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Title:Detection, habitat use, and occupancy dynamics of Black-billed Cuckoos and Yellow-billed Cuckoos in Illinois
Author(s):Johnson, Claire Autumn
Advisor(s):Benson, Thomas J
Contributor(s):Ward, Michael P; Stodola, Kirk
Department / Program:Natural Res & Env Sci
Discipline:Natural Res & Env Sciences
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.S.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):Black-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
habitat use
occupancy dynamics
detection probability
Abstract:Black-billed Cuckoos (Coccyzus erythropthalmus) and Yellow-billed Cuckoos (C. americanus) have experienced extensive range-wide population declines over the last several decades. However, as cuckoos are patchily distributed and hard-to-detect, population size and trend estimates are not always well supported and habitat requirements are poorly understood. Low detection and weak habitat associations could be due in part to wide-ranging movements within and between breeding seasons. I set out to examine detection probability, habitat use, and movement dynamics of both species. I performed passive and call-broadcast surveys for cuckoos at 41 sites throughout northern Illinois in 2019 and 2020. I examined the influence of call broadcast and temporal and environmental covariates on detection probability and effects of habitat covariates on occupancy, immigration, and emigration. Detection probability increased substantially using call broadcasts (up to 6 and 12 times for Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos, respectively), but varied temporally and with environmental covariates. Black-billed Cuckoos were strongly associated with early successional habitat while Yellow-billed Cuckoos used older-successional or open woodland habitat. I also found strong support for movement within sites during the breeding season, indicating maintenance of large home ranges, movement between sites within the breeding season, and low site fidelity between years. While movements were affected by habitat covariates, these species’ reliance on ephemeral insect abundance may ultimately be driving these wide-ranging movements. These findings will improve monitoring and management efforts, but also imply the need for creating and protecting areas within a broader spatial context to allow these species to take advantage of both ephemeral successional habitat and patchily-distributed food resources.
Issue Date:2021-04-26
Type:Thesis
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/110565
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Claire Johnson
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-09-17
Date Deposited:2021-05


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