Amphispiza bilineata - (Cassin, 1850)
Black-throated Sparrow
Other English Common Names: black-throated sparrow
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Amphispiza bilineata (Cassin, 1850) (TSN 179395)
French Common Names: Bruant ā gorge noire
Spanish Common Names: Zacatonero Garganta Negra
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101363
Element Code: ABPBX97010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
Image 11275

© Larry Master

 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Passerellidae Amphispiza
Genus Size: B - Very small genus (2-5 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: American Ornithologists' Union (AOU). 1998. Check-list of North American birds. Seventh edition. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. [as modified by subsequent supplements and corrections published in The Auk]. Also available online: http://www.aou.org/.
Concept Reference Code: B98AOU01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Amphispiza bilineata
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 04Dec1996
Global Status Last Changed: 04Dec1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (19Mar1997)

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 Arizona (S5), California (SNRB,SNRN), Colorado (S3B), Idaho (S2B), Navajo Nation (S5B,S1N), Nevada (S5B), New Mexico (S5B,S5N), Oklahoma (S1S2), Oregon (S3B), Texas (S4B), Utah (S5B,S2N), Washington (S1B), Wyoming (SNA)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: eastern Washington, southern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, southeastern Colorado, northwestern Oklahoma, and north-central Texas south to southern Baja California, the northern Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, and southern Texas (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: from southeastern California, southern Nevada, southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas south through breeding range (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1998).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Causes of population decline and threats to the species are largely unknown. In some areas, habitat may be lost to spreading urban development or wildfires. PREDATORS AND COMPETITORS: Vulnerable to nest predators. Predators include snakes, mammals and birds (Bent 1968, George 1987a). In a study in south-central New Mexico, nest predation was greatest factor in nest failure; predation rates did not differ between upland and arroyo territories; and the authors suspected that snakes were the primary predators (Kozma and Mathews 1997). In Baja California, George (1987a) found lower predation rates and higher nesting densities on islands than on the mainland Peninsula. Total density and number of species of avian nest predators was lower on the islands than on the mainland. May compete for nest sites with sage sparrow (AMPHISPIZA BELLI; Bent 1968). BROOD PARASITISM: Classed as an uncommon cowbird host (Ehrlich et al. 1988). Several instances of Brown-headed Cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER) parasitism in Texas and Arizona were noted by Bent (1968). In a New Mexico study, 10% of 141 nests were parasitized (Kozma and Mathews 1997).

Short-term Trend Comments: North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trend estimates show significant survey-wide population declines from 1966 to 1996 (-3.9 percent average annual decline; P = 0.01; N = 273 survey routes) and from 1980 to 1996 (-1.1 percent average annual decline; P = 0.14; N = 236). Steep and significant declines have occurred from 1966 to 1996 in Arizona (-2.6 percent average annual decline; P = 0.02; N = 53 routes) and in Texas (-6.2 percent average annual decline; P = 0.00; N = 56 routes). Nevada is the only state where BBS data indicate a significant 30-year increase (10.8 percent average annual increase; P = 0.00; N = 27 routes), however DeSante and George (1994) assert that the species has declined in Nevada by more than 50% in this century. Mapped BBS trends for 1966-1996 show declines in western Texas, northwestern New Mexico, northern Arizona, and the northern Great Basin; population increases in Nevada, eastern Utah, southern New Mexico and south-eastern California/southwestern Arizona (Sauer et al. 1997). Christmas Bird Count (CBC) trend estimates also indicate a survey-wide decline from 1959 to 1988 (-0.2 percent average annual decline; N = 151 count circles), although not statistically significant (Sauer et al. 1996).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: BREEDING: eastern Washington, southern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, southwestern Wyoming, southeastern Colorado, northwestern Oklahoma, and north-central Texas south to southern Baja California, the northern Jalisco, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, and southern Texas (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: from southeastern California, southern Nevada, southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, and southern Texas south through breeding range (Godfrey 1966, AOU 1998).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, ID, NM, NN, NV, OK, OR, TX, UT, WA, WY

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, 2005


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ID Ada (16001), Adams (16003), Blaine (16013), Boise (16015), Bonner (16017), Butte (16023), Elmore (16039), Fremont (16043), Gem (16045), Madison (16065), Owyhee (16073), Power (16077), Washington (16087)
OK Cimarron (40025)*
OR Morrow (41049)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
11 Cimarron headwaters (11040001)+*
17 Pend Oreille Lake (17010214)+, Upper Henrys (17040202)+, Lower Henrys (17040203)+, Teton (17040204)+, Lake Walcott (17040209)+, C. J. Idaho (17050101)+, Bruneau (17050102)+, Middle Snake-Succor (17050103)+, Boise-Mores (17050112)+, Lower Boise (17050114)+, Payette (17050122)+, Weiser (17050124)+, Brownlee Reservoir (17050201)+, Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (sparrow).
Reproduction Comments: Clutch size two to four, usually three to four. Duration of incubation and nestling periods are unknown. Nestlings are altricial and downy. Nesting occurs from February through mid-August, depending on region; most records between April and June; time of breeding can vary greatly from year to year depending on rainfall and food abundance (George 1987b, Ehrlich et al. 1988, Rising 1996). Will raise two broods (Ehrlich et al. 1988). In a creosote bush community in Nevada, this sparrow was found to be one of only two bird species that bred during dry years (Hill 1980). One record of egg-dumping of a Sage Sparrow (AMPHISPIZA BELLI) egg in a black-throated sparrow nest, in an area where territories overlapped (Gustafson 1975).

During times of hot months with limited water, can apparently suppress normal adrenocortical response to heat stress, which may allow breeding to continue despite extreme temperatures; the response is then reactivated in winter months (Wingfield et al. 1992).

Ecology Comments: Relative abundances recorded on BBS routes are high, ranging from and average 11.76 to 23.42 birds per 25-mile survey route. Density of 7 per 40 hectares has been reported for desert scrub creosote-burrobush habitat in California (Kubik and Remsen 1977); in another study, 3.9 per 40 hectares (Bureau of Land Management, no date). In southern Utah, breeding densities ranged from 4.3 to 9.6 pairs per 40 hectares (Medin 1986). In a creosote bush community in Nevada, occurred in densities of 43-61 pairs per 100 hectares (Hill 1980). In Baja California, average density of individuals was significantly higher on island study sites (16 individuals per 10 hectares) than on mainland sites (7.0 per 10 hectares; George 1987a). In New Mexico creosote bush scrub habitat, territory sizes were estimated at 120-150 meters in diameter (Heckenlively 1967).

Chases are common among males when territories are being established (Rising 1996). Visibility in habitat can be limited, and singing both elicits defense behavior and is apparently the most frequent response for territorial defense (Heckenlively 1967).

During nonbreeding season, found in small foraging flocks and often in mixed-species flocks that may include sage sparrows (AMPHISPIZA BELLI), Brewer's sparrows (SPIZELLA BREWERI), white-crowned sparrows (ZONOTRICHIA LEUCOPHRYS), vesper sparrows (POOECETES GRAMINEUS), cactus wrens (CAMPYLORHYNCHUS BRUNNEICAPILLUS) or verdins (AURIPARUS FLAVICEPS; Ehrlich et al. 1988, Rising 1996).

In a study conducted between early March and late May in southern Arizona, birds foraged on ground more than 90 percent of the time (Parker 1986). Seed foraging is apparently facilitated by the presence of rodents and ants, possibly through the creation of runways and bare areas which the sparrows use for visual foraging. Sparrow abundance declined over the long-term with the removal of rodents and ants (Thompson et al. 1991).

Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: Migrant in northern parts of range. In northern Arizona, departs mid-August, returns late March; in southern Arizona, arrives in early March (Phillips et al. 1964).
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Shrubland/chaparral
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Frequents the arid, hot deserts of the West. Not closely associated with particular plant species or communities, but favors sparsely vegetated desert scrub, including thorn brush, cacti, chaparral, mesquite and juniper. It is most often found on desert uplands, alluvial fans, and hillsides where thorny xeric brush dominates, and sometimes also in dry shrubby washes, but avoids desert valley floors. Occurs from below sea level (Death Valley) to over 2,200 meters, but below 1,500 in northern parts of range (Bent 1968, AOU 1983, Howell and Webb 1995, Rising 1996). It uses all seral stages in desert habitats as long as vegetative cover is below 25 percent, and uses shrubs and cacti for foraging, song perches, lookouts, shelter and nesting (USDA Forest Service 1994). May take advantage of mammal burrows to escape desert heat (Austin and Smith 1974).

Found in a variety of desert scrub and chaparral habitats, including ocotillo (FOUQUIERIA SPLENDENS), cholla (OPUNTIA spp.), mesquite (PROSOPIS spp.), catclaw (ACACIA GREGGII), blackbrush (COLEOGYNE RAMOSISSIMA), saltbush (ATRIPLEX spp.), greasewood (SARCOBATUS VERMICULATUS), canotia (CANOTIA HOLACANTHA), and creosote bush (LARREA TRIDENTATA) interspersed with taller plants such as Joshua trees (YUCCA BREVIFOLIA). In other areas found in sagebrush (ARTEMISIA sp.), antelope brush (PURSHIA TRIDENTATA), or rabbitbrush (CHRYSOTHAMNUS spp.) interspersed with pinyon-juniper (Bent 1968, USDA Forest Service 1994, Rising 1996). In Idaho, recorded in open shrublands where dominant shrubs were more than 50 cm tall, in big sage (ARTEMISIA TRIDENTATA), spiny hopsage (ATRIPLEX SPINOSA), and horsebrush (TETRADYMIA spp.) along with other shrubs (Marks et al. 1980). On Tiburon Island, Baja California, found breeding in littoral scrub that included salt scrub and mangroves, as well as in xeric thorn scrub (Wauer 1992).

Nests are well-concealed and placed at the base of a bush or cactus, on or near the ground (but usually about 15-45 centimeters above ground) hidden in a grass tuft, fork of dense shrub, or joints of a cactus (USDA Forest Service 1994, Baicich and Harrison 1997). In Idaho, a sample of nine nests were all found 25-45 cm above the ground in big sagebrush shrubs, but sparrows were never observed in the dense stands of big sagebrush typically inhabited by sage sparrows (AMPHISPIZA BELLI) and Brewer's sparrows (SPIZELLA BREWERI). In Arizona, nests observed in bases of creosote bush and in cholla (Tomoff 1974). In south-central New Mexico, used 25 different plant species for nesting; placed nests within 49 cm of ground; nested significantly more frequently on uplands with abundant small shrubs than in arroyos, and produced larger clutches and fledged more young in upland territories (Kozma and Mathews 1997). In other studies, have been found nesting in shrubby washes and arroyos (Raitt and Maze 1968, Medin 1986). Preference for upland or wash may be tied to local availability of dense or spiny shrubs that afford concealment and protection, or perhaps avoidance of areas prone to flash floods.

NONBREEDING: In addition to xeric shrub habitats, may be found in riparian areas, grasslands and weedy fields away from desert region (AOU 1983, Rising 1996). Associated with shrubs in the grasslands of the Mexican Plateau, Chihuahua, Mexico (Colorado Bird Observatory 1997). Foraging flocks may follow local topography, particularly washes (Eichinger and Moriarty 1985).

FORAGING: Will forage in mesquite, catclaw, desert willow (SALIX sp.) for insects (Bent 1968).

Adult Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Granivore, Invertivore
Food Comments: Feeds on seeds, insects, spiders, and green grass shoots. In winter, feeds primarily on seeds; in breeding season on insects. Forages on the ground; ingests gravel while ground feeding. Will also glean insects from shrubs and herbs and will hawk aerial insects. Young are fed insects, especially grasshoppers. During some seasons this species can obtain daily water requirement from insects and green vegetation; in dry season, when seeds are main food source, will drink regularly at water holes (Bent 1968).
Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 14 centimeters
Weight: 14 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Abundant in its favored desert habitats, but very little is known about the life history and management needs. Populations have apparently undergone a widespread decline over the last thirty years, although increases are also apparent in some areas of its range. Causes of declines and threats are unknown. Activities that degrade, fragment, or destroy the preferred fragile arid scrub uplands would be detrimental.
Species Impacts: Likely plays an ecological role as a seed disperser, but this is unstudied.
Restoration Potential: Although is relatively widespread in the desert southwest and abundant in appropriate habitats, it occurs in relatively fragile environments which may require considerable time to restore once degraded. A better understanding is needed of the ecology, threats, causes of population declines, and the management and restoration potential of its preferred habitats to sustain populations over the long term. See Roundy et al. (1995) for information on arid shrubland restoration.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Landscape relationships, response to habitat fragmentation, area sensitivity, and importance of habitat corridors are all unknown. Establishes fairly large territories in specific desert habitats with sparse cover, so it may prove vulnerable to habitat fragmentation.
Management Requirements: Requires desert scrub habitats with sparse shrubs (below 25 percent vegetative cover) and water sources during dry seasons (USDA Forest Service 1994). There is almost no quantitative information on the impacts of human activities. The desert habitats preferred by the sparrow tend to be fragile and vulnerable to degradation and can take a long time to recover from activities such as recreation, off-road vehicle use, heavy grazing, and mining, or from land conversions such as urban development and agriculture. Nest on or very close to the ground and may be sensitive to ground disturbances such as human traffic, off-road vehicles, or trampling by livestock (USDA Forest Service 1994, Paige and Ritter 1998).

GRAZING: Certain grazing regimes may promote the desert shrub habitats. Showed a positive response to moderate grazing in a semidesert grassland in southern Arizona (Bock et al. 1984). In a shadscale habitat in southwestern Utah, Medin (1986) found higher mean densities in experimental plots heavily grazed in early and mid-winter (7.9 pairs per 40 hectares and 9.6 pairs per 40 hectares), than in an late-winter grazed plot or an ungrazed plot (4.3 pairs per 40 hectares and 4.6 pairs per 40 hectares). However, within the study plots the birds were restricted to dry washes with tall shrubs, and the early and mid-winter grazed plots contained considerably more shrub cover than the late-winter grazed plot. Much further study is needed to better understand the effects of grazing on habitat, abundance, and productivity.

Monitoring Requirements: Easily detected by standard census and monitoring techniques, and is regularly recorded on BBS. Although the song is distinctive, it can be highly variable within a population and within the repertoire of an individual (Rising 1996). The male is not always readily observable while singing: may sing from an exposed perch or low shrub, but also often sings from hidden sites within brush or on ground (Heckenlively 1967).
Management Research Needs: Information needed on the landscape relationships and response to habitat degradation, fragmentation, and alteration. Need studies of the effects of grazing regimes, recreation activities, off-road vehicles, wildfire, and other impacts on habitat, particularly in relation to productivity and survival. Also need further study of brood parasitism rates and behavioral response to parasitism.
Biological Research Needs: More information is needed on the species habitat requisites and preferences, particularly in migration and winter; breeding site fidelity; flocking behavior; diet and feeding behavior; interrelationships with other species, including predators, competitors, and possible facilitators (such as rodents and ants); predation and brood parasitism rates in relation to habitat.
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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Management Information Edition Date: 21Oct1999
Management Information Edition Author: PAIGE, C.; REVISIONS BY M. KOENEN AND D.W. MEHLMAN
Management Information Acknowledgments: Chris Rustay provided a helpful review of a draft of this abstract. Support for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Initiative, through challenge grant number 97-270 to The Nature Conservancy, Wings of the Americas Program. Matching funds for this grant were donated by Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 04Mar1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
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  • Dorn, Jane L. and R.D. Dorn. 1990. Wyoming Birds. Mountain West Publishing, Cheyenne.

  • Ehrlich, P. R., D. S. Dobkin, and D. Wheye. 1988. The birder's handbook: a field guide to the natural history of North American birds. Simon and Shuster, Inc., New York. xxx + 785 pp.

  • Eichinger, J., and D.J. Moriarty. 1985. Movement of Mojave Desert sparrow flocks. Wilson Bulletin 97:511-516.

  • George, T. L. 1987a. Greater land bird densities on island vs. mainland: relation to nest predation level. Ecology 68(5):1393-1400.

  • George, T. L. 1987b. Nesting phenology of landbirds in Baja California. Condor 89:920-923.

  • Godfrey, W.E. 1966. The birds of Canada. National Museums of Canada. Ottawa. 428 pp.

  • Gustafson, J. R. 1975. A sage sparrow egg in a Black-throated sparrow nest. Auk 92:805-806.

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