Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Rush, Scott A.

Committee Member

Rodgers III, John C.

Committee Member

Woodrey, Mark S.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


College of Forest Resources


Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture


The Yellow Rail (Coturnicops noveboracensis) is a migratory nongame bird of high conservation priority throughout its entire range. The objectives of this study were: (1) assess Yellow Rail occupancy in the context of prescribed fire regime in pine savanna habitats of Mississippi and Alabama and (2) assess Yellow Rail habitat use in pine savanna habitats of coastal Mississippi. Yellow Rail occupancy decreased significantly with time since fire and increased with grassland patch size. Throughout the study area Yellow Rail maintained small (mean = 3.37 ha) home ranges aggregated within study areas, indicating suitable habitat may be limited. Yellow Rail used areas dominated by Aristida stricta and Carex spp. They used locations with lower woody percent cover, greater herbaceous height structure and lower frequency of trees than locations outside their home range. This research highlights the continued need to prioritize conservation and management of open grasslands and pine savanna habitats.