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Home Range and Foraging Habitat of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers in Northern Florida

Margaret L. Porter and Ronald F. Labisky
The Journal of Wildlife Management
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Apr., 1986), pp. 239-247
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Wildlife Society
DOI: 10.2307/3801905
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3801905
Page Count: 9
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Home Range and Foraging Habitat of Red-Cockaded Woodpeckers in Northern Florida
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Abstract

Home ranges and foraging habitats of 4 clans of red-cockaded woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) were studied monthly on the Apalachicola National Forest (ANF) in northern Florida during 1983. Year-round home ranges, computed by the harmonic mean method, averaged 129 ± 31 (SD) ha. Mean home range did not differ among seasons although there was an autumn (Oct-Dec) contraction in size. Woodpeckers foraged almost exclusively in living pines (99%); 77% of foraging occurred in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), which occupied 40% of the home ranges, and 22% occurred in slash pine (P. elliottii), which occupied 35% of the home ranges. Red-cockaded woodpeckers selected pines with mean height >20 m and mean diameter at breast height (dbh) >20 cm for foraging. Year-round home range (129 ha) and primary foraging area (82 ha) of red-cockaded woodpeckers in longleaf-slash pine habitat on the ANF were larger than the comparable total range (86.9 ha) and foraging area (50.6 ha) previously reported for longleafloblolly pine (P. taeda) habitat on the Francis Marion National Forest (FMNF) in South Carolina. The FMNF data have, to date, constituted the foundation for management of red-cockaded woodpeckers on federal lands in the Southeast; however, the emerging differences in the foraging requirements of the species among different habitats indicate the propriety of evaluating forest management guidelines for this endangered species on a habitat-by-habitat basis.

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