Parkesia noveboracensis - (Gmelin, 1789)
Northern Waterthrush
Other English Common Names: northern waterthrush
Other Common Names: Mariquita-Boreal
Synonym(s): Seiurus noveboracensis (Gmelin, 1789)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Seiurus noveboracensis (Gmelin, 1789) (TSN 178931)
French Common Names: paruline des ruisseaux
Spanish Common Names: Chipe Charquero
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.102665
Element Code: ABPBX10020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Birds - Perching Birds
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Aves Passeriformes Parulidae Parkesia
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: Seiurus noveboracensis
Taxonomic Comments: Formerly (AOU 1983, 1998) placed in the genus Seiurus; transferred to Parkesia by AOU (2010).
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
Nation: United States
National Status: N5B (05Jan1997)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5B,N5M (29Jan2018)

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 (SNRM), Alaska (S4S5B), Arizona (S2S3M), Arkansas (SNA), California (SNA), Colorado (SNA), Connecticut (S5B), Delaware (SNA), District of Columbia (S3N), Florida (SNA), Georgia (SNRN), Idaho (S4B), Illinois (SNA), Iowa (S3N), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (SNA), Louisiana (SNA), Maine (S5), Maryland (S2B), Massachusetts (S4B), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNRB), Mississippi (SNA), Missouri (SNA), Montana (S5B), Navajo Nation (SNA), Nebraska (SNRN), New Hampshire (S5B), New Jersey (S4B), New Mexico (S4N), New York (S5B), North Carolina (SNA), North Dakota (S4), Ohio (S1S2), Oklahoma (S2N), Oregon (S2B), Pennsylvania (S3S4B), Rhode Island (S4B), South Carolina (SNA), South Dakota (SNA), Tennessee (S4N), Texas (S4), Utah (SNA), Vermont (S4S5B), Virginia (S1B), Washington (S3B), West Virginia (S2B), Wisconsin (S4B), Wyoming (SNA)
Canada Alberta (S5B), British Columbia (S5B), Labrador (S5B,S5M), Manitoba (S5B), New Brunswick (S4B,S5M), Newfoundland Island (S5B,S5M), Northwest Territories (S5B), Nova Scotia (S4B), Nunavut (SUB,SUM), Ontario (S5B), Prince Edward Island (S3B), Quebec (S5B), Saskatchewan (S5B), Yukon Territory (S5B)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: BREEDING: western and north-central Alaska and northwestern Mackenzie to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to southeastern British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Great Lakes, eastern West Virginia, northwestern Virginia, and Massachusetts (Eaton 1995, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California, southern Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi, northern Veracruz, and southern Florida south through Mexico (including Yucatan peninsula), throughout Central America to Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, northern Brazil, northeastern Peru, and Surinam; also abundant throughout the West Indies (Raffaele 1983, Pashley 1988a, Pashley 1988b, Pashley and Hamilton 1990, Eaton 1995).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: HABITAT LOSS: Habitat appears relatively secure throughout Canada, the majority of breeding range, but is increasingly threatened on wintering grounds. As human populations in the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, and northern South America are increasing, felling of mangrove forests will increase in response to demands for fuel, food and space (Eaton 1995). Current estimates show that only 21% of land area remains forested (Wunderle and Waide 1994). The mangroves of Ecuador and Peru have been decimated for fuel and paper making and more recently for shrimp culture impoundments. Mangroves of Central America and the Caribbean also are threatened by such activities (Terborgh 1989). Throughout range, drainage of swamps for agriculture and wetlands development into ponds or lakes also destroy and degrade habitat on breeding and non-breeding grounds (Eaton 1988, Eaton 1995, Hull 1991, Gross 1992). Forest fragmentation and activities that cause reductions in forest canopy cover or negatively impact aquatic insect communities are also a threat (Brown 1999). PESTICIDES AND CONTAMINANTS: Wetlands frequently concentrate environmental contaminants and pesticides, putting species that use these habitats at high potential risk for mortality from ingestion (Rappole et al. 1983). In addition, northern forests on breeding grounds are often sprayed to control spruce budworm outbreaks. This could affect Northern Waterthrush populations by reducing insect prey base and directly killing birds (Eaton 1995). Potential impacts to prey base due to acid precipitation caused by powerplants in some regions. COLLISIONS: One record of a large kill due to collision with TV towers where 517 birds were killed (Robbins 1991). HURRICANES: Hurricanes may reduce local wintering populations of neotropical migrants in the West Indies (Holmes 1994; J. Confer and R. Holmes, unpubl. data). PREDATION: Young and eggs may experience high predation rates (Eaton 1957). PARASITISM: Relatively free of parasitism by the Brown-headed Cowbird (MOLOTHRUS ATER) compared with the Louisiana Waterthrush and other North American warblers (Eaton 1995).

Short-term Trend Comments: Populations appear to be holding steady and may be increasing in some regions. The breeding habitat in Canada is probably less disturbed than other regions of North America, leading to a higher breeding success rate. Survey-wide North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) trends for 1980-1999 show no population trend (P = 0.98) and a small (-1.0%) non-significant (P = 0.30) decline for the U.S. population. However, data indicate a significant population increase in western North America, 1966-1988 and 1978-1988 (Sauer and Droege 1992). For the period 1966 to 1991, BBS surveys showed a non-significant increase of 1.2% on Allegheny Plateau and a significant decrease of 2.4% in northern spruce hardwoods. In the boreal forest (largest area of breeding potential, but where only 40 routes are surveyed) a significant increase of 0.7%. In the west, where species occurs on Fraser Plateau, British Columbia in high densities, a non-significant increase of 4.3%; in central Rockies a non-significant increase of 1.9% (S. Droege unpubl. data in Eaton 1995). Declining -2.2% /yr. in the BBS Northern Spruce-hardwood region (1980-1999).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: BREEDING: western and north-central Alaska and northwestern Mackenzie to Labrador and Newfoundland, south to southeastern British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, Great Lakes, eastern West Virginia, northwestern Virginia, and Massachusetts (Eaton 1995, AOU 1998). NON-BREEDING: southern Baja California, southern Sinaloa, San Luis Potosi, northern Veracruz, and southern Florida south through Mexico (including Yucatan peninsula), throughout Central America to Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, northern Brazil, northeastern Peru, and Surinam; also abundant throughout the West Indies (Raffaele 1983, Pashley 1988a, Pashley 1988b, Pashley and Hamilton 1990, Eaton 1995).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

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

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, 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, LB, MB, NB, NF, NS, NT, NU, ON, PE, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: NatureServe, 2002; WILDSPACETM 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ND Benson (38005), Bottineau (38009), Cavalier (38019), Eddy (38027), Grand Forks (38035), Pembina (38067), Ramsey (38071), Rolette (38079)
OH Ashland (39005), Geauga (39055), Portage (39133)
OR Grant (41023)*, Harney (41025)*, Klamath (41035), Linn (41043)
VA Highland (51091)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
02 South Branch Potomac (02070001)+*
04 Cuyahoga (04110002)+
05 Mohican (05040002)+
09 Lower Souris (09010003)+, Willow (09010004)+, Goose (09020109)+, Devils Lake (09020201)+, Upper Sheyenne (09020202)+, Middle Sheyenne (09020203)+, Turtle (09020307)+, Park (09020310)+, Lower Red (09020311)+, Upper Pembina River (09020315)+, Lower Pembina River (09020316)+
17 Upper John Day (17070201)+*, Little Deschutes (17070302)+*, Mckenzie (17090004)+, Donner Und Blitzen (17120003)+*, Alvord Lake (17120009)+*
18 Williamson (18010201)+, Upper Klamath Lake (18010203)+, Upper Klamath (18010206)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: A small bird (warbler).
General Description: Dark brown above, whitish to pale yellowish below and supercilium. Dark streaking on breast. Best distinguished from very similar Louisiana Waterthrush by thinner, more yellowish supercilium and typically spotted throat, drabber leg color. Habitat should be considered when identifying waterthrushes. Song is best indicator of species.
Reproduction Comments: Essentially monogamous. Pair bond maintained from shortly after male arrives to 3-4 days after successful fledging. Favors nest sites in cavities of root systems of wind-blown trees in wooded swamps, or on sides of fern clumps or under cover on the banks of lakes or rivers. Nest typically hidden from above (Eaton 1995, Baicich and Harrison 1997). Nest a bowl of moss and liverwort gametophytes with a few leaves on the outside, lined with grass stems, twigs or pine needles, moss sporophytes or small rootlets and hair. May have an entranceway of leaves (Eaton 1995, Baicich and Harrison 1997).

Clutch size four to five eggs, sometimes three to six. Distinctly smaller than cowbird eggs. Female incubates and will lure potential predators away from nest. (Eaton 1995). Eggs are laid in late May-June. Young are altricial, brooded by female until day five. Both parents feed young. Departure from nest at day nine. Young unable to fly and hide for 2-3 days under dense vegetation (Baicich and Harrison 1997). Parents split brood for feeding. One brood per season (Eaton 1995).

Ecology Comments: Territorial throughout the year. Thought to defend non-breeding foraging areas against intraspecific intrusion, occasionally violently. Mean territory size on breeding grounds from 0.5-1.0 ha by location and is similar on wintering grounds (Eaton 1995, Curson et al. 1994). Some indication that individuals may show changing preferences for habitat throughout non-breeding season despite other studies showing strong winter territoriality. Lefebvre et al. (1994) considered this species to be non-territorial in winter in northeastern Venezuela mangroves. Arrivals in Venezuela near end of rainy season occupy higher slopes, descending to humid lowlands in the dry season (Schwartz 1964). In northern Colombia, inhabits thornscrub in October but disappears in November as leaves wilt; unrecorded there in spring (Russell 1980). In addition, birds occupying coastal mangroves in Panama may migrate between habitat types mid-winter in response to prey availability. Abundance of Panamanian birds followed patterns of arthropod abundance and increased rainfall; species was more abundant in Pacific mangrove forests during the first part of the wintering period and more abundant in the Caribbean mangroves during the second part of the wintering season when rainfall and arthropod prey items increase there (Lefebvre and Poulin 1996).
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: Y
Mobility and Migration Comments: A neotropical migrant, traveling long distances nocturnally (Winkler et al. 1992). Migrates annually between breeding grounds in North America and wintering areas in West Indies and Central and South America, flying across or around Gulf of Mexico; a trans-gulf, circum-gulf, and trans-Caribbean migrant (Eaton 1995). Cannot carry enough fat to complete spring or fall migrations in one direct flight (est. 2,500 km) and must stop and eat (Winkler et al. 1992); migratory stopover habitat is especially important to this species.

Present in South America mainly September-April (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Arrives in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands in September, present through April (Raffaele 1983). Arrives in Costa Rica mid- to late-August, departs by mid-May; often abundant in September (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Estuarine Habitat(s): Scrub-shrub wetland
Palustrine Habitat(s): Bog/fen, FORESTED WETLAND, Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Forest - Conifer, Forest - Hardwood, Forest - Mixed, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Habitat Comments: BREEDING: Breeds in cool, wooded swamps, ponds and slow-moving rivers; thickets of bogs, and rivers bordered with willow (SALIX) and alder (ALNUS, Godfrey 1986, Peck and James 1987). Regional habitats differ slightly. Throughout Canada and Alaska, nests primarily in spruce (PICEA) bogs, along alder-and willow-bordered rivers; also along lakes, swamps, and wet woodlands (Godfrey 1986). However, on islands off Newfoundland, known to nest in areas without standing water and where understory is less dense than on mainland (Vassollo et al.1982).

In New York state, breeds in hardwood swamps dominated by Red Maple (ACER RUBRUM) on the Great Lakes Plain, in Eastern Hemlock (TSUGA CANADENSIS)-northern hardwood swamps on the Allegheny Plateau, and in spruce-tamarack (LARIX)-balsam (ABIES) swamp valleys and uplands of the Adirondacks and Tug Hill Plateau (Eaton 1988). In Pennsylvania, found in RHODODENDRON swamps and a variety of wooded wetland types (Gross 1992). In Massachusetts, nests in locally in red maple swamps and white cedar and red maple swamps (Viet and Petersen 1993). In West Virginia, nests along rhododendron-bordered mountain streams, in spruce swamps and northern mixed forest to beech (FAGUS)-maple (ACER) forest (Brooks 1944).

Where sympatric with Louisiana Waterthrush, nests in areas with more forbs and ferns, with significantly more moss cover, hummocks, and conifers and with a higher density of shrubs; significantly more Eastern Hemlock and alder in Northern Waterthrush territories (Craig 1985).

NONBREEDING: Found mainly in damp tropical lowland forest, edges of pools and streams, mainly below 1,500 m. Mangroves (RHIZOPHORA, AVICENNIA, LABUNCULARIA) provide key habitat throughout much of range (Stotz et al. 1996, Bond 1971, Wetmore et al. 1984, Binford 1989, Lefebvre et al. 1992, Wunderle and Waide 1993). In Costa Rica, also found in open second growth or at wet spots in trails or roads (Stiles and Skutch 1989 Blake and Loiselle 1992). In northeast Nicaragua, in rain forest adjacent to pine habitat (Howell 1971). Tends to avoid disturbance, but may do well in second-growth tropical forest, edges, or woodlots (Ehrlich, et al. 1988).

Throughout its winter range found mainly below 1500 m (Curson et al. 1994). Highest recorded elevation in Columbia 3000m (Hilty and Brown 1986). In Costa Rica, ranges from lowlands to 1500 m, rarely higher, on both slopes, often extremely abundant in September along Caribbean coast; most numerous in Caribbean lowland and mangroves along the Pacific coast (Stiles and Skutch 1989). In Belize, most numerous in mangroves and gallery forest (Eaton 1995); occurs sparingly in cropland of cacao, rice, and citrus fruits (Robbins et al. 1992). In the West Indies, most often near the border of standing water, primarily saline and brackish, in or near mangroves and coastal scrub forest (Raffaele et al. 1998).

MIGRATION: Prefers damp woodlands with standing water, thick cover along streams, in marshes, and by stagnant pools, but is also found on lawns and in hedgerows and thickets (Winkler et al. 1992).

Adult Food Habits: Invertivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore
Food Comments: On breeding grounds, eats various small invertebrates, primarily from muddy ground but also wades in shallow pools, gleans from foliage or soggy fallen leaves, and occasionally catches flying insects (Terres 1980, Lack 1976, Rappole and Warner 1980, Craig 1984). Takes larval and adult insects, spiders and snails. In the north, where associated with moving water, probably feeds on stoneflies (Plecoptera). After leaf emergence in spring, feeds extensively on Lepidoptera larvae (Eaton 1957, Craig 1987, Eaton 1995) In S. Carolina, known to have taken small minnows (Wayne 1910).

On non-breeding grounds, forages in mangroves, perching on fallen trees or pneumatophores, picking prey from substrates or near water surface, up to 3 m from ground but usually below 1 m (Lefebvre et al. 1992). Diet includes beetles, ants (Hymenoptera), flies, insect larvae, snails and decapod crustaceans found at water surface, on the ground, on fallen trees, or occasionally in low foliage. Typically forages alone, but sometimes in small groups probably only during migration when birds are immediately concerned with feeding (Schwartz 1964). In Cuba, small snails, small clams (Pelecypodia), snout beetles (Rhynchophora), small spiders and ants (Eaton 1995). Feeds on a greater variety of prey during migration.

Adult Phenology: Diurnal
Immature Phenology: Diurnal
Length: 15 centimeters
Weight: 18 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary
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Stewardship Overview: Locally common breeder in montane riparian woodlands and wooded bogs throughout Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern U.S. Threatened by destruction and degradation of mangrove swamps throughout non-breeding range, wetland destruction and degradation in North America. Collisions with communication towers also an increasing threat. Successful management of this species will require protection of remaining mangrove forests (nonbreeding) and spruce bogs and other wooded riparian habitat (breeding); restoration of degraded habitats is also a priority. Alternatives to the use of pesticides and further construction of tall communication towers should be investigated.
Restoration Potential: Not currently in need of restoration. Populations throughout much of North America appear stable. However, as noted, the most serious threats may come on wintering areas.
Preserve Selection & Design Considerations: Essential habitat includes thickets along edges of wooded swamps, montane woodland with bogs and pools of standing water. Fallen trees with exposed root masses are preferred nest sites. Absent in highly fragmented landscapes. Wetlands altered by dredging and sedimentation and pollution are suboptimal.
Management Requirements: Ability to maintain populations is closely tied with habitat preservation; threats appear more severe to non-breeding habitat. On breeding grounds, wooded streambanks should be protected. Throughout non-breeding grounds, mangroves and riparian/gallery forest are closely associated with this species, and successful management will focus on coastal and riparian forest preservation.

This and many other migratory species that overwinter in South America are associated with relatively tall, moist/wet forests, as well as some moderately disturbed sites, gaps and forest edges. Maintaining such forests is an extremely important part of any management strategy for this and a host of other Neotropical migrants; conversion to agricultural lands or pasture would remove the critical structural components of these habitats (Petit et al. 1996). Mangroves in Caribbean and coastal areas of Venezuela provide crucial wintering areas for this species and need protection (Lefebvre et al. 1992, Wunderle and Waide 1993).

Second-growth tropical forest edge and woodlots may provide sufficient habitat in some locations. However, deforestation in the tropics only rarely results in such habitats, but more often in vast expanses of overgrazed pastures, canefields and other inhospitable habitats (Ehrlich et al.1988).

Also, there are indications that fragmentation of tropical forests may lead to increased mortality for migrants occupying those patches. Until further research proves otherwise, limiting fragmentation and increasing forest connectivity should be guidelines for forest management in the tropics as well as in the temperate forests of North America (Petit et al. 1996).

Throughout the densely populated Caribbean islands, successful conservation depends in large part on identifying and implementing land-use practices that are compatible with both economic goals and preservation of natural vegetation types (Petit et al. 1996). Arendt (1992), in collaboration with other bird experts from the region, outlined four major requirements to achieve that goal in the Caribbean: 1) establishment of protected reserves; 2) restoration of degraded habitats; 3) legislation and education, 4) and ecological research (Petit et al. 1996, also see Wunderle and Waide 1994).

Monitoring Requirements: Robinson (1995) states that North American Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data may not provide adequate counts for Louisiana Waterthrush (SEIURUS MOTICILLA) because most routes are complete after it stops singing and do not adequately cover riparian communities. Coverage may also be poor for Northern Waterthrush.
Management Research Needs: Further research is needed on breeding biology. Details of demography and population dynamics including factors affecting survivorship are poorly understood. In order to better assess conservation needs and design effective approaches more data are needed on the status, habits, and ecology of this species on its wintering grounds (Eaton 1995).

The effect of habitat fragmentation and loss of connectivity in tropical environments is poorly understood. Further investigation of this question is of immediate concern because of the rapidly increasing human populations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean.

Biological Research Needs: None.
Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Passerines

Use Class: Breeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Nest Site, Nesting Colony
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical breeding, or current and likely recurring breeding, at a given location, minimally a reliable observation of one or more breeding pairs in appropriate habitat. Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Mapping Guidance: Breeding occurrences include nesting areas as well as foraging areas.

For swallows and other species that have separate nesting and foraging areas, separations are based on nest sites or nesting areas, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap larger than the separation distance are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Mean foraging radius (from nesting area) of Brown-headed Cowbird females was 4.0 kilometers in California, 1.2 kilometers in Illinois-Missouri (Thompson 1994). Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Brewer's Blackbirds, and probably Red-winged Blackbirds all forage up to 1.6 kilometers away from breeding colony (Willson 1966, Horn 1968). In one study, Brewer's Blackbirds were found as far as 10 kilometers from nesting area (Williams 1952), but this may be unusual.

For swallows and other parrerines with similar behavioral ecology, separation distance pertains to nest sites or nesting colonies, not to locations of foraging individuals. For example, nesting areas separated by a gap of more than 5 km are different occurrences, regardless of the foraging locations of individuals from those nesting areas. This separation procedure is appropriate because nesting areas are the critical aspect of swallow breeding occurrences, tend to be relatively stable or at least somwhat predictable in general location, and so are the basis for effective conservation; foraging areas are much more flexible and not necessarily static.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single breeding events outside the normal breeding distribution.

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Migratory stopover
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: For most passerines: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating individuals (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 25 birds in appropriate habitat.

For swallows: Evidence of recurring presence of migrating flocks (including historical) and potential recurring presence at a given location; minimally a reliable observation of 100 birds in appropriate habitat (e.g., traditional roost sites).

Occurrences should be locations where the species is resident for some time during the appropriate season; it is preferable to have observations documenting presence over at least 7 days annually.

EOs should not be described for species that are nomadic during nonbreeding season: e.g., Lark Bunting.

Be cautious about creating EOs for observations that may represent single events.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance somewhat arbitrary but intended to define occurrences of managable size for conservation purposes. Occurrences defined primarily on the basis of areas supporting concentrations of birds, rather than on the basis of distinct populations.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings

Use Class: Nonbreeding
Subtype(s): Foraging Area, Roost Site
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Any area used traditionally in the nonbreeding season (used for populations that are not resident in a location year-round). Minimally, reliable observations of 10 or more individuals in appropriate habitat for 20 or more days at a time. For G1-G3 species, observations of fewer individuals could constitute an occurrence of conservation value. Sites used during migration should be documented under the 'migratory stopover' location use class.

Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is necessarily arbitrary but attempts to balance the high mobility of birds with the need for occurrences of reasonable spatial scope. Note that a population's roost sites and foraging areas are parts of the same occurrence, even if they are more than 5 km apart.

For swallows and other species with similar behavioral ecology, the separation distance pertains to communal roost sites rather than to foraging areas; the former tend to be more stable and specific over time than the latter.

Date: 03Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.

Use Class: Nonmigratory
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a particular location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in or near appropriate habitat.

These occurrence specifications are used for nonmigratory populations of passerine birds.

Separation Barriers: None.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Significant dispersal and associated high potential for gene flow among populations of birds separated by tens of kilometers (e.g., Moore and Dolbeer 1989), and increasing evidence that individuals leave their usual home range to engage in extrapair copulations, as well as long foraging excursions of some species, make it difficult to circumscribe occurrences on the basis of meaningful population units without occurrences becoming too large. Hence, a moderate, standardized separation distance has been adopted for songbirds and flycatchers; it should yield occurrences that are not too spatially expansive while also accounting for the likelihood of gene flow among populations within a few kilometers of each other.

Be careful not to separate a population's nesting areas and breeding-season foraging areas as different occurrences; include them in the same occurrence even if they are more than 5 km apart. Blue jays have small summer home ranges but fly up to 4 kilometers to harvest mast (Tarvin and Woolfenden 1999). Flocks of pinyon jays range over 21-29 square kilometers (Ligon 1971, Balda and Bateman 1971); nesting and foraging areas may be widely separated. Tricolored blackbirds forage in flocks that range widely to more than 15 kilometers from the nesting colony (Beedy and Hamilton 1999).

Unsuitable habitat: Habitat not normally used for breeding/feeding by a particular species. For example, unsuitable habitat for grassland and shrubland birds includes forest/woodland, urban/suburban, and aquatic habitats. Most habitats would be suitable for birds with versatile foraging habits (e.g., most corvids).

Date: 10Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Notes: These specs pertain to nonmigratory species.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Robertson, B.
Management Information Edition Date: 21Aug2001
Management Information Edition Author: B. ROBERTSON
Management Information Acknowledgments: Funding for the preparation of this abstract was provided by the Department of Defense, Partners in Flight Program, through The Nature Conservancy, Wings of the Americas Program. Edited by D. Mehlman and S. Cannings.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 13Dec1994
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): HAMMERSON, G, AND B. ROBERTSON

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