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Population estimates of Nearctic shorebirds

January 1, 2000

Estimates are presented for the population sizes of 53 species of Nearctic shorebirds occurring regularly in North America, plus four species that breed occasionally. Shorebird population sizes were derived from data obtained by a variety of methods from breeding, migration and wintering areas, and formal assessments of accuracy of counts or estimates are rarely available. Accurate estimates exist only for a few species that have been the subject of detailed investigation, and the likely accuracy of most estimates is considered poor or low. Population estimates range from a few tens to several millions. Overall, population estimates most commonly fell in the range of hundreds of thousands, particularly the low hundreds of thousands; estimated population sizes for large shorebird species currently all fall below 500,000. Population size was inversely related to size (mass) of the species, with a statistically significant negative regression between log (population size) and log (mass). Two outlying groups were evident on the regression graph: one, with populations lower than predicted, included species considered either to be "at risk" or particularly hard to count, and a second, with populations higher than predicted, included two species that are hunted. Population estimates are an integral part of conservation plans being developed for shorebirds in the United States and Canada, and may be used to identify areas of key international and regional importance.

Publication Year 2000
Title Population estimates of Nearctic shorebirds
DOI 10.2307/1522172
Authors R. I. G. Morrison, Robert E. Gill, B. A. Harrington, S. K. Skagen, G. W. Page, C. L. Gratto-Trevor, S. M. Haig
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Waterbirds
Index ID 1015052
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Biological Science Center; Forest and Rangeland Ecosys Science Center; Fort Collins Science Center