Foraging and breeding behavior of the black-tailed gnatcatcher (<i>Polioptila melanura</i>) in southern New Mexico

TitleForaging and breeding behavior of the black-tailed gnatcatcher (Polioptila melanura) in southern New Mexico
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication1975
AuthorsThomas KGary
Number of Pages36
Date Published1975
UniversityNew Mexico State University
CityLas Cruces, New Mexico
Thesis TypeM.S. Thesispp
Call Number00334
Keywordsbehavior,birds, bird,Black-tailed gnatcatcher,behavior, Black-tailed gnatcatcher,behavior, dissertation, dissertations, Polioptila,behavior, theses, thesis
AbstractBlack-tailed Gnatcatchers (Polioptila melanura) were studied throughout 1974 in a southern New Mexico desert and on several visits in a southern Arizona desert. The study concentrated on foraging ecology, reproduction, and vocalizations. Timed foraging activities totaled 35,704 sec for both areas combined. Foraging vegetation was apparently chosen according to the volume of foliage on a bush. Foraging beat was varied with changes in prey availability. Gleaning was the major foraging tactic, with hawking and hovering being used to a much lesser degree. The foliage-gleaning guild on the main study area consisted of three species, which apparently minimized competition by using different strata within a plant or different foraging tactics. Pairing began in early February although nesting did not begin until mid-day.... Gnatcatchers used the "tsh" call most of the time. This call was given in different contexts and apparently had different meanings. Males were also observed giving a song during pairing activities and attempted copulations.