Cistothorus platensis - (Latham, 1790)
Sedge Wren
Other English Common Names: sedge wren
Other Common Names: Curruíra-do-Campo
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cistothorus platensis (Latham, 1790) (TSN 178605)
French Common Names: troglodyte à bec court
Spanish Common Names: Chivirín Sabanero, Chercán de las Vegas
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105322
Element Code: ABPBG10010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Troglodytidae Cistothorus
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cistothorus platensis
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly known as Short-billed Marsh-Wren. Composed of three groups: stellaris (Sedge Wren), platensis (Western Grass-Wren), and polyglottus (Eastern Grass-Wren) (AOU 1998). Constitutes a superspecies with C. meridae and C. apolinari (AOU 1998)
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 07Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (Birdlife International, 2014).
Nation: United States
National Status: N4B,N5N (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (29Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5N), Arkansas (S1S2B,S4N), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S1B), Delaware (S1B), District of Columbia (SHB), Florida (S5N), Georgia (S3), Illinois (S3S4), Indiana (S3B), Iowa (S4B,S4N), Kansas (S3B), Kentucky (S3B), Louisiana (S4N), Maine (S1B), Maryland (S1B), Massachusetts (S1B,S1N), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S5N), Missouri (S3), Montana (S3B), Nebraska (S3), New Hampshire (S1B), New Jersey (S1B,S1N), New York (S3B), North Carolina (SUB,S4N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S2), Oklahoma (S2N), Pennsylvania (S1B), South Carolina (SUB), South Dakota (S4B), Tennessee (S3N), Texas (S4), Vermont (S2B), Virginia (S1B,S1S2N), West Virginia (S1B), Wisconsin (S4B)
Canada Alberta (S3B), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S4B), Quebec (S2B), Saskatchewan (S5B)

Other Statuses

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC): Not at Risk (01Apr1993)
Comments on COSEWIC: Although there have been significant declines in some eastern provinces, this wren is still widespread and relatively common in the main part of its range.

Designated Not at Risk in April 1993.

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: >2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: eastern Alberta east across southern Canada to (formerly) central Maine and New Brunswick, south to eastern Arkansas, southern Illinois, central Kentucky, western West Virginia, and southeastern Virginia, west to Dakotas and Kansas (AOU 1983). Most common in Minnesota, Wisconsin, north-central Michigan, southern and central Manitoba, and the Lake of the Woods area of northwestern Ontario (Jalava 1993). In the northeastern U.S., tidewater marshes in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia currently support the largest, most stable populations (Gibbs and Melvin 1992). NON-BREEDING: Tennessee and Maryland south to southeastern New Mexico and southeastern U.S. (AOU 1983); the most concentrated populations occur along the Gulf Coast of Texas and in Louisiana; other areas of abundance include the North Carolina coast, lowlands around Pensacola, the Pecos River area in western Texas, and the Green Swamp near Wilmington, North Carolina (Root 1988). RESIDENT: Middle and South America (south to western Panama; Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana south in the Andes to Tierra del Fuego) (Hilty and Brown 1986), though southernmost populations are migratory.

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Distribution size (breeding/resident) is 6,240,000 square km and increasing (Birdlife International, 2014).

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences with an extremely large range (Birdlife International, 2014) . Partners in Flight (2013) estimate its global population to be 20 million.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size based on Partners in Flight (2013).

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: Species has an extremely large range and the population size is extremely large (Birdlife International, 2014) so there should be at least 41 good EOs.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Habitat loss in the eastern US appears to have been the most important factor contributing to population declines in this region (Gibbs and Melvin 1992, Peterjohn and Sauer 1999).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of <25%
Short-term Trend Comments: BBS data indicate that Sedge Wren populations trends were generally positive in North America from 1966 to 1996, mostly as a result of relatively recent population increases in the Great Plains (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). Increases in Sedge Wren populations in the Great Plains were most evident during 1990s, apparently the result of both creation of new grassland habitat through the Conservation Reserve Program and increased annual precipitation in the region (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). Increased precipitation improved wetland conditions in the Great Plains region during the 1990s (USFWS 1997) and expanded the extent of damp grasslands suitable for Sedge Wren breeding (Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). In areas where Sedge Wren populations have declined (especially e. U.S.), habitat loss appears to have been the most important factor contributing to population declines (Gibbs and Melvin 1992, Peterjohn and Sauer 1999). BBS trends should be viewed with some caution, however, since this species? erratic occurrence and fluctuating numbers make estimating population trends difficult (Peterjohn and Rice 1991, Bedell 1996, Peterjohn and Sauer 1999) (Herkert, Kroodsma, and Gibbs, 2001).

Long-term Trend: Relatively Stable to increase of >25%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species has undergone a large and statistically significant increase over the last 40 years in North America (85.6% increase over 40 years, equating to a 16.7% increase per decade; data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count) (Birdlife Iternational, 2014).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Dependence on wetlands: draining of wetlands and subsequent conversion to agriculture land undoubtedly brings local population declines (Herkert, Kroodsma, and Gibbs, 2001).

Environmental Specificity: Moderate to broad.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Wetlands preferred by Sedge Wrens, such as sedge/grass meadows with moist or saturated soils, are the most easily drained and filled and have been the type of wetland most frequently destroyed by agriculture and urbanization (Tiner 1984).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Improved population monitoring, including standardized survey programs, would be a plus, especially in nesting areas around the periphery of the range and in the northeastern U.S., where populations have been declining. Efforts to monitor contaminant levels in adults and their eggs in industrialized and agricultural portions of their range are needed (Herkert, Kroodsma, and Gibbs, 2001).

Protection Needs: Protection of wetlands, especially sedge meadow and other wet-meadow habitats, is the most important conservation measure that could/should be taken to protect this species. Protection of existing sedge meadows may be particularly important, since this habitat typically supports high densities of Sedge Wrens, is vulnerable to urban and agricultural development (Tiner 1984) and has poor recovery potential after degradation (Reuter 1986). Since this species prefers tall, dense vegetation for breeding, grazing, mowing and burning all generally reduce local breeding densities (e.g., Skinner 1975, Kantrud 1981, Lingle and Bedell 1989, Bryan and Best 1994, Herkert 1994, Robel et al. 1998, Belanger and Picard 1999). Burning can also reduce use of areas by wintering Sedge Wrens (Van?t Hul 1997, McNair 1998, Reynolds and Krausman 1998). In Argentine Pampas, overgrazing by cattle, soil compaction, and fires have eliminated tallgrass habitats and have lead to severe declines in Sedge Wren populations (Bucher and Nores 1988) (Herkert, Kroodsma, and Gibbs, 2001). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's responsibility for reviewing wildlife habitat attributes of properties foreclosed by the Farmers Home Administration (U.S. Department of Agriculture) presents an opportunity to acquire and preserve grassland habitats in the northeastern states (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: eastern Alberta east across southern Canada to (formerly) central Maine and New Brunswick, south to eastern Arkansas, southern Illinois, central Kentucky, western West Virginia, and southeastern Virginia, west to Dakotas and Kansas (AOU 1983). Most common in Minnesota, Wisconsin, north-central Michigan, southern and central Manitoba, and the Lake of the Woods area of northwestern Ontario (Jalava 1993). In the northeastern U.S., tidewater marshes in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia currently support the largest, most stable populations (Gibbs and Melvin 1992). NON-BREEDING: Tennessee and Maryland south to southeastern New Mexico and southeastern U.S. (AOU 1983); the most concentrated populations occur along the Gulf Coast of Texas and in Louisiana; other areas of abundance include the North Carolina coast, lowlands around Pensacola, the Pecos River area in western Texas, and the Green Swamp near Wilmington, North Carolina (Root 1988). RESIDENT: Middle and South America (south to western Panama; Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana south in the Andes to Tierra del Fuego) (Hilty and Brown 1986), though southernmost populations are migratory.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
NOTE: The maps for birds represent the breeding status by state and province. In some jurisdictions, the subnational statuses for common species have not been assessed and the status is shown as not-assessed (SNR). In some jurisdictions, the subnational status refers to the status as a non-breeder; these errors will be corrected in future versions of these maps. A species is not shown in a jurisdiction if it is not known to breed in the jurisdiction or if it occurs only accidentally or casually in the jurisdiction. Thus, the species may occur in a jurisdiction as a seasonal non-breeding resident or as a migratory transient but this will not be indicated on these maps. See other maps on this web site that depict the Western Hemisphere ranges of these species at all seasons of the year.
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada AB, MB, NB, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: TNC-Wings, 1999; NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AR Benton (05007), Prairie (05117), Randolph (05121), Scott (05127)
CT Fairfield (09001), Hartford (09003)*, Litchfield (09005), Middlesex (09007)*, New London (09011)*
DE Kent (10001), Sussex (10005)
IN Bartholomew (18005), Benton (18007), Boone (18011), Brown (18013), Clinton (18023), De Kalb (18033), Dubois (18037), Elkhart (18039), Fountain (18045), Fulton (18049), Gibson (18051), Greene (18055), Hendricks (18063), Henry (18065), Jackson (18071), Jasper (18073), Jay (18075), Jefferson (18077), Jennings (18079), Johnson (18081), Kosciusko (18085), La Porte (18091), Lagrange (18087), Lake (18089), Lawrence (18093), Newton (18111), Noble (18113), Parke (18121), Porter (18127), Pulaski (18131)*, Putnam (18133), Randolph (18135), St. Joseph (18141), Starke (18149)*, Steuben (18151), Tippecanoe (18157), Vanderburgh (18163), Vermillion (18165), Warrick (18173), Washington (18175), White (18181), Whitley (18183)
KY Ballard (21007), Bath (21011)*, Breckinridge (21027), Clay (21051)*, Edmonson (21061)*, Fayette (21067)*, Fulton (21075), Green (21087), Greenup (21089), Hardin (21093)*, Henderson (21101), Hickman (21105), Hopkins (21107), Jefferson (21111), Knox (21121)*, Larue (21123), Laurel (21125)*, Livingston (21139), Lyon (21143), Meade (21163)*, Morgan (21175), Muhlenberg (21177), Nelson (21179)*, Oldham (21185)*, Powell (21197), Pulaski (21199), Rowan (21205)*, Taylor (21217)*, Union (21225), Warren (21227), Wayne (21231)*, Webster (21233), Woodford (21239)
MA Berkshire (25003), Essex (25009)*, Franklin (25011), Hampden (25013)*, Hampshire (25015), Middlesex (25017), Norfolk (25021)*, Worcester (25027)
MD Allegany (24001), Anne Arundel (24003)*, Calvert (24009), Dorchester (24019)*, Garrett (24023)*, Montgomery (24031)*, Prince Georges (24033), Somerset (24039)*, St. Marys (24037), Worcester (24047)
MO Dent (29065), Harrison (29081), Johnson (29101), Macon (29121), Mercer (29129), Pike (29163), St. Charles (29183)
MT Roosevelt (30085), Sheridan (30091)
NE Adams (31001), Antelope (31003), Boone (31011), Brown (31017), Burt (31021), Butler (31023), Cass (31025), Cedar (31027), Clay (31035), Colfax (31037), Cuming (31039), Dakota (31043), Dawson (31047), Dixon (31051), Dodge (31053), Douglas (31055), Fillmore (31059), Garfield (31071), Greeley (31077), Hall (31079), Hamilton (31081), Holt (31089), Howard (31093), Jefferson (31095), Johnson (31097), Keith (31101), Lancaster (31109), Madison (31119), Nance (31125), Nemaha (31127), Pawnee (31133), Phelps (31137), Pierce (31139), Platte (31141), Polk (31143), Richardson (31147), Saline (31151), Saunders (31155), Seward (31159), Sherman (31163), Thurston (31173)*, Washington (31177), Wayne (31179), Wheeler (31183), York (31185)
NH Rockingham (33015), Strafford (33017)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Bergen (34003), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Essex (34013), Hudson (34017), Morris (34027), Ocean (34029)*, Passaic (34031), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037)
NY Albany (36001), Cayuga (36011), Chautauqua (36013), Clinton (36019), Dutchess (36027), Erie (36029), Essex (36031), Franklin (36033), Genesee (36037), Jefferson (36045), Monroe (36055), Niagara (36063), Oneida (36065)*, Onondaga (36067), Orange (36071), Orleans (36073), Oswego (36075), Schoharie (36095), Seneca (36099), St. Lawrence (36089), Suffolk (36103)*, Sullivan (36105), Ulster (36111), Washington (36115), Wayne (36117), Westchester (36119)
OH Brown (39015)*, Clark (39023), Erie (39043), Fairfield (39045), Geauga (39055), Greene (39057), Hamilton (39061)*, Lorain (39093), Lucas (39095), Miami (39109), Montgomery (39113), Ottawa (39123), Sandusky (39143), Seneca (39147)*, Summit (39153), Trumbull (39155), Wayne (39169)*, Williams (39171), Wyandot (39175)
PA Bedford (42009), Berks (42011)*, Bucks (42017)*, Butler (42019), Chester (42029)*, Crawford (42039), Cumberland (42041), Delaware (42045)*, Elk (42047), Erie (42049), Lancaster (42071)*, Lebanon (42075)*, Monroe (42089)*, Northampton (42095)*, Northumberland (42097)*, Union (42119)*, York (42133)
VA Augusta (51015)*, Bland (51021)*, Mathews (51115), Montgomery (51121), Poquoson (City) (51735)
VT Addison (50001), Bennington (50003)*, Chittenden (50007), Rutland (50021), Windham (50025)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Merrimack (01070002)+*, Concord (01070005)+*, Merrimack (01070006)+, West (01080107)+*, Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Miller (01080202)+, Chicopee (01080204)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Westfield (01080206)+*, Farmington (01080207)+*, Charles (01090001)+, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Hudson-Hoosic (02020003)+, Mohawk (02020004)+, Middle Hudson (02020006)+, Rondout (02020007)+, Lower Hudson (02030101)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Sandy Hook-Staten Island (02030104)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Southern Long Island (02030202)+*, Long Island Sound (02030203)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+*, Lehigh (02040106)+*, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+*, Lower Delaware (02040202)+*, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Delaware Bay (02040204)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Broadkill-Smyrna (02040207)+, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+*, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+, Chincoteague (02040303)+, Lower West Branch Susquehanna (02050206)+*, Raystown (02050303)+, Lower Susquehanna-Swatara (02050305)+, Lower Susquehanna (02050306)+, Upper Chesapeake Bay (02060001)+*, Severn (02060004)+*, Patuxent (02060006)+, North Branch Potomac (02070002)+, South Fork Shenandoah (02070005)+*, Middle Potomac-Catoctin (02070008)+*, Middle Potomac-Anacostia-Occoquan (02070010)+*, Lower Potomac (02070011)+*, Lower Chesapeake Bay (02080101)+*, Great Wicomico-Piankatank (02080102)+, Lynnhaven-Poquoson (02080108)+, Western Lower Delmarva (02080109)+*, Eastern Lower Delmarva (02080110)+*, Pokomoke-Western Lower Delmarva (02080111)+*
04 Little Calumet-Galien (04040001)+, St. Joseph (04050001)+, Ottawa-Stony (04100001)+, St. Joseph (04100003)+, Cedar-Portage (04100010)+, Sandusky (04100011)+, Black-Rocky (04110001)+, Cuyahoga (04110002)+, Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101)+, Buffalo-Eighteenmile (04120103)+, Niagara (04120104)+, Lake Erie (04120200)+*, Oak Orchard-Twelvemile (04130001)+, Irondequoit-Ninemile (04140101)+*, Salmon-Sandy (04140102)+, Seneca (04140201)+, Oneida (04140202)+, Oswego (04140203)+, Chaumont-Perch (04150102)+, Oswegatchie (04150302)+, Indian (04150303)+, Grass (04150304)+, English-Salmon (04150307)+, Mettawee River (04150401)+, Otter Creek (04150402)+, Winooski River (04150403)+, Saranac River (04150406)+, Lake Champlain (04150408)+
05 Conewango (05010002)+, French (05010004)+, Clarion (05010005)+, Youghiogheny (05020006)+*, Shenango (05030102)+, Connoquenessing (05030105)+, Tuscarawas (05040001)+, Walhonding (05040003)+*, Upper New (05050001)+, Middle New (05050002)+*, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Lower Levisa (05070203)+, Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Lower Great Miami (05080002)+, Little Scioto-Tygarts (05090103)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+*, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+*, Licking (05100101)+*, South Fork Kentucky (05100203)+*, Upper Kentucky (05100204)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Upper Green (05110001)+, Barren (05110002)+, Middle Green (05110003)+, Rough (05110004)+, Lower Green (05110005)+, Upper Wabash (05120101)+, Middle Wabash-Deer (05120105)+, Tippecanoe (05120106)+, Middle Wabash-Little Vermilion (05120108)+, Sugar (05120110)+, Upper White (05120201)+, Lower White (05120202)+, Eel (05120203)+, Driftwood (05120204)+, Upper East Fork White (05120206)+, Muscatatuck (05120207)+, Lower East Fork White (05120208)+, Patoka (05120209)+, Upper Cumberland (05130101)+*, Rockcastle (05130102)+*, Upper Cumberland-Lake Cumberland (05130103)+, Lower Cumberland (05130205)+, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Rolling Fork (05140103)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+, Lower Ohio-Little Pigeon (05140201)+, Highland-Pigeon (05140202)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+*, Tradewater (05140205)+
07 The Sny (07110004)+, Salt (07110007)+, Kankakee (07120001)+, Iroquois (07120002)+, Chicago (07120003)+, Meramec (07140102)+
08 Lower Mississippi-Memphis (08010100)+, Bayou De Chien-Mayfield (08010201)+, Obion (08010202)+, Lower White (08020303)+
10 Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005)+, Big Muddy (10060006)+, Brush Lake closed basin (10060007)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Lower North Platte (10180014)+, Middle Platte-Buffalo (10200101)+, Middle Platte-Prairie (10200103)+, Lower Platte-Shell (10200201)+, Lower Platte (10200202)+, Salt (10200203)+, Lower Middle Loup (10210003)+, Lower North Loup (10210007)+, Loup (10210009)+, Cedar (10210010)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+, North Fork Elkhorn (10220002)+, Lower Elkhorn (10220003)+, Logan (10220004)+, Blackbird-Soldier (10230001)+, Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006)+, Keg-Weeping Water (10240001)+, Little Nemaha (10240006)+, South Fork Big Nemaha (10240007)+, Big Nemaha (10240008)+, Upper Big Blue (10270201)+, Middle Big Blue (10270202)+, West Fork Big Blue (10270203)+, Turkey (10270204)+, Lower Big Blue (10270205)+, Upper Little Blue (10270206)+, Lower Little Blue (10270207)+, Upper Grand (10280101)+, Thompson (10280102)+, Little Chariton (10280203)+, Blackwater (10300104)+, Lower Missouri (10300200)+
11 Current (11010008)+, Illinois (11110103)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (wren).
General Description: ADULT: plumage is warm and pale brown overall, giving the birds a "dull, plain-faced" appearance (Vickery 1983). The deep brown wing coverts and short tail are barred, the flanks are buff-orange, the chin, throat and center belly are dull white, and the undertail coverts are plain buff. The crown is "finely, somewhat obscurely, streaked with tan and dark brown" (Vickery 1983), and the tail is typically cocked over the back. Sexes have similar plumages, and males are about a gram heavier than females (Taylor et al. 1983).

JUVENILE: similar to adults except that the streaking on the head and neck is less conspicuous, and the juvenal plumage is darker above and more buffy on the throat and abdomen (Forbush 1929, Walkinshaw 1935).

NEST: well-hidden, rounded balls made of woven, fine grasses and culms of sedges, and are often built near the ground (< 0.5 m) and attached to live stems of grasses and sedges (Walkinshaw 1935, Tordoff and Young 1951, Harrison 1978). Typically have a single side-entrance.

EGGS: ovate or pointed-ovate, white and unmarked, and smooth and moderately glossy (Harrison 1978). Measurements of 50 eggs averaged 16 x 12 mm (Bent 1948).

VOCALIZATIONS: The song of males is a dry, staccato chattering: "chap chap chap chapper-rrrrr" (Peterson 1980). Among individuals, the song's introduction is stereotyped, whereas the trill is highly variable (Kroodsma and Verner 1978). The call note is "churr churr," "chap churr," or "chap" (Bent 1948, Peterson 1980). Frequently sing at night (Vickery 1983).

Diagnostic Characteristics: In contrast to marsh wrens (CISTOTHORUS PALUSTRIS), the only other wren occurring in eastern wetlands, sedge wrens lack a distinct white stripe over the eye, are lighter-colored, and have a shorter bill (Vickery 1983).
Reproduction Comments: CHRONOLOGY: Nesting phenology may be related to site latitude and often occurs in two "waves" during a given season. Arrive at nesting areas as early as mid-April (Bent 1948) in some regions or as late as July in others (Lingle and Bedell 1989), and have been observed nesting as late as the end of September (Schwilling 1982). Nesting in many northeastern states is not initiated until July. In more northerly latitudes, nesting may be initiated from May to June, e.g., in North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan, and again in late July through August, whereas in more southerly areas, e.g., Kansas and Arkansas, nesting may not be initiated until the latter period (Lingle and Bedell 1989). Late nesting at certain sites could represent renesting attempts by birds arriving from elsewhere or could be an adaptive response of local birds to delayed availability of moist, but unflooded, grassland habitats. Peak nesting populations in mixed-grass prairie in North Dakota occurred after unusually wet springs, but nesting activity showed little response to spring temperature (Cody 1985). Occupancy of a given site varies among years, and sites used one year may be abandoned the next (Palmer 1949, Burns 1982).

COURTSHIP AND BREEDING BEHAVIOR: Upon arrival at nesting areas, males establish territories that are used for courtship, nesting, and foraging (Burns 1982). Territory boundaries are fluid throughout the nesting season, and males may shift their activity and defend new areas as the season progresses. Males defend territories and attract mates by singing vigorously throughout the breeding season, as much as 22 h/day and at rates of up to 12-15 songs/min (Walkinshaw 1935, Kroodsma and Verner 1978). This combination of song components may permit mixing of highly dispersive populations (Kroodsma and Verner 1978) and may represent an evolutionary compromise between species identification and sexual selection among individuals. Because local dialects would be swamped in such highly mobile populations, neighboring males do not share song-type repertoires nor do they counter-sing by matching song-types (cf. marsh wren).

NESTING: Male CISTOTHORUS wrens build multiple, domed nests that figure prominently in courtship, and may also serve as dormitories and decoys for predators (Verner 1965, Picman and Picman 1980, Burns 1982). In Minnesota, males built an average of 7.4 complete nests and 0.8 incomplete nests on each territory (Burns 1982). Nests used for incubating eggs are built closer to the ground than dummy nests (Walkinshaw 1935) and have a substantial inner lining of grass, sedge, and feathers added by the female (Burns 1982).

Females begin laying one egg daily about the third day of nest lining (Burns 1982), and initiate incubation before the clutch is complete. Usually 7 eggs are laid per clutch (range is 2 to 8), although clutches laid later in the season may be smaller than earlier clutches (Bent 1948, Harrison 1978, Burns 1982). Clutch size 4 in Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Incubation is by the female only and lasts about 14 days (Burns 1982).

Females in some populations are double-brooded (Walkinshaw 1935, Burns 1982), but are single-brooded in others (Crawford 1977). Males may be serially or simultaneously polygynous and females may be serially polyandrous (Crawford 1977, Burns 1982). Mates of monogamous males had higher reproductive success than both primary and secondary females mated with polygynous males, whereas polygynous males had higher reproductive success than monogamous males (Burns 1982).

Nest success (nests with at least one egg hatching) was reported at 68% (n = 31 nests, Crawford 1977) and 69% (n = 18 nests, Burns 1982). Sources of nest loss include predation, infertile clutches, heavy rains, trampling by grazing cattle, and nest destruction by other sedge wrens (Walkinshaw 1935, Crawford 1977, Picman and Picman 1980, Burns 1982). The nestling period lasts 13-14 days (Walkinshaw 1935, Crawford 1977). Fledging success (number of young fledged per number of eggs laid) has been reported at 0.67 in Minnesota (Burns 1982). Virtually all parental care of nestlings is provided by the female, although males occasionally feed nestlings (Walkinshaw 1935, Burns 1982). Nest-building and continual defense by males of territories with abundant food may compensate females for a lack of male parental care of offspring. Fledglings move about in small groups until migration occurs (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).

Ecology Comments: Nesting territory size averages about 0.2 ha (Byrd and Johnston 1991). Forty weekly estimates of territory size for five males in Minnesota averaged 1,280 meters squared (Burns 1982). Densities (males per ten ha) of nesting birds have been reported as four in grazed areas and 12 in ungrazed areas in Nebraska (Lingle and Bedell 1989), 86 in Michigan (Walkinshaw 1935), 18 in Wisconsin (Manci and Rusch 1988), 12 in Illinois (Birkenholz 1984), 15 in North Dakota (Higgins et al. 1984), 19 in Minnesota (Hanowski and Niemi 1986), three in Kansas (Cink and Sepahi 1983), seven in Iowa (Wilson 1983), and three in Maryland (Stewart and Robbins 1958). May destroy the eggs of other sedge wrens or other small birds.

Habitats are characterized by vegetation types and soil moisture regimes that are highly susceptible to drying or flooding caused by annual and seasonal variation in rainfall. Vegetative succession and disturbance by grazing, haying, and planting also impart a highly transitory character to nesting habitats. This habitat instability may lead to the high mobility and low site tenacity of sedge wrens (Kroodsma and Verner 1978). The complete regional absence in some years, however, suggests that some factor in addition to habitat instability is involved in population fluctuations, perhaps regional patterns of rainfall (Cody 1985) or weather conditions during migration. The nature of the communication system as a unique adaptation to high population mobility (Kroodsma and Verner 1978) suggests that opportunistic breeding and low site tenacity has occurred for a long time, rather than being of recent origin, such as in response to agriculture and habitat loss (Burns 1982). These birds are "curiously local" and occur sporadically within the Andean Zone of South America, and there is no reason to believe that anthropogenic factors influence the species' distribution there (Fjeldsa 1988).

Habitat Type: Terrestrial
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migration occurs in September or October, depending on the region (Bent 1915, Walkinshaw 1935). Incidental kills at transmitting television towers in Florida suggest that most fall migration occurs in October, well after the migration of most warblers, vireos, and other, similarly sized passerines is underway (Taylor et al. 1983). Clustering of multiple wren species at tower kills indicates that sedge wrens migrate in flocks with other wrens (Taylor et al. 1983). In southern South America, migrates north for the austral winter.
Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Grasslands and savanna, especially where wet or boggy; sedge marshes; moist meadows with scattered low bushes; upland margins of ponds and marshes; coastal brackish marshes of cordgrass, herbs, and low shrubs; locally in dry cultivated grainfields (AOU 1983). Avoids cattail marshes. Sings from exposed perch, otherwise creeps and hops on or near ground in tall sedgy grass or wet tangles at the bases of shrubs (Colombia, Hilty and Brown 1986). Nests low in tall dense growths of sedges or grasses, or similar herbage, very near ground, or over shallow water (Harrison 1978).

Nesting areas may change opportunistically from year to year as conditions change. Several nests are built within a single breeding territory each season. Nesting takes place among dense, tall growths of sedges and grasses in wet meadows, hayfields, retired croplands, and upland margins of ponds and marshes. It also occurs in coastal, brackish marshes. Scattered shrubs and an absence of standing water are also typical features of nesting habitats. Highly sensitive to habitat conditions, and abandon sites rendered too dry by drainage or drought or too wet by flooding. Will also abandon sites if shrubs become too prevalent. Opportunistic breeders and may renest at different locations during the same breeding season. Usually do not occupy the same site for more than one to three years.

In South Dakota, preferred sites within landscapes dominated by grassland; size of individual breeding habitat patch was not as important as was its landscape context (Bakker et al. 2002).

In New England, Bagg and Eliot (1937) suggested that sedge wrens colonized wet meadows early in the nesting season but, due to summer drying, used permanently wet, tussocky marshland in July for renesting. Nesting has been reported in Maine from a variety of habitat types, including wet fields, bush-covered pastures, sedgy and grassy meadows, marshes, bogs, and thick, grassy areas on barren lands (Palmer 1949). Preferred habitats in tidewater areas in Maryland consisted of switchgrass (PANICUM VIRGATUM) meadows along the inner margins of tidal marshes (Stewart and Robbins 1958). In the Allegheny Mountains of Maryland, sedge meadows in boreal bogs were usually occupied, whereas orchard grass pastures and hayfields were used at upland sites elsewhere in the state (Stewart and Robbins 1958).

At moist soil impoundments in Missouri, associated with unflooded areas with rank or dense vegetative cover, and avoided short, sparse, or open vegetative cover, openings, and flooded areas (Fredrickson and Red 1986). In a large, marsh complex in Wisconsin, Manci and Rusch (1988) observed them primarily in habitats dominated by sedges (CAREX spp.), and secondarily in upland grasslands. Avoided areas of deepwater cattail (TYPHA spp.), shallow-water cattail, dry cattail, and river bulrush (SCIRPUS FLUVIATILIS).

In Minnesota, preferred dense sedge growth intermixed with patchy, one to two m high shrubs (Niemi and Hanowski 1984). Average vegetative characteristics territories in Minnesota were 303 sedge stems/meter squared, 16 forb stems/meter squared, 50 shrub stems/meter squared, and a predominant vegetation height of 1.1 m (Niemi 1985). Higher densities occurred in areas with medium shrub densities (11-32 stems/0.0025 ha) than in areas with more or less shrub growth (Niemi and Hanowski 1984). At another Minnesota site, major vegetation types in territories were stands of great bulrush (SCIRPUS ACUTUS), tussock sedge (CAREX STRICTA), and water sedge (C. AQUATILIS) and monotypic stands of C. AQUATILIS (Burns 1982).

At Delta Marsh, Manitoba, occurred in wet, white-top (SCOLOCHLOA FESTUCACEA) and sedge (CAREX ATHERODES) meadows (Picman and Picman 1980). Crawford (1977) studied them in a glacial marsh complex in Iowa, and found nests in drier sites around marshes in areas dominated by reed canary grass (PHALARIS ARUNDINACEA) (17 nests) and river bulrush (14 nests) stands. Reproductive success was higher, however, for males with territories consisting primarily of bulrush (SCIRPUS FLUVIATILIS). Similarly, Walkinshaw (1935) considered the portion of a marsh intermediate between deepwater sections and the bordering meadow to be preferred habitats in Michigan. Birds used areas where sedges and grasses predominated, with clumps of shrubs and herbaceous growth, and with no standing water.

In a Nebraska study, wrens avoided high ground and occurred most commonly along moist, ungrazed margins of relict channels (sloughs) where water sedge, common ragweed (AMBROSIA ARTEMISIFOLIA), and river bulrush predominated (Lingle and Bedell 1989). A southward-sloping hillside dominated by a mixture of rank grasses and weeds about one m high, interspersed with clumps of smooth sumac (RHUS GLABRA), supported a nesting population during a particularly wet year in Kansas (Tordoff and Young 1951).

NON-BREEDING: Little information is available on wintering habitats. Presumed similar to breeding habitat, but in migration and winter also in brushy grasslands (AOU 1983). Brackish and freshwater sedge meadows and marshes are used, as are old fields and prairies with dense, matted grass or weeds (Howell 1932). Drier portions of salt marshes may be used during migration (Forbush 1929, Palmer 1949).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects and spiders (Terres 1980); picks items from the ground or from foliage. Information on diet is limited. Howell (1932) examined 34 stomachs of sedge wrens overwintering in Florida and concluded that the diet consisted wholly of spiders and insects, including ants, bugs, weevils, ladybird beetles, moths, caterpillars, locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. Seven stomachs of sedge wrens from Pennsylvania contained beetles and spiders (Warren 1890). Walkinshaw (1935) observed the birds feeding their young moths, spiders, mosquitos, flies, grasshoppers, and bugs.

The "mouse-like," inconspicuous foraging behavior (Howell 1932, Walkinshaw 1935) suggests that these birds forage mainly at ground level, probably for insects hiding in moist soil and among bases of sedges and grasses. Particular adaptations of sedge wrens to foraging in shrubby grasslands include their small size, relatively long bills, and longer pelves and legs in comparison to congeners using forested habitats (Niemi 1985). The abundance of insect food in frequented upland habitats is probably a function of rainfall, soil moisture, and productivity of adjacent marshlands. Aquatic insects characteristically move from wetlands following metamorphosis and seek refuge on nearby uplands (Orians 1980), where they may serve as an important food source.

Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 11 centimeters
Weight: 9 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Breed in scattered localities throughout the Northeast, but are most abundant along the tidal marshes of the middle Atlantic states. They also nest along the upland margins of freshwater ponds and marshes, and among the grasses in wet meadows and hayfields. Nesting sites must be moist, and are readily abandoned if flooding or drying occurs. Loss of wet meadows is the most serious threat to populations. Management of wetland borders at wildlife management areas, however, could help to bolster local populations. The wren's high mobility could also help to disperse birds to uninhabited areas (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).

Regional population trends indicate a stable population in the Northeast, although existing surveys may undersample populations because territory establishment and nesting often do not occur until July (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).

Monitoring programs should extend through the summer in order to accurately survey sedge wrens. Although habitat loss seems to be a major factor in population declines, many authors have noted that populations seem well below the level that available habitats could support (Palmer 1949, Laughlin and Kibbe 1985, Andrle and Carroll 1988). Thus, although regional populations may now be stationary (as indicated by Breeding Bird Survey trends), individuals may be too sparsely distributed to effect any substantive or rapid population recovery. Preservation and maintenance of complexes of breeding habitat is needed; habitat management across wide geographic areas may be necessary to significantly enhance regional populations (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).

Restoration Potential: A lack of information about reproductive potential and population structure precludes making any definitive statement concerning population management potential. The large clutch sizes (up to eight eggs) and potential ability to raise two broods per year (although unlikely in the Northeast), suggests high management potential. Because of high mobility, these birds can readily colonize new nesting areas. High mobility also confers high rates of genetic mixing upon populations, and thereby offsets some of the genetic problems facing the recovery of a severely diminished population. They will nest in a variety of grassland habitats, including wet meadows, marsh margins, bogs, and restored prairies (Higgins et al. 1984). Given an expanded and more stable habitat base and a long period without severe climatic events (hard winters or droughty summers), an increase in populations in the northeastern states seems possible (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Lands preserved as nesting habitats should have dense, tall growths of sedges and grasses. Wet meadows and grassy upland margins of ponds, marshes, streams, rivers, hayfields and retired croplands, and brackish marshes represent high priority areas for protection. Other features of protected lands should include a scattering of shrubs and no standing water. Prefer breeding sites within large areas dominated by grassland; size of breeding habitat patch is not as important as its landscape context (Bakker et al. 2002).

Breeding sites should be protected from both drought conditions and flooding, and from fire, grazing, and human activity during the nesting season (May to August). Protected areas should be of sufficient size (e.g., more than five ha) to reduce area-related effects on nest predation (Burger 1988). Preserves should be buffered against an influx of pesticides from adjacent agricultural areas. Wetland areas adjacent to nesting areas should be preserved to prevent drying of upland margins and to retain sources of insect prey.

Management Requirements: Preservation of nesting habitat and maintenance of a complex of potential habitats throughout the Northeast is perhaps the most pressing management need. Particular attention should be directed toward safe-guarding nesting habitats at tidewater marshes in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia, which currently support the largest, most regularly occurring populations in the northeastern U.S. Flooding will destroy nesting habitat as readily as drainage, and should be prevented during the nesting season. Overgrazing can easily eliminate the tall, rank cover on moist sites upon which sedge wrens depend.

Habitat preservation in the Northeast will depend on management programs that focus specifically on the sedge wren, and protection and management of populations on state and other public lands is suggested. Because of the sporadic and mobile nature of nesting, conservation will also depend on voluntary protection of nesting areas by private landowners. Given the small and transitory nature of populations, however, management to protect specific sites may have a low probability of attracting and holding sedge wrens; rather, extensive efforts over wide geographic areas may be necessary to have significant effects on regional populations.

GRAZING: Livestock grazing influences the structure and composition of plant cover and the supply and availability of invertebrate foods. Grazing animals should be excluded from meadows used by sedge wrens during the nesting season, although controlled grazing at other times of the year may be a means of beneficial meadowland management. Wrens nested at lower densities in grazed than ungrazed areas due to a reduction in vegetation stature caused by trampling and grazing by cattle (Lingle and Bedell 1989). BURNING: Fire can be used to stop encroachment of woody plants at nesting areas and to regenerate stands of tall grasses and sedges that provide needed cover. Prescribed burning should be restricted to the nonbreeding season. Habitat blocks should be managed in rotation to ensure annual availability of nesting habitat. For a useful overview of management of grassland and agricultural ecosystems for nongame wildlife such as sedge wrens, see Ryan (1986).

Monitoring Requirements: Most conventional survey programs for terrestrial birds are conducted in spring and completed by early summer (e.g., Breeding Bird Surveys). Therefore, sedge wrens may often be missed because, in many areas of the Northeast, nesting is not initiated until late June or July (e.g., Andrle and Carroll 1988). Efforts to survey populations must extend throughout the summer months. Although these birds are quite vocal and, if active, can be located using conventional aural census techniques, broadcast of recorded calls is useful for eliciting responses from inactive birds (Manci and Rusch 1988). A familiarity with the vocalizations is required of observers because, unlike marsh wrens, sedge wrens typically remain in dense cover and are difficult to identify visually. In areas with relatively dense, regularly occurring populations (e.g., tidewater marshes of Delaware and Maryland), annual censuses should be conducted to monitor local populations. In other parts of the Northeast, where breeding activity is very scarce and sporadic, casual reports from birdwatchers may be the only feasible means of surveying populations. Birdwatchers should be actively encouraged to search in old fields and along grassy, wetland margins throughout the summer months. Biologists employed by private consulting firms to inventory wetlands and farmlands associated with potential development sites may represent a valuable source of information on occurrences. All reports of breeding activity should be verified and cataloged; this might best be accomplished by having a single agency responsible for overseeing survey efforts (Gibbs and Melvin 1992).
Management Research Needs: Initiate standardized survey programs in areas with established nesting populations (tidewater marshes of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) and coordinate and encourage birdwatchers and professional ornithologists to search for and record nesting activity elsewhere in the northeastern region throughout the summer season (May-August).

Conduct detailed studies of the habitat requirements in the Northeast to determine preferred soil moisture regimes, vegetation height, density, composition, specific cover requirements for nesting, and minimum effective habitat area.

Conduct a detailed study of the nesting biology in the northeastern U.S. (most information currently comes from Midwest populations) to determine nesting phenologies, extent of polygamy, ability to renest, causes of reproductive failure, causes and rates of mortality in juveniles and adults, juvenile dispersal and philopatry, and diet. Such studies will probably be most successful if conducted at sites with relatively long-established, reliable use by breeding wrens.

Conduct detailed studies of relationships between habitat use and abundance of invertebrate foods, including relationships between invertebrate populations and soil moisture, rainfall, wetland proximity, and grassland type.

Identify major stopover sites and overwintering areas in the northeastern and southeastern U.S.

Determine effects of disease, parasites, predators, weather, and contaminants on reproduction and populations, and monitor contaminant levels in the birds and their eggs in industrialized and agricultural portions of the Northeast.

Biological Research Needs: More data are needed on the extent of movements within the breeding season and on the origins of individuals involved in this movement. Additional data are needed on population status at the periphery of the breeding range to see if populations are expanding in the South and West and retreating from the Northeast. Better information also is needed on the winter range of this species, especially from the northern range limit of the winter population, and on relative densities of birds away from coastal areas. Many aspects of Sedge Wren behavior are also in need of further study, including descriptions of agonistic behaviors, the degree of sociality in winter, movements of young birds after fledging and prior to fall migration, and inter- and intraseason movements of adults. There are currently no quantitative studies of winter-habitat use for this species. Diet during both the breeding and winter seasons has been little studied to date. Additional data on the demography of populations, as well as research on the effects of disease, parasites, predators, weather, and contaminants on reproduction and populations, are also needed (Herkert, Kroodsma, and Gibbs, 2001).
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 05Mar2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jue, Sally S.
Management Information Edition Date: 01Jun1992
Management Information Edition Author: GIBBS, J.D., AND S.M. MELVIN; REVISIONS BY G. HAMMERSON AND D.W. MEHLMAN
Management Information Acknowledgments: Parts of this abstract were originally published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Schneider and Pence (1992). Funding for the preparation of the original document was made possible by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Newton Corner, MA. The authors are grateful to the library staff of the Smithsonian Institution, the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and the Peabody Museum at Yale University for bibliographic assistance. J. Longcore and D. McAuley facilitated a bibliographic computer search and provided other logistical support. The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife provided office space and computer access during the preparation of this report. Critical review of an earlier draft of this report was provided by D. Kroodsma and P. Vickery. K. E. and H. C. Gibbs provided much indirect support to J. P. G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16May1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Herkert, James R., Donald E. Kroodsma and James P. Gibbs. 2001. Sedge Wren (Cistothorusplatensis), The Birds of North America Online (A. Poole, Ed.). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Retrieved from the Birds of North America Online:http://bna.birds.cornell.edu.bnaproxy.birds.cornell.edu/bna/species/582

    doi:10.2173/bna.582


  • Alabama Ornithological Society. 2006. Field checklist of Alabama birds. Alabama Ornithological Society, Dauphin Island, Alabama. [Available online at http://www.aosbirds.org/documents/AOSChecklist_april2006.pdf ]

  • Allen, C. R., S. Demarais, and R. S. Lutz. 1994. Red imported fire ant impact on wildlife: an overview. The Texas Journal of Science 46(1):51-59.

  • American Ornithologists Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American Birds. 7th edition. American Ornithologists Union, Washington, D.C. 829 pages.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Check-list of North American Birds, 6th edition. Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas. 877 pp.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.

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