Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Science

First Committee Member

Daniel Thompson

Number of Pages



The relationship between bird community composition and plant community composition and structure was studied over three years (1994-1996) in a variety of Mojave Desert habitat types. This study addressed two fundamental questions: what plant community characteristics are statistically related to bird species diversity and the density of individual bird species, and what is the affect of neighboring habitat on bird species composition? Three habitat types were surveyed, Larrea scrub, Larrea scrub with Yucca and Opuntia, and Coleogyne scrub with Yucca. Bird species richness varied from 1 to 10 species, with the Coleogyne sites having the most species and the Larrea sites having the least. The black-throated sparrow (Amphispiza bilineata) was the only species found on all sites. Bird community parameters were found to be significantly different between habitat types but there was no affect of neighboring habitat on bird communities. Physiognomic cover diversity explained most of the variation in the bird community parameters based upon linear regression. In summary, bird species richness increased with increasing plant structural diversity due presumably to an increase in nest site niches.


Avian; Desert; Habitat; Mojave; Nevada; Relationship

Controlled Subject


File Format


File Size

2467.84 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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