Nest success of snowy plovers (Charadrius nivosus) in the Southern high plains of Texas

Sarah T. Saalfeld, Warren C. Conway, David A. Haukos, William P. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Snowy Plovers (Charadrius nivosus) nesting on edges of saline lakes within the Southern High Plains (SHP) of Texas are threatened by habitat degradation due to reduced artesian spring flow, making many saline lakes unsuitable for nesting and migrating shorebirds. Factors influencing nest success were evaluated, current nest success estimates in the SHP of Texas were compared to estimates obtained ten years prior, and causes and timing of nest failures determined. Overall, 215 nests were monitored from three saline lakes in 20082009, with nest success estimates from Program MARK ranging from 7-33% ( x̄= 22%). The leading causes of nest failures were attributed to predation (40%) and weather (36%). Nest success was negatively influenced by number of plants within 707-cm 2 plot, positively influenced by percent surface water availability, and at one saline lake, negatively influenced by day during the nesting season (i.e., nest success declined later in the nesting season). When compared to estimates ten years prior (19981999), mean nest success has declined by 31%. If nesting Snowy Plovers continue to experience increased predation rates, decreased hydrological integrity, and habitat alterations, populations will continue to decline throughout this region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Charadrius nivosus
  • Program MARK
  • breeding
  • nest success
  • nest survival
  • nesting
  • saline lake
  • surface water


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