Date of Graduation
Master of Science in Biology (MS)
Second Committee Member
Habitat, Ornithology, Painted Bunting, Vegetation
It has been shown that bird communities are affected by the species composition and physical structure of plant communities. Within avian communities, the bird species that are the most localized in distribution tend to be the most affected by habitat changes. My research analyzed plant and bird communities found with the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris Linnaeus), a locally common but declining species throughout much of its range. First, I describe vegetation characteristics associated with singing male Painted Buntings in northwest Arkansas. I categorized field sites with singing male Painted Buntings as either managed for wildlife or unmanaged, based on land-use practices, and collected measurements of the structure and composition of all woody vegetation, forbs, and graminoids. Contrary to my hypothesis, there was no difference in vegetation structure and composition between managed and unmanaged sites, although two measures of profile diversity were higher in managed sites than in unmanaged sites. Second, I describe the bird communities associated with these same breeding male Painted Buntings. I collected data on bird populations and calculated bird diversity, evenness, and richness for both managed and unmanaged sites. The results did not support the hypothesis that managed sites would show higher bird diversity, evenness, and richness; no differences were found between bird communities at different site types. Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos Linnaeus) was the only species to differ in population size between site types, being more abundant in unmanaged sites. Concluding observations synthesize the results of my research to provide a summary of Painted Bunting ecology in northwest Arkansas. Quantitative studies of both vegetation and avian communities in Painted Bunting habitat are limited, so my work should provide a point of reference for further investigations of Painted Buntings in the Ozark region.
Thead, Lauren Kristina, "Vegetation Characteristics and Bird Communities Associated with Singing Painted Buntings in Northwest Arkansas" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 3005.