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Search behavior of arboreal insectivorous migrants at gulf coast stopover sites in spring

January 1, 2011

Search behavior of arboreal insectivorous migrants was studied at three stopover sites along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico during spring migrations, 1993–1995. We examined if search behavior was affected by phylogeny, or by environmental factors. A sequence of search movements (hop, flutter, or flight) in a foraging bout was recorded for each migrant encountered. Search rate, frequency, and distance of movements were calculated for each species. Search rate was positively correlated with proportion of hop, but negatively correlated to flight distance. Hop distance was positively correlated to tarsus length, as was flight distance to wing length for the 31 species of migrants. Cluster analysis indicated closely related species generally have similar foraging modes, which range from “sit-and-wait” of flycatchers to “widely foraging” of warblers. Migrants tended to use more hops in dense vegetation, but more flights in areas with sparse vegetation. Migrants also used more flights when foraging in mixed-species flocks and during periods of high migrant density. Logistic models indicated warblers were more influenced by environmental factors than vireos, possibly because warblers are near-perch searchers and more affected by these factors.

Publication Year 2011
Title Search behavior of arboreal insectivorous migrants at gulf coast stopover sites in spring
DOI 10.1676/10-077.1
Authors Chao-Chieh Chen, W.C. Barrow, K. Ouchley, R.B. Hamilton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Index ID 70033842
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center