Wildlife & Habitat

Wetland 512x333_NDGF

Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) are managed primarily for waterfowl production and waterfowl migration. Through habitat management, numerous other wildlife species also benefit, and find the food, water, shelter, and space needed for survival. Habitat on the WPAs consists of approximately 37% wetland, 38% native prairie, and 25% tame grassland and scattered trees or shrubs.  

  • Mallards

    Mallard Pair

    Mallards are 'dabbling ducks' - they feed in the wetland by tipping forward to strain insects from the water or to graze on underwater plants. The male has a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill. The female is mottled brown with orange and brown bills. Both male and female have a white-bordered, blue speculum patch on the wing. The hen forms a shallow depression on the ground and pulls vegetation from nearby to line her nest, where 10-12 eggs are incubated for approximately 24 days. Both wetlands and grasslands are extremely important habitats for mallards and other ducks.

  • American Avocet

    American Avocet

    American avocets are often seen along the shoreline of shallow wetlands, where they swing their long, upturned bills through the water to catch small invertebrates. Their nests are scrapes in the ground that are lined with grass, pebbles, or sometimes, nothing. The female lays 3-4 eggs that are greenish brown with dark brown spots. Chicks leave the nest within 24 hours after hatching and are able to walk, swim, and even dive to escape predators.

  • Native Prairie Habitat

    Native Prairie

    Native prairie is grassland that has never been touched by the plow. Prairie contains a mix of warm and cool season grasses as well as wildflowers. The prairie offers valuable food and shelter for many grassland nesting birds.