Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Mississippi
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Vilella, F.J., and R. Gonzalez. 2023. Multi-resolution habitat models of the Puerto Rican Nightjar Antostromus noctitherus. Bird Conservation International. Bird Conservation International 33:e74


The Puerto Rican Nightjar Antrostomus noctitherus is an endemic Caprimulgid found in dry coastal and lower montane forests of southwestern Puerto Rico. Information on the species (abundance, nesting biology) has been mostly restricted to forest reserves (i.e., Guánica Forest, Susúa Forest) with limited information available from private lands. We collected stand-level vegetation structure and geographic information to model habitat suitability and distribution for the Nightjar. Results of the stand-level model indicated forest type and midstory vegetation density best predicted Nightjar habitat. Our spatial model predicted considerably more Nightjar habitat (17,819.64ha) was located outside protected areas than previously reported. Further, the model highlighted several localities of importance for the species across southern Puerto Rico, all located within private lands. We used a patch occupancy approach to assess regions identified by the landscape-level model as suitable for the Nightjar and documented presence of the species in 32 of 55 sites, located in 12 of 18 municipalities across southern Puerto Rico. The protection and restoration of forest across the southern coast of Puerto Rico would help ensure the long-term persistence of the Nightjar across a considerable portion of its range. Addressing habitat needs may be the single most effective mechanism to achieve recovery of the species.