Detailed information about space use during the breeding season is limited for most Nearctic‐Neotropical migratory species of songbirds because of their small size and often cryptic behaviors. We monitored male Cerulean Warblers (Setophaga cerulea), a species of conservation concern, using radio‐telemetry during the 2006–2008 breeding seasons in northern Alabama to better understand their space use and habitat selection. We estimated diurnal home range and core areas using information theoretic criteria, located nocturnal roost sites, and related day and evening locations to surrounding landscape habitat, including features representative of canopy disturbances. Mean home range size was 6.7 ha (N = 10), and home ranges included an average of at least 2 core areas encompassing 0.7 ha. We located 53 nocturnal roost sites that were an average 159.0 m from the center of the nearest core area. More than one‐third (36.6%) of roost sites were located outside the diurnal home ranges of male Cerulean Warblers; only 13.6% were located in core areas. Males in our study moved much farther than reported in previous studies, with some singing in areas > 300 m from previously used song perches, a behavior suggesting pursuit of extra‐pair copulations. Cerulean Warblers in our study preferentially selected a heavily forested landscape composed of mesic, floodplain bottomlands with little man‐made disturbance. Within their home ranges, diurnal locations of males in core areas were located significantly closer to a creek than locations outside of core areas. Our results suggest that male Cerulean Warblers require much larger areas than previously reported and underscore the importance of a predominately forested landscape in their habitat selection process. Although edge habitats appeared to influence space use by male Cerulean Warblers in our study, the extent to which this is an essential requirement is unclear. Our results and those of previous studies suggest that specific habitat requirements of this species can vary at the local scale throughout its breeding range.
Journal of Field Ornithology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
Keywords: ; ; ; ;
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