US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in The Journal of Wildlife Management 39(2):256-263.


Eighty-seven fall-collected wings from female redhead ducks (Aythya americana) were as- signed to the adult or juvenile group based on "tertial" and "tertial covert" shape and wear. To obtain spring age-related characters from these fall-collected groupings, we considered parameters of flight feathers retained until after the first breeding season. Parameters measured included: markings on and width of greater secondary coverts, and length, weight, and diameter of primary feathers. The best age categorization was obtained with discriminant analysis based on a combination of the most accurately measured parameters. This analysis, applied to 81 wings with complete measurements, resulted in only 1 being incorrectly aged and 3 placed in a questionable category. Discriminant functions used with covert markings and the three 5th primary parameters were applied to 30 known-age juvenile, hand- reared redhead females; 28 were correctly aged, none was incorrectly aged, and only 2 were placed in the questionable category