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Red-Cockaded Woodpecker male/female foraging differences in young forest standsAuthor(s): Kathleen E. Franzreb
Source: The Wilson Journal of Ornithology
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Southern Research Station
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DescriptionThe Red-cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) is an endangered species endemic to pine (Pinusspp.) forests of the southeastern United States. I examined Red-cockaded Woodpecker foraging behavior to learn if there were male/female differences at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina. The study was conducted in largely young forest stands (,50 years of age) in contrast to earlier foraging behavior studies that focused on more mature forest. The Redcockaded Woodpecker at the Savannah River site is intensively managed including monitoring, translocation, and installation of artificial cavity inserts for roosting and nesting. Over a 3-year period, 6,407 foraging observations covering seven woodpecker family groups were recorded during all seasons of the year and all times of day. The most striking differences occurred in foraging method (males usually scaled [45% of observations] and females mostly probed [47%]), substrate used (females had a stronger preference [93%] for the trunk than males [79%]), and foraging height from the ground (mean 6 SE foraging height was higher for males [11.1 6 0.5 m] than females [9.8 6 0.5 m]). Niche overlap between males and females was lowest for substrate (85.6%) and foraging height (87.8%), and highest for tree species (99.0%), tree condition (98.3%), and tree height (96.4%). Both males and females preferred to forage in older, large pine trees. The habitat available at the Savannah River Site was considerably younger than at most other locations, but the pattern of male/female habitat partitioning observed was similar to that documented elsewhere within the range attesting to the species’ ability to adjust behaviorally.
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CitationFranzreb, Kathleen E. 2010 Red-Cockaded Woodpecker male/female foraging differences in young forest stands. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology v. 122 no. 2 16 p.
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