US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2006. Waterfowl population status, 2006. U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. U.S.A.


In the Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey traditional survey area (strata 1-18, 20-50, and 75-77), the total duck population estimate was 36.2 ± 0.6 [SE] million birds. This was 14% greater than last year’s estimate of 31.7 ± 0.6 million birds and 9% above the 1955-2005 long-term average. Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) abundance was 7.3 ± 0.2 million birds, which was similar to last year’s estimate of 6.8 ± 0.3 million birds and to the long-term average. Blue-winged teal (A. discors) abundance was 5.9 ± 0.3 million birds. This value was 28% greater than last year’s estimate of 4.6 ± 0.2 million birds and 30% above the long-term average. The estimated abundance of green-winged teal (A. crecca; 2.6 ± 0.2 million) was 20% greater than last year and 39% above the long-term average. The estimated number of gadwall (A. strepera; 2.8 ± 0.2 million) was 30% greater than last year and was 67% above the long-term average, and the estimated number of redheads (Aythya americana; 0.9 ± 0.1 million) increased 55% relative to 2005 and was 47% above the long-term average. The canvasback estimate (A. valisineria; 0.7 ± 0.1 million) was 33% higher than last year’s and was 23% higher than the long-term average. The Northern shoveler (Anas clypeata; 3.7 ± 0.2 million) estimate was similar to last year’s, and 69% above the long-term average. Although estimates for most species increased relative to last year and were greater than their long-term averages, American wigeon (A. americana; 2.2 ± 0.1 million) and scaup (Aythya affinis and A. marila combined; 3.2 ± 0.2 million) estimates were unchanged relative to 2005, but remained 17% and 37% below their long-term averages, respectively. The estimate for scaup was a record low for the second consecutive year. The Northern pintail (Anas acuta; 3.4 ± 0.2 million) estimate was 18% below its 1955-2005 average, although this year’s estimate was 32% greater than that of last year. The total May pond estimate (Prairie Canada and U.S. combined) was 6.1 ± 0.2 million ponds. This was 13% greater than last year’s estimate of 5.4 ± 0.2 million and 26% higher than the long-term average of 4.8 ± 0.1 million ponds. The 2006 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 4.4 ± 0.2 million ponds, a 13% increase from last year’s estimate of 3.9 ± 0.2 million ponds and 32% above the 1955-2005 average. The 2006 pond estimate for the north-central U.S. (1.6 ± 0.1 million) was similar to last year’s estimate and to the long-term average. The projected mallard fall flight index was 9.8 ± 0.1 million, similar to the 2005 estimate of 9.3 ± 0.1 million birds. The eastern survey area was restratified in 2005, and is now composed of strata 51-72. Mergansers (red-breasted [Mergus serrator], common [M. merganser], and hooded [Lophodytes cucullatus;]), mallards, American black ducks (A. rubripes), Ringnecked ducks (Aythya collaris), goldeneyes (common [Bucephala clangula] and Barrow’s [B. islandica]) and green-winged teal were all similar to their 2005 estimates. American wigeon (-51%) and buffleheads ([B. albeola], -58%) were lower than their 2005 estimates. None of the species in the eastern survey area differed from long-term averages.