Petrochelidon pyrrhonota - (Vieillot, 1817)
Cliff Swallow
Other Common Names: Andorinha-do-Penhasco, Andorinha-Costas-Castanhas
Synonym(s): Hirundo pyrrhonata
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Petrochelidon pyrrhonota (Vieillot, 1817) (TSN 178455)
French Common Names: hirondelle à front blanc
Spanish Common Names: Golondrina Risquera, Golondrina de Rabadilla Parda
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101677
Element Code: ABPAU09010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Hirundinidae Petrochelidon
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: Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Taxonomic Comments: This species formerly was placed in the genus Hirundo along with the cave swallow Petrochelidon fulva and barn swallow Hirundo rustica, based on hybridization between cave and barn swallows in Texas (Brown and Brown 1996). The species was transferred back to original designation of Petrochelidon by AOU (1998) based on phylogenetics of the genus. Phillips (1986) used the specific name albifrons for this species. Banks and Browning (1995) concluded that the name pyrrhonota has precedence over either lunifrons or albifrons. See Sheldon and Winkler (1993) for information on intergeneric phylogenetic relationships of Hirundininae based on DNA-DNA hybridization.

Five subspecies are currently recognized, although only four are likely valid (hypopolia indistinct from pyrrhonota; Brown and Brown 1995). P. p. pyrrhonota is the most widespread, breeding in eastern North America west to the Rocky Mountains and southwestern British Columbia south to northwestern Baja California. P. p. hypopolia is the largest and most northerly subspecies, breeding from Alaska south to California and east to Wyoming. P. p. ganieri breeds from west-central Tennessee to central and south Texas. P. p. melanogaster breeds in southern Arizona and Mexico. P. p. tachina breeds from southwestern Utah, lower Colorado River valley to Baja California east to southwestern Texas (Brown and Brown 1995).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 02Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Secure: widespread and abundant.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (25Jan2018)

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), Alaska (S5B), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S4B,S4N), California (SNR), Colorado (S5B), Connecticut (S4B), Delaware (S1B), District of Columbia (S2N,SHB), Florida (SNA), Georgia (S3S4), Idaho (S5B), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S3B), Iowa (S5B,S5N), Kansas (S5B), Kentucky (S3S4B), Louisiana (S4B), Maine (S5B), Maryland (S3S4B), Massachusetts (S2B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S3B), Missouri (S4), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (S5B), Nebraska (S5), Nevada (S5B), New Hampshire (S3B), New Jersey (S3B,S3N), New Mexico (S5B,S5N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S3B), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S3), Oklahoma (S5B), Oregon (S5), Pennsylvania (S4B), Rhode Island (SHB), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4B), Utah (S5B), Vermont (S4B), Virginia (S3S4B), Washington (S5B), West Virginia (S3B), Wisconsin (S5B), Wyoming (S5B)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S4S5B), Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S2S3B,S2S3M), Newfoundland Island (SNA), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S2S3B), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S4B), Prince Edward Island (SHB), Quebec (S4), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M), Yukon Territory (S3B)

Other Statuses

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 range extends from western and central Alaska, northern Yukon, northern Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia south to Baja California and central Mexico, western Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, western Virginia, southeastern Pennsylvania, western Connecticut and northeastern Massachusetts (Brown and Brown 1995). Accidental records from coastal Siberia, southern Greenland, and the British Isles (Brown and Brown 1995). During the nonbreeding season, the range extends from from southern Brazil and possibly southeastern Paraguay south to southcentral Argentina, with several records as far south as Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands (Brown and Brown 1995), and occasionally north at least to Costa Rica.

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Global population estimate is 89,000,000 birds (Rich et al. 2004). Breeding population is difficult to census accurately by transect methods because species concentrates in colony areas which may be occupied erratically from year to year. North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) estimated a relative abundance of 16.99 birds/survey route (n = 2066) from 1966 to 2004 throughout the North American survey area (Sauer et al. 2005a).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: On a range-wide scale, no major threats are known. Locally, as in portions of the northeastern United States, threats include competition with House Sparrows for nesting sites and possibly a decrease in the amount of agricultural and open land, which may result in fewer mud sources for nest building (Silver 1995). Additionally, nestling mortality from swallow bug infestations may be considerable in some large colonies, especially for late-starting nests or colonies (Brown and Brown 1995, 1996). Infestations of swallow bugs and mites reduce nestling growth rates and can result in death of up to half of all nestlings (Gorenzel and Salmon 1994). This species is sensitive to cold and dependent on active flying insects for food; weather-related starvation is likely the most important cause of adult mortality during the breeding season (Bent 1942, Brown and Brown 1995). Sometimes cliff swallows are considered a nuisance because they nest in colonies on buildings and other structures; pest management control programs that target this species aim to prevent or stop nesting on buildings by blocking vertical surfaces with netting, wire or other deterrents; occasionally vertical surfaces are covered with toxic or sticky substances as deterrents, which reduces nesting habitat (Gorenzel and Salmon 1994).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate significant population increases throughout North America in the last four decades (Sauer et al. 2005a,b). Between 1980 and 2005 a positive trend of 0.4% per year (P<0.38, n=1930) was observed survey-wide (Sauer et al. 2005a). However, even statistically significant trends in BBS data should be interpreted with caution because erratic abandonment/colonization of nesting sites along survey routes may bias abundance and trend estimates (Brown and Brown 1995). Numbers have increased in some areas and range has expanded into the southeastern United States due to availability of new sites for nesting (such as dams, highways, bridges; Brown and Brown 1996). The species is regarded as stable or increasing throughout the range, except in some northeastern states (e.g., Massachusetts, New Hampshire; Silver 1995, Sauer et al. 2005a,b).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: This species warrants continued monitoring via the BBS and other monitoring surveys.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Breeding range extends from western and central Alaska, northern Yukon, northern Mackenzie, Saskatchewan, northern Manitoba, Ontario, southern Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia south to Baja California and central Mexico, western Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, western Virginia, southeastern Pennsylvania, western Connecticut and northeastern Massachusetts (Brown and Brown 1995). Accidental records from coastal Siberia, southern Greenland, and the British Isles (Brown and Brown 1995). During the nonbreeding season, the range extends from from southern Brazil and possibly southeastern Paraguay south to southcentral Argentina, with several records as far south as Tierra del Fuego and Falkland Islands (Brown and Brown 1995), and occasionally north at least to Costa Rica.

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 AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

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; WILDSPACETM 2002; WWF-US, 2000


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Fairfield (09001)*, Hartford (09003)*, Litchfield (09005)*, Tolland (09013)*, Windham (09015)*
MS Bolivar (28011)*, Claiborne (28021)*, DeSoto (28033), Grenada (28043), Hinds (28049)*, Itawamba (28057)*, Panola (28107), Tallahatchie (28135), Tate (28137), Tishomingo (28141)*, Yalobusha (28161)
NH Carroll (33003), Coos (33007), Grafton (33009), Hillsborough (33011), Merrimack (33013), Rockingham (33015), Strafford (33017)
NJ Bergen (34003), Burlington (34005), Hunterdon (34019), Mercer (34021), Middlesex (34023), Monmouth (34025), Passaic (34031), Somerset (34035), Sussex (34037), Warren (34041)
OH Ashtabula (39007), Carroll (39019), Champaign (39021), Clermont (39025), Columbiana (39029), Coshocton (39031), Delaware (39041), Fairfield (39045), Franklin (39049), Geauga (39055), Guernsey (39059), Harrison (39067), Henry (39069), Hocking (39073), Holmes (39075), Knox (39083), Lorain (39093), Lucas (39095)*, Mahoning (39099), Ottawa (39123), Portage (39133), Putnam (39137), Richland (39139), Stark (39151), Trumbull (39155), Tuscarawas (39157), Vinton (39163), Wayne (39169), Wood (39173)
PA Berks (42011)*, Chester (42029)*
RI Kent (44003)*, Providence (44007)*, Washington (44009)*
WV Cabell (54011), Hampshire (54027), Kanawha (54039), Mason (54053), Pleasants (54073), Preston (54077), Raleigh (54081), Ritchie (54085), Summers (54089), Wayne (54099), Wood (54107)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper Androscoggin (01040001)+, Lower Androscoggin (01040002)+, Saco (01060002)+, Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Pemigewasset (01070001)+, Merrimack (01070002)+, Contoocook (01070003)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Upper Connecticut (01080101)+, Black-Ottauquechee (01080106)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+*, Farmington (01080207)+*, Narragansett (01090004)+*, Pawcatuck-Wood (01090005)+*, Quinebaug (01100001)+*, Shetucket (01100002)+*, Housatonic (01100005)+*, Saugatuck (01100006)+*
02 Rondout (02020007)+, Hackensack-Passaic (02030103)+, Raritan (02030105)+, Middle Delaware-Mongaup-Brodhead (02040104)+, Middle Delaware-Musconetcong (02040105)+, Crosswicks-Neshaminy (02040201)+, Schuylkill (02040203)+*, Brandywine-Christina (02040205)+*, Mullica-Toms (02040301)+, South Branch Potomac (02070001)+
03 Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+*
04 Blanchard (04100008)+, Lower Maumee (04100009)+, Cedar-Portage (04100010)+, Black-Rocky (04110001)+, Grand (04110004)+
05 Cheat (05020004)+, Upper Ohio (05030101)+, Shenango (05030102)+, Mahoning (05030103)+, Little Muskingum-Middle Island (05030201)+, Upper Ohio-Shade (05030202)+, Little Kanawha (05030203)+, Hocking (05030204)+, Tuscarawas (05040001)+, Mohican (05040002)+, Walhonding (05040003)+, Wills (05040005)+, Lower New (05050004)+, Upper Kanawha (05050006)+, Elk (05050007)+, Lower Kanawha (05050008)+, Coal (05050009)+, Upper Scioto (05060001)+, Lower Scioto (05060002)+, Raccoon-Symmes (05090101)+, Twelvepole (05090102)+, Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+
06 Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*
08 Lower Mississippi-Helena (08020100)+*, Little Tallahatchie (08030201)+, Tallahatchie (08030202)+, Yocona (08030203)+, Coldwater (08030204)+, Yalobusha (08030205)+, Big Sunflower (08030207)+*, Lower Big Black (08060202)+*, Bayou Pierre (08060203)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A swallow.
General Description: This swallow has a buffy rump, short square tail, dark throat, dark cheek, pale collar, and usually a white forehead. Length 14 cm, wingspan 34 cm.
Reproduction Comments: Completely new nests of cliff swallows are built over a period of 3 to 27 days (often a week or two). Egg laying may occur as early as early April in Texas and California, early May in Nebraska and Idaho, late May in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and early June in Arizona. At higer elevations in the mountains, most egg laying probably occurs in June. In southern Arizona, most eggs are laid in July with the onset of the summer monsoon. The peak of laying in Nebraska is in late May and early June. Clutch size is 2-6 (usually 3-5). Incubation lasts an average of 13-14 days. Young are tended by both parents, can fly at 20-26 days, may return to nest for the first 2-3 days after fledging. In most populations, the young have fledged by the end of July or slightly later in the mountains and southern Arizona. Young are dependent on parents for food for 3-5 days after fledging, after which they may be fed occasionally for several additional days.

Cliff swallows usually produce one brood per year, a few have a second brood (Turner and Rose 1989; Gauthier and Thomas 1993a. Breeding activity within a colony is closely synchronized (Silver 1995). Prolonged rains or dry weather may reduce breeding success or postpone nesting.

Nesting occurs in colonies of up to 1,000+ pairs (average is a few hundred).

Researchers in Nebraska found that cliff swallow residents within a colony frequently lay eggs in neighboring nests. Sometimes cliff swallows move eggs laid in their own nest to a nearby nest (by carrying the egg in the bill).

Ecology Comments: Gregarious at all seasons. Periodically populations may decline drastically due to prolonged spring or summer rains and reduced food availability (Terres 1980). Parasitic swallow bug (Oeciacus vicarius) sometimes is abundant enough to reduce reproductive success in large colonies.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Cliff swallows arrive in the southern United Staes in February or March. They reach the northern United States usually sometime in April (May in Alaska). Southward migration in the contiguous United States is mainly in August and early September.

Rare migrant in the West Indies (Raffaele 1983). Migrates through Costa Rica late August or early September to late October and early March to late May (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Uncommon and sporatic fall transient in Colombia, mainly early September to mid-October; fewer records of migrants in spring (April-May) (Hilty and Brown 1986). Present in South America mainly September-April (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

Estuarine Habitat(s): Herbaceous wetland
Riverine Habitat(s): Aerial
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Palustrine Habitat(s): Aerial, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Aerial, Cliff, Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: Cliff swallows inhabit open to semiwooded habitat, cliffs, canyons, and farm country, generally near meadows, marshes, and water. They build bottle-shaped mud nest in colonies on cliffs, under eaves of buildings, under bridges, and similar sites sheltered by an overhang. Many return to same nesting area in successive years, but colonies tend to switch nesting sites between seasons, evidently due to a buildup of insect parasites in the nests. Cliff swallow commonly repair and use old nests.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Primarily insectivorous; feeds on beetles, flying ants, wasps, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, etc. Feeds often on small swarming insects. Sometimes eats berries (e.g., of junipers). Forages usually within 0.5 km of colony, but sometimes up to several km away.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 14 centimeters
Weight: 22 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Management Requirements: In North Dakota, large population increases occurred after house sparrows were removed (Krapu 1986). In Massachusetts, breeding population increased with removal of house sparrows, installation of nest ledges, and provision of an appropriate mud supply (Silver 1995).
Biological Research Needs: Research has focused on nominate race, H. p. pyrrhonta; southwestern and Mexican birds (subspecies achina and melanogaster) are poorly studied; substantial variation among populations in social behavior and life history are suspected (Brown and Brown 1995). Range and behavior during migration and winter are poorly known. A better understanding of habitat requirements and identification of key habitats throughout range is needed.
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: 22Apr1987
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Jan2010
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 ]

  • Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). 2005. Our wealth maintained: a strategy for conserving Alaska's diverse wildlife and fish resources, a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy emphasizing Alaska's nongame species. Anchorage, AK. Submitted to USFWS. Anchorage, Alaska.

  • 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), Committee on Classification and Nomenclature. 1983. Check-list of North American Birds. Sixth Edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Allen Press, Inc., Lawrence, Kansas.

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

  • American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1983. Checklist of North American birds. 6th ed. American Ornithologists' Union, 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. 2010. Check-list of North American Birds [web application], 7th edition. . Accessed 6 August 2010.

  • Aquin, P. 1999. Évaluation de la situation des groupes taxonomiques des oiseaux du Québec. Ministère de l'Environnement et de la Faune. 13 pages.

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