Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Texas
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Texas Project


TPW 40: Assessing Distribution and Occupancy Patterns of Riparian Avifauna in the Trans Pecos Region of Texas

November 2017 - August 2021


Personnel

Participating Agencies

  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Zone-tailed Hawks are a Texas state-threatened species. The Texas Unit is studying the distribution and productivity of the species to better inform management and listing decisions.

Riparian areas in the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion are identified as a priority for conservation in the Trans Pecos region of Texas. Desert riparian systems are distinct narrow drainages that provide (or have the potential to provide) conditions for vegetation and wildlife species dependent on permanent or ephemeral surface and subsurface water. Southwest riparian zones create nesting and foraging habitat for an estimated 166 bird species also support an estimated 10.6 times more migratory birds compared to the surrounding upland desert. Among these are species of conservation concern, such as the federally threatened western yellow-billed cuckoos (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis) and the state threatened common black-hawk (Buteogallus anthracinus), gray hawk (Buteo plagiatus), and zone-tailed hawk (Buteo albonotatus). It is also an objective of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to work toward the recovery of threatened, endangered, and high-priority species associated with riparian systems. However, little quantitative data are available for riparian obligate birds in the region. In 2018 we initiated a study to 1) assess the distribution, site occupancy, and community structure of avifauna among different riparian systems of the Trans Pecos region, and 2) to estimate nesting abundance and productivity of three state threatened raptor species. We anticipate our results will provide Texas Parks and Wildlife Department with data to make informed decisions for identification of priority areas for conservation and restoration, and assessment of status of species of concern.

Presentations Presentation Date
Skidmore, C., C.W. Boal, B.R. Skipper, and R. Martin. 2019. Distribution and comparative nesting habitat of riparian raptors in the Trans Pecos Region of Texas. Annual Meeting of the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society, Montgomery, TX, 20-23 February 2019 February 2019
Skidmore, C., C.W. Boal, B.R. Skipper, and R. Martin. 2020. Comparative Nesting Habitat of Riparian Raptors in the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas. Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Corpus Christi, TX, 14 February 2020. February 2020
Skidmore, C., C.W. Boal, B.R. Skipper, and R. Martin. 2020. Drivers and Indicators of Riparian Corridor Avifaunal Diversity in the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas. Meeting of the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Corpus Christi, TX, 14 February 2020. February 2020
Skidmore, C., C.W. Boal, B.R. Skipper, and R. Martin. Interspecies Nest- Placement Tolerance and Niche Partitioning of Nesting Riparian Raptors in the Trans-Pecos Region of Texas. 2019 Meeting of The Raptor Research Foundation, Fort Collins, CO. November 2019
Theses and Dissertations Publication Date
Skidmore, C.K. 2020. Community ecology of riparian avifauna and nesting riparian raptors in the Trans Pecos region of Texas. M.S. Thesis, Texas Tech University, Lubbock TX. June 2020