Habitat and Population Evaluation Team
Midwest Region


Habitat Suitability of Wetland Basins for Migrating Lesser Scaup

The continental population of lesser scaup has been in decline since the 1980s. The lesser scaup population has been declining over the past two decades from 5-7 million in the 1970s to less than 3.5 million. Researchers speculate that reduced feeding efficiency and subsequent lowered body condition during spring migration may have adverse impacts on reproductive success. The importance of spring migration habitats to the health and reproductive success of waterfowl has recently begun to attract the attention of scientists. Habitat use by scaup in terms of wetland type and characteristics has long been established in the literature, however, the spatial distribution of potentially suitable sites is not fully known. Sharon Kahara in her doctorate dissertation at South Dakota State University (2007) developed a spatial model to predict habitat suitability for scaup in eastern South Dakota. Kahara’s model used a combination of wetland type, wetland size, and physiographic region to rank habitat suitability of a wetland. We applied Kahara’s model to the wetlands in the prairie pothole region of Minnesota and Iowa. Physiographic regions of Minnesota and Iowa were weighted according to the findings of Wetland use and feeding by scaup (Anteau and Afton 2009: Wetlands 29 pg. 704-712).



 For additional information about habitat suitability for migrating lesser scaup contact:

Dan Hertel
Wildlife Biologist
Habitat and Population Evaluation Team

Cry of the Marsh
Strategic Habitat Conservation
Last updated: March 31, 2010