Habitat requirements of the Socorro Mockingbird Mimodes graysoni.

The population size of the Socorro Mockingbird Mimodes graysoni, which represents a monotypic genus endemic to Socorro Island, Mexico, has declined dramatically within the last 40 years. Postulated causal factors include competitive exclusion by Northern Mockingbirds Mimus polyglottos, predation by feral cats and overgrazing by feral sheep. Habitat degradation looms as the primary candidate because surviving Socorro Mockingbirds live mainly in areas of the island with little apparent habitat damage, and because Northern Mockingbirds and cats both arrived on Socorro after much of the decline had occurred. Isolating key factors is difficult, however, because the present distributions of cats and Northern Mockingbirds coincide broadly with patterns of habitat degradation. To investigate habitat requirements of the endemic mockingbird in detail, we measured vegetation characteristics at localities with and without Socorro Mockingbirds, and observed their foraging behaviour. Socorro Mockingbirds occupied sites in montane regions covered with Ilex socorroensis, Guettarda insularis, Triumfetta socorrensis and Eupatorium pacificum; they were also abundant in pristine lowland forests. Socorro Mockingbirds were scarce in disturbed forests where Dodonaea viscosa has replaced the original understorey, and they were absent from low-elevation Crotan masonii scrub, even in areas with no signs of degradation. Restoration of degraded habitat could help the population of Socorro Mockingbirds grow and reoccupy more of its former range.

Main Author: Martinez-Gomez, Juan E.
Other Authors: Flores-Palacios, Alejandro., Curry, Robert L.
Language: English
Published: 2001
Online Access: http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?url=https://digital.library.villanova.edu/Item/vudl:175589