Habitat use by Mountain Plovers was studied in Duchesne County, Utah, from 1996 to 1998. This area is a shrub-steppe habitat and is different from the shortgrass prairie where current Mountain Plover breeding densities are greatest. Mountain Plovers prefer areas of short, sparse vegetation. Habitat surveys quantified vegetation and open space composition at nest and randomly selected sites. Data gathered in 1998 showed significant differences between nest and random sites in maximum vegetation height (P = 0.0021) and percentage total rock cover (P = 0.0027). As percentage rock cover also reflects open space, these results are consistent with general habitat characteristics preferred by the Mountain Plover. White-tailed prairie dogs were present significantly more often near the 5 nest sites located in 1998 than the 20 random sites. Insects collected from the same nest areas and random points reflected food items known to be in the Mountain Plover diet, but there were no significant differences in diversity of insects between nest and random sites.
Ellison Manning, Ann E. and White, Clayton M.
"Nest site selection by Mountain Plovers (Charadrius montanus) in a shrub-steppe habitat,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 61
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol61/iss2/10