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WILDLIFE SPECIES:  Anas rubripes


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

ABBREVIATION : ANRU COMMON NAMES : American black duck black duck TAXONOMY : The commonly accepted scientific name for the American black duck is Anas rubripes Brewster [10,14]. There are no recognized subspecies. The American black duck hybridizes with the mallard (Anas platyrynchos). ORDER : Anseriformes CLASS : Bird FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : See OTHER STATUS OTHER STATUS : The black duck is on The Blue List of the Audobon Society [15]. It is declining rapidly due to many factors. There is no conclusive evidence to determine the exact cause of the decline, although competition and hybridization with the mallard as well as overhunting have been blamed most frequently [3,10,13].


GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : The Americanw black duck inhabits primarily the eastern North American seaboard but can be found inland as far as Texas in the south and Saskatchewan in the north. It ranges from the northern peninsula of Quebec to southern Florida [10]. It breeds in northern Canada and the United States, is a year-round resident in the central states, and winters from southern Illinois south to Florida [13]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES10 White-red-jack pine FRES11 Spruce-fir FRES14 Oak-pine< FRES15 Oak-hickory FRES16 Oak-gum-cypress< FRES17 Elm-ash-cottonwood FRES18 Maple-beech-birch FRES19 Aspen-birch FRES24 Hemlock-Sitka spruce FRES39 Prairie FRES41 Wet grasslands STATES :

BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K073 Northern cordgrass prairie K078 Southern cordgrass prairie K090 Live oak - sea oats K091 Cypress savanna 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 K099 Maple - basswood forest K100 Oak - hickory forest K101 Elm - ash forest K103 Mixed mesophytic forest K106 Northern hardwoods K107 Northern hardwoods - fir forest K108 Northern hardwoods - spruce forest K111 Oak - hickory - pine forest K112 Southern mixed forest K113 Southern floodplain forest K114 Pocosin SAF COVER TYPES : 1 Jack pine 5 Balsam fir 12 Black spruce 13 Black spruce - tamarack 16 Aspen 17 Pin cherry 18 Paper birch 24 Hemlock - yellow birch 38 Tamarack 63 Cottonwood 87 Sweet gum - yellow-poplar 88 Willow oak - water oak - diamondleaf oak 89 Live oak 91 Swamp chestnut oak - cherrybark oak 92 Sweetgum - willow oak 93 Sugarberry - American elm - green ash 94 Sycamore - sweetgum - American elm 95 Black willow 96 Overcup oak - water hickory 100 Pondcypress 101 Baldcypress 102 Baldcypress - tupelo 103 Water tupelo - swamp tupelo 104 Sweetbay - swamp tupelo - redbay 107 White spruce 201 White spruce 202 White spruce - paper birch 203 Balsam poplar 204 Black spruce 251 White spruce - aspen 252 Paper birch 253 Black spruce - white spruce 254 Black spruce - paper birch SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY PLANT COMMUNITIES : NO-ENTRY REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


TIMING OF MAJOR LIFE HISTORY EVENTS : Pair formation - mostly paired by autumn but can continue into winter. Breeding/Nesting - March through June. Incubation - 23 to 33 days. Clutch - 7 to 12 eggs; birds may renest if first clutch is destroyed. Fledge - 8 to 10 weeks. Maturity - 1 year. [10,13] PREFERRED HABITAT : American black ducks prefer coastal brackish marshes and bays with adjacent agricultural lands [9]. They also inhabit marshy inland lake shores, sedge (Carex spp.) meadows, bogs, conifer uplands, wet hardwood forests, and islands in large bodies of water [10,13]. American black ducks seem to prefer more wooded habitat compared to the mallard [10]. They nest in tree cavities, old bird nests, on muskrat (Ondatra zibethica) lodges, or on the ground either near water or as far as one-half mile from the water's edge [10]. COVER REQUIREMENTS : During the nesting season American black ducks use wooded areas more than other dabbling ducks do. However, because they seem to use a wide variety of habitats, it is difficult to determine specific requirements on a broad scale [13]. For brood rearing, American black ducks use emergent wetlands, marshes, flooded hardwood areas, sloughs, creeks, or ponds [6]. During winter they usually gather on large bodies of water or on coastlines where there is abundant plant food [13]. American black ducks use coastal areas or ice-free areas on winter range for feeding. They need protection from winter storms; this can be provided by open water or high banks along open water or large esturaries [9]. A mix of marine and estuarine habitats offers the greatest variety of food and cover, although specific data is unavailable. For detailed information on habitat suitablity index models for winter American black ducks refer to Lewis and Garrison [9]. Others have detailed information on determining suitable nesting and brood-rearing habitat [6]. FOOD HABITS : Aquatic invertebrates are the major food for nesting females and young American black ducks [13]. Other foods include upland grasses, crops such as blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), oats, buckwheat, corn, and potatoes. They also eat clams, mussels, some fish, eelgrass (Aostera marina), wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima), cordgrass (Spartina spp.), wildrice (Zizania aquatica), pondweed (Potamogeton spp.), arrowhead (Sagittaria spp.), burreed (Sparganium spp.), bulrush (Scirpus spp.), sedge (Carex spp.), and the seeds of oaks (Quercus spp.), baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), tupelo (Nyssa spp.), and buttonbush (Cephalanthus spp.) [9,13]. PREDATORS : Humans are the most significant predator of the American black duck [13]. Other predators include cats (Felidae) and dogs (Canidae); skunks and weasels (Mustelidae); ravens and crows (Corvidae); opossum (Didelphis virginiana), raccoon (Procyon lotor), snakes, turtles, and fish [6]. MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : The American black duck is being replaced by the mallard as the most important nesting species along the East Coast of North America [4]. Because they use a variety of habitats, it may be best to determine what areas are used locally and then protect and enhance those areas [6]. Some techniques for improving and creating brood-rearing habitat include establishing stands of known foods, flooding wetland areas 2 to 24 inches (5-61 cm) deep, and creating visual isolation between feeding areas to protect against predators [6]. To create nesting habitat construct level ditches, pits, small dams for runoff ponds, or blast potholes. For more detailed information refer to Kirby [6]. REFERENCES : NO-ENTRY


DIRECT FIRE EFFECTS ON ANIMALS : American black ducks may return to nests following fires that destroy their clutches [8]. HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS : No information is available on the specific effects of fire on American black ducks nor on their behavior following fire. However, specific information regarding important plant species in American black duck habitat is available through this database. Refer to species such as Phragmites, Carex, Scirpus, Eleocharis, and Spartina. FIRE USE : Early spring burning of coastal marshes can be used to force nesting American black ducks out of those areas where nests are likely to be destroyed by flooding [6]. 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. 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] 2. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 3. Feierabend, J. Scott. 1984. The black duck: an international resource on trial in the United States. Wildlife Society Bulletin. 12(2): 128-134. [21631] 4. Figley, William K.; VanDruff, Larry W. 1982. The ecology of urban mallards. Wildlife Monographs No. 81. Washington, DC: The Wildlife Society. 40 p. [2041] 5. 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] 6. Kirby, Ronald E. 1988. American black duck breeding enhancement in the northeastern United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 50 p. [21632] 7. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. United States [Potential natural vegetation of the conterminous United States]. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 1:3,168,000; colored. [3455] 8. Leedy, Daniel L. 1950. Ducks continue to nest after brush fire at Castalia, Ohio. Auk. 67: 234. [14637] 9. Lewis, James C.; Garrison, Russell L. 1984. Habitat suitability index models: American black duck (wintering). Washington, DC: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. 16 p. [21633] 10. 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] 11. Nichols, James D. 1991. Science, population ecology, and the management of the American black duck. Journal of Wildlife Management. 55(4): 790-799. [19285] 12. Phillips, John C. 1986. A natural history of the ducks. Vols. 1-2. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 409 p. [21634] 13. Spencer, Howard E. 1986. Black duck. In: Di Silvestro, Roger L., ed. Audubon Wildlife Report. New York: The National Audubon Society: 855-869. [21635] 14. 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] 15. Tate, James, Jr. 1986. The Blue List for 1986. American Birds. 40(2): 227-235. [24324]

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