Approximately 40 percent of the mottled duck's diet consists of animal matter such as insects, snails, mollusks, crayfish and small fish. The remainder of its diet is composed of grass seeds, stems, and roots; seeds of other marsh plants; and bayberries.
Florida mottled ducks have an intrinsic, aesthetic value and are highly prized as a game bird. Also they are a defining member of the unique suite of species characteristic of the prairie ecosystem of south Florida.
It will take an effort by not only the FWC, but all Floridians, to ensure the continued existence of the Florida mottled duck.
Florida mottled ducks nest from February through July. The females tend to locate their nests in dense vegetation (tall grasses, rushes or palmetto thickets) on the ground near water. The nest is built of vegetation and is lined with down. Only 1 brood each year is raised and females typically lay 8-10 eggs called a clutch. The eggs are creamy-white to greenish-white and are incubated within 25 to 27 days.
Unlike such birds as the mockingbird or blue jay, which raise their young in the nest for weeks, mottled duck females will move their ducklings to water within 24 to 48 hours of hatching. Young mottled ducks are capable of flight at 60 to 70 days of age.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists have conducted an aerial survey of Florida's mottled ducks every March since 1985, to provide an estimate of the density of birds within a central area of their range. The FWC uses this density estimate to monitor the status of the mottled duck population. In 2003, the FWC began to redesign the survey to improve its efficiency and provide a more reliable density estimate, one that is representative of the entire mottled duck population.
Hybridization - The problem
Feral mallards are mating with mottled ducks, producing a hybrid offspring. State biologists are observing more and more mixed flocks and mixed pairs in the wild and these. These hybrid offspring are fertile, which further compounds the problem. Every mallard released in Florida can potentially contribute to the hybridization problem and the result is that fewer and fewer pure-bred Florida mottled ducks are left each year. The complete hybridization could result in the extinction of the Florida mottled duck.
Hybridization - The problem and what you can do to help.
Managed in cooperation with
The Nature Conservancy and Sam M. Shine Foundation
Flint Rock WMA consists of 17,033 acres in Wakulla and Jefferson counties. The area is bounded on the north by Highway 98 and on the south by the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. At times, Flint Rock, which is comprised of a mosaic of mature forests, recently logged areas, and newly planted pine areas, may be quite wet. Access to this area is only permitted during hunting seasons and requires a recreational use permit. Camping is prohibited.
Rules Regarding Dogs
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting dogs may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. Hunting with dogs, other than bird dogs or retrievers, is prohibited, except that any dog may be used to hunt wild hog during the small game season. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.
View FWC's Regulations Summary for Flint Rock for an area map, hunting seasons, permits, fees, and area regulations.