We collected mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) from bottomland hardwood habitats on the Bayou Meto Wildlife Management Area and the White River National Wildlife Refuge, Arkansas County, Arkansas during the winter of 1990 to 1991 to determine if measures of physiological condition could be predicted from structural size, serum metabolite levels, or from direct measures of carcass composition. Serum triglyceride levels were correlated (r = 0.57, P = 0.007) with total body fat in males and slightly increased the value (from R2 = 0.64 to 0.76) of intact body mass alone for predicting total body fat in males. Overall, however, serum metabolites appeared to be poor indicators of the magnitude of nutrient masses in mallards. Three potential indices of nutritional status were developed from carcass composition data: protein/total ash, fat/total ash, and fat/fat-free body mass. Protein masses of male mallards changed over winter (P = 0.02). Consequently, fat-free masses are not constant and represent poor indicators of structural size for mallards wintering in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

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