Piranga olivacea - (Gmelin, 1789)
Scarlet Tanager
Other English Common Names: scarlet tanager
Other Common Names: Sanhaço-Escarlate
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Piranga olivacea (Gmelin, 1789) (TSN 179883)
French Common Names: Tangara écarlate
Spanish Common Names: Tángara Escarlata
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101306
Element Code: ABPBX45040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 7704

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Cardinalidae Piranga
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: Piranga olivacea
Taxonomic Comments: Mitochondrial genetic data from several studies (Burns 1997; Burns et al. 2002, 2003; Klicka et al. 2000, 2007) provide strong evidence that this genus, previously placed in the Thraupidae, is a member of the Cardinalidae.

May constitute a superspecies with P. ludoviciana (AOU 1998).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 09Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 03Dec1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Large breeding range in eastern North America; numerous occurrences; stable population; loss/fragmentation of mature forest is a potential threat to population stability.
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N4N5M (15Jan2018)

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), Arkansas (S4B), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (S4B), District of Columbia (S2B,S4N), Florida (SNA), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S4B,S4N), Kansas (S3B), Kentucky (S5B), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (S5B), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S5B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (S2?B), Missouri (SNRB), Nebraska (S4), New Hampshire (S5B), New Jersey (S4B), New York (S5B), North Carolina (S5B), North Dakota (SU), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S2B), Pennsylvania (S5B), Rhode Island (S5B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S2B), Tennessee (S4), Texas (S4), Vermont (S5B), Virginia (S5), West Virginia (S5B), Wisconsin (S4B)
Canada Manitoba (S3S4B), New Brunswick (S3B,S3M), Nova Scotia (S2B), Ontario (S4B), Prince Edward Island (SNA), Quebec (S4B), Saskatchewan (S1B)

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 North Dakota, eastern Saskatchewan (probably), and southern Manitoba eastward across southern Canada and the northern United States to New Brunswick and central Maine, and south to central Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland (AOU 1998). During the northern winter, the range extends from Panama (rarely) and Colombia south, east of the Andes, through eastern Ecuador and Peru and western Brazil to northwestern Bolivia (Stiles and Skutch 1989, AOU 1998); apparently mainly in upper Amazonia (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Recently recorded in Amazonia of Brazil (Stotz et al. 1992). Scarlet tanagers migrate primarily through the south-central and southeastern United States, Middle America, and the West Indies.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Numerous occurrences.

Population Size: 10,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Far more than 10,000 individuals.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: The greatest threat is the continual loss and fragmentation of breeding and wintering habitat. Specific effects caused by habitat alterations are not clearly understood. Possible effects include increased nest predation by edge species (e.g., raccoons, domestic cats, etc.) and increased cowbird parasitism. Little is known of the relationship between the tanager and its habitat features, especially where habitat manipulations are occurring. Identifying specific threats affecting this species is difficult due to this lack of information. A common host to the brown-headed cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER) and the most parasitized of the tanager family. Adult tanagers seem to recognize female cowbirds as enemies and usually attack on sight (Terres 1980, Prescott 1965). Friedmann (1963) stated that this tanager is not among the primary cowbird hosts. Known predators include screech owl (OTUS ASIO), barred owl (STRIX VARIA), long-eared owl (ASIO OTUS), short-eared owl (ASIO FLAMMEUS), blue jay (CYANOCITTA CRISTATA), American crow (CORVUS BRACHYRHYNCHOS), and Merlin (FALCO COLUMBARIUS) (Senesac 1993, Prescott 1965). In addition, suspected predators include gray (SCIURUS CAROLINENSIS), red (TAMIASCIURUS HUDSONICUS), and fox (SCIURUS NIGRA) squirrels and chipmunks (TAMIAS spp.) (Senesac 1993).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data indicate a stable population in North America, 1966-1994; nonsignificant increase of 4% occurred from 1966 to 1993 and a nonsignificant increase of 6% from 1984 to 1993 (Price et al. 1995). Most states report stable populations with some reporting possible declines (Illinois, Wisconsin), and others reporting possible increases (North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania). Litwin and Smith (1992) stated that populations have dropped by 50 percent between 1950 and 1980 at the Sapsucker Woods Sanctuary in Ithaca, New York. They associated this decrease with the loss of vertical and horizontal heterogeneity, and the overall decline in productivity associated with forest maturation. This local study may offer insight to other patterns of population decline.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Protection Needs: Protect extensive tracts of mature forest.

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) Breeding range extends from North Dakota, eastern Saskatchewan (probably), and southern Manitoba eastward across southern Canada and the northern United States to New Brunswick and central Maine, and south to central Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, northwestern South Carolina, western North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland (AOU 1998). During the northern winter, the range extends from Panama (rarely) and Colombia south, east of the Andes, through eastern Ecuador and Peru and western Brazil to northwestern Bolivia (Stiles and Skutch 1989, AOU 1998); apparently mainly in upper Amazonia (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Recently recorded in Amazonia of Brazil (Stotz et al. 1992). Scarlet tanagers migrate primarily through the south-central and southeastern United States, Middle America, and the West Indies.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WI, WV
Canada MB, NB, NS, ON, PE, 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; NatureServe, 2003


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
MS Lee (28081)*, Pontotoc (28115), Tishomingo (28141)*
ND Burleigh (38015)*, Grand Forks (38035), Morton (38059)*, Ransom (38073), Walsh (38099)*
OK LeFlore (40079)
SD Hughes (46065), Lincoln (46083), Marshall (46091), Minnehaha (46099), Roberts (46109), Todd (46121)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
03 Upper Tombigbee (03160101)+*, Town (03160102)+
06 Pickwick Lake (06030005)+*
07 Upper Minnesota (07020001)+
09 Lower Sheyenne (09020204)+, Turtle (09020307)+, Forest (09020308)+*, Park (09020310)+*
10 Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101)+*, Upper Lake Oahe (10130102)+*, Apple (10130103)+*, Lower Heart (10130203)+*, Fort Randall Reservoir (10140101)+, Little White (10140203)+, Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+
11 Mountain Fork (11140108)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: An 18-cm bird (tanager).
General Description: In the spring and early summer, the male is scarlet, with black wings and tail. During the late summer and fall, splotchy green is evident within the red as the molt to the yellow-green winter plumage begins. Measurements: length 17 cm, mass 23.5-33 g. The female is dull greenish above with yellowish below. Wings are dark brownish to blackish. The immature male resembles the adult female, but is brighter below, with brownish primaries that are retained throughout the first summer. Wing coverts are black. Fledglings are olive green above with dark white streaks below. Wings are dark brownish or blackish. Some show faint wing bars. An illustration appears in NGS (1987).

NEST: a small, loose, flat saucer-shaped nest of twigs, rootlets, coarse grass, and weed stems. Inside lined with finer grasses, weed stems, or pine needles. Eggs sometimes can be seen through the bottom.

EGGS: pale blue to pale green with irregularly dotted, spotted, blotched browns. These markings are often concentrated at the large end. Sources for this section are Senesac (1993), Isler and Isler (1987), Terres (1980), Harrison (1975), Prescott (1965), and Bent (1958).

Diagnostic Characteristics: No other North American bird has the male's color combination (Terres 1980). Female scarlet and summer (P. RUBRA) tanagers are distinguished by the scarlet's yellow-green plumage compared to the summer's orange-yellow. The female scarlet also has a smaller, darker bill (Terres 1980). Where ranges of the summer and scarlet tanagers overlap, positive identification of similar nest and eggs should not be made until a bird is seen (Harrison 1975).
Reproduction Comments: Males arrive in breeding areas in April and May, usually several days before the female, and establish a territory by singing almost continuously from conspicuous perches high in the canopy of mature trees. Territorial boundaries are not rigid and males frequently dispute, especially when the female is present (Isler and Isler 1987, Prescott 1965). Once paired, the male abandons the high perch. The female chooses the nest site and builds the nest alone (Isler and Isler 1987). The nest is built in 2-7 days.

In the mid-Atlantic states, nesting extends from early May to early August, with a peak from late May to mid-July (Bushman and Therres 1988). Eggs are laid mostly in May-June. Clutch size is 3-5 (usually 4). Incubation, by female, lasts 12-14 days. Young are tended by both parents, leave nest at 9-15 days, usually 14-15 days after hatching. The nestlings are brooded by the female for about 3 days after they hatch. During this time both parents feed the young. Fledged young are attended by adult for up to 2 weeks after fledging. Nests sometimes contain young into August. It is thought that only one brood is raised per season (Senesac 1993, Isler and Isler 1987, Prescott 1965).

During the breeding season, females sing a song that is similar to that of the males, and both males and females also produce the "chic-burr" call.

Ecology Comments: In migration, this usually solitary tanager sometimes is found in loosely associated groups and may join mixed-species flocks. Summer home ranges often relatively large for a forest passerine; territory size varies a great deal, reported sizes 0.8 to 12.5 hectares (summarized in Mowbray 1999).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: This species arrives in most of the southern United States in April, in the northern states and southern Canada by early to late May. South-bound migration begins in late August, peaks in September and (in the southern United States) early October.

Migrates through Middle America and in smaller number in West Indies. Rare spring and fall migrant in West Indies (Raffaele 1983). Fairly regular passage migrant in Netherlands Antilles (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Migration in Costa Rica late September-early November and late March-early May (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Arrives in Colombia by October, departs by early May (Hilty and Brown 1986).

Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: Scarlet tanagers breed in deciduous forest and mature deciduous woodland, including deciduous and mixed swamp and floodplain forests and rich moist upland forests, often where oaks predominate (Bushman and Therres 1988), sometimes in wooded parks, orchards, and large shade trees of suburbs (Isler and Isler 1987, Senesac 1993), less often in mixed deciduous-coniferous forest (Hamel et al. 1982, Hamel 1992). They are most common in areas with a relatively closed canopy, a dense understory with a high diversity of shrubs, and scanty ground cover, and are able to breed successfully in relatively small patches of forest (Bushman and Therres 1988). Breeding occurs in various forest stages but is most frequent in mature woods (according to some sources, prefers pole stands). In New England, nesting occurs mainly in sawtimber hardwoods. Nests are placed in trees (commonly oaks), usually well out on limbs, 2-23 meters above ground. Typical nest site characteristics: 1) the nest is placed in a leaf cluster, or with at least several leaves shading the nest, 2) the nest is placed on a nearly horizontal tree branch, 3) there is a clear unobstructed view of the ground from the nest, and 4) there are flyways from adjacent trees to the nest (Senesac 1993).

During the northern winter, scarlet tanagers inhabit forest canopies and edges, including tall second growth (Isler and Isler 1987). Migrants may occur in more open habitats, such as woodlands, parks, and gardens, as well as forests (Isler and Isler 1987).

Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Eats insects and other invertebrates, and various fruits; diet includes moths, bees, caterpillars, larvae of gall insects, wood- and bark-boring beetles, click and leaf-eating beetles, crane flies, and all stages of gypsy moths, except the eggs. Nestlings are fed insects and fruit. Forages primarily at mid-canopy (6-18 m off the ground). Occasionally descends to the ground or ascends to the topmost tree branches. Searches for insects on leaves, twigs, and branches, examining the substrate in a leisurely fashion. Often picks at dense leaf clusters at the outer tips of limbs (Isler and Isler 1987). Also chases aerial insects (Bushman and Therres 1988). May feed on ground-dwelling prey (e.g., grasshoppers, ground beetles, earthworms) during periods of persistent rainfall and/or low temperatures when flying insects are inactive (Zumeta and Holmes 1978). These authors suggested that severe cases of inclement weather may contribute to a significant several-year reduction in local scarlet tanager breeding populations.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 20 centimeters
Weight: 29 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: A common forest bird of the northeastern and north-central United States. BBS data indicate a stable population throughout most of the range. Although a lot of information is available about this bird, most of what is known is based on intensive but very localized studies. We need further rangewide information on specific habitat requirements and the effects of habitat alteration (e.g., fragmentation, forest loss, etc.). Continued monitoring is appropriate.
Restoration Potential: Currently reported as common and stable throughout its range with only a few speculations of decline. Population restoration is currently not an issue. However, efforts should be made to maintain populations, thus eliminating the need restoration in the future.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Typically found in relatively small tracts of forest, being absent only from areas less than 1-5 ha (Bushman and Therres 1988). However, block sizes of greater than or equal to 100 ha are probably necessary for maximum densities and/or population sizes (Bushman and Therres 1988).

At this time, specific habitat requirements are not documented. However, suggestions for conserving area-sensitive birds in forest landscapes were offered by Robbins et al. (1989). They concluded that forest areas under 10 ha are unsuitable and 3,000 ha is the minimum forest size that may retain all the species of forest-interior avifauna of eastern North America. However, critical habitat features that influence species success have not been thoroughly investigated (Martin 1992). These habitat features will have a great influence on future preserve designs.

Management Requirements: May occupy clearcut areas as early as 12 years after cutting if some small trees are left uncut. Group selection logging, which creates a mosaic of even-aged patches, may create favorable conditions. Tolerates small or narrow clearcuts, thinning of "overmature" trees, and selection cutting (Bushman and Therres 1988).

Developing and implementing conservation plans will be dependent upon understanding the relationships between landscape structure and the distribution and probability of extinction of local species (Freemark and Collins 1992, Reed 1992). Past management and research investigations correlated landscape features with species presence and abundance. Presence and abundance information does not directly correlate with habitat features. However, species fitness is directly correlated with habitat features by supplying resources (Martin 1992). Martin (1992) suggested that management plans need to consider specific habitat features that have a direct effect on fitness through reproduction and survival.

Reed (1992) suggested that a ranking scheme is needed for future management efforts and research needs. He stated that a scheme that is biologically based (i.e., based on characteristics of species abundance and distribution) can be used to organize research and prioritize conservation efforts. Rankings can include habitat information from breeding and wintering ranges and can be integrated with other ranking systems, such as economic considerations.

Monitoring Requirements: Regular monitoring is appropriate in areas subject to forest fragmentation or forestry operations. Standard methods such as point-coint censusing probably are sufficient for population monitoring. Monitoring of reproductive performance is appropriate if declines occur in the absence of habitat alteration.

Increased monitoring efforts are needed in winter and summer ranges. BBS data best address regional trends. Intense local investigations, like that presented by Litwin and Smith (1992), are needed to address specific causes of changes in distribution and abundance.

Management Research Needs: In order to understand specific management needs, additional life history information is needed. In addition, effects of forest loss and fragmentation need to be addressed. Issues of primary concern are: 1) effects of habitat loss in wintering versus breeding range, 2) specific habitat features (e.g., habitat size, composition, etc) and associated resources that directly influence reproduction and survival, and 3) consequences of those features for coexisting species and any interacting species, and the effects they have on one another (biodiversity approach) (Martin 1992).
Biological Research Needs: Has not been extensively studied in most areas (Senesac 1993). Additional information is needed on breeding behavior, diet and foraging, winter range, and habitat relationships. Is this bird monogamous? How extensive is cowbird parasitism? How many broods per season?
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: 29Jan2010
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Dirrigl, F., Jr., G. Hammerson, and N. Zeller
Management Information Edition Date: 30Jun1993
Management Information Edition Author: ZELLER, N.S.; REVISIONS BY D.W. MEHLMAN
Management Information Acknowledgments: An earlier draft of this abstract was sent to Pixie Senesac, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. As a leading investigator on the scarlet tanager, her suggestions and clarifications were greatly appreciated. A draft was also sent to Harry LeGrand, North Carolina Natural Heritage Program; his comments and suggestions were appreciated. Thanks to Bruce Peterjohn, USFWS, Office of Migratory Bird Management, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, for BBS data and to all the volunteers who help generate that data year after year. Thanks to all the Heritage biologists who responded to the ESA questionnaire. Alabama - Mike Bailey; Arkansas - Cindy Osborne; Connecticut - Dawn McKay; Georgia - Greg Krakow; Illinois - Vernon Kleen, Susan Dees; Indiana - Michelle Martin, John Castrale; Iowa - John Flackenstein; Kansas - Bill Busby; Kentucky - Brainard Palmer-Ball; Maine - John Albright; Maryland - Lynn Davidson; Michigan - Mary Rabe; Minnesota - Mary Miller; Mississippi - Tom Mann; Missouri - Jim Wilson; Nebraska - Mary Clausen; New Hampshire - Andy Cutko; New Jersey - Rick Dutko; New York - Kathryn Schneider; North Carolina - Harry LeGrand; North Dakota - Randy Kreil; Ohio - Daniel Rice; Oklahoma - Mark Lomolino; Pennsylvania - Barb Barton; Rhode Island - Rick Enser; South Carolina - Lex Glover; South Dakota - Eileen Down Stukel; Tennessee - Bob Ford; Vermont - Chris Fichtel; Virginia - Sarah Mabey; West Virginia - Barbara Sargent; Wisconsin - Karen Gaines. Currently only 3 Canadian provinces have Heritage Programs or Conservation Data Centres (Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Ontario). Because of this, obtaining information for the provinces required contacting many different sources. Their combined efforts were greatly appreciated: Saskatchewan - Jim Duncan; Quebec - Guy Jolicoeur, Jon Gauthier; Manitoba and Saskatchewan - Rudolf Koes; New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario - Mike Cadman, Tony Urskin. Thanks to Rex Sallabanks of North Carolina State University for his assistance in starting this project. Also thanks to the staff of North Carolina State University, D.H. Hill Library, especially the Inter-library Loan Office, for all their assistance in locating resources.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 29Jan2010
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Zeller, N. S., and G. Hammerson

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.

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