Habitat Associations of the Golden-winged Warbler in Honduras

Ruth Bennett, Michigan Technological University

Abstract

The global population of the Neotropical migrant Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) has declined steadily over the past fifty years. While factors influencing this decline have been well researched on the breeding grounds, little is known about the distribution and habitat requirements of this warbler on its stationary non-breeding range. Recent efforts to quantify the non-breeding habitat requirements of this warbler have focused on Colombia and Costa Rica, though the species ranges as far north as the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. To address the gap in knowledge from the northern portion of the non-breeding range, I conducted 80 serial point-count surveys targeting Golden-winged Warblers at eight field sites in Honduras, Central America. I found that Golden-winged Warblers occupy a greater variety of habitats than previously recognized, including pine-oak forest and semi-deciduous broadleaf forest. I also documented habitat associations that have not been observed in other parts of the non-breeding range with respect to elevation, rainfall, and spatial segregation by sex. These results demonstrate the need to consider the entire non-breeding range in conservation planning, as Golden-winged Warbler habitat associations appear to vary regionally.