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Habitat Associations of Migrating and Overwintering Grassland Birds in Southern Texas

Lawrence D. Igl and Bart M. Ballard
The Condor
Vol. 101, No. 4 (Nov., 1999), pp. 771-782
DOI: 10.2307/1370064
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1370064
Page Count: 12
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Habitat Associations of Migrating and Overwintering Grassland Birds in Southern Texas
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Abstract

We report on the habitat associations of 21 species of grassland birds overwintering in or migrating through southern Texas, during 1991-1992 and 1992-1993. Ninety percent of our grassland bird observations were made during winter and spring, and only 10% occurred during fall. Grassland species made up a high proportion of the total bird densities in grassland and shrub-grassland habitats, but much lower proportions in the habitats with more woody vegetation. Fewer grassland species were observed in grassland and woodland than in brushland, parkland, and shrub-grassland habitats. Grassland birds generally were found in higher densities in habitats that had woody canopy coverage of < 30%; densities of grassland birds were highest in shrub-grassland habitat and lowest in woodland habitat. Species that are grassland specialists on their breeding grounds tended to be more habitat specific during the nonbreeding season compared to shrub-grassland specialists, which were more general in their nonbreeding-habitat usage. Nonetheless, our data demonstrate that grassland birds occur in a variety of habitats during the nonbreeding season and seem to occupy a broader range of habitats than previously described.

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