Monitoring Northern Bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) Populations in the Rolling Plains of Texas: Parasitic Infection Implications

Kelly A. Commons, Kendall R. Blanchard, Matthew Z. Brym, Cassandra Henry, Aravindan Kalyanasundaram, Kalin Skinner, Ronald J. Kendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) is an important gamebird among hunters that has been experiencing a nationwide decline for > 50 yr. In West Texas, one of the last regions to experience this downward trend, research on bobwhite populations has focused on habitat variables and, increasingly, on parasitic infection. In bobwhite, two of the most common parasites are the caecal worm (Aulonocephalus pennula) and eyeworm (Oxyspirura petrowi). To better document the state of bobwhite populations in the Rolling Plains Ecoregion, trapping, summer rooster counts, fall covey counts, and parasitic infection assessments were conducted in three counties during 2018. These efforts were compared with previous years for a longitudinal perspective. In 2018, bobwhite populations experienced a widespread decline, although some counties surveyed fared slightly better than others. More effort was required to trap fewer total bobwhite, and fewer roosters and coveys were counted than in previous years. In addition, in 2018, parasitic infection levels of caecal and eyeworms were higher than or similar to levels in previous years. Additional research is necessary to understand which factors influence bobwhite populations in allopatric locations and over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-802
Number of pages7
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Volume72
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Aulonocephalus pennula
  • Oxyspirura petrowi
  • bobwhite quail
  • die-off
  • population trend

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