Pipilo erythrophthalmus - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Eastern Towhee
Other English Common Names: eastern towhee
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Pipilo erythrophthalmus (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 179276)
French Common Names: tohi à flancs roux
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.105602
Element Code: ABPBX74030
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Passerellidae Pipilo
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 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: Pipilo erythrophthalmus
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly regarded as conspecific with P. maculatus (AOU 1998). Citing morphological, behavioral, and mtDNA differences (e.g., Ball and Avise 1992), AOU (1995) split the rufous-sided towhee into two species, P. erythropthalmus (eastern towhee, central and eastern North America) and P. maculatus (spotted towhee, mainly west of the Great Plains). Limited hybridization occurs in a narrow zone in the central Great Plains. See Banks and Browning (1995) for a discussion of nomenclatural issues involving Pipilo.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 04Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (01May1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N4N5B,N4M (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 (S5), Arkansas (S3), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (S5B), District of Columbia (S4B,S4S5N), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S4B,S4N), Kansas (S3B,S2N), Kentucky (S5B,S5N), Louisiana (S5), Maine (S4B), Maryland (S5B,S4N), Massachusetts (S4B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S5B,S5N), Missouri (SNRB,SNRN), Nebraska (S4), New Hampshire (S4B), New Jersey (S4B,S4N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S5B,S5N), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S3S5), Pennsylvania (S5B,S5N), Rhode Island (S5B), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S3B), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S2B,S5N), Vermont (S4B), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5B,S5N), Wisconsin (S3S4B)
Canada Labrador (SNA), Manitoba (S4B), Ontario (S4B), Quebec (S3B), Saskatchewan (S4B)

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: southern Manitoba and northeastern North Dakota eastward across the northernmost eastern states and southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec to coastal Maine, south to extreme northeastern Texas (at least formerly) and the Gulf coast states and southern Florida, west to western Iowa, southeastern Nebraska, eastern Colorado, eastern Oklahoma, eastern Arkansas, and eastern Louisiana (AOU 1983, Andrews and Righter 1992, Greenlaw 1996). NON-BREEDING: eastern Kansas, Iowa, southern Great Lakes region, southern New York, and southern New England (rarely farther north) south to southern Texas, Gulf coast, and southern Florida (AOU 1983, Greenlaw 1996).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Significant declines over last 30 years thought to be primarily the result of forest succession (reduction in early successional habitat). HABITAT CHANGE: Preferred habitat can be lost through vegetation succession or overgrazing. Nearly eliminated from deciduous forest overgrazed by White-tailed Deer (ODOCOILEUS VIRGINIANUS), Elk (CERVUS ELAPHUS), and Mouflon Sheep (OVIS MUSIMON) due to the loss of understory vegetation (Casey and Hein 1983). Abundance was also much lower in unthinned oak woodlands inhabited by numerous White-tailed Deer (13-23/km2) than similar stands inhabited by fewer deer (1-3/km2). Woody understory vegetation was sparse in stands having high deer densities. In thinned stands, however, deer density had no impact on abundance (DeGraaf et al. 1991). Population densities are lower in urbanized areas relative to forested areas due to reduction in suitable habitat (Beissinger and Osborne 1982). Maturation of successional habitats also results in lower population densities (Hagan 1993, Wilcove 1988). NEST PARASITISM: Although forest-dividing corridors can improve habitat conditions for towhees, they also attract Brown-headed Cowbirds (MOLOTHRUS ATER; Rich et al. 1994), which commonly parasitize nests (Friedmann 1963). Frequency of cowbird nest parasitism varies from 3.4% in New York and New Jersey (Greenlaw 1996) to 54.2% in Pennsylvania (Norris 1947). PREDATION: Known nest predators include Pine Snake (PITUOPHIS MELANOLEUCUS), Rat Snake (ELAPHE OBSOLETA), Common Garter Snake (THAMNOPHIS SIRTALIS), and Eastern Chipmunk (TAMIAS STRIATUS). Suspected nest predators include Blue Jay (CYANOCITTA CRISTATA) and weasels (MUSTELA spp.). Known predators of adults include Short-eared Owl (ASIO FLAMMEUS), Sharp-shinned Hawk (ACCIPITER STRIATUS), Cooper's Hawk (ACCIPITER COOPERII), Short-tailed Hawk (BUTEO BRACHYURUS), and Loggerhead Shrike (LANIUS LUDOVICIANUS; Barbour 1951, Greenlaw 1996, Ogden 1974, Storer 1966). OTHER: Migrants are sometimes killed in collisions with towers (Taylor and Anderson 1973).

Short-term Trend: Decline of 10-30%
Short-term Trend Comments: BBS data indicate a significant population decline of 2%/year from 1966-1998. The rate of statistically significant declines (for states with >25 survey routes) ranges from 1.1-9.1%/year (Alabama and Massachusetts, respectively). Population declines are greater in the eastern BBS region (2.0%/year) than the central region (0.5%/year; Sauer et al. 1999). This downward population trend as indicated by BBS data is corroborated by CBC data. Between 1959 and 1988, CBC data reveal a significant decline of 1.1%/year (Sauer, et al. 1996). Autumn banding data, collected at Manomet Bird Observatory, Massachusetts from 1970-1988, corroborate the BBS and CBC data sets (Hagan 1993). The steady decline since the 1960s is thought to be the result of forest succession (reduction in early successional habitat; Hagan 1993). In a study of Chestnut Oak (QUERCUS PRINUS) forests of the Smoky Mountains, towhee numbers declined between 1947 and the early 1980s. The decline followed canopy closure and a reduction of understory vegetation (Wilcove 1988). Although not statistically significant, counts of breeding birds have increased in Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Nebraska (Sauer et al. 1999).

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 Manitoba and northeastern North Dakota eastward across the northernmost eastern states and southern Ontario and southwestern Quebec to coastal Maine, south to extreme northeastern Texas (at least formerly) and the Gulf coast states and southern Florida, west to western Iowa, southeastern Nebraska, eastern Colorado, eastern Oklahoma, eastern Arkansas, and eastern Louisiana (AOU 1983, Andrews and Righter 1992, Greenlaw 1996). NON-BREEDING: eastern Kansas, Iowa, southern Great Lakes region, southern New York, and southern New England (rarely farther north) south to southern Texas, Gulf coast, and southern Florida (AOU 1983, Greenlaw 1996).

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, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada LB, MB, 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: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Jefferson (16051)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Idaho Falls (17040201)+, Beaver-Camas (17040214)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (towhee).
Reproduction Comments: Both sexes become sexually mature in second year of life (Greenlaw 1996).

PHENOLOGY: Breeding season varies with latitude. In the southeastern U.S. (Florida and Georgia) nest building and oviposition begin in late March-early April, whereas in New England these activities are delayed until mid-May (Greenlaw 1996, Stevenson and Anderson 1994). In the Midwest, breeding activities begin in mid- to late April (Mumford and Keller 1984).

OVIPOSITION/INCUBATION: Dates of oviposition can vary among habitats at the same latitude. In New Jersey, for example, oviposition began earlier in mesic oak forest than in xeric pine barrens. This difference was attributed to earlier foliage development and the concomitant earlier appearance of additional invertebrates in the oak forest (Greenlaw 1978). Egg-laying generally terminates by mid- to late July, but can extend into mid to late August. Clutch size is 2-6 (usually 3-4 eggs), and incubation begins with the laying of the penultimate or ultimate egg (Greenlaw 1996). Clutch size can vary at the same latitude, with larger clutches being produced in habitats with greater food supplies (Greenlaw 1978). Incubation, by the female only, lasts 12-13 days. Both sexes feed the nestlings and fledglings.

FLEDGING: Young leave the nest when 10-11 days old. Produce 1-2 broods per season; will also renest after nest failure (Greenlaw 1996).

NEST SUCCESS: At two sites in New Jersey, egg success (number of eggs that produced fledged young) varied from 28.3-35.6%. Nest predation rates ranged from 31-73% at these two sites (Greenlaw 1996). In West Virginia, nest success (nests that fledged at least one young) was 36.5% (Bell and Whitmore 1997).

Ecology Comments: DENSITY: In Massachusetts, density of breeding birds varied from an average of 1.78 individuals/ha in closed-canopy forest stands to an average of 7.41 individuals/ha in selectively-harvested stands (Chadwick et al. 1986). In Pennsylvania, the mean number of breeding individuals ranged from 0.17-0.99/ha in six forest types (Yahner 1986). In Arkansas, the number of territorial males ranged from 0.025-0.23/ha. Lowest densities occurred in a burned field and a dry forest, whereas the highest density occurred along a forest edge (James and Neal 1986). In the Pine barrens of southeastern Massachusetts, breeding bird density ranged from about 1.5-3/ha during a three-year period (Morimoto and Wasserman 1991). In New Jersey, population density varied from 0.5 males/ha in mesic oak forest to 0.8 males/ha in xeric pine-oak woodland (Greenlaw 1996). Territory size can vary inversely with experimentally altered food supplies. However, territories appear to contain more than the minimal food stocks necessary for maintenance and reproduction (Wasserman 1983).

INTRA- AND INTERSPECIFIC AGGREGATIONS: Forms loose flocks during the winter, ranging in size from 8-27 (mean = 17) individuals. These wintering groups often form mixed-species foraging flocks with Dark-eyed Juncos (JUNCO HYEMALIS), White-throated Sparrows (ZONOTRICHIA ALBICOLLIS), Field Sparrows (SPIZELLA PUSILLA), Song Sparrows (MELOSPIZA MELODIA), Northern Cardinals (CARDINALIS CARDINALIS), Tufted Titmice (BAEOLOPHUS BICOLOR), Winter Wrens (TROGLODYTES TROGLODYTES) and Carolina Chickadees (POECILE CAROLINENSIS; Barbour 1941).

SITE FIDELITY: Exhibits breeding site fidelity. In New Jersey, one male returned to the same 24-hectare section of oak forest in 5 of 6 years (Greenlaw 1996). In another New Jersey study, the return rate was 20% the first year after banding and 43% thereafter (Leck et al. 1988).

POPULATION PARAMETERS: Sex ratio data are limited; however, sex ratios determined to date are male-biased (at least temporarily) or no different from parity (Greenlaw 1996). Estimated annual probability of survival among adults is 0.58 (Savidge and Davis 1974 cited in Greenlaw 1996). Oldest known individual was at least 12 years, 3 months old (Terres 1991).

PARASITES: Host to at least 14 species of ectoparasites and six internal parasites (Greenlaw 1996).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Most individuals breeding in the northern portion of the range migrate southward in the fall. However, some individuals may overwinter when sufficient natural food is available or supplemental food (e.g., feeding station) is provided, particularly during mild winters. Southeastern and Gulf state populations are generally sedentary or partially migratory. Migratory birds arrive in northern states from late April through early May, and depart from mid-September through mid-October. Migrations dates vary considerably, depending on weather. Birds that breed in northeastern states migrate between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coast, whereas those that breed in the Midwest migrate west of the Appalachians. Migrates at night. Older males generally arrive on northern breeding grounds ahead of females and younger males (Greenlaw 1996).
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Inhabits forest and swamp edges, regenerating clearcuts, open-canopied forests (including deciduous, pine [PINUS], pine-hardwood and spruce-fir [PICEA-ABIES]; particularly those with a well-developed understory), reclaimed strip mines, mid-late successional fields, riparian thickets, overgrown fencerows, shrub/small-tree thickets, and other brushy habitats. Nest is typically constructed on the ground, concealed among dense, woody vegetation. Later nests (renests, second broods) are more likely to be built above the ground (usually to 1.5 m, but up to 5.5 m) than earlier nests (Palmer-Ball 1996, Greenlaw 1996). However, regional differences in nest placement occur. Even early nests are more likely to be above ground in the Southeast than in the Northeast (J. Greenlaw, pers. comm.). Habitat selection does not differ appreciably between the breeding and non-breeding seasons (Greenlaw 1996). Significantly more abundant in open-canopied deciduous forest having relatively dense understory growth than in closed-canopied forest with relatively sparse understory vegetation (Annand and Thompson 1997, Chadwick et al. 1986, Childers et al. 1986, Crawford et al. 1981, DeGraaf et al. 1991, Robinson and Robinson 1999, Yahner 1993).
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Invertivore, Nectarivore
Food Comments: Typically forages on the ground in dense, low vegetative cover. Sometimes forages in the open (usually near dense cover) or arboreally, especially in late spring and summer. Scratches among loose ground debris (e.g., leaf litter) to uncover seeds and invertebrates. Omnivorous; consumes a wide variety of seeds, fruits and invertebrates. Diet sometimes includes foliage buds, young grass stems, and flower buds (Greenlaw 1996). Also consumes vertebrates such as small salamanders, snakes, and lizards (Terres 1991). The relative proportion of animal/plant material in the diet varies seasonally. Based on the examination of 648 specimens collected throughout the year, plant material comprises 85% of the diet in winter, 53% in spring, 43% in summer and 79% in fall (Martin et al. 1951).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 22 centimeters
Weight: 42 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Significant population declines have occurred in the last 30 years, particularly in the northeastern portion of the range. This is thought to be the result of forest succession (reduction in early successional habitat). Considered a forest interior/forest edge, area-independent species. During the breeding season, has been observed in forest fragments as small as 0.01 ha. Because open-canopied, shrubby habitats are preferred, management should include activities that promote early- to mid-seral successional habitats. Preferred habitat can be created/maintained by forest management techniques such as clearcutting, intensive thinning, or group selection cutting. In southern pinelands, a fire regime that favors understory growth while maintaining an open canopy benefits this species.
Restoration Potential: Restoration potential is good; previously populations apparently increased in the eastern U.S. in response to post-Columbian forest clearing and fragmentation of the deciduous forest (Hagan 1993).
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Classified as an forest interior and forest edge species (Blake and Karr 1987). Selection of forest fragments in fragmented landscapes is generally area independent. Has been observed in forest fragments as small as 0.01 hectares in New Jersey, 0.5 hectares in South Carolina, and 4.7 hectares in Illinois (Blake and Karr 1987, Forman et al. 1976, Galli et al. 1976, Kilgo et al. 1997). Equally as likely to inhabit isolated hardwood stands surrounded by fields as those surrounded by pine plantations in South Carolina (Kilgo et al. 1997).
Management Requirements: Because open-canopied, shrubby habitats are preferred, management should include activities that promote early- to mid-seral successional habitats. In forested habitat, opening the canopy benefits this species by favoring growth of the understory. Open-canopied, shrubby secondary forests can be created by clearcutting, intensive thinning, or by making large group selection cuts (1-2 ha; Annand and Thompson 1997, Crawford et al. 1981). Forest-dividing corridors can also promote habitat suitability (Anderson et al. 1977, Chasko and Gates 1982, Rich et al. 1994). Fire exclusion in Southeastern pinelands allows previously fire-suppressed hardwoods to flourish, which initially benefits this species. Habitat changes associated with long-term fire exclusion (>15 years), however, do not (Engstrom et al. 1984). A fire regime that favors shrubby understory vegetation while maintaining an open canopy will benefit towhees.
Monitoring Requirements: On the breeding grounds, point counts or spot-mapping of territorial males or breeding pairs can provide estimates of abundance. Capture-recapture banding studies can also be used on the breeding and wintering grounds to monitor taxon.
Management Research Needs: Need research on breeding success in different seral stages to determine optimal versus marginal habitat (J. Greenlaw, pers. comm.), as abundance alone is not always a reliable indicator of relative habitat quality (Vickery et al. 1992).
Biological Research Needs: Need information on dispersal of juveniles from natal territories, juvenile survival and recruitment, age- and sex- specific survivorship, and breeding and wintering ecology (Greenlaw 1996).
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 Author: PALIS, J.
Management Information Edition Date: 28Jun2000
Management Information Edition Author: PALIS, J: REVISIONS BY S. CANNINGS
Management Information Acknowledgments: The author thanks Jon Greenlaw for commenting on a draft of this abstract and suggesting pertinent literature. Support for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Center through The Nature Conservancy's Tennessee Field Office and Wings of the Americas program.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 02May1996
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G. AND J. PALIS

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 ]

  • 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). 1995. Fortieth supplement to the American Ornithologists' Union Check-list of North American Birds. Auk 112:819-30.

  • 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/.

  • Anderson, S. H., K. Mann, and H. H. Shugart, Jr. 1977. The effect of transmission-line corridors on bird populations. American Midland Naturalist 97:216-221.

  • Annand, E. M. and F. R. Thompson, III. 1997. Forest bird response to regeneration practices in central hardwood forests. Journal of Wildlife Management. 61:159-171.

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

  • Audubon Society. 1981-1985. Breeding Bird Atlas of New Hampshire. (unpublished).

  • B83COM01NAUS - Added from 2005 data exchange with Alberta, Canada.

  • Balda, R. P., and G. C. Bateman. 1971. Flocking and annual cycle of the piñon jay, Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus. Condor 73:287-302.

  • Ball, R. M., Jr., and J. C. Avise. 1992. Mitochondrial DNA phylogenetic differentiation among avian populations and the evolutionary significance of subspecies. Auk 109:626-636.

  • Banks, R. C., and M. R. Browning. 1995. Comments on the status of revived old names for some North American birds. Auk 112:633-648.

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