Introduction to Species Accounts

Accounts for all Species Conservation (SC1 and SC2) and Biodiversity Conservation (BC1 and BC2) concern species are presented in alphabetic order (not in order of importance). Biological information in these accounts has been assembled from a number of sources, including the Birds of North America species monographs published by the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology; Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) Results and Analysis published online by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center; the Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan; the North American Waterbird Conservation Plan; the United States Shorebird Conservation Plan; published scientific literature; and the expertise of New Mexico Partners in Flight (NMPIF).

Each species account is divided into the following sections:

I. Summary information

This is a brief presentation of key information including species priority level, assessment score, state stewardship responsibility, national Partners in Flight (PIF) status, occurrence by New Mexico Bird Conservation Region (BCR) segment, and habitat types used. This section also presents a short descriptive summary of the species and issues of concern.

NMPIF level states the priority category into which the species has been placed by NMPIF: Species Conservation Concern, Level 1 (SC1), Species Conservation Concern, Level 2 (SC2), Biodiversity Conservation Concern, Level 1 (BC1), or Biodiversity Conservation Concern, Level 2 (BC2). Rules for determining NMPIF Level are discussed in Section 3.1 of the Bird Conservation Plan (see Table 3.2).

NMPIF assessment score states the combined score for the species, which is the total of 5 scores assigned for the 5 categories of vulnerability: distribution, threat, global importance of New Mexico populations, population size, and population trend. NMPIF Assessment Scores are discussed in Section 3.1 of the Bird Conservation Plan (see also “Conservation Status” below).

Stewardship responsibility is summarized based on estimates of the percent of the species population occurring in New Mexico:

<5% = Low                 5-15% = Moderate                  >15% = High

National PIF status notes if the species is on the PIF Watch List and/or is considered a stewardship species for the Intermountain West, Southwest, or Prairie avifaunal biomes, portions of each of which occur in New Mexico. For more information about the PIF Watch List, the North American Landbird Conservation Plan, and other national conservation plans, see Section 1.2.

New Mexico BCRs indicates which of the four Bird Conservation Region segments present in New Mexico contain species populations. Marginal presence is noted with the BCR number in parentheses. For more information on New Mexico’s four BCRs, see Section 2.6. 

Primary breeding habitat(s) or Other habitats used states primary and secondary habitat use among the 20 habitat types recognized by NMPIF. In some cases, only a primary breeding or wintering habitat is listed. For more information on habitat categories used in this Bird Conservation Plan, see Section 2.7.

II. Associated Species

This section presents a short list of avian species with which the focal species may be associated through shared patterns of habitat occupancy, foraging behavior, species interactions, or other ecological attributes.

III. Distribution

This section provides a brief outline of the global distribution of the species, and more detailed information about distribution in New Mexico.

IV. Ecology and Habitat Requirements

This section presents a brief sketch of species life history, ecology, and habitat needs. Particular attention is paid to studies carried out in New Mexico or neighboring states, and to aspects of species biology that may be relevant to conservation management.

V. Conservation Status

The purpose of this section is to explain in greater detail why a species has been placed on a priority list. Population size, trend, and threats to the species are each discussed in detail.

Species assessment presents the vulnerability scoring for the species, and calls attention to those categories in which vulnerability is considered high (a score of 4 or 5). The five categories are:

DISTRIBUTION – The higher of two scores assigned by Partners in Flight assessing vulnerability based on the size of the breeding and non-breeding range.

THREAT – The highest of the three scores assigned to each species assessing vulnerability based on current and expected future conditions within the breeding range, the non-breeding range, and the state of New Mexico. The former two scores are assigned by Partners in Flight, the latter by New Mexico Partners in Flight.

GLOBAL POPULATION SIZE – A score assigned by Partners in Flight assessing vulnerability based on the estimated size of the global breeding population.

LOCAL POPULATION TREND – A score assigned by New Mexico Partners in Flight assessing vulnerability based on population trends in the state, or the broader southwest region, over the past 30-40 years. These scores are based on BBS data when available, or assigned by expert opinion.

IMPORTANCE OF NEW MEXICO TO BREEDING (OR WINTERING) – A score assessing the relative importance of conserving New Mexico populations to the conservation of the species, based on the percentage of the species population estimated to occur in the state.

For more information on species assessment scoring, see Section 3.1.

Population size presents global species population estimates for landbirds from the Partners in Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan,  Partners in Flight population percentage estimates for New Mexico (if available), any other global or state population estimates that may be available, and in some cases information on breeding density in New Mexico or elsewhere in the western United States. Many of the global population estimates, and the New Mexico estimates derived from a percentage of the global estimates, are based on BBS data. Because many species are difficult to monitor using BBS methodology, these estimates should be considered with caution.

Population trend presents a brief discussion of historical changes and trends since the 1960s as indicated by BBS or other monitoring. Differences between national and local population trend scores, if any, are noted and discussed. If the species is reasonably well sampled by BBS, this section includes BBS data (annual trend, p-value, and number of routes) for 1966-2004, and in some cases 1980-2004. BBS data are presented at as many as three geographic scales: the state of New Mexico, FWS Region 2 (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma), and the western BBS region (including New Mexico and Colorado and states west).

Threats provides a brief discussion of known or foreseeable threats facing the species, including suspected reasons for recent or ongoing population declines. Differences in threats across the species range are noted, but particular attention is paid to issues and circumstances that may affect populations breeding or wintering in New Mexico.

VI. Management Issues and Recommendations

This section begins with a brief summary statement about how land and habitat management efforts should be focused to benefit the species. Specific NMPIF recommendations for reducing threats and maintaining or improving habitat are listed as bullet items. In some cases, quantitative goals for specific geographic areas are presented. In other cases, recommendations are qualitative and general.

VII. Species Conservation Objectives

For PIF Watch List and stewardship species, national conservation objectives from the North American Landbird Conservation Plan are stated. NMPIF objectives for New Mexico populations are listed as bullet items. Objectives relate to population numbers and/or trends, and may be expressed in terms of breeding density for specific habitat types and geographic regions. Population and/or density targets will continue to be refined and updated in future versions of this plan.

VII. Sources of Information

References are provided separately for each species account.