New Mexico Project
Waterfowl Habitat Selection in Arid Landscapes
January 2023 - December 2025
- USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Wetlands and riparian areas represent less than 2% of land cover in the southwestern United States; of this historic 2% more than 1/3 has been lost to agriculture and urbanization. Numerous migratory waterbirds use southwestern wetlands as energetic linkages between wetland habitats during migration and as important staging and wintering areas. However, the ephemeral nature and annual variability in timing and location limit the value of these resources to most species across the entirety of all life history events. The Mexican duck (Anas platyrhynchos diazi) has unique life history adaptations that allow the species to take advantage of these variable wetland conditions throughout their entire cycle. Our study will evaluate and habitat use patterns of Mexican ducks and other southwestern dabbling duck species to better understand habitat needs for waterfowl in a changing climate. This study is partnering with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Texas at El Paso.