Habitat suitability of the yellow rail in south-central Manitoba
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Little is known about the distribution and habitat suitability of yellow rails (Coturnicops noveboracensis) throughout their breeding range. Yellow rail and vegetation surveys were conducted at 80 wetlands in south-central Manitoba in 2010-2011 to evaluate the effectiveness of repeat-visit, call-broadcast night surveys for detecting this species and habitat associations of this species at the 3-km landscape, patch, and plot scales. Yellow rails were detected at 44% of the study wetlands. Yellow rail detection was imperfect (0.63 in each year), but call-broadcast increased the number of yellow rails detected. Future yellow rail survey efforts should employ call-broadcast and at least three surveys per survey point. Yellow rail presence was positively influenced by the amount of marsh/fen in the landscape and the proportion of rushes at the study wetlands. These characteristics should be considered when identifying potential yellow rail habitat in south-central Manitoba.