Information about the interaction between behavior and landscape resources is key to directing conservation management for endangered species. We studied multi-scale occurrence, habitat use, and selection in a cooperatively breeding population of Micronesian kingfishers (Todiramphus cinnamominus) on the island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. At the landscape level, point-transect surveys resulted in kingfisher detection frequencies that were higher than those reported in 1994, although they remained 15-40% lower than 1983 indices. Integration of spatially explicit vegetation information with survey results indicated that kingfisher detections were positively associated with the amount of wet forest and grass-urban vegetative cover, and they were negatively associated with agricultural forest, secondary vegetation, and upland forest cover types. We used radiotelemetry and remote sensing to evaluate habitat use by individual kingfishers at the home-range scale. A comparison of habitats in Micronesian kingfisher home ranges with those in randomly placed polygons illustrated that birds used more forested areas than were randomly available in the immediate surrounding area. Further, members of cooperatively breeding groups included more forest in their home ranges than birds in pair-breeding territories, and forested portions of study areas appeared to be saturated with territories. Together, these results suggested that forest habitats were limited for Micronesian kingfishers. Thus, protecting and managing forests is important for the restoration of Micronesian kingfishers to the island of Guam (United States Territory), where they are currently extirpated, as well as to maintaining kingfisher populations on the islands of Pohnpei and Palau. Results further indicated that limited forest resources may restrict dispersal opportunities and, therefore, play a role in delayed dispersal and cooperative behaviors in Micronesian kingfishers.
Additional publication details
Multiscale habitat use and selection in cooperatively breeding Micronesian kingfishers