Habitat selection by juvenile black-capped vireos following independence from parental care

Erika M. Dittmar, David A. Cimprich, Jinelle H. Sperry, Patrick J. Weatherhead

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


If differences in ecological requirements result in juvenile birds using different habitats from breeding birds, then habitat management to protect those birds must protect both breeding and post-breeding habitats. We examined habitat selection by juvenile black-capped vireos (Vireo atricapilla) following their independence from parental care, in 2010-2013 on Fort Hood Military Reservation in central Texas, USA. The black-capped vireo is a federally endangered species that nests almost exclusively in shrub vegetation, but previous anecdotal observations indicate that juveniles may prefer riparian vegetation. We used mist-net capture rates and radio-telemetry to determine relative abundance of juvenile vireos across habitats, to quantify movement patterns and habitat selection, and to investigate how vegetation density and arthropod abundance influenced habitat selection. We captured juveniles at similar rates in shrub and riparian vegetation. Radio telemetry data indicated that juveniles selected riparian vegetation over most other available vegetation types, and tended to stay in riparian vegetation upon arrival. Juveniles selected areas characterized by more canopy cover, denser foliage, and more arthropods. Riparian vegetation provides this combination of features more than other vegetation types, indicating that cover and food are the basis for habitat selection by juveniles. Our results indicate that habitat conservation strategies for black-capped vireos should include protection of riparian vegetation near breeding areas, and more generally, that avian conservation strategies that focus only on breeding areas may potentially overlook other key habitats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1005-1011
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Wildlife Management
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2014


  • Vireo atricapilla
  • endangered species
  • habitat use
  • juvenile movements
  • juvenile songbirds
  • post-breeding
  • post-fledging
  • radio-telemetry
  • riparian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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