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ESR 47:75-89 (2022)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01166

Puerto Rico plain pigeon, scaly-naped pigeon and red-tailed hawk: population dynamics and association patterns before and after hurricanes

Frank F. Rivera-Milán1,*, Alexis J. Martínez2, Antonio Matos2, David Guzmán2, Carlos R. Ruiz-Lebrón3, Eduardo A. Ventosa-Febles3, Hilda Diaz-Soltero4

1United States Fish & Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Branch of Assessment & Decision Support, Laurel, MD 20708, USA
2Department of Natural & Environmental Resources, Bureau of Research & Conservation of Habitats & Biodiversity, Division of Terrestrial Ecology, San Juan, PR 00936, USA
3Effective Environmental Restoration, Cabo Rojo, PR 00623, USA
4United States Department of Agriculture, Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, San Juan PR 00926, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Since the 1980s, 3 major hurricanes have made landfall on Puerto Rico: Hugo in September 1989 (Saffir-Simpson scale, category 4), Georges in September 1998 (category 3) and María in September 2017 (category 4). María was the most devastating hurricane since the 3 major hurricanes that occurred in 1899-1932. Major hurricanes can cause severe abundance declines and population bottlenecks by decreasing survival and reproductive rates and increasing predation and competition for limited resources. In April to June 1986-2021, we used distance sampling to estimate abundance and monitor the population dynamics of the endangered Puerto Rico plain pigeon Patagioenas inornata wetmorei and the abundant scaly-naped pigeon P. squamosa and red-tailed hawk Buteo jamaicensis. Here, we fit a Bayesian state-space logistic model with distance sampling abundance estimates to generate posterior estimates of maximum population growth rate and population carrying capacity, and predict abundance in April to June 2020-2030. In addition, we used N-mixture and 2-species models to assess association patterns in April to June 2015-2019. The scaly-naped pigeon and red-tailed hawk populations did not decline, or recovered faster from their declines than the plain pigeon population after the hurricanes. The association patterns between species were positive but variable for the 2 pigeon species and negative but variable for the plain pigeon and red-tailed hawk. At lowered abundance (i.e. mean ± SE estimates = 1043 ± 476 island-wide and = 522 ± 157 at the centre of abundance in the east-central region in April to June 2018-2021), the plain pigeon may become extinct if another hurricane with the path and intensity of María makes landfall on the island during the current decade.


KEY WORDS: Hurricanes · Abundance · Occupancy · Population dynamics · Association patterns · Patagioenas inornata wetmorei · P. squamosa · Buteo jamaicensis


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Cite this article as: Rivera-Milán FF, Martínez AJ, Matos A, Guzmán D, Ruiz-Lebrón CR, Ventosa-Febles EA, Diaz-Soltero H (2022) Puerto Rico plain pigeon, scaly-naped pigeon and red-tailed hawk: population dynamics and association patterns before and after hurricanes. Endang Species Res 47:75-89. https://doi.org/10.3354/esr01166

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