Abstract

The availability of habitat determines patterns of habitat use and selection by raptors, and habitat loss in human-modified landscapes may influence habitat use by individual raptors. This is important for tropical forest-dependent species, which face an accelerated rate of habitat loss worldwide. I evaluated habitat use and selection by Collared Forest-Falcons (Micrastur semitorquatus) in the fragmented rainforest of the Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve, state of Veracruz, Mexico. I conducted vantage point and transect observations combined with playbacks to survey Collared Forest-Falcons in March–June 2012 and 2013. I estimated habitat use and selection by forest falcons that inhabit low forest-cover and high forest-cover landscapes. In general, Collared Forest-Falcons selected primary forest and included higher proportions of this habitat within their territories and core areas. Even though the falcons avoided cattle pastures, individuals inhabiting low forest-cover landscapes included a higher proportion of this land cover within their territories, probably as a response to low forest availability in the landscape. Results from this study demonstrate that Collared Forest-Falcons preferentially selected primary rain forests but also used secondary forests in Los Tuxtlas Biosphere Reserve. Low forest-cover in the landscape may be influencing habitat use patterns of falcons, forcing them to use a higher amount of the suboptimal habitat, and increasing their risk of mortality with potential consequences for population dynamics.

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