Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Black-bellied whistling ducks Dendrocygna autumnalis use arboreal nest boxes provided in wetland sites in Texas, USA

Published source details

McCamant R.E. & Bolen E.G. (1979) A 12-year study of nest box utilization by black-bellied whistling ducks. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 43, 936-943


Nest boxes offer the potential to increase the reproductive output of bird species that are limited by nesting sites. However, unless birds use the nest boxes then they will not be effective. This study reports on the use of nest boxes by black-bellied whistling ducks Dendrocygna autumnalis in Texas, USA.



Between 1964 and 1975, between 11 and 69 nest boxes were erected at six wetland sites in Texas, USA. Boxes were placed in trees, but no further details on design or positioning are provided. An average of 52 boxes were available for use each year.

The number of boxes used and the fate of the eggs within were monitored with an average of 14 visits/year.



An average of 81% of arboreal nest boxes were used each year.

A total of 778 nests were laid over the study period, of which 40% were incubated. Of these, 75% hatched at least one egg successfully (210 nests, 28% of all nests). Successful nests contained an average of 32 eggs each, with 63% hatching, compared with only 20% of all 21,982 eggs laid in nest boxes over the study period.

Note: If using or referring to this published study, please read and quote the original paper.