Habitat Use by the Montezuma Quail, Cyrtonyx montezumae, in an Ungrazed Environment in Southeastern Arizona, Santa Cruz County
Monovich, R. Christopher
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Between January 6 and March 15, 1987, roughly southeast Arizona's winter season, a study to determine habitat use by the Montezuma quail, Crytonyx montezumae, including the magnitudes of daily, weekly, and seasonal movements, was conducted at the National Audubon Society Appleton-Whittell Research Ranch Sanctuary ·in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. Several Montezuma quails were captured and fitted with radio transmitter back-packs. These radio-tagged individuals and the other members in their coveys could be located at all times on their home ranges by using radio telemetry equipment, resulting in the elucidation of Montezuma quail habitat preferences and usages. The most effective capturing technique, trapping with Stoddard-funnel traps, yielded 12 quails in 150 hours of trapping. Traps were placed in sites where quails were known to frequent and where good basal ground cover of talI grasses surrounded the traps. The study has confirmed what many other investigators have suggested, that the Montezuma quail is a relatively sedentary animal. The mean weekly quail home range was discovered to be 112m2 , while the mean value for the entire winter seasonal home range was only 514m2. Daily tracking also revealed interesting habitat usages, such as primary roosting and foraging areas to be confined to south-facing and north-facing hills respectively.