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Growth and survival of Mountain Plovers

September 1, 1993

Growth and survival rates of Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus) were monitored using radiotelemetry from hatching until birds left the breeding grounds on the Pawnee National Grassland, Weld County, Colorado. Chick weights increased logarithmically (r) = 0.961) and tarsus length linearly (r = 0.948) with age. Using the average fledgling weight of 69.8 g and an age/weight regression we predicted that the average age at fledging was 36 d.

Fourteen Mountain Plover nests each had three effs; an average of 2.6 eggs hatched in seven nests, whereas remaining nests were lost to predation, storms, or trampling by a cow. Twenty-four adult Mountain Plovers were monitored for 275 telemetry days with no mortalities. Twenty flightless chicks had a calculated daily survival rate of 0.979 for 233 telemetry-days. Mortalities of flightless chicks were due to predation or unknown causes. The daily survival rate predicted that 1.2 of the 2.6 chicks hatched per nest lived to fly. Eight fledged chicks were monitored for 74 telemetry-days, with a daily survival rate of 0.974. Mortalities of fledglings were all attributed to predation. The combined survival rates predicted that 0.7 or the 2.6 hatched chicks lived to leave the nesting area. Survival rates of flightless chicks were similar to those reported 20 yr ago, implying that recent declines in Mountain Plover numbers on the continent are not attributable to either longer-term declines in nesting productivity or phenomena occurring at non-breeding locales.

Publication Year 1993
Title Growth and survival of Mountain Plovers
Authors Brian J. Miller, Fritz L. Knopf
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Field Ornithology
Index ID 70128288
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse