Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Birds » Geese Ducks Swans and Screamers: Anseriformes - Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, GEESE DUCKS SWANS SCREAMERS AND PEOPLE

Geese Ducks Swans and Screamers: Anseriformes - Behavior And Reproduction

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Most waterfowl are active during the day and seek the safety of shelter at night. When not nesting, they are social birds and gather in groups during the winter months. These groups can reach up to three thousand birds. When nesting, though, they prefer to be alone for the most part. Screamers are solitary, alone, nesters as well.

Screamers build their nests out of weeds and sticks and choose sites close to the water. A seasonally monogamous, one mate per season, bird, screamers often return to the same nest for many seasons, and some use the same nest for life. Both sexes build and defend the nest. They lay two to seven eggs, which parents will take turns incubating, warming, for forty-two to forty-five days. They cover the eggs with weeds if they must both leave the nest. New chicks are tended to for just a couple days, and they are ready for flight by eight to ten weeks. They are completely independent by fourteen weeks of age.

Screamers get their name for the loud vocalizations used to defend territory and to call out to one another. Their screams can be heard from a distance of 1.9 miles (3 kilometers).

Some species of waterfowl build their nests near the water, while others nest more than a mile from the waters' edge. Those that nest far away are surface-feeding ducks that can walk without difficulty. Most nest on the ground while others build their homes in trees. The nest is made of whatever can be found around the site, and shortly before the eggs are laid, females pluck the soft down from their undersides and line the nest with it. Clutch, number of eggs laid, sizes vary greatly, from two to twenty-two. Incubation lasts from twenty-two to forty days, and with the exception of a few species, males do not assist in this duty. Chicks are born with a covering of down that becomes water repellent as it rubs against the mother's feathers. Ducklings feed independently the first day. Ducks care for their young until they are able to fly, between forty to seventy days. Geese and swans care for their young until the following spring.

Predators of waterfowl and screamers include red fox, coyote, weasel and mink, crow, owl, raccoon, badger, skunk, magpie, and skuas.

MASS KILLING OF MUTE SWANS HALTED

In September 2003 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew all permits to hunt mute swans nationwide.

Mute swans have been blamed for damaging the environment because they consume large amounts of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV). This consumption, some experts argue, threatens the vegetation as well as wildlife that depend on it. Most experts agree, however, that the greatest threat to SAV in the Chesapeake Bay is lack of light, which prohibits photosynthesis, the process in which plants use sunlight as energy for growth.

Mute swans have been blamed for the difficulties reintroducing trumpeter swans in Wisconsin because they are aggressive.

Mute swans are not native to the United States, but were introduced in the 1800s; their population now exceeds fourteen thousand along the East Coast.

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