Kevin Mahabir

Influence of habitat use on the occurrence of the endemic Barbuda Warbler (Setophaga subita) and resident Yellow Warbler (S. petechia).


kevin mahabir in BarbudaMScF. Candidate

Forestry & Environmental Management
University of New Brunswick, Fredericton


The Barbuda Warbler, Setophaga subita is a species of bird restricted (endemic) to Barbuda in the state of Antigua & Barbuda in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. Regrettably, there have been few studies of Setophaga warblers in the Caribbean, particularly, of comparative studies in the use of structural features of the environment (habitat-use studies). Since little is known of the ecology of this endemic species, much groundwork is needed to facilitate comparative studies on the species, and in particular, conservation efforts on the island of Barbuda.

Barbuda and Yellow, S. petechia Warblers are known to co-exist in at least some areas on Barbuda. barbuda warbler in thorny acacia shrubThis project explores (i) patterns of habitat use by testing for associations between measured environmental variables and the occurrence of these two species; and (ii) the current distribution of both warbler species on Barbuda, across their annual cycle. Gathering this information was done by extensive island surveys of both species conducted across the breeding and non-breeding season. I captured birds by mist-netting and colour-banding the target warbler species. Regular observations of banded individuals occurred for one year. Given the vulnerability associated with restricted range species, attempts to conserve the habitats supporting the Barbuda Warbler’s persistence are necessary. The information gathered from this study can be used to facilitate the identification of potentially suitable Barbuda Warbler habitat, and guide conservative land-use and development decisions on Barbuda.
The yellow warbler