US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



The Journal of Wildlife Management, Vol. 50, No. 1 (Jan., 1986), pp. 43-51


This article is a U.S. government work, and is not subject to copyright in the United States.


We obtained esophageal food samples from 311 mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and 94 wood ducks (Aix sponsa) and body weights from 2,118 mallards and 315 wood ducks in western Mississippi during December and January 1979-83. On average, mallards ingested 3.0% animal food, principally aquatic invertebrates, and 97.0% plant food. Rice, soybeans, and seeds of "moist soil" plants provided 41.3, 41.6, and 10-11% of the total food intake. Wood ducks ingested nearly 100% plant food, of which 23.4% was soybeans and 74.3% was acorns from Nuttall (Quercus nuttallii), water (Q. nigra), and willow oaks (Q. phellos). Mallard food use varied with water conditions; the use of rice decreased and soybeans increased during 1980-81 when cumulative November-January precipitation was