Progne subis - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Purple Martin
Other English Common Names: purple martin
Other Common Names: Andorinha-Azul, Andorinha-Púrpura
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Progne subis (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 178464)
French Common Names: hirondelle noire
Spanish Common Names: Golondrina Azulnegra, Golondrina Purpúrea
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104037
Element Code: ABPAU01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 11454

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Hirundinidae Progne
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: Progne subis
Taxonomic Comments: Species limits in this complex are uncertain. Constitutes a superspecies with P. cryptoleuca, P. dominicensis, P. sinaloae, P. chalybea, and P. modesta (including P. elegans) (AOU 1998). See Sheldon and Winkler (1993) for information on intergeneric phylogenetic relationships of Hirundininae based on DNA-DNA hybridization.
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: This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is extremely large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern. (Birdlife International, 2014).
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (19Mar1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (26Jan2018)

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), Arizona (S2S3B), Arkansas (S5B), California (S3), Colorado (S3B), Connecticut (S3B), Delaware (S5B), District of Columbia (S1B,S5N), Florida (S5B), Georgia (S5), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4B), Iowa (S5B,S5N), Kansas (S5B), Kentucky (S5B), Louisiana (S5B), Maine (S3B), Maryland (S5B), Massachusetts (S1B), Michigan (S3), Minnesota (S3B), Mississippi (S5B), Missouri (SNRB), Navajo Nation (S2S3B), Nebraska (S4), New Hampshire (S1B), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S3B,S4N), New York (S4B), North Carolina (S5B), North Dakota (SNRB), Ohio (S5), Oklahoma (S5B), Oregon (S2B), Pennsylvania (S4B), Rhode Island (S3B), South Carolina (SNRB), South Dakota (S5B), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5B), Utah (S2S3B), Vermont (S3B), Virginia (S5), Washington (S3B), West Virginia (S3B), Wisconsin (S2S3B), Wyoming (SHB)
Canada Alberta (S4B), British Columbia (S3B), Manitoba (S3S4B), New Brunswick (S1B,S1M), Nova Scotia (SHB), Ontario (S3S4B), Quebec (S2S3), Saskatchewan (S5B,S5M)

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: west of Cascades and Sierra Nevada from southwestern British Columbia south to northwestern Mexico and Arizona; east of Rocky Mountains from northeastern British Columbia, central Alberta, east through northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, southern Ontario, to Nova Scotia, south to Gulf coast and southern Florida. NON-BREEDING: locally from northern South America south to northern Bolivia, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil, east of Andes; apparently mainly in southern Brazil (Hilty and Brown 1986, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

Area of Occupancy: >12,500 4-km2 grid cells
Area of Occupancy Comments: Birdlife International (2014) gives an estimate of over 3 million square kilometers for this speices

Number of Occurrences: > 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations). It has an extremely large range and extremely large population size. Partners in Flight (2013) estimate its global population to be seven million.

Population Size: >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Population size estimate by Partners in Flight (2013) is seven million.

Number of Occurrences with Good Viability/Integrity: Many to very many (41 to >125)
Viability/Integrity Comments: With a large range encompassing many states, populations in national wildlife refuges and state parks should be reasonably good EOs.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: As a secondary-cavity nester, the Purple Martin has suffered from the introduction into North America of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and House Sparrows (Passer domesticus), which compete with it for nest sites throughout much of the eastern half of the continent. Without human intervention and management of colony sites, starlings and sparrows can cause local extinction of martins by appropriating their nest cavities and making them permanently unsuitable for martin use. Adverse weather kills more Purple Martins than all other sources of mortality combined. Birds cannot find insects in cold weather, and when such conditions extend >3?4 d, mortality can be substantial. California population is at risk of extirpation by 2031 in part due to starlings and human activities (Airola and Jesse 2003, Airola and Kopp 2009, White et al. 2011). (Tarof and Brown, 2013).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Recent BBS data (1980-2006) show fairly stable populations over this period, with significant (but modest: - 0.1%/yr) declines in Eastern regions, and significant increases in western regions (+2.8%/yr). See Sauer et al. 2007 for details (Tarof and Brown, 2013).

Long-term Trend: Decline of <30% to increase of 25%
Long-term Trend Comments: This species has had stable population trends over the last 40 years in North America (data from Breeding Bird Survey and/or Christmas Bird Count: Butcher and Niven 2007) (Birdlife International, 2014). Breeding bird survey (BBS) data suggest that populations in n. North America are undergoing a long-term decline that has been especially evident since 1980 (Peterjohn and Sauer 1995). Before 1980, populations in other parts of the continent (except California) had been stable or increasing, but declines are now evident along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Alabama and Florida. A major decline since the late 1950s has occurred in s. California (Garrett and Dunn 1981). Recent increases have occurred along the Atlantic Coast from Georgia to Virginia and from portions of Tennessee and Kentucky west to Kansas and Oklahoma (Peterjohn and Sauer 1995). A major continent-wide decline occurred in 1983, possibly because of factors operating on birds during migration or winter, although populations generally rebounded quickly. BBS data reveal that Purple Martins reach peak abundance in Louisiana, s. Alabama, and the Florida panhandle, and are also very numerous along the Lower Mississippi Valley (Peterjohn and Sauer 1995). (Tarof and Brown, 2013).

Intrinsic Vulnerability: Moderately vulnerable to not intrinsically vulnerable.
Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: Diet is almost exclusively flyng insects, so species could potentially be vulnerable to widespread pesticide applications. Severe weather can negatively impact species at northern limits of breeding range.

Environmental Specificity: Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common.
Environmental Specificity Comments: Species? popularity as backyard bird means that humans have had a positive net effect on population size. People now provide almost all nest sites that Purple Martins use in e. North America. Loss of breeding habitat seems not to be an issue in e. North America, where birds are confined to cities, towns, or immediate vicinity of human dwellings. Loss of dead-snag nest sites by logging or selective removal in w. North America is harmful to western montane populations (Richmond 1953) (Tarof and Brown, 2013).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Inventory Needs: Minimal at this point in time.

Protection Needs: The most critical measure to increase the size of martin colonies and local reproductive success is to install birdhouses and keep them free of House Sparrows and European Starlings (Brown 1981b). If humans do not remove sparrow and starling nests, birdhouse compartments will gradually become filled with these 2 species and martins will be excluded. Overall extent of management is unclear, however, and on continental scale may be rather limited. Most people who install birdhouses do little except open them at the start of breeding season and close them in autumn (CRB). Recent population declines (Peterjohn and Sauer 1995) suggest that efforts should be made to educate more people in how to ?manage? their martin colonies. Encouraging protection of winter roosts in Brazil should also be a priority (Tarof and Brown, 2013).

Distribution
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Global Range: (>2,500,000 square km (greater than 1,000,000 square miles)) BREEDING: west of Cascades and Sierra Nevada from southwestern British Columbia south to northwestern Mexico and Arizona; east of Rocky Mountains from northeastern British Columbia, central Alberta, east through northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, southern Ontario, to Nova Scotia, south to Gulf coast and southern Florida. NON-BREEDING: locally from northern South America south to northern Bolivia, northern Argentina, and southern Brazil, east of Andes; apparently mainly in southern Brazil (Hilty and Brown 1986, Stiles and Skutch 1989, Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NN, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, 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; WWF-US, 2000


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Kern (06029), Lake (06033), Lassen (06035), Mendocino (06045), Monterey (06053), Napa (06055), Placer (06061), Riverside (06065), Sacramento (06067), San Diego (06073), San Luis Obispo (06079), Santa Clara (06085), Shasta (06089), Sonoma (06097)
CT Fairfield (09001), Litchfield (09005), Middlesex (09007), New Haven (09009), New London (09011), Tolland (09013), Windham (09015)
MA Essex (25009)*
MN Aitkin (27001), Beltrami (27007), Benton (27009), Carver (27019), Cass (27021), Clay (27027), Clearwater (27029), Cottonwood (27033), Crow Wing (27035), Dakota (27037), Faribault (27043), Fillmore (27045), Freeborn (27047), Grant (27051), Hubbard (27057), Itasca (27061), Jackson (27063), Kittson (27069), Lake of the Woods (27077), Le Sueur (27079), Lincoln (27081), Lyon (27083), Mahnomen (27087), Martin (27091), Meeker (27093), Mille Lacs (27095), Morrison (27097), Mower (27099), Murray (27101), Nobles (27105), Otter Tail (27111), Pipestone (27117), Pope (27121), Roseau (27135), Scott (27139), Stearns (27145), Steele (27147), Swift (27151), Todd (27153), Wadena (27159), Waseca (27161), Watonwan (27165), Winona (27169), Wright (27171)
NH Belknap (33001), Carroll (33003), Hillsborough (33011), Merrimack (33013), Rockingham (33015), Strafford (33017)
NM San Juan (35045)
OR Benton (41003), Clatsop (41007), Columbia (41009), Coos (41011)*, Curry (41015), Douglas (41019), Hood River (41027)*, Jackson (41029)*, Klamath (41035)*, Lake (41037)*, Lane (41039), Lincoln (41041)*, Linn (41043), Marion (41047), Multnomah (41051), Polk (41053)*, Tillamook (41057)*, Wasco (41065)*
UT Cache (49005), Carbon (49007), Millard (49027)*, Morgan (49029), Rich (49033), Sanpete (49039), Sevier (49041)*, Summit (49043)*, Uintah (49047)*, Utah (49049), Wasatch (49051), Weber (49057)
WA Chelan (53007)+, Clallam (53009)+, Clark (53011)+, Cowlitz (53015)+, Grays Harbor (53027)+, Island (53029)+, Jefferson (53031)+, King (53033)+, Kitsap (53035)+, Kittitas (53037)+, Klickitat (53039)+, Lewis (53041)+, Mason (53045)+, Pacific (53049)+, Pierce (53053)+, San Juan (53055)+, Skagit (53057)+, Skamania (53059)+, Snohomish (53061)+, Thurston (53067)+, Wahkiakum (53069)+, Whatcom (53073)+
WI Dane (55025)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Saco (01060002)+, Piscataqua-Salmon Falls (01060003)+, Pemigewasset (01070001)+, Merrimack (01070002)+, Contoocook (01070003)+, Merrimack (01070006)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Charles (01090001)+*, Quinebaug (01100001)+, Shetucket (01100002)+, Thames (01100003)+, Quinnipiac (01100004)+, Housatonic (01100005)+, Saugatuck (01100006)+
02 Long Island Sound (02030203)+
07 Mississippi Headwaters (07010101)+, Leech Lake (07010102)+, Prairie-Willow (07010103)+, Elk-Nokasippi (07010104)+, Crow Wing (07010106)+, Long Prairie (07010108)+, Platte-Spunk (07010201)+, Sauk (07010202)+, Clearwater-Elk (07010203)+, Crow (07010204)+, South Fork Crow (07010205)+, Rum (07010207)+, Pomme De Terre (07020002)+, Hawk-Yellow Medicine (07020004)+, Chippewa (07020005)+, Blue Earth (07020009)+, Watonwan (07020010)+, Le Sueur (07020011)+, Lower Minnesota (07020012)+, Rush-Vermillion (07040001)+, Cannon (07040002)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Zumbro (07040004)+, Root (07040008)+, Upper Cedar (07080201)+, Shell Rock (07080202)+, Crawfish (07090002)+, Des Moines Headwaters (07100001)+
09 Otter Tail (09020103)+, Buffalo (09020106)+, Eastern Wild Rice (09020108)+, Clearwater (09020305)+, Lower Red (09020311)+, Two Rivers (09020312)+, Lower Rainy (09030008)+, Lake of the Woods (09030009)+
10 Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+, Little Sioux (10230003)+
14 Lower Green-Diamond (14060001)+*, Ashley-Brush (14060002)+*, Price (14060007)+, Chaco (14080106)+, Chinle (14080204)+
16 Upper Bear (16010101)+, Little Bear-Logan (16010203)+, Upper Weber (16020101)+, Lower Weber (16020102)+, Utah Lake (16020201)+*, Spanish Fork (16020202)+, Provo (16020203)+*, Middle Sevier (16030003)+*, Lower Sevier (16030005)+*
17 Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105)+, Lower Columbia-Sandy (17080001), Lower Columbia-Clatskanie (17080003)+, Upper Cowlitz (17080004), Lower Cowlitz (17080005), Lower Columbia (17080006)+, Coast Fork Willamette (17090002)+, Upper Willamette (17090003)+, Mckenzie (17090004)+, North Santiam (17090005)+, South Santiam (17090006)+*, Tualatin (17090010)+, Lower Willamette (17090012)+, Upper Chehalis (17100103), Lower Chehalis (17100104), Grays Harbor (17100105), Willapa Bay (17100106), Nehalem (17100202)+*, Wilson-Trusk-Nestuccu (17100203)+*, Siletz-Yaquina (17100204)+*, Alsea (17100205)+*, Siuslaw (17100206)+, Siltcoos (17100207)+*, North Umpqua (17100301)+, South Umpqua (17100302)+*, Umpqua (17100303)+, Coos (17100304)+*, Coquille (17100305)+*, Sixes (17100306)+, Chetco (17100312)+, Strait of Georgia (17110002), San Juan Islands (17110003), Nooksack (17110004), Stillaguamish (17110008), Snohomish (17110011), Lake Washington (17110012), Duwamish (17110013), Nisqually (17110015), Deschutes (17110016), Skokomish (17110017), Hood Canal (17110018), Puget Sound (17110019), Dungeness-Elwha (17110020)
18 Upper Eel (18010103)+, Big-Navarro-Garcia (18010108)+, Russian (18010110)+, Williamson (18010201)+*, Sprague (18010202)+*, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+*, Lost (18010204)+*, Upper Klamath (18010206)+*, Goose Lake (18020001)+*, Upper Pit (18020002)+, Lower Pit (18020003)+, Lower American (18020111)+, Upper Cache (18020116)+, Upper Putah (18020162)+, Lower Sacramento (18020163)+, Middle Kern-Upper Tehachapi- (18030003)+, San Pablo Bay (18050002)+, Coyote (18050003)+, Salinas (18060005)+, Central Coastal (18060006)+, San Jacinto (18070202)+, Santa Ana (18070203)+*, San Diego (18070304)+, Whitewater River (18100201)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A bird (swallow, martin).
Reproduction Comments: In southern Arizona, eggs are laid in July (Stutchbury 1991). Mating system involves monogamous pairing with extrapair fertilizations by older males. Clutch size is 3-8 (usually 4-5). Incubation lasts 15-16 days, by female. Male guards nest when females goes off to feed. Young are tended by both adults, leave nest 24-28 days after hatching (Harrison 1978), return to nest to roost for a few days after fledging. Usually 1, sometimes 2 broods per season (also reported as only 1 nesting per year). Depending on the location, a few or many of the breeding males are one-year-olds. Most individuals breed for 2-3 seasons. Usually nests in colonies in east and midwest. In natural sites, breeds in single pairs or small groups.
Ecology Comments: During spring and summer populations periodically decimated due to prolonged cold, wet weather, and lack of insect food. Often local in distribution. Forms large roosting flocks at night after nesting season and before southward migration.
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrates mainly along coast. Arrives in southern U.S. by early February (January in southern Florida), northern states and southern Canada in April (Morton and Derrickson 1990). Migrates through Costa Rica August to mid-October and late January-April (Stiles and Skutch 1989). Present in South America mostly September-March (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).
Estuarine Habitat(s): Aerial, Herbaceous wetland, Tidal flat/shore
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Aerial
Palustrine Habitat(s): Aerial, HERBACEOUS WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Aerial, Cropland/hedgerow, Desert, Grassland/herbaceous, Savanna, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood
Special Habitat Factors: Standing snag/hollow tree
Habitat Comments: A wide variety of open and partly open situations, frequently near water or around towns (Subtropical and Temperate zones, in winter also Tropical Zone) (AOU 1983). South America: congregates in roosts in city plazas and parks (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). In west and formerly in east nests in tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes (including those in saguaro cacti), crevices in rocks; in east and midwest now nests in bird-houses and gourds put up by humans.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: Catches insects in the air; occasionally forages by walking along the ground. Eats ants, wasps, beetles, grasshoppers, dragonflies, etc. Forages often over fields, water, or marshes.
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Colonial Breeder: Y
Length: 20 centimeters
Weight: 49 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Restoration Potential: Populations have augmented by provision of nest boxes in some areas. See Mitchell (1988) for specifications for the construction and placement of nest boxes. See Bowditch (1990) for a description of predator guards (hardware cloth and PVC pipe) that deter crow and owl predation at martin houses. See Ginaven (1990) for information on using decoys to attract martins.
Biological Research Needs: Major priorities focus on the species? social behavior and its relationships within the genus Progne. Studies designed to measure the costs and benefits of different colony sizes (in the style of Brown and Brown 1996) are needed. Such studies would help reveal whether martin colonies form primarily because nest sites are limited (Johnston and Hardy 1962, Brown 1978d, 1979b) or in order to facilitate extra-pair copulations (Morton et al. 1990, Wagner et al. 1996a) (Tarof and Brown, 2013).
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: 11Mar2014
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Jue, Sally S.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 20May1994
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).

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