Survival, emigration and winter population structure of Harlequin Ducks.
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A population of individually marked Harlequin Ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus) at White Rock, British Columbia, Canada was examined to measure the degree of population differentiation among birds which pair during the winter months. This required an understanding of the patterns of emigration among wintering sites in different segments of the population. Some juveniles arrived at the wintering grounds accompanied by their mothers, thus initially arriving into the same winter population as their parents. Young males were more likely than young females to disperse during the first two years of life. Adult males had higher local survival than adult females during the summer months, probably because of the greater mortality risks to nesting females. During the nonbreeding seasons, local survival was the same in both sexes. Paired males had a local survival of more than 90%, suggesting both high survival and strong philopatry. Unpaired males had a lower local survival rate, suggesting they have higher mortality and/or emigration rates. Young females had the same local survival rate as adult females, suggesting that they did not disperse during the winter. These winter philopatry patterns are similar to the general pattern of breeding philopatry in waterfowl, with females showing stronger philopatry than males, and paired adults stronger philopatry than unpaired and young birds. The dispersal of young males makes local population differentiation unlikely in this species.