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Title: Roosting behavior of a neotropical migrant songbird, the northern waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis, during the non-breeding season

Author: Smith, J.A.M.; Reitsmas, L.R.; Rockwood, L.I.; and Marra, P.P.;

Date: 2008

Source: Journal of Avian Biol. 39:460-465

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Several species of Nearctic-Neotropical migratory songbirds appear to form roosting aggregations while on their wintering grounds but little is understood about the ecology of this behavior. We studied roosting behavior and patterns of roost habitat selection in the northern waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis, during three winter years (20022004) in Puerto Rico using radio telemetry. Overall, red mangrove was selected for roosting disproportionately to its availability. Regardless of diurnal habitat used, 87% (n86) of northern waterthrush selected dense stands of coastal red mangrove for roost sites. Individuals traveled up to 2 km to access roost sites in this habitat on a daily basis. The majority (8 of 14) of individuals roosted alone, while others roosted in loose aggregations near communal roosts of gray kingbirds Tyrannus dominicensis. Patterns of roost site selection did not vary by sex. Individuals showing aggressive response to playback during the day, however, selected roost sites significantly closer to the coast. Several additional migratory and resident bird species also used red mangrove for night-time roosting habitat. Red mangrove may be a critical nocturnal roosting habitat for bird populations that live in proximity to coastal areas in the Neotropics. The benefits of nocturnal roosting behavior as well as why individuals appear to select red mangrove remain poorly understood.

Keywords: Wildlife, birds, migratory songbirds

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Smith, J.A.M.; Reitsmas, L.R.; Rockwood, L.I.; and Marra, P.P. 2008. Roosting behavior of a neotropical migrant songbird, the northern waterthrush Seiurus noveboracensis, during the non-breeding season. Journal of Avian Biol. 39:460-465.

 


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