Habitats of Kirtland?s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii) on the wintering grounds in the Bahama Archipelago are presented based upon data from 29 specimens, two bandings, and 67 sightings of at least 61 individuals on 13 islands scattered through the region. Major emphasis is placed on a study site in central Eleuthera, with additional information on sites on Grand Turk, North Caicos, and Crooked Island. The warblers used upland habitats that have a low shrub/scrub component with a patchiness of small openings and openings within the vegetation at the ground level. Six broad habitats were identified as being used: Natural Shrub/Scrub, Secondary Shrub/Scrub, Low Coppice, Pineland Understory, Saline/Upland Ecotone, and Suburban; High Coppice is not used. The structure and floristic composition of the habitats are described. Observations (N=451) of a Kirtland?s Warbler male (uniquely color banded) and female over three months indicated the birds generally stayed on or near the ground, generally < 3 m (98% of observations), and used a territory of 8.3 ha. A crude estimate of potential winter habitat suggests that there is more than an adequate amount in the Bahama Archipelago for the currently small warbler population (733 singing males in 1997) and allows for a considerable population increase. No serious future threat to the amount of that habitat is foreseen.
Additional publication details
Winter habitat of Kirtland's warbler: an endangered nearctic/neotropical migrant