Golden-cheeked Warbler behavior in relation to vegetation characteristics across their breeding range
Authors: K.N. Smith-Hicks, J.C. Newnam, M.R. Colón, A.M. Long, M.L. Morrison
We examined golden-cheeked warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia; hereafter warbler) behavior by age, sex, and habitat characteristics across their breeding range in central Texas (1995–1997). This federally endangered songbird foraged more on oak (Quercus spp.) substrates early in the breeding season and more on Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) late in the breeding season. We observed no overall difference in tree species use by warbler sex and age; however, we detected female and juvenile warblers in the low and middle canopy more often for all behaviors than males. Also, female warblers rested less and foraged twice as much as male warblers, who instead vocalized more than females and juveniles. In the southernmost study location, male warblers foraged more and vocalized less. More specifically, they foraged more on oaks when compared to other tree species, suggesting vegetation may influence warbler behavior in some locations. As the breeding season progressed, warblers increased their use of lower tree height classes for foraging and nonforaging behaviors. Site-specific vegetation management practices incorporating structural and compositional heterogeneity may better address the habitat needs of both warbler sex and age groups.
Smith-Hicks, K.N. ,J.C. Newnam, M.R. Colón, A.M. Long, M.L. Morrison. 2016. Golden-cheeked Warbler Behavior in Relation to Vegetation Characteristics across their Breeding Range. Am. Midl. Nat. (2016) 176:81–94.