Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science




Hobson, Keith A.


Shade-grown coffee plantations provide Neotropical migratory birds an alternative to primary growth forest which is disappearing throughout their non-breeding range. However, it remains unclear whether plantations can provide enough structure to maintain viable non-breeding populations of many species. I studied Swainson’s Thrush (Catharus ustulatus) in the Colombian Andes in a mixture of montane forest and shade-grown coffee plantation. In comparing the two habitats I looked at factors indicative of habitat quality, such as age/sex hierarchies, area of concentrated use, density, diet, and migration timing. My research aimed to determine whether Neotropical migrants benefit from this agroecosystem, and to find possible ways of improving shade-grown coffee practices in the future. My results indicated forest is more suitable non-breeding habitat for Swainson’s Thrushes, and although a forested habitat is more suitable, shade-grown coffee provides an acceptable supplemental habitat in a region where increased agricultural use continues to reduce forest availability.