Survival of Mallard ducklings Anas platyrhynchos and competition with fish for invertebrates on a flooded gravel quarry in England.
The survival of Mallard Anas platyrhynchos ducklings was studied on a complex of flooded gravel quarries in England and their weight changes in response to invertebrate predation by fish were studied by experiment. The majority of duckling loss occurred during the first 12 days after hatching but those feeding on the river where fish were scarce survived better than those feeding on lakes where fish density was high. Duckling mortality was higher in broods with large home ranges. In the experimental trials an increase in fish density was related to a reduction in both the number of emerging invertebrates and the biomass of aquatic macrophytes. Ducklings feeding in these ponds travelled further and gained less weight than on the pond with a low fish density where the number of emerging invertebrates was higher.