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Breeding biology and nest-site selection of red-tailed hawks in an altered desert grassland

January 1, 2006

Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) have expanded their range as trees have invaded formerly-open grasslands. Desert grasslands of southern Arizona have been invaded by mesquite trees (Prosopis velutina) since Anglo-American settlement and now support a large population of Red-tailed Hawks. We studied a population of Red-tailed Hawks in an altered desert grassland in southern Arizona. Our objectives were to determine what environmental characteristics influence Red-tailed Hawk habitat selection in mesquite-invaded desert grasslands and to evaluate the habitat quality of these grasslands for Red-tailed Hawks based on nesting density, nest success, and productivity. Red-tailed Hawks had 86% (95% C.I. = 73-99) nest success and 1.82 young per breeding pair (95% C.I. = 1.41-2.23). Nesting density was 0.15 (95% CI = 0.08-0.21) breeding pairs/km2 and the mean nearest-neighbor distance was 1.95 km (95% C.I. = 1.74-2.16). Red-tailed Hawks selected nest-sites with taller nest-trees and greater tree height and cover than were available at random. Mesquite trees in desert grasslands provide abundant potential nesting structures for Red-tailed Hawks. ?? 2006 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Breeding biology and nest-site selection of red-tailed hawks in an altered desert grassland
DOI
Authors R.J. Hobbs, S. DeStefano, W.L. Halvorson
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Raptor Research
Series Number
Index ID 70030607
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization