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Site Occupancy and Density of Marsh Birds in Coastal and Freshwater Habitats of Florida

Enloe, Carolyn M., Rodgers, James A., Kiltie, Richard A., Butryn, Ryan
Southeastern naturalist 2017 v.16 no.3 pp. 477-487
Gallinula chloropus, Rallus longirostris, birds, estuaries, freshwater, habitats, saline water, salt marshes, Florida
Marsh habitats have declined in quantity and quality in Florida, but little quantitative information exists on the population status of avian species residing in these habitats. We estimated the occurrence and density of secretive marsh birds in fresh- and saltwater marshes across Florida during 2011–2012. We detected 11 species; Rallus longirostris (Clapper Rail) and Gallinule chloropus (Common Moorhen) were the most frequently detected species. Occupancy rates at freshwater sites ranged from 19 to 64%, with Common Moorhen the most frequently detected species. Rates at estuarine sites ranged from 2 to 92%, with Clapper Rail the most frequently detected species. Only the Clapper Rail and Common Moorhen had density estimates ≥1.50 birds/ha; densities varied from 0.06 to 2.20 birds/ha in freshwater marshes and from 0.05 to 2.10 birds/ha in salt marshes. These data improve knowledge of secretive marsh-bird distributions in Florida.