Wetland Use by Waterbirds That Winter in Coastal Texas.
TEXAS A AND M UNIV KINGSVILLE
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Wetland use and selection by species of waterbirds shorebirds, wading birds, gulls, terns, grebes, cormorants, and pelicans between the Rio Grande and Galveston Bay in coastal Texas were studied during September and November of 1991-92 and during January and March of 1992-93. Based on a stratified by dominant land use random sample of 64.75-ha plots, 88 species of waterbirds using the wetlands were observed. Ranks of density and proportion of feeding birds indicated that cormorants and pelicans preferred wetlands with less than 30 vegetation. Gulls, terns, and skimmers preferred certain types of estuarine and lacustrine wetlands with less than 30 vegetation, especially estuarine subtidal rock bottom rubble types. Grebes and rails selectively used palustrine aquatic-bed rooted vascular and unconsolidated bottom mud wetland types. Herons, egrets, and bitterns preferred certain types of lacustrine and estuarine wetlands. Shorebirds used estuarine intertidal wetlands. Waterbird management should focus on 26 of the 82 wetland types that we prioritized in the coastal plains of Texas. Management should focus on protecting, enhancing, or restoring complexes of various wetland types, especially estuarine aquatic-bed and intertidal unconsolidated substrate types.