Survival and age related changes in the foraging behaviour and time budget of Tufted Ducklings Aythya fuligula.
The time budgets of Tufted ducklings Aythya fuligula changed radically as they matured, particularly during the first 12 days of life—the most critical time for survival. The amount of time spent skimming for surface chironomids declined during the period from hatching to 21 days. Time allocated to diving increased during this period. Ducklings between the ages 12–37 days visited land in order to preen and sleep during the day. Time spent preening on land increased up to 21 days of age and declined thereafter. Diving rate was highest in ducklings of the 20–30 day age category and declined in those older than 30 days. The amount of time spent under water on each dive, equated with diving success, increased with age.