Little information is known about the foraging habitat of Montezuma quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae) in Texas, USA. We compared habitat characteristics of foraging and nonforaging areas to identify trends in habitat attributes across sites with varying levels of quail use on Elephant Mountain Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County, Texas, USA, during May–August 2001. We delineated foraging and nonforaging areas using a system of parallel transects (100 m apart) that spanned the length of the grassland and covered the entire area. We walked transects every 3–5 days searching for signs of feeding (i.e., diggings). We documented a higher mean density of Allium spp. plants in foraging (95% CI: 12.1 ± 4.3 plants/m2) than nonforaging areas (95% CI: 0.8 ± 0.6 plants/m2). Foraging areas also exhibited a greater mean slope (95% CI: 22.6 ± 2.9% vs. 8.0 ± 2.1%). However, species richness, diversity, and equitability were similar between the foraging (23, 6.5, and 0.3, respectively) and nonforaging area (29, 7.6, 0.3). We observed a decreasing trend in density of Allium spp. plants, number of stones, and slope from high- to no-use sites. These 3 variables appear to be key habitat features associated with foraging areas of Montezuma quail in west Texas.
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