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AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Tesky, Julie L. 1993. Anas discors. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ANDI COMMON NAMES : blue-winged teal bluewing summer teal white-faced teal TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name for the blue-winged teal is Anas discors Linnaeus [21]. The two subspecies recognized are listed below [1,10]: A. discors spp. discors (western blue-winged teal) A. discors spp. orphna Stewart and Aldrich (Atlantic blue-winged teal) The blue-winged teal hybridizes with the cinnamon teal (A. cyanoptera) [21]. ORDER : Anseriformes CLASS : Bird FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The blue-winged teal breeds from east-central Alaska and southern Mackenzie District east to southern Quebec and southwestern Newfoundland. In the contiguous United States it breeds from northeast California east to central Louisiana, central Tennessee, and the Atlantic Coast [4,10]. The western blue-winged teal inhabits that part of the breeding range west of the Appalachian Mountains. The Atlantic blue-winged teal nests along the Atlantic Coast from New Brunswick to Pea Island, North Carolina [1]. The blue-winged teal winters from southern California to western and southern Texas, the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic Coast and south to Central and South America. It is often seen wintering as far south as Brazil and central Chile [4,11,16]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES14 Oak-pine FRES15 Oak-hickory FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES18 Maple-beech-birch FRES19 Aspen-birch FRES20 Douglas-fir FRES21 Ponderosa pine FRES22 Western white pine FRES23 Fir-spruce FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce FRES26 Lodgepole pine FRES34 Chaparral-mountain shrub FRES36 Mountain grasslands FRES37 Mountain meadows FRES38 Plains grasslands FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands FRES42 Annual grasslands STATES :


BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 1 Northern Pacific Border 2 Cascade Mountains 3 Southern Pacific Border 4 Sierra Mountains 5 Columbia Plateau 6 Upper Basin and Range 7 Lower Basin and Range 8 Northern Rocky Mountains 9 Middle Rocky Mountains 10 Wyoming Basin 11 Southern Rocky Mountains 12 Colorado Plateau 13 Rocky Mountain Piedmont 14 Great Plains 15 Black Hills Uplift 16 Upper Missouri Basin and Broken Lands KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K001 Spruce - cedar - hemlock forest K002 Cedar - hemlock - Douglas-fir forest K003 Silver fir - Douglas-fir forest K004 Fir - hemlock forest K005 Mixed conifer forest K008 Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest K013 Cedar - hemlock - pine forest K025 Alder - ash forest K029 California mixed evergreen forest K033 Chaparral K034 Montane chaparral K047 Fescue - oatgrass K048 California steppe K049 Tule marshes K050 Fescue - wheatgrass K051 Wheatgrass - bluegrass K053 Grama - galleta steppe K054 Grama - tobosa prairie K056 Wheatgrass - needlegrass shrubsteppe K057 Galleta - three-awn shrubsteppe K058 Grama - tobosa shrubsteppe K063 Foothills prairie K064 Grama - needlegrass - wheatgrass K065 Grama - buffalograss K066 Wheatgrass - needlegrass K067 Wheatgrass - bluestem - needlegrass K068 Wheatgrass - grama - buffalograss K069 Bluestem - grama prairie K070 Sandsage - bluestem prairie K072 Sea oats prairie K073 Northern cordgrass prairie K074 Bluestem prairie K075 Nebraska Sandhills prairie K076 Blackland prairie K077 Bluestem - sacahuista prairie K078 Southern cordgrass prairie K079 Palmetto prairie K080 Marl - everglades K081 Oak savanna K082 Mosaic of K074 and K100 K088 Fayette prairie K090 Live oak - sea oats K091 Cypress savanna K092 Everglades K093 Great Lakes spruce - fir forest K094 Conifer bog K095 Great Lakes pine forest K096 Northeastern spruce - fir forest K097 Southeastern spruce - fir forest K098 Northern floodplain forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K105 Mangrove K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K109 Transition between K104 and K106 K110 Northeastern oak - pine forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K113 Southern floodplain forest SAF COVER TYPES : 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 19 Gray birch - red maple 38 Tamarack 63 Cottonwood 88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak 89 Live oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 95 Black willow 106 Mangrove 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 205 Mountain hemlock 206 Engelmann spruce - subalpine fir 217 Aspen 235 Cottonwood - willow 253 Black spruce - white spruce 254 Black spruce - paper birch 252 Paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY PLANT COMMUNITIES : The blue-winged teal is primarily found in the northern prairies and parklands. It is the most abundant duck in the mixed-grass prairies of the Dakotas and the prairie provinces of Canada. The blue-winged teal is also found in wetlands of boreal forest associations, shortgrass prairies, tallgrass prairies, and deciduous woodlands [1]. This duck commonly inhabits wetland communities dominated by bulrush (Scirpus spp.), cattail (Typha spp.), pondweed (Potamogeton spp.), sedges (Carex spp.), widgeongrass (Ruppia maritima), and other emergent and aquatic vegetation [1,2,8,17]. During molting, it often remains among extensive beds of bulrushes and cattails. The blue-winged teal favors areas dominated by bluegrass (Poa spp.) for nesting. Hayfields and plant communities of buckbrush (Ceonothus cuneatus) and sedges are also important as nest sites [1]. In the winter, blue-winged teal often inhabits mangrove (Rhizophora spp.) swamps [14]. REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : Courtship and pair bonding - The onset of courtship among immature blue-winged teal often starts in late January or early February. In areas south of the breeding grounds, blue-winged teal are more active in courtship during the spring migration than are most other ducks [1]. Nesting - Blue-winged teal are among the last dabbling ducks to nest [1], generally nesting between April 15 and May 15 [1,2]. Few nests are started after mid-July [1]. Chronology of nesting can vary from year to year as a result of weather conditions. At Delta Marshes, Manitoba, blue-winged teal nesting was delayed a week in 1950 due to abnormally cold weather [1]. Clutch/incubation - Blue-winged teal generally lay 10 to 12 eggs [10]. Delayed nesting and renesting efforts have substantially smaller clutches, averaging five to six eggs [10]. Clutch size can also vary with the age of the hen. Yearlings tend to lay smaller clutches [1]. Incubation takes 21 to 27 days [1,2,10]. Age at sexual maturity - Blue-winged teal are sexually mature after their first winter [10]. Fledging - Blue-winged teal ducklings can walk to water within 12 hours after hatching but do not fledge until 6 to 7 weeks [2,10]. Molting - During incubation, the drake leaves its mate and moves to suitable molting cover where it becomes flightless for a period of 3 to 4 weeks [10]. Migration - Blue-winged teal are generally the first ducks south in the fall and the last ones north in the spring [1]. Adult drakes depart the breeding grounds well before adult hens and immatures. Most blue-winged teal flocks seen after mid-September are composed largely of adult hens and immatures [1]. The northern regions experience a steady decline in blue-winged teal populations from early September until early November. Blue-winged teal in central migration areas tend to remain through September, then diminish rapidly during October, with small numbers remaining until December. Large numbers of blue-winged teal appear on wintering grounds in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas in September [1]. PREFERRED HABITAT : Breeding habitat - Blue-winged teal inhabit shoreline more often than open water and prefer calm water or sluggish currents to fast water. They inhabit inland marshes, lakes, ponds, pools, and shallow streams with dense emergent vegetation [4]. In coastal areas, breeding occurs in salt-marsh meadows with adjoining ponds or creeks [10]. Blue-winged teal use rocks protruding above water, muskrat houses, trunks or limbs of fallen trees, bare stretches of shoreline, or mud flats for resting sites [4]. Winter habitat - Blue-winged teal winter on shallow inland freshwater marshes and brackish and saltwater marshes [4]. Nesting habitat - Blue-winged teal build their nests on dry ground in grassy sites such as bluegrass meadows, hayfields, and sedge meadows. They will also nest in areas with very short, sparse vegetation [6]. Blue-winged teal generally nest within several hundred yards of open water; however, nests have been found as far as 1 mile (1.6 km) away from water [1]. Where the habitat is good, they nest communally [4]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : Blue-winged teal often use heavy growth of bulrushes and cattails as escape cover [2]. Grasses, sedges, and hayfields provide nesting cover for these ducks [6]. Fritzell [6] reported that blue-winged teal nests located in light to sparse cover were more successful than those in heavy cover. Nesting success was 47 percent on grazed areas and 14 percent on ungrazed areas [6]. FOOD HABITS : Blue-winged teal are surface feeders and prefer to feed on mud flats, in fields, or in shallow water where there is floating and shallowly submerged vegetation plus abundant small aquatic animal life. They mostly eat vegetative matter consisting of seeds or stems and leaves of sedge, grass, pondweed, smartweed (Polygonum spp.), duckweed (Lemna spp.), widgeongrass, and muskgrass (Chara spp.) [1,4,10]. The seeds of plants that grow on mud flats, such as nutgrass (Cyperus spp.), smartweed, millet (Panicum spp.), and rice cut-grass (Leersia oryzoides), are avidly consumed by this duck [1]. One-fourth of the food consumed by blue-winged teals is animal matter such as mollusks, crustaceans, and insects [1,4,10]. PREDATORS : Common predators of blue-winged teal include humans, snakes, snapping turtles (Chlycha serpentina), dogs (Canidae), eastern crows (Corvus brachyrhnchos), magpies (Pica spp.), ground squirrels (Citellus spp.), coyotes (Canis latrans), red foxes (Vulpes fulva), gray foxes (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), long-tailed weasels (Mustela frenata), minks (Mustela vison), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), spotted skunks (Spilogale putorius), and badgers (Taxidea taxus) [1,2]. During one study, about half of the nest failures of blue-winged teal were caused by mammals. Striped and spotted skunks were responsible for two-thirds of these losses. All nest losses caused by birds were attributed to either crows or magpies [1]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Farm activities such as mowing of hayfields, plowing, fence-building, and trampling by cattle can destroy blue-winged teal nests [1]. In spite of low hunting losses, blue-winged teals have a higher annual mortality than other dabbling ducks. Perhaps the high nonhunting losses occur because of the blue-winged teal's lengthy overwater flights to South America [1]. REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : Fire occurring in blue-winged teal nesting habitat during April through June could destroy a large number of nests [1,2]. Blue-winged teal nests in short, sparse vegetation are less subject to fire destruction. Such scant cover is not intentionally burned as often as heavy cover [6]. Ducklings and molting adults are especially vulnerable to fire. Adult nonmolting blue-winged teal can probably easily escape fire. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : Fire can remove blue-winged teal nesting cover [19]. Although blue-winged teal do not show a preference for burned cover, they use burned areas more often than do other dabbling ducks [6]. Fritzell [6] found 16 of 19 nests in burned areas to be those of blue-winged teal. Large-scale autumn burning may have a detrimental effect on marshes by reducing their ability to catch and retain drifting snow, which adds heavily to spring run-off. The ability of marsh vegetation to catch and hold snow can be vital to marsh survival [19]. Fire often removes excessive accumulations of fast-growing hydrophytes, permitting better waterfowl access and growth of more desirable duck foods. Fire can be used to convert forested uplands adjacent to aquatic habitats to grasses and sedges, thus increasing the nesting potential for some waterfowl [18]. FIRE USE : Prescribed fire can be used to create nesting edge for ducks. Removal of dense vegetation and woody encroachment is vital if prairie marshes are to remain in this successional state [19]. According to Ward [19], spring burning in marshlands is primarily done to remove vegetation and create more nesting edge. Summer fires are used to create more permanent changes in the plant community. If prescribed burning is used as a management technique in marshes, burning must be completed well before or after the nesting season [19]. For blue-winged teal, summer burning should occur after July [19]. Fire can also be used to reduce predator activity through the elimination of hiding cover [6]. Fire can be used to remove fast-growing undesirable species, such as common reed (Phragmites australis), and increase production of desirable blue-winged teal foods such as pondweed and duckweed [20]. The best way to reduce common reed with prescribed burning is to burn during the summer when carbohydrate reserves in the plant are low and the soil is dry [9]. FIRE REGIMES : Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


REFERENCES : 1. Bellrose, Frank C. 1980. Ducks, geese and swans of North America. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books. 3rd ed. 540 p. [19802] 2. Bennett, Logan J. 1938. The blue-winged teal: Its ecology and management. Ames, IA: Collegiate Press, Inc. 144 p. [20025] 3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 4. DeGraaf, Richard M.; Scott, Virgil E.; Hamre, R. H.; [and others]. 1991. Forest and rangeland birds of the United States: Natural history and habitat use. Agric. Handb. 688. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 625 p. [15856] 5. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 6. Fritzell, Erik K. 1975. Effects of agricultural burning on nesting waterfowl. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 89: 21-27. [14635] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Harris, Stanley W. 1954. An ecological study of the waterfowl of the Potholes Area, Grant County, Washington. American Midland Naturalist. 52(2): 403-432. [11207] 9. Higgins, Kenneth F.; Kruse, Arnold D.; Piehl, James L. 1989. Effects of fire in the Northern Great Plains. Ext. Circ. EC-761. Brookings, SD: South Dakota State University, Cooperative Extension Service, South Dakota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit. 47 p. [14749] 10. Johnsgard, Paul A. 1979. A guide to North American waterfowl. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. 274 p. [20026] 11. Johnson, Douglas H.; Grier, James W. 1988. Determinants of breeding distribution of ducks. Wildlife Monographs. 100: 1-37. [21350] 12. Kruse, Arnold D.; Higgins, Kenneth F. 1990. Effects of prescribed fire upon wildlife habitat in northern mixed-grass prairie. In: Alexander, M. E.; Bisgrove, G. F., technical coordinators. The art and science of fire management: Proceedings, 1st Interior West Fire Council annual meeting and workshop; 1988 October 24-27; Kananaskis Village, AB. Inf. Rep. NOR-X-309. Edmonton, AB: Forestry Canada, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Centre: 182-193. [14146] 13. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 14. Madge, Steve; Burn, Hilary. 1988. Waterfowl: An indentification guide to the ducks, geese and swans of the world. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 298 p. [20029] 15. Martz, Gerald F. 1967. Effects of nesting cover removal on breeding puddle ducks. Journal of Wildlife Management. 31(2): 236-247. [16284] 16. Musgrove, Jack W.; Musgrove, Mary R. 1943. Waterfowl in Iowa. Des Moines, IA: State Convservation Committee. 113 p. + index. [20028] 17. Smith, Loren M.; Kadlec, John A. 1986. Habitat management for wildlife in marshes of Great Salt Lake. Trans., North American Wildlife and Natural Resource Conference. 51: 222-231. [11428] 18. Vogl, Richard J. 1967. Controlled burning for wildlife in Wisconsin. In: Proceedings, 6th annual Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference; 1967 March 6-7; Tallahassee, FL. No. 6. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 47-96. [18726] 19. Ward, P. 1968. Fire in relation to waterfowl habitat of the delta marshes. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1968 March 14-15; Tallahassee, FL. No. 8. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 255-267. [18932] 20. Schlichtemeier, Gary. 1967. Marsh burning for waterfowl. In: Proceedings, 6th annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1967 March 6-7; Tallahassee, FL. No. 6. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 40-46. [16450] 21. Donohoe, Robert W. 1974. American hornbeam Carpinus caroliniana Walt. In: Gill, John D.; Healy, William M., eds. Shrubs and vines for northeastern wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-9. Upper Darby, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Forest Experiment Station: 86-88. [13714]

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