upland hardwood forests, pine forests, and hardwood swamp forests, and it also has some good freshwater marshes and swamps. Some species, such as woodpeckers, warblers, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, and Purple Gallinule, are much more likely at Donnelley than at Bear Island.
   By visiting both areas (with stops along Bennetts Point Road for several marshes and migrant swallows) you will have a pleasant and rewarding day with a large variety of birds.
       
    Banner - Mottled Ducks, Donnelley WMA.
       
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