Factors influencing reproductive performance of northern bobwhite in South Florida

European Journal of Wildlife Research
By: , and 



Reproductive success is a critical component of individual fitness, and also an important determinant of growth rates of populations characterized by early maturity and high fecundity. We used radiotelemetry data collected during 2003–2008 to estimate reproductive parameters in a declining northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) population in South Florida, and to test hypotheses regarding factors influencing these parameters. The overall clutch size was 12.10 ± 0.22, but females laid more eggs in their first clutch (12.43 ± 0.24) than in subsequent clutches (10.19 ± 0.53) within a nesting season. Daily nest survival was higher for first (0.966 ± 0.003) than subsequent nests (0.936 ± 0.011). Hatchability (proportion of laid eggs that hatched conditional upon nest survival to hatching) was 0.853 ± 0.008, but was higher for nests incubated by females (0.873 ± 0.009) than those incubated by males (0.798 ± 0.018). The proportion of individuals attempting a second nest was 0.112 ± 0.024 and 0.281 ± 0.040 when the first nest was successful and failed, respectively. Hatchability was lower when the nesting habitat was burned the previous winter. We found no evidence that food strip density (a management practice to provide supplemental food) influenced any of the reproductive parameters. Mean summer temperature affected hatchability, nest survival, and proportion of nests incubated by males. Overall, the reproductive output in our study population was lower than that reported for most other bobwhite populations, indicating that low reproductive performance may have contributed to bobwhite population declines in our study site. These results suggest that current management practices, particularly those related to habitat and harvest management, need careful evaluation.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors influencing reproductive performance of northern bobwhite in South Florida
Series title European Journal of Wildlife Research
DOI 10.1007/s10344-010-0479-5
Volume 57
Issue 4
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Springer- Verlag
Description 11 p.
First page 717
Last page 727
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial South Florida
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