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Abundance and habitat selection of two american kestrel subspecies in north central florida usa

Abundance and habitat selection of two american kestrel subspecies in north central florida usa

Auk 103(3): 557-563

We censused American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in the three vegetation communities representative of north-central Florida (pine flatwoods, sandhills, and agriculture/mixed hardwoods) along 24 16-km roadside transects. The winter kestrel population included resident F. s. paulus and migrant F. s. sparverius. Eighty-four percent of the 1,433 kestrels wee sighted in winter, reflecting a significant influx of migrant F. s. sparverius, and were primarily females (65%). Significant (P < 0.05) sexual differences in winter habitat use were attributed to the large numbers of migrants. Males preferred closed habitats and smaller-sized open areas, and females preferred open habitats and larger open areas. Wintering kestrels were most abundant (P < 0.05) in the agriculture/mixed-hardwoods community (51%) and least abundant in the pine-flatwoods community (13%). Seventy-one percent of the 233 kestrels seen during summer were identified as F. s. paulus. Males and females were observed in approximately equal numbers and exhibited no differences in habitat preference. Falco s. paulus preferred the sandhill community (79%) to the agriculture/mixed hardwoods and pine flatwoods. Within the sandhill community, resident kestrels significantly increased their use of the pine/oak woodlands during summer.

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