Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Ecology of Mearns' Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico
by Oaster, Elizabeth A., M.S., Sul Ross State University, 2018, 126; 13418807
Abstract (Summary)

Within the United States, Mearns' quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae ) are native to Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Knowledge regarding Mearns' quail populations in the United States is limited, especially on New Mexico populations. This study was initiated to answer 1) tree canopy cover and vegetation selection, 2) population characteristics, and 3) roost site characteristics of Mearns' quail in New Mexico. Mearns' quail were captured in Lincoln County, New Mexico from May 2015–May 2017. Fifty-six Mearns' quail (32 M, 24 F) were affixed with a Very High Frequency (VHF) or Global Positioning System (GPS) and VHF combination backpack radio transmitter to monitor movements and survival. The 2,510 points collected from 27 (19 M, 8 F) Mearns' quail showed that on a continuous scale, year-round basis, Mearns' quail utilized 30–69% tree canopy cover. During the covey, paired and breeding, and nesting and brooding seasons Mearns' quail selected for 30–39%, 40–59%, and 40–69% tree canopy cover respectively. Mearns' quail selected for litter basal cover (P = 0.018) and bare ground basal cover ( P = 0.032). Annual survival rate of Mearns' quail was calculated at 0.75. The overall male-female ratio was 0.9:1 with annual variations (capture season 1 0.76:1, capture season 2 1.6:1). Juvenile-adult ratios were 2.25:1 with annual variations as well (capture season 1 5:1, capture season 2 0.6:1). In regards to roost site characteristics, Mearns' quail selected for forb basal cover (P = 0.015) and distance to closest tree 1–3 m in height (P < 0.001). While visual obstruction (P = 0.056), grass basal cover (P = 0.060), litter basal cover (P = 0.052), and bare ground basal cover (P = 0.051) were not statistically significant, there is biological significance. These results help managers better understand habitat requirements and population characteristics of Mearns' quail in New Mexico.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Luna, Ryan S.
Commitee: Foley, Dan, Howard, Randy, Lerich, Scott, O'Shaughnessy, Ryan
School: Sul Ross State University
Department: Range and Wildlife Management
School Location: United States -- Texas
Source: MAI 58/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Wildlife Management
Keywords: GPS transmitters, Mearns' quail, New Mexico, Roost sites, Survival, Tree canopy cover
Publication Number: 13418807
ISBN: 9780438724426
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