We used radiotelemetry to investigate the spatial behavior of wintering Bicknell's Thrushes (Catharus bicknelli) at a mid-elevation rainforest site and a high-elevation cloud-forest site in the Dominican Republic. We also analyzed blood stable carbon isotopes and fecal samples to compare thrush diets at these two floristically and climatically distinct sites. Birds consumed a primarily fruit-based diet at the mid-elevation site and a primarily arthropod-based diet at the high-elevation site. Despite these dietary differences, individuals at both sites defended and maintained exclusive, minimally overlapping core use areas and home ranges. The mean size of both core use areas and home ranges was similar between males and females and between adults and first-winter birds. Presence of nonterritorial or “floater” individuals was low at both sites (2.7% and 5.6%). Birds at the arthropod-dominated site were observed significantly more often on or within 1 m of the ground than birds at the fruit-heavy site, which were more often observed in the mid-canopy structure above 2 m. Birds at both sites displayed agonistic behaviors toward conspecifics and toward playback of conspecific vocalizations. Exclusive territoriality was the predominant winter social system, and we suggest that both arthropods and fruit are defensible resources for wintering Bicknell's Thrushes.
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Vol. 127 • No. 3