US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Journal of Range Management 54(3), May 2001


Previous authors have described nesting habitat of the northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) throughout its range, but few have compared structural or compositional differences of vegetation between nest sites and random non-use sites, and successful and non-successful nests. From 1996-1998, we compared cover and structure of 85 plant species from 80 nest sites of northern bobwhite in western Oklahoma. Nest sites were consistently associated with greater structural complexity than what was available at random. Bobwhites selected nest sites with a greater coverage of grass (ca. 50%) and woody (ca. 20-30%) vegetation with a relatively low percentage of bare ground, presumably because these attributes maximize their chance for successful reproduction by providing protection against weather and predators. Successful nests were more concealed during 1996 and 1997 (12.37 and 10.74% visibility, respectively) than non-successful nest sites (21.6 and 27.65% visibility), but levels of concealment did not differ during 1998. We found no significant differences in vegetation composition or structure between successful and non-successful nest sites.