Icteria virens - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Yellow-breasted Chat
Other English Common Names: yellow-breasted chat
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Icteria virens (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 178964)
French Common Names: paruline polyglotte
Spanish Common Names: Buscabreņa
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104641
Element Code: ABPBX24010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 10709

© Dick Cannings

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Icteriidae Icteria
Genus Size: A - Monotypic genus
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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: Icteria virens
Taxonomic Comments: Phylogenetic analyses of sequences of mitochondrial DNA (Lovette and Bermingham 2002, Yuri and Mindell 2002, Klein et al. 2004, Klicka et al. 2007) indicate that the genus Icteria represents an old lineage of uncertain affinities, probably related to the Parulidae, Icteridae, or Emberizidae (AOU 2011).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 08Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large breeding range in North America; numerous occurrences; fairly common in many areas; population trends vary among regions, with declines evident in several eastern states, but overall the population is relatively stable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N3N4B,N3N4M (07Dec2017)

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 (S5B,S2N), Arizona (S4), Arkansas (S5B), California (S3), Colorado (S4B), Connecticut (S1B), Delaware (S3B), District of Columbia (S3S4N), Florida (SNRB), Georgia (S5), Idaho (S4B), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S3B,S3N), Kansas (S3B), Kentucky (S5B), Louisiana (S5B), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S1B,S1N), Michigan (S2), Minnesota (SNA), Mississippi (S5B), Missouri (SNRB), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S2S3B), Nebraska (SNR), Nevada (S3B), New Jersey (S3B,S4N), New Mexico (S3B,S4N), New York (S2?B), North Carolina (S5B), North Dakota (SU), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S4B), Oregon (S4B), Pennsylvania (S5B), Rhode Island (S1B,S1N), South Carolina (S4B), South Dakota (S4B), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S5B), Utah (S3S4B), Virginia (S5), Washington (S3S4B), West Virginia (S3B), Wisconsin (S2B), Wyoming (S4B,S4N)
Canada Alberta (S3S4B), British Columbia (S1S2B), Ontario (S1B), Saskatchewan (S4B)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):E,NAR
Comments on COSEWIC: Subspecies auricollis is designated Endangered in BC and designated Not at Risk in AB and SK (Prairie population). Subspecies virens is designated Endangered in ON.
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: southern British Columbia across southern Canada and the northern U.S. to southern Ontario and central New York, south to southern Baja California, to Sinaloa on Pacific slope, to Zacatecas in interior over plateau, to southern Tamaulipas on Atlantic slope, and to Gulf Coast and northern Florida (AOU 1998). See Cadman and Page (1994) for further details on distribution on Canada. NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California, southern Sinaloa, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, and southern Florida south (rarely north to Oregon, Great Lakes, New York, and New England) to western Panama (AOU 1998).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Fairly common in many areas. Population estimates made in the early 1990s for Canada: fewer than 50 breeding pairs in British Columbia, a few thousand pairs in Saskatchewan, 1000-5000 pairs in Alberta, around 50 pairs in Ontario (Cadman and Page, 1994 COSEWIC report).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Threats include habitat loss due to successional changes and clearing of land for agricultural or residential development. Frequently parasitized by the brown-headed cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER), but whether this has a significant impact on reproductive success is not well known.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a significant population decline in eastern North America, 1966-1988; and a significant increase in western North America, 1978-1988 (Sauer and Droege 1992); in North America overall, from 1966-1989, there was a nonsignificant decline averaging 0.8% per year from 1966-1989 (Droege and Sauer 1990), a nonsignificant 9% decline from 1966 to 1993, and a barely significant increase of 8% from 1984 to 1993 (Price et al. 1995). May have declined in south-central and southeastern New York between the early 1900s and mid-1980s (Eaton, in Andrle and Carroll 1988). Numbers have steadily declined in some areas of Ohio, though the range has not changed much since the 1930s (Peterjohn and Rice 1991). Has declined in Indiana and Illinois since the mid-1960s. Has declined along the lower Colorado River with loss of native habitat (Hunter et al. 1988). Canada: thought to be slowly declining due to habitat destruction in British Columbia; populations in Alberta and Saskatchewan apear to be stable; population has declined at Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, which contains a considerable proportion of the province's small population; no longer breeds at Rondeau Provincial Park (Ontario); population on Pelee Island (Ontario) appears to be stable (Cadman and Page 1994).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: southern British Columbia across southern Canada and the northern U.S. to southern Ontario and central New York, south to southern Baja California, to Sinaloa on Pacific slope, to Zacatecas in interior over plateau, to southern Tamaulipas on Atlantic slope, and to Gulf Coast and northern Florida (AOU 1998). See Cadman and Page (1994) for further details on distribution on Canada. NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California, southern Sinaloa, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, and southern Florida south (rarely north to Oregon, Great Lakes, New York, and New England) to western Panama (AOU 1998).

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, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, ON, 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: NatureServe, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
AZ Coconino (04005), Navajo (04017)
CA Imperial (06025), Inyo (06027), Kern (06029), Los Angeles (06037), Mendocino (06045)*, Merced (06047), Nevada (06057), Orange (06059), Riverside (06065), San Benito (06069), San Bernardino (06071), San Diego (06073), San Joaquin (06077), Solano (06095), Stanislaus (06099), Tehama (06103), Ventura (06111)*
CT Fairfield (09001), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009), New London (09011)
ID Bannock (16005), Cassia (16031), Custer (16037), Gooding (16047), Lemhi (16059), Owyhee (16073)
ND Billings (38007), McLean (38055)*, Mercer (38057)*, Oliver (38065), Ward (38101)
NE Boyd (31015), Brown (31017), Cherry (31031), Holt (31089), Keya Paha (31103), Knox (31107), Loup (31115)
NJ Atlantic (34001), Burlington (34005), Cape May (34009), Cumberland (34011), Gloucester (34015), Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Monmouth (34025), Passaic (34031), Salem (34033), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
RI Newport (44005)*, Washington (44009)*
WI Dane (55025), Green (55045), Lafayette (55065), Sauk (55111), Walworth (55127), Washington (55131), Waukesha (55133)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Narragansett (01090004)+*, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+*, Thames (01100003)+, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Long Island Sound (02030203)+*, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Lower Delaware (02040202)+, Cohansey-Maurice (02040206)+, Great Egg Harbor (02040302)+
07 Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, Upper Rock (07090001)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Pecatonica (07090003)+, Sugar (07090004)+
09 Moose Mountain Creek-Souris River (09010008)+
10 Middle Little Missouri (10110203)+, Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101)+, Middle Niobrara (10150004)+, Snake (10150005)+, Lower Niobrara (10150007)+, Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101)+, Calamus (10210008)+, Upper Elkhorn (10220001)+
15 Polacca Wash (15020013)+, Jadito Wash (15020014)+, Moenkopi Wash (15020018)+, Havasu-Mohave Lakes (15030101)+, Piute Wash (15030102)+*, Imperial Reservoir (15030104)+, Lower Colorado (15030107)+
17 Portneuf (17040208)+, Raft (17040210)+, Goose (17040211)+, Upper Snake-Rock (17040212)+, Big Lost (17040218)+, Middle Owyhee (17050107)+, Lemhi (17060204)+
18 Upper Eel (18010103)+*, Upper Bear (18020126)+, Thomes Creek-Sacramento River (18020156)+, Upper Putah (18020162)+, South Fork Kern (18030002)+, Upper Merced (18040008)+, Upper Mokelumne (18040012)+, Rock Creek-French Camp Slough (18040051)+, Pajaro (18060002)+, Santa Clara (18070102)+*, Los Angeles (18070105)+, San Gabriel (18070106)+, San Jacinto (18070202)+, Santa Ana (18070203)+, Newport Bay (18070204)+, Aliso-San Onofre (18070301)+, San Luis Rey-Escondido (18070303)+, San Diego (18070304)+, Crowley Lake (18090102)+, Owens Lake (18090103)+, Eureka-Saline Valleys (18090201)+, Upper Amargosa (18090202)+*, Mojave (18090208)+, Southern Mojave (18100100)+, Whitewater River (18100201)+*, Carrizo Creek (18100202)+, Salton Sea (18100204)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A 19-cm bird (warbler).
Reproduction Comments: In southern British Columbia, most clutches are initiated from mid-May to late June (mainly early to mid-June) (Cannings et al. 1987). Nests with eggs occur primarily in June in Ontario, late May to mid-July in New York (Bull 1974). Some clutches are produced before May 15 in Ohio (Peterjohn and Rice 1991). Clutch size is usually 3-5. Incubation, by the female, lasts 11-15 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 8-11 days (generally by mid-July in southern British Columbia and Alberta, as early as late June in Ontario and New York, as early as early June in Ohio). Sexually mature in one year. In southern Indiana, nests begun in late June and July were more successful than were nests begun earlier; nearly all nest failures were attributed to predators (Thompson and Nolan 1973).
Ecology Comments: In southern Indiana, density was 5-8 breeding males per 18 ha of upland deciduous scrub, plus 2-5 territorial nonbreeding males; territory size averaged 1.24 ha (about 3 acres); very few returned to study area in years following first capture; study area was regarded as unfavorable for chats (Thompson and Nolan 1973). Based on other warblers, annual mortality rate probably is 30-60% in adults, 60-90% in post-fledging young (Thompson and Nolan 1973). NON-BREEDING: Sedentary, solitary during winter (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Arrives in southern winter range mid- to late September, departs by late April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Arrives in northern breeding range mainly in late May or early June (early May in Ontario). Departs many breeding areas mainly in July and August, with significant numbers wandering northward prior to migrating southward to winter range; some linger in the north into late fall or sometimes early winter.
Palustrine Habitat(s): FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Second growth, shrubby old pastures, thickets, bushy areas, scrub, woodland undergrowth, and fence rows, including low wet places near streams, pond edges, or swamps; thickets with few tall trees; early successional stages of forest regeneration; commonly in sites close to human habitation. Nests in bushes, brier tangles, vines, and low trees, generally in dense vegetation less than 2 m above ground. NON-BREEDING: In winter, establishes territories in young second-growth forest and scrub (Dennis 1958, Thompson and Nolan 1973, Morse 1989).
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Summer: eats mostly insects gleaned from foliage and, in late summer, also eats small fruits. Winter: gleans foliage for insects and spiders, notably fond of fruit (Stiles and Skutch 1989).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Phenology Comments: Diurnal, though males may sing at night during the breeding season.
Length: 19 centimeters
Weight: 26 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Restoration Potential: Restoration potential is good as long as habitat availability is favorable. Limitations on dispersal ability are unlikely to create problems for restoration or management as the species is adapted to exploiting patchy, short-lived habitats. High turnover of breeding birds and rapid resettlement of experimentally vacated territories testify to the species' ability to colonize new habitat (Thompson and Nolan 1973, Thompson 1977).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: In many areas (e.g., eastern and southern part of the range), periodic habitat management is necessary if a preserve is to provide suitable habitat over a long period of time. Large tracts are not likely to be managed solely for this species, but creation of shrubby openings of any shape of greater than five ha, even when surrounded by unfavorable habitat, are sufficient to support breeding populations.
Management Requirements: In the eastern part of the range, provision of early successional habitats is essential (Dennis 1958). Chats can be managed in the east by creating and maintaining shrubby openings of at least five ha in forest. In the eastern and southern portions of the range, abandoned agricultural fields left unmanaged for 10 years and the removal of trees and encouragement of a shrub layer in powerline rights-of-way will create suitable chat habitat. Wherever marginal cropland is abandoned, the species should benefit before canopy closure.

Clear-cuts are probably the best way to create new habitat. Clear-cutting and shelterwood cutting that creates openings of five ha or more will lead to the development of suitable habitat through natural succession in Missouri (Annand and Thompson, unpublished data) and elsewhere. Selective logging in the form of either single-tree selection or group selection does not create openings large enough to attract chats. It is important that shrubs are left after clear-cutting, so clear-cuts should not be burned or treated in any way that results in the total loss of shrubs. Doing so will delay the development of suitable habitat. While chats will tolerate considerable amounts of open grass (Johnston and Odum 1956), some dense shrubbery is essential. Grazing among bushy patches does not seem to deter chats. Similarly, management of powerline rights-of-way should not discourage the development of dense shrubs. Prairie maintenance and restoration efforts that encourage a shrubby transition to surrounding forest (in contrast to a sharp transition) provide suitable chat habitat. In the west, the chat is clearly dependent on shrubby riparian habitat, so maintenance and restoration of riparian areas are essential.

Monitoring Requirements: Monitoring in suitable habitat will provide data on how long early successional stages in a particular area will maintain chat populations. Chats are easily detected by song early in the breeding season (before mid-June). Singing declines rapidly after breeding begins, and while it is easy to census singing males, considerable effort must be expended to find nests.
Management Research Needs: More information on the relationship between patch size and chat population size would be useful for designing management schemes.

Effective management requires assessment of the pattern of genetic diversity within the species in order to identify evolutionarily significant units.

More information on the effect of Brown-headed Cowbird parasitism on reproductive success would be useful, but this will be difficult and expensive to obtain. Focusing on identifying evolutionarily significant units and determining the optimal habitat in an area for this habitat specialist are probably the best and most cost-effective approaches.

Little is known about chat habitat requirements and habitat availability during the non-breeding season. The effects, if any, on breeding populations of changes on the wintering grounds are unknown.

Biological Research Needs: Population declines have been documented, especially in the northeastern part of the range, and in the broader coverage of the BBS (Sauer and Droege 1992, Askins 1993). It is difficult to interpret these survey data without knowledge of the availability of suitable habitats. Chats are habitat specialists so that changes in availability of suitable habitat will greatly affect chat populations in a geographic region. Documentation of the amount, size, and age of suitable habitat may be obtainable, especially from publicly owned lands that are being managed for multiple use.
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: 16Feb1996
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G., F. Dirrigl, Jr., and C. F. Thompson
Management Information Edition Date: 16Feb1996
Management Information Edition Author: THOMPSON, C.F.; REVISIONS BY D.W. MEHLMAN
Management Information Acknowledgments: Scott Robinson, Illinois Natural History Survey, and Frank Thompson, University of Missouri, provided valuable information on management and habitat utilization. Elizabeth Annand and Frank Thompson, University of Missouri, provided data from Missouri.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 16Feb1996
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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  • Alabama Breeding Bird Atlas 2000-2006 Homepage. 2009. T.M. Haggerty (editor), Alabama Ornithological Society. Available at http://www.una.edu/faculty/thaggerty/BBA%20website/Index.htm.

  • 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, KS. 877pp.

  • 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/.

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). Chesser, R.T., R.C. Banks, F.K. Barker, C. Cicero, J.L. Dunn, A.W. Kratter, I.J. Lovette, P.C. Rasmussen, J.V. Remsen, Jr., J.D. Rising, D.F. Stotz, and K. Winker. 2011. Fifty-second supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. The Auk 128(3):600-613.

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