Wildlife & Habitat

Trumpeter Swan with Cygnets

The 75 waterfowl production areas of Iowa Wetland Management District provides a diversity of habitat for waterfowl and other migratory birds.

  • Mallard

    Drake Mallard

    The mallard is the most common duck in the United States. It can be seen in large numbers in Iowa during migration. Nesting mallards are also abundant in Iowa. Nesting starts in Mid-April and peaks in May. Nests are generally built on the ground in upland areas near wetlands, although mallards are more likely to use artificial nest structures than most ducks. They use all types of wetlands and can generally be seen throughout the Iowa Wetland Management District from March through November

  • Blue-winged Teal

    Blue-winged Teal Pair

    The blue-winged teal is a small duck that is frequently seen feeding in shallow water. They are long-distance migrants, and are therefore one of the first duck species to head south in the fall and one of the last to arrive in the spring. Within the Iowa Wetland Management District, blue-winged teal can most reliably be found from April through September. Nesting starts in May and peaks in June. Nests are built on the ground in upland grassy areas located near wetlands.

  • Bobolink


    Over the past several decades, grassland bird populations have declined more than any other group of North American birds. This decline is due to habitat loss and fragmentation. The Iowa Wetland Management District contains large tracts of prairie, which is essential for grassland birds. The bobolink is one of the many species of grassland birds that can be seen on the district. The male bobolink’s striking spring plumage has the unusual combination of a black underside and a white back. It is the only North American land bird with this color pattern. The bobolink is found on the district from May through early September. It is generally seen in open grassland areas.

  • Marsh


    The Iowa Wetland Management District is situated in the southern part of the Prairie Pothole Region of North America. The Prairie Pothole Region makes up just 10% of North America’s waterfowl breeding habitat, but produces 50% of the continent’s ducks in an average year. Approximately 90% of the wetlands in Iowa have been drained since the state was settled. We have restored thousands of acres of these previously drained wetlands within the district to reestablish habitat for nesting waterfowl. These wetlands also provide vitally important habitat to a vast array of waterfowl and other migratory birds for feeding and resting during migration.

  • Tallgrass Prairie

    Tallgrass Prairie

    Tallgrass prairie is a fire-dependent ecosystem characterized by tall grasses, wildflowers, and deep, rich soils. Tallgrass prairie once covered parts of 14 states in the Midwest, including about 80% of Iowa. Less than 0.1% of the original tallgrass prairie in Iowa remains today. We have replanted tallgrass prairie on thousands of acres of former cropland in the Iowa Wetland Management District. Our reconstructed prairie provides critical habitat for many grassland-dependent wildlife species.