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Full text of "Selected vertebrate endangered species of the seacoast of the United States"

Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01 

SELECTED VERTEBRATE 

ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE 

SEACOAST OF THE 

UNITED STATES 




• ' • 



^^O wilP^"^^ 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



FWS/OBS-80/01 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 



Prepared by ^r W H I 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory / 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service I QQCUMENT 

10th and Constitution Avenue, N.W. V _-^| . cpTjQN 
Washington, D.C. 20560 ^ 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

1010 Cause Boulevard 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



This study was conducted in cooperation with the 
Office of Endangered Species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 



PerfoiTned for 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 



The Biological Services Program was established within the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service to supply scientific information and methodologies on 
key environmental issues that impact fish and wildlife resources and their 
supporting ecosystems. The mission of the program is as follovis: 

• To strengthen the Fish and Wildlife Service in its role as 
a primary source of information on national fish and wild- 
life resources, particularly in respect to environmental 
impact assessment. 

• To gather, analyze, and present information that will aid 
decisionmakers in the identification and resolution of 
problems associated with major changes in land and water 
use. 

• To provide better ecological information and evaluation 
for Department of the Interior development programs, such 
as those relating to energy development. 

Information developed by the Biological Services Program is intended 
for use in the planning and decisionmaking process to prevent or minimize 
the impact of development on fish and wildlife. Research activities and 
technical assistance services are based on an analysis of the issues a 
determination of the decisionmakers involved and their information needs, 
and an evaluation of the state of the art to identify information gaps 
and to determine priorities. This is a strategy that will ensure that 
the products produced and disseminated are timely and useful. 

Projects have been initiated in the following areas; coal extraction 
and conversion; power plants; geothermal , mineral and oil shale develop- 
ment; water resource analysis, including stream alterations and western 
water allocation; coastal ecosystems and Outer Continental Shelf develop- 
ment; and systems inventory, including National Wetland Inventory, 
habitat classification and analysis, and information transfer. 

The Biological Services Program consists of the Office of Biological 
Services in Washington, D.C., which is responsible for overall planning and 
management; National Teams, which provide the Program's central scientific 
and technical expertise and arrange for contracting biological services 
studies with states, universities, consulting firms, and others; Regional 
Staff, who provide a link to problems at the operating level; and staff at 
certain Fish and Wildlife Service research facilities, who conduct inhouse 
research studies. 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to pro\ide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened \ertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data .ue not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I'.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as anicnded). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS shouki be directed to: 

Office of F.ndangered Species 
L'.S. Fish and Wildlife Sei"\ice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sen,ice 
iS'ASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 

This report should be cited as follows: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the sea- 
coast of the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Biological Services Program; 
FWS/OBS-80/01; March 1980. 

Citation of an individual chapter should be made according to this example: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory. Selected vertebrate endangered species of the sea- 
coast of the United States: Columbian white-tailed deer. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Biological Services Program; FWS/OBS-80/01.27; March 1980. 6 p. 



ENDANGERED SPECIES ACCOUNTS 



FWS/OBS-80/Ol.xx 



FWS/OBS-80/Ol.xx 



01 Red Wolf 

02 Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard 

03 Whooping Crane 

04 Light- Footed Clapper Rail 

05 San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike 

06 Pine Barrens Treefrog 

07 Red-Cockaded Woodpecker 

08 Ivory-Billed Woodpecker 

09 Ocelot 

10 Attwater's Greater Prairie Chicken 

11 Cape Sable Sparrow 

12 Leatherback Sea Turtle 

13 Green Sea Turtle 

14 Texas Blind Salamander 

15 Yuma Clapper Rail 

16 Santa Barbara Song Sparrow 

17 Eskimo Curlew 

18 Southern Sea Otter 

19 Morro Bay Kangaroo Rat 

20 California Least Tern 

21 Kirtland's Warbler 

22 HawksbUl Turtle 

23 Indiana Bat 

24 Atlantic Salt Marsh Snake 

25 Dusky Seaside Sparrow 

26 Hawaiian Goose (Nene) 

27 Columbian White-Tailed Deer 

28 Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse 

29 Puerto Rican Parrot 



30 Kemp's (Atlantic) Ridley Sea Turtle 

31 Bachman's Warbler 

32 Florida Everglade Kite 

33 Puerto Rican Whip-Poor-Will 

34 Aleutian Canada Goose 

35 West Indian Manatee 

36 Island Night Lizard 

3 7 Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel 

38 Houston Toad 

39 American Alligator 

40 Brown Pelican 

41 Jaguar 

42 Gray Bat 

43 Okaloosa Darter 

44 Eastern Cougar 

45 Jaguarundi 

46 Florida Panther 

47 American Crocodile 

48 Key Deer 

49 Laysan Duck 

50 Red Hills Salamander 

5 1 Arctic Peregrine Falcon 

52 Mississippi Sandhill Crane 

53 Gray Wolf 

54 Thick-Billed Parrot 

55 San Clemente Sage Sparrow 

56 California Clapper Rail 

57 American Peregrine Falcon 

58 Santa Cruz Long -Toed Salamander 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.1 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE RED WOLF 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubHc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data ;uc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I'-ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensiti\c Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps oi Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Sei-viccs of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to lacilitatc additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of F.ndangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sei"vicc 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directcil to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal PLcosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
iXASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Eouisi;ma 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.1 
March 1980 



SELECTKD VERTEBRAl K ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS I OF I HE UNFFED STATES- 



THE RED WOLF 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the (Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: U .S. F ISH 8c W 1 L.DUI FE SE R V IC E 



RED WOLF 

Canis rufus Audubon and Bachman 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Camivora 

FAMILY Canidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES black wolf 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates. 20 December 1977, 14 September 1978, 

25 May 1979. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 16047, 3 October 
1970). 

States: Endangered: Delaware, Missouri, Mis- 

sissippi, T-exas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Local predator control programs as well as 
Federal, State, and local bounty hunters have de- 
cimated the red wolf population. By the 1920's, 
wolves were virtually extirpated east of the Missis- 
sippi River, and in Kansas, Oklahoma, and most 
of Texas (Nowak 1972). Extermination was ac- 
complished by den hunting, steel trapping, poison 
baiting, and shooting. 

Predator control has had a much greater 
impact on wolf populations than on the coyote 
(Canis latrans) populations because bounties were 
higher for wolves and people feared and hated 
wolves much more than coyotes. The result was 
that a few widely separated wolves remained 
among many coyotes. The few remaining wolves 
began to mate with coyotes and a hybrid swarm 
resulted which is today being replaced by pure 
coyotes (C. Carley personal communication). At 
present, there are probably no remaining popula- 



tions of red wolves in the wild, although some 
genetically pure individuals may still exist (R. 
Nowak personal communication). 

Any remaining red wolves are now restricted 
to coastal marshes and prairies which are being 
lost to industrial and urban expansion and to agri- 
cultural development (Riley and McBride 1972). 

Other pressures include exploration and deve- 
lopment of oil fields in Texas and Louisiana 
which have made remote areas more accessible to 
hunters and trappers (Pimlott and Joshn 1968). 
Some red wolf habitat occurs in hunting preserves 
and each year a few are killed by hunters (Riley 
and McBride 1972). 

The few remaining red wolves are known to 
be physically weakened by diseases and parasites 
(Red Wolf Recovery Team 1973). Riley and 
McBride (1972) found heartworms {Dirofilaria 
immitis) to be present in all specimens examined. 
Infestation increases with age due to constant ex- 
posure to mosquito vectors. Animals over 3 years 
of age are usually heavily parasitized, reducing 
their tolerance to stress (Riley and McBride 
1972). Other internal parasites include hook- 
worms (Ancylostoma) which often cause death in 
pups (Paradiso and Nowak 1972), and in adults 
leads to anemia and conditions which foster low- 
level infections (Lowery 1974). Tapeworms (Tae- 
nia) and spiny-headed worms of the phylum 
Acanthocephala are also found in red wolves, as is 
the sarcoptic mange mite [Sarcoptes scabiei) 
(Riley and McBride 1972). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The red wolf is dog-like, averaging about 165 
cm in total length for males and 145 cm for fe- 
males. Weights of 14 specimens from Chambers 
County, Texas, ranged from 19 to 28 kg (Riley 
and McBride 1972). 

Pelage color is variable from tawny to grayish; 
muzzle is light with an area of white around the 
lips extending up the sides, leaving the bridge 
with a tawny to cinnamon coloration. Light areas 
also occur around the eyes on many red wolves. 

The Red Wolf Recovery Team has established 
minimum sizes for the discrimination of red 
wolves from coyotes and coyote X wolf hybrids: 
male red wolves weigh between 22 and 36 kg, are 
more than 134 cm long, have a hind foot length 
of more than 22.8 cm, an ear length of at least 12 



cm, and stand at least 68 cm high at the shoulder. 
Female red wolves weigh between 19 and 31 kg, 
are more than 129 cm long, have a hind foot 
length of more than 22 cm, an ear length of at 
least 11.4 cm, and stand at least 66 cm high at the 
shoulder (McCarley and Carley 1979). 

Pure coyotes are considerably smaller and 
more "fox-like" than red wolves. 

Photographs appear in Carley (1975), Horan 
(1977), Stevens (1977), Soileau (1977), and Ne- 
ville (1978). 

RANGE 

Red wolves are presently restricted to Cham- 
bers, Jefferson, and Galveston Counties of south- 
eastern Texas and adjoining Cameron and Calca- 
sieu Parishes of Louisiana (Carley 1975). 

They formerly occurred from central Texas 
eastward to the coasts of Florida and Georgia, 
and along the Mississippi River Valley north to 
central Illinois and Indiana (Hall and Kelson 
1959). 

RANGE MAP 

Shaded areas on the following page indicate 
former and present distribution (C. Carley per- 
sonal communication). 



STATE/COUNTIES 

Louisiana: Calcasieu, Cameron. 

Texas: Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson. 

HABITAT 

Red wolves formerly inhabited dense moun- 
tain and bottomland forests, as well as coastal 
prairies and marshes (lUCN 1966, Pimlott and 
Joslin 1968, Lowman 1975). They are now 
restricted to coastal prairies and marshes with 
scattered pine islands (Riley and McBride 1972), 
although Nowak (1972) indicates that red wolves 
move to inland forests during the spring and sum- 
mer months. 

The primary habitat requirement appears to 
be heavy vegetative cover. Cover provided along 
bayous and in overgrown fallow fields supplies 
the primary resting and denning areas. Wolves 
forage out into open fields and marshes using 
access roads, dikes, canal levees, and cattle walk- 
ways (Carley 1975). 

Photographs of the habitat may be found in 
Riley and McBride (1972). 




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Cm 
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FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Prey includes a variety of invertebrates and 
vertebrates. Young and Goldman (1944) and 
Riley and McBride (1972) indicate that the marsh 
rabbit {Sylvilagus aquaticus), nutria {Myocaster 
coypus), and carrion are the major food items. 
Other foods consist of white-tailed deer {Odo- 
coileus virginianus), rodents, domestic stock, 
waterfowl, fish, grasshoppers, beetles, and vege- 
tation (Nowak 1972, Riley and McBride 1972). 

Wolves feed primarily at night, foraging op- 
portunistically for small prey alone or in small 
groups (Riley and McBride 1972). They typi- 
cally travel in family groups. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

See nesting or bedding. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Historically, red wolves denned in hollow 
tree trunks, along stream banks, and old holes of 
other animals (Nowak 1972, Riley and McBride 
1972, Lowman 1975). The dens were usually ob- 
scured by brush and vegetation, but afforded the 
occupants a view of the surrounding terrain. 

Water tables are probably too high for ground- 
nesting in the coastal marshes where wolves still 
occur, and nesting in tall vegetation has been re- 
ported in these areas (C. Carley personal com- 
munication). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The role of howling in the social behavior is 
not fully understood. The voice of the red wolf is 
described by Riley and McBride (1972) and 
McCarley (1978). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Nowak (1972) reported that the territory is 
generally circular with a diameter attaining 64 km. 
Carley (1975), using radio tracking, found that 
males range over an area of approximately 116 
km^ and females over a somewhat smaller area. 
Lowman (1975) reports that the home range of 
adult red wolves varies from 65 to 130 km^ . 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Numbers are reduced or extirpated over most 
of the range (Pimlott and Joslin 1968). McCarley 
(1962) recorded species extant in only a few 
places in western and southern Louisiana. 

R. M. Nowak (personal communication) sums 
up the trend: Steady decline since the coming of 



the white man; accelerated since large-scale hy- 
bridization began about 1920; pure populations 
apparently survived until about 1920. The Recov- 
ery Team (RWRT personal communication) esti- 
mates probably fewer than 50 pure red wolves in 
the wild. 

McCarley and Carley (1979) assert that the 
red wolf will soon be extinct in the wild, and C. 
Carley (personal communication) states that the 
species will probably be extinct in the wdld by 
1981. 

REPRODUCTION 

Mating occurs in January and February with 
pups born in March, April, and May (Nowak 1972, 
Riley and McBride 1972, Lowman 1975). Litters 
range from 3 to 12 with an average of 6 or 7 
(Nowak 1972,Lowery 1974). 

Both parents participate in rearing the young 
(Riley and McBride 1972, Lowman 1975), and 
yearlings are often found in the vicinity of the 
dens, and may help in rearing young. 

After the young reach 6 weeks of age, they 
spend considerable time away from the den in 
well-covered beds (Riley and McBride 1972, Low- 
man 1975). Most die before the age of 6 months, 
with hookworms reported to be the major cause. 
Full size is attained in 1 year; sexual maturity by 
3 years (Nowak 1972, Lowman 1975). Life ex- 
pectancy is about 5 years in the wild, and greater 
in captivity. 

Red wolves are more sociable than coyotes 
but less so than gray wolves {Cams lupus). It is 
not unusual to find three or more wolves tra- 
veling throughout the range as a group (Riley and 
McBride 1972). 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Depletion of the red wolf was first reported in 
1962. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed 
this in 1968 and further determined that two sub- 
species, Canis rufus rufus and C. r. gregoryi, pro- 
bably existed, but that C. r. floridanus (inhabiting 
the eastern part of the range) was extinct. More 
recently, C. r. rufus (western part of range) was 
deemed extinct also (Carley 1975). 

Efforts by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
in 1969 involved removing depredating animals 
from private lands. This served two purposes: (1) 
established rapport with owners of remaining red 
wolf habitat; and (2) facilitated removal of hy- 
brids and coyotes while relocating red wolves 
(Carley 1975). 



In 1973, biologists were assigned to implement 
the Red Wolf Recovery Plan. Removal of depre- 
dating animals was continued, but red wolves 
captured were treated for various infirmities and 
released (often radio -tracked) or transferred 
to captive breeding centers. An effort was ini- 
tiated to maintain a buffer zone between red 
wolves and coyotes. This was determined to be 
impossible because of the difficulty of main- 
taining such an extensive buffer zone and hybrids 
were already present (Carley 1975). 

Carley (1975) asserts that red wolves can be 
preserved only by relocation. Exclusion of coy- 
otes and hybrids from the remaining range is an 
insurmountable problem (Carley 1975). 

Relocation experiments were initiated in late 
1976 on Bulls Island, South Carolina. Although 
there have been numerous problems with the pro- 
gram, a pair was successfully relocated in January 
1978. This island was chosen for a number of 
technical reasons, but with no intent to start a 
viable population (Department of the Interior 
1972, 1977a, 1977b; R. M. Nowak personal 
communication). The experiment was successfully 
completed in November 1978, when the pair was 
recaptured and returned to the captive breeding 
program. 

In 1977, there were 29 recognized pure adults 
and 13 young in a breeding pool in Point Defi- 
ance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington (R. M. Nowak 
personal communication). 

The Recovery Team (RWRT 1973) provided a 
step-down plan for restoring the red wolf to non- 
endangered status. The four major objectives are 
"(1) to restore surviving red wolf subspecies in 
their present ranges to desirable population levels; 
(2) to maintain an adequate captive red wolf gene 
pool; (3) to reestablish surviving red wolf subspe- 
cies in additional locations within their historic 
range; and (4) to determine the location and 
abundance of each surviving red wolf subspecies 
population." Specific goals include stopping of 
unauthorized killing by man, developing a posi- 
tive public attitude, preventing genetic contami- 
nation, developing landowner tolerance, improv- 
ing and protecting red wolf habitat, controlling 
debilitating pathogens and parasites, and control- 
ling detrimental effects of environmental contam- 
inants (RWRT 1973). 

A new Recovery Team was formulated in 
1978. 



AUTHORITIES 

George R. Abraham (Recovery Team) 

State Supervisor 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

271-273 Agriculture Center 

Louisiana State University 

Baton Rouge, LA 70803 

Curtis Carley 

Wildlife Biologist 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Albuquerque, NM 87103 

Russell Clapper 

Refuge Manager 

Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge 

AnahuacTX 77514 

George G arris 

Refuge Manager 

Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge 

Awendaw, SC 29429 

Joe L. Herring (Recovery Team) 

Chief, Division of Game 

Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission 

Baton Rouge, LA 70804 

Howard McCarley 
Austin Universtiy 
Department of Biology 
Sherman, TX 75090 

Ronald M. Nowak 
Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Mary Anne Neville (Recovery Team) 
Protected Species Coordinator 
Georgia Department of Natural Resources 
270 Washington Street 
Atlanta, GA 30339 

Dave Peterson (Recovery Team Leader) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
900 San Marco Boulevard 
Jacksonville, FL 32207 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Investigators (McCarley 1962, Lawrence and 
Bossert 1967, Paradiso 1968, Pimlott and Joslin 
1968, Nowak 1970, Paradiso and Nowak 1971) 
have raised questions concerning the taxonomic 
status of the red wolf. Paradiso and Nowak 
(1971) and Gipson et al. (1974), using a multi- 



variate analysis of skull morphology, concluded 
that the red wolf was indeed a valid species. 
There are numerous gaps in the knowledge of 
the biology of this species which must be attribu- 
ted to its depleted numbers, secretive habits, and 
limited accessibility. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Carley, C. J. 1975. Activities and findings of the 
red wolf recovery program from late 1973 to 
1 July 1975. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 211 pp. 

Freeman, R. C. 1976. Coyote X dog hybridiza- 
tion and red wolf influence in the wild Cants 
of Oklahoma. M.S. Thesis. Oklahoma State 
Univ., Stillwater. 62 pp. 

Gipson, P. S., J. A. Sealander, and J. E. Dunn. 
1974. The taxonomic status of wild Cants in 
Arkansas. Syst. Zool. 23(1):1-11. 

Goldman, E. A. 1937. The wolves of North Ame- 
rica. J. Mammal. 18(l):37-45. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mam- 
mals of North America. Vol. 2. Ronald Press, 
New York. 547-1,083 pp. 

Harper, F. 1927. Mammals of the Okefenokee 
Swamp region of Georgia. Boston Soc. Natur. 
Hist.Proc. 38(7):191-396. 

Horan, J. 1977. Return of the red wolf. Defen- 
ders 52(1):16-19; 

lUCN (International Union for the Conservation 
of Nature and Natural Resources). 1966. Red 
data book. Morges, Switzerland. 

Lawrence, B., and W. H. Bossert. 1967. Multiple 
character analysis of Canis lupus, latrans, and 
familiaris, with a discussion of the relation- 
ships of Canis niger. Am. Zool. 7(2):223-232. 

Lowery, G. H., Jr. 1974. The mammals of Louisi- 
ana and its adjacent waters. Louisiana State 
Univ. Press, Baton Rouge. 564 pp. 

Lowman, G. E. 1975. A survey of endangered, 
threatened, rare, status undetermined, peri- 
pheral, and unique mammals of the south- 
eastern National Forests and grasslands. 
USDA For. Serv. Contract 38-2601. 

McCarley, H. 1962. The taxonomic status of wild 
Canis (Canidae) in the south-central United 
States. Southwest. Natur. 7(3-4); 227-235. 

. 1978. Vocalizations of red wolves {Canis 

rufus).]. Mammal. 59(l):27-35. 



McCarley, H., and C. J. Carley. 1979. Recent 
changes in distribution and status of wild red 
wolves (Canis rufus) . U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. 
Endangered Species Report 4. 8 pp. 

Mech, L. D. 1974. Canis lupus. Mammalian spe- 
cies 37. Am. Soc. Mammalogists. 6 pp. 

Neville, M. A. T. 1977. In South Carolina, another 
transplant runs into trouble. Natl. Wildl. 
15(5):10-11. 

. 1978. Counterfeit wolves and lonely 

islands. Sierra Club Bull. 63(2):22-23. 

Nowak, R. M. 1967. The red wolf in Louisiana. 
Defenders Wildl. News 42(l):60-70. 

. 1972. The mysterious wolf of the south. 

Natur. Hist. 81:50-53, 74-77. 

. 1974. Red wolf, our most endangered 



mammal. Natl. Parks Conserv. Mag. Aug:9-12. 
-. 1975. The cosmopolitaJi wolf. Natl. 



Rifle Assoc. Coserv. Yearb. 76-83. 

Ogilvie, P. W. 1970. Interim report on the red 
wolf in the United States. Int. Zoo. Yearb. 
(10):122-124. 

Paradiso, J. L. 1965. Recent records of red wolves 
from the Gulf Coast of Texas. Southwest Nat. 
10(4):318-319. 

. 1968. Canids recently collected in east 

Texas, with comments on the taxonomy of 
the red wolf. Am. Midi. Natur. 80(2):529-534. 

Paradiso, J. L., and R. M. Nowak. 1971. A report 
on the taxonomic status and distribution of 
the red wolf. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Spec. Sci. 
Rep. Wildl. 145. 36 pp. 

. 1972. Canis rufus. Mammalian Species 

22. Am. Soc. Mammalogists. 4 pp. 

Pimlott, D. H., and P. W. Joslin. 1968. The status 
and distribution of the red wolf. Trans. N. 
Am. Wildl. Natur. Resour. Conf. 33:373-384. 

RWRT (Red Wolf Recovery Team). 1973. Red 
wolf recovery plan. Draft. U.S. Dep. Inter. 
Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl., Office Endangered 
Species and International Activities. 32 pp. 

Riley, G. A., and R. T. McBride. 1972. A survey 
of the red wolf {Canis rufus). U.S. Fish Wildl. 
Serv. Spec. Sci. Rep. Wildl. 162. 15 pp. 

Shaw, J. A., and P. A. Jorden. 1977. The wolf 
that lost its genes. Natur. Hist. 86(10):80-88. 

Soileau, C. 1977. Epitaph for a canine. Louisiana 
Conservationist 29(7-8): 14-17. 



Stevens, J. T. 1977. Almost gone. Texas Parks 
and Wildlife 35(5):2-7. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threa- 
tened wildlife of the United States. Compiled 
by Office of Endangered Species and Interna- 
tional Activities. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. 
Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 
Washington, D.C. 239 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1976. Red wolf 
released on Bulls Island, Cape Romain Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina, and 
recaptured. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. News Re- 
lease. 27 December 1976. 3 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1977a. New red 
wolf pair to arrive at Cape Romain National 
Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina. U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. News Release. 30 June 1977. 3 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1977b. Substi- 
tute pair of red wolves shipped to Cape Ro- 
maine National Wildlife Refuge, South Caro- 
lina. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. News Release, 
IJuly 1977. 1 pp. 

Young, S. P., and E. A. Goldman. 1944. The 
wolves of North America. 2 parts. Am. Wildl. 
Inst., Washington, D.C. 630 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, Fl 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.2 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

BLUNT NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this scries of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or tlireatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in tiie I'.ndangered Species Act of 197.S, as amended). 

This scries of accoimts is intended to complement the compuieri/ed Sensiti\e Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of I-^ndangercd Species and Biological Sei-viccs of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directcil to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senice . 
.\ASA-Slidell Computer Coinplc;\ 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.2 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

BLUNT NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




BLUNT-NOSED LEOPARD LIZARD 

Crotophytus (Gambelia) silus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Sauria 

FAMILY Iguanidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Blunt-nose leopard lizard 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 9 November 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 

1967). 
States Endangered: California (21 May 

1977) 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

This lizard has become increasingly difficult 
to find throughout most of its range because of 
agricultural development and urbanization. The 
few remaining areas of prime habitat, along the 
western side of the San Joaquin Valley, are under- 
going rapid development following the recent 
completion of a major new aqueduct (the Califor- 
nia Aqueduct) (Erode 1978, Bury 1972, Monta- 
nucci 1965, Snow 1972, U.S. Dep. Int. 1973). 
Off-road vehicle recreation is damaging the re- 
maining habitat in some nonagricultural areas 
(Erode 1978). Overgrazing and agricultural pest 
control may be detrimental to C. (G.) silus popu- 
lations (Anon 1978). 



PRIORITY INDEX 



Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

A robust lizard with a long, slender, cylindri- 
cal tail, C. (G.) silus has a large head with a short, 
blunt snout; adults measure 89 to 127 mm in 
snout-to-vent length. The dorsal ground color is 
gray or brown, and the dorsum has broad, distinct 
whitish bands interspaced with dusky spots. The 
throat has dark gray blotches. Undersides of the 
tail and thighs are white to yellowish; during the 
breeding season, the males are salmon or rust 
color ventrally or all over the body except the 
head (Erode 1978; Bury 1972; Montanucci 1965, 
1967, 1970; Snow 1972; Tollestrup 1979). Fe- 
males have a breeding color consisting of a single, 
or, occasionally, a double row of red-orange spots 
on the flanks and sides of the face and a continu- 
ous wash of the same color on the undersurface 
of the tail and thighs. (Tollestrup 1979). Monta- 
nucci (1965, 1967, 1970) describes distinction in 
color, pattern, and size between valley floor, foot- 
hill, and ecotonal hybrid populations, but Tolles- 
trup(1979) did not find such differences. 

RANGE 

The species occurs only in California. It was 
once found throughout the San Joaquin valley 
and adjacent foothills from about latitude 37°3l' 
north southward into San Luis Obispo County. 
It now occurs at scattered locations in the valley, 
east to the Sierra foothills, south to the Tehachapi 
Mountains, and along the east slopes of the Coast 
Range foothills, including the Carrizo Plain and 
lower Cuyama Valley (Erode 1978; Montanucci 
1965, 1970; Snow 1972), at elevations below 
600 m. 

RANGE MAP 

Known distribution is shown on the accom- 
panying map (Anon 1978). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

California Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mer- 

ced, San Eenito, San Luis Obispo, 
Santa Barbara, Tulare, Ventura. 

HABITAT 

It prefers open habitat with scattered low 



bushes, occurring on sparsely vegetated plains, 
alkali flats, low foothills, canyon floors, large 
washes, and arroyos; it is usually found on sandy 
substrates and sometimes on coarse, gravelly soil 
and hardpan (Montanucci 1965, 1970). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

This lizard is an active predator and an oppor- 
tunistic feeder, subsisting primarily on large 
insects and small lizards. Montanucci (1965) re- 
ports seasonal and regional variation in diet, 
depending on the availability of insect and lizard 
prey. Insects taken include locusts (Trimeratropis 
calif ornica), grasshoppers (Melanoplus sp.), ci- 
cadas (Okanagana triangulata, O. pallidula), 
crickets {Acheta assimilis), and a wide variety of 
orthoptera, lepidoptera, and coleoptera species. 
Lizards eaten include Uta stansburiana, Phryno- 
soma coronatum, small Sceloporus magister, and 
Cnemidophorus tigris, as well as juveniles of its 
own species. Small amounts of vegetable matter 
are also taken (Montanucci 1965, 1967). Tolles- 
trup (1979) found that C. (G.) silus feeds princi- 
pally on grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, cicadas, 
flies, and spiders; no vertebrate prey was found in 
this large sample of stomachs (N = 142). 

Foraging habits vary relative to habitat and 
available prey (Montanucci 1967). Lizards will 
leap into the air or into shrubbery in pursuit of in- 
sects. Stalking and pursuit are employed in 
hunting both insect and lizard prey. Montanucci 
(1965) reports that C. (G.) silus will dig up lizards 
{Uta stansburiana) that have taken refuge in holes 
or loose sand. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Montanucci (1965) notes that population 
densities correlate to some extent with abundance 
of mammal burrows. Abandoned or occupied 
burrows of kangaroo rats {Dipodomys sp) and 
abandoned squirrel burrows [Spermophilus sp.), 
gopher burrows {Thomomys bottae), and badger 
dens {Taxidea taxus) are used for escape cover 
and permanent shelter. In areas where mammal 
burrows are scarce, adult C. (G.) silus construct 
shallow, simple chambered tunnels under exposed 
rocks or earthen banks. Immature lizards use 
rock piles, trash piles, brush, etc. for temporary 
cover (Montanucci 1965). 



. / Stanislaus Co^>j- n^ Moriposa Co. 

'Merced Co. ^\ .' — • 

'MERCEUX^/ I 





LOCATOR MAP 



Estimated Original 
Range of BNLL 








Santa Barbara Co. • ~~ 'T 

I \ 

' Ventura Co. \ 
10 20 30 40 Miles | \ 

16 32 48 64 Kilometers I \ 

Distribution of the blunt-nosed leopard lizard. 



NESTING OR BEDDING 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 



Nesting habits of C. (G.) silus are almost 
identical to those of Gambelia wislizenii (see 
Parker and Pianka 1976). Females lay eggs in 
June and July, in burrows at about 50 cm depth. 
A chamber is excavated or enlarged, entrance tun- 
nels sealed, and eggs are laid one at a time and 
lightly covered with sand or soil. The exit tunnel 
is then plugged from without. 



RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Males establish and defend home burrows, but 
appear to have overlapping home ranges (Monta- 
nucci 1965). The degree to which territoriality is 
exhibited is probably correlated with abundance 
and availability of food and cover; where mammal 
burrows are abundant, individual home ranges 
and home burrows are difficult to detect (Monta- 
nucci 1965). Recently, Tollestrup (1979) found 
that males defend home ranges, not just burrows. 



OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Montanucci (1965) reported that several fac- 
tors limit the distribution of C. (G.) silus: ; 

1. Agricultural practices 

2. Flooding 

3. Chaparral 

4. Steep or extensive rocky areas. 

Tall grass may hamper foraging and rapid loco- 
motion, and may account for the relative scarcity 
of C. (G.) silus on the east side of the San Joa- 
quin Valley (Montanucci 1965). K. Tollestrup 
(pers. comm.) reported that tall grass improves 
foraging because insect abundance increases and it 
gives the lizards cover for escape from predators. 
Scarcity of C. (G.) silus in tall grass areas on the 
east side of the San Joaquin Valley is probably 
due to the fact that human settlements in this 
region and farming and grazing of the land date 
back many years. Also, in this area, it is common 
practice to plow and burn rangelands in the fall, 
which decreases or eliminates populations of C. 
(G.) silus. Entomologists working in Kern County 
reported finding leopard lizards killed by insecti- 
cides (DDT and Malathion) (Montanucci 1965). 



J. M. Sheppard {in Snow 1972) estimates a 
density of 300 to 400 Uzards per square mile of 
optimum habitat near Maricopa, Kern County. 
Since it is unlikely that all habitats occupied are 
optimum, he considered the mean density of 
lizards to be 100/mi' (38.6/km' or 0.4/ha). 
Tollestrup (1979) estimated that there were 3.5 
Uzards per ha at Pixley National Wildlife Refuge, 
which is the highest known density. Populations 
of C. (G.) silus are low (0.5 to 1 per acre or about 
1 to 2.5 per ha) under optimum conditions 
(Anon. 1978). 

REPRODUCTION 

The reproductive cycle varies slightly with 
environmental conditions. Males will often mate 
with several females. Mating occurs from late 
April to early June; clutches of 2 to 5 eggs are 
laid in June or July; some females may have two 
clutches per year (Montanucci 1965). Incubation 
time is estimated at about 57 days. Young (42 to 
47 mm in snout-to-vent length) appear from July 
30 through September. Sexual maturity in both 
sexes occurs between 9 and 18 months (Mont- 
anucci 1965, 1967; Tollestrup 1979). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Habitat for the blunt-nosed leopard hzard is 
rapidly being lost throughout its range. In the 
last 100 years, the natural wildlands of the San 
Joaquin Valley have decreased from 3 million ha 
to about 200,000 ha (Dickl977). Suitable habitat 
(salt-brush desert scrub) on the west side of the 
valley is now being developed for agriculture, 
since completion of the California Aqueduct. 
Also, off-road vehicles have denuded parts of this 
region. 

R. R. Montanucci ( in Snow 1972) recom- 
mended the establishment of a national grassland 
preserve in the southwestern part of the San Joa- 
quin Valley as the most rapid means of assuring 
partial protection of this species. Erode (1978) 
recommended protective management programs 
on the remnants of suitable lizard habitat on 
public lands (the Naval Petroleum Reserve near 
Taft, the Kern and Pixley National Wildlife Re- 
fuges, Los Padres National Forest, and National 



Resources Land). These lands should be managed 
to maintain and enhance habitat suitable to the 
blunt-nosed leopard lizard. Both refuges recognize 
the importance of their lands to the survival of 
the lizard; the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge 
was used as a study area on the ecology of this 
species (Tollestrup 1979). Also near Pixley, the 
U.S. Forest Service will manage a tract of grass- 
land comprising about 325 ha for this lizard 
(Erode 1978). Essential habitat on private land 
could be protected by agreement with land- 
owners. 

The California Department of Fish and Game 
has conducted field surveys and initiated coopera- 
tive studies with the U.S. Forest Service, Universi- 
ty of California at Berkeley, and several colleges 
to further determine the distribution and status 
of this lizard. A Blunt-Nosed Leopard Lizard Re- 
covery Team has been formed to provide needed 
coordination of effort to protect this species 
(Anon. 1978, Erode 1978). 

AUTHORITIES 

John M. Erode (Recovery Team Leader) 
California Department of Fish and Game 
1701 Nimbus Road 
Rancho Cordova, California 95670 

Richard R. Montanucci 
Department of Zoology 
Clemson University 
Clemson, South Carolina 29631 

Kristine Tollestrup 
Department of Biology 
University of Chicago 
1103 E. 57th Street 
Chicago, Illinois 60637 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Recent taxonomic changes for this lizard 
warrant explanation to prevent confusion and 
promote consistent use of currently accepted 
nomenclature. The relationshiops and systematic 
status of the lineages of crotaphytaform lizards 
(leopard and collared lizards) of North America 
have been undergoing revision by herpetologists 
as new data and techniques become available. 
Montanucci. (1970) presented evidence of genetic 
and ecologic differentiation between the leopard 
lizards of the San Joaquin Valley and those of 



more southern and eastern populations. This evi- 
dence supports the recognition of the blunt-nosed 
leopard lizard as a distinct species (Gambelia si- 
lus), rather than a subspecies of the longnose leo- 
pard lizard (G. wislizenii). 

Montanucci et al. (1975) present biochemical 
evidence indicating that leopard lizards are suffici- 
ently different from the closely related collared 
lizards (genus Crotaphytus) to be considered a 
separate genus [Gambelia). 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Anonymous. 1978. Blunt-nosed lizard recovery 
plan. Part I. (draft). 12 pp. 

Erode, J. 1978. Blunt-nosed leopard lizard {Crota- 
phytus silus). Pages 24-25 in At the Cross- 
roads: a report on California's endangered and 
rare fish and wildlife. Calif. Dep. Fish Game 
Biannual Rep. 103 pp. 

Bury, R. B. 1972. Status report on California's 
threatened amphibians and reptiles. Calif. 
Dep. Fish Game, Inland Fisher. Rep. 72-2. 31 
pp. 

Dick, D. 1977. Habitat disappearing for the leo- 
pard lizard. Outdoor Calif. 38(6):37-38. 

Montanucci, R. R. 1965. Observations on the 
San Joaquin leopard lizard Crotaphytus 
wislizenii silus Stejneger. Herpetologica 
21(4):270-283. 

1967, Further studies on leopard lizards, 



Crotaphytus wislizenii. Herpetologica 23(2): 
119-126. 

1970. Analysis of hybridization between 



Crotaphytus wislizenii and Crotaphytus silus 
(Sauria: Iguanidae) in California. Copeia 1970 
(1):104-123. 

Montanucci, R. R., R. W. Axtell, and H. C. 
Dessaur. 1975. Evolutionary divergence among 
collard lizards (Cryophytus), with comments 
on the status of Gambelia). Herpetologica 
31(3):336-347. 

Parker, W. W., and E. R. Pianka. 1976. Ecological 
observations on the leopard lizard (Crotophy- 



tus wislizenii) in different parts of its range. Berkeley. 

Herpetologica 32(1):95-114. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threatened 
Snow, C. 1972. Blunt nosed leopard lizard: Cro- wildlife of the United States. Bur. Sport Fish. 

taphytus situs. Bur. Land Manage. Tech. Note Wildl. Res. Publ. 114. 289 pp. 

6601. 13 pp. 

PREPARED/UPDATED BY 

Tollestrup, K. 1979. The ecology, social structure, 

and foraging behavior of two closely related National Fish and Wildllife Laboratory, 

species of leopard lizards, Gambelia silus and 1300 Blue Spruce Drive 

Gambelia wislizenii. Ph. D. Thesis, Univ. Calif. Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.3 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate 
Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the 
United States- 

THE WHOOPING CRANE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACi: 

The purpose of this scries of species accounts is to provide resr>urcc managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life histt)ry, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Fndangered Spci ies Act of ]97'>, as amended). 

This series of accoinits is intended to complement the compuieri/.cd Senbiti\c Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army C:orps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of f.ndangered Species and Biological Sei-vices of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he direc ted to: 

Office of F.ndangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Seivice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 202 10 



Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be dirt 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal P^cosystems I cam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell ConipLitcr Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



d u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.3 
March 1980 



SELECl i:i) VI.Rl KBRATK ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS r OF 1 HE UNITED S lATES- 

THE WHOOPING CRANE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald \V. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fisii and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 







1^^ 




"a '^ ^-^ ' 





CREDIT: W. F. KUBICHEK 



WHOOPING CRANE 

Grus americana Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Gruiformes 

FAMILY Gruidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Great white crane 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 18 July 1978, 25 September 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967; 35 FR 8491, 2 June 1970). 

States: Endangered: Colorado, Idaho, Mon- 

tana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Texas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

There are only 75 whooping cranes in the 
wild and 27 in captivity (WCRT 1977). They 
once nested widely over northern North America; 
nesting is now restricted to a small area in the 
southern MacKenzie District and northeastern 
Alberta, Canada. Breeding habitat and wintering 
habitat have been reduced as a result of drainage, 
agriculture, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and 
human settlements. Whooping cranes avoid areas 
of human disturbance even if the habitat is other- 
wise suitable (R. Erickson personal communica- 
tion). 

Cranes were hunted before legal protection 
was instituted. Losses were particularly acute on 
the Gulf Coast wintering grounds (Alleh 1952). 
Accidental shooting probably still occurs when 
whooping cranes are mistaken for snow geese 
(Chen hyperborea) and sandhill cranes [Grus 
canadensis), both legal game in some areas 
(WCRT 1977). 

Natural factors such as large nesting territories 
and a very low reproductive rate of one chick per 
year make recovery slow. The biannual migration 
covering over 3,800 km usually accounts for some 
mortahty (Allen 1962). Stormy weather during 
migration poses a serious threat to the few 
remaining whooping cranes. The nonmigratory 
Louisiana population was reduced 50% during a 
hurricane in 1940 and never recovered (Allen 
1952). 

There remains the possibility of hazardous ma- 
terials being spilled on the wintering grounds 
along the heavily industrialized Texas Gulf Coast. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Whooping cranes are the tallest birds in North 
America. Males are almost 1.5 m high, with a 
wingspan of 2.4 m and an average weight of 7 kg. 
Females are slightly smaller, with an average 
weight of 6 kg. Weight can vary 25% seasonally, 
with the maximum reached in winter. 

The adult plumage is velvety white except for 
the head and portions of the wings and feet. 
Forehead, crown, anterior part of occiput, lores, 
and cheeks are bare except for sparse black hair- 
like feathers. The skin in this area is warty or 
granulated, and a reddish color. The bill is a dull 
pink, proximally changing to dull brownish in the 
middle and dirty yellow on the tip. The alulae, 
10 primaries, and 10 greater upper coverts are a 



slatey black. The feet are black with flesh-colored 
pads. 

Juvenal plumage is a variable mixture of white 
and buff or brown. The adult plumage is attained 
in about 1 year. The sexes are similar. 

Vocalizations range from a purring call near 
young to a low groaning call when approached by 
humans, to a shrill, bugle-hke 'kerloo! ker-lee-oo.' 
The latter is known as a unison call and is a defi- 
nite indicator of pair bonding (R. Erickson per- 
sonal communication). 

Photographs appear in Allen (1952), McNulty 
(1966), Novakowski (1966), Walkinshaw (1973), 
Lowery (1974), Kuyt (1976a, 1976b), Muir 
(1976), numerous drawings appear in Allen 
(1952). 



RANGE 

The natural population now nests only in 
Wood Buffalo National Park, southern MacKenzie 
District, and northeastern Alberta, Canada. It 
winters on the Gulf Coast of Texas, in Aransas 
National Wildlife Refuge and adjacent peninsulas 
and islands. Its migration route is a nearly 
straight-line path through east central Texas, cen- 
tral Oklahoma, central Kansas and Nebraska, 
western and central North and South Dakota, 
northeastern Montana, southeastern Saskatche- 
wan, and northeastern Alberta. 

An experimentally transplanted disjunct 
population will hopefully nest at Grays Lake Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge, Idaho, and winter in the 
Rio Grande Valley of New Mexico. The migration 
route passes through southeastern Idaho, north- 
eastern Utah, southwestern Wyoming, western 
Colorado, and north-central New Mexico (WCRT 
1977). 

The crane formerly bred from its present 
range south through the prairie provinces and 
northern prairie states, including Illinois, Iowa, 
Minnesota, and North Dakota, and wintered from 
the Carolina coast to central Mexico. A geo- 
graphically isolated breeding population, believed 
to be nonmigratory (now extirpated), formerly 
lived in southestern Louisiana. 



RANGE MAP 

Wood Buffalo— Aransas population, Grays 
Lake Experimental Population and Critical Habi- 
tat from WCRT (1977) and Federal Register (43 
FR 20938, 15 May 1978). 



Wood Buffalo 
National Park 



N 
I. 



340 



scale in km 



WOOD BUFFALO- ARANSAS POP. 

▲ NESTING LOCATION 

• MAJOR MIGRATION STOPS 

D WINTER LOCATION 

O CRITICAL HABITAT 

NWR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

SWA STATE WILDLIFE AREA 

WMD WATERFOWL MANAGEMENT DISTRICT 

i : APPROXIMATE MIGRATION ROUTE 




Pocasse NWR 
IOWA 



MO. 

Kirwin NWR 
Cheyenne Bottoms SWA 
Quivirg NWR 

-^alt\Plains NWR 

Wichita NWR 



Aransas NWR 



Map depicts the nesting and wintering locations of the Wood Buffalo-Aransas populations of the 
whooping crane and its migration route. Critical habitat is designated. 



MONTANA 



N 



k 




A Melville 



IDAHO 



Grays^ 
Lake<^ 
NWR 







250 



scale in km 



A Cora 

WYOMING 

▲ Lonetree 



Jensen % 
Ouray NWR • 



GRAYS LAKE EXPERIMENTAL POP. 



▲ SUMMER LOCATIONS 

• MAJOR MIGRATION STOPS 

D WINTER LOCATION 

O CRITICAL HABITAT 

NWR NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE 

SWA STATE WILDLIFE AREA 



COLORADO 



% Ridgeway 
Monte Vista(« 




Aionnosa NWR 



NEW /MEXICO 



D Bernardo SWA 

S) Bosque Del 
Apache NWR 



Map depicts summer and winter locations and migration stops for the Grays Lake experimental 
population of the whooping crane. Critical habitat is designated. 



STATES/COUNTIES 
Wood Buffalo-Aransas Population 
Winter 

Texas Aransas, Calhoun. 

Known Migration Stops 

Kansas Barton, Reno, Stafford. 

Montana Roosevelt, Sheridan 

Nebraska Adams, Blaine, Brown, Buffa- 
lo, Custer, Dawson, Franklin, 
Gosper, Hall, Harlan, Kearney, 
Keya Paha, Loup, Phelps, 
Rock, Sherman, Thomas, 
Valley, Webster. 

North 

Dakota Burke, Burleigh, Divide, 

Dunn, Emmons, McKenzie, 
McLean, Morton, Mountrail, 
Penville, Sioux, Ward, Wil- 
liams. 

Oklahoma Alfalfa, Comanche. 

South 

Dakota Campbell, Corson, Dewey, 

Haakon, Hughes, Potter, Stan- 
ley, Sulley, Walworth, Ziebach 

Grays Lake Experimental Population 

Winter 

New 

Mexico Luna, Socorro, Valencia. 

Mexico Chihuahua. 
Known Migration Stops 

Colorado Alamosa, Canejos, Ouray, Rio 

Grand. 

Utah Uintah. 
Summer 

Idaho Bonneville, Caribou. 

Montana Sweet Grass. 

Utah Uintah. 

Wyoming Sublette, Uintah. 

HABITAT 

The nesting grounds are marshy areas with 
many potholes, which are generally shallow and 
have soft, muddy bottoms. The pH is usually 
between 7.6 and 8.3. Potholes are separated by 
land areas with black spruce [Picea mariana), 
tamarack (Larix laricitia), and willows (notably 
Salix Candida), forming the canopy. The under- 
story includes dwarf birch {Betula glandulosa). 



bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), and several 
species of lichen. The ground is deeply carpeted 
with sphagnum moss. Emergent vegetation in the 
potholes used by cranes is mainly bulrush (Scir- 
pus validus) (Novakowski 1966). 

The Wood Buffalo-Aransas population winters 
on salt-marsh flats in coastal lagoons on the Gulf 
of Mexico. Allen (1952) differentiated three 
types used by cranes: (1) permanent pond, lake, 
ditch, or bayou open to bay tides at all seasons; 
(2) semipermanent ponds connected by narrow 
bayous to permanent water areas; (3) ephemeral 
ponds that offer superior feeding places. Typical 
vegetation includes salt grass {Distichlis spicata), 
saltwort {Batis maritima), glasswort {Salicornia 
sp.), sea ox-eye [Borrichia frutescens), needle 
cordgrass (Spartina spartinae), and saltmarsh 
cordgrass [Spartina alterniflora) (Allen 1952). 
Cranes will occasionally forage into the oak 
{Quercus) brush region (Allen 1952), especially 
after a fire. 

The major requirement for whooping crane 
habitat selection, particularly during migration, 
is an open expanse for nightly roosting. The 
birds typically use sand or gravel bars in rivers and 
lakes (43 FR 36588, 17 August 1989). 

Historic habitat includes interior tall-grass 
prairies, sea-rim and brackish marshes, and 
higher interior grasslands (Allen 1952). Some of 
these habitat types are still used during migration. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Cranes are omnivorous, taking vegetation, in- 
sects, amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals 
(Bent 1926). The whooper is more aquatic than 
the sandhill crane and has a greater preference for 
animal foods (Allen 1952). Prey species are listed 
in Allen (1952) and Novakowski ( 1966). 

Summer foods were studied by Novakowski 
(1966) and were determined to be primarily large 
nymphal or larval forms of insects, and crustace- 
ans. Terrestrial foods such as berries were taken 
when abundant (Novakowski 1966). 

A greater variety of foods are taken in the 
wdnter, and include grains, acorns, insects, marine 
worms, crustaceans, mollusks, fishes, amphibians, 
reptiles, and, very occasionally, birds (Allen 
(1952). 

During migration, cranes feed while on mud 
flats and sandbars. Allen (1 952) suggests that crust- 
aceans, fishes, amphibians, and reptiles in the shal- 
lows compose the bulk of the diet. Recent data in- 
dicate that during fall migration, cranes often feed 



in recently harvested grain fields, eating insects 
and wasted grain, especially corn. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nests, 15 to 60 cm above the water, are made 
of rushes [Scirpus validus), sedge [Carex sp.), or 
cattail {Typha latifolia). Nests are restricted to 
areas with limited terrestrial accessibility, and are 
not usually reused in subsequent years; but a new 
nest is generally built in the same area (Kuyt 
1976a). Allen (1952) describes in detail nests and 
their construction in historic breeding localities. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Premigration behavior in December or January 
includes a restless shifting of habitual winter terri- 
tories, increasing in frequency of dancing displays 
and circling flights which eventually result in 
actual movement northward (Allen 1952, WCRT 
1977). Generally the cranes leave Aransas National 
Wildlife Refuge between the end of March and 
the middle of April. They arrive at Wood Buffalo 
National Park 18 to 28 days later (Allen 1956, 
WCRT 1977). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Climate plays a vital role in whooping crane 
survival. Extreme dryness has little effect on nest- 
ing success, but can force young and parents to 
travel farther in search of food (Novakowski 1966) 
and render nesting areas more accessible to terres- 
trial predators (E. Kuyt, personal communica- 
tion). Departure of cranes on spring migration is 
assisted by strong prevailing southeast winds 
(WCRT 1977). However, a hurricane or large 
storm could interfere with migration (Allen 1952). 

The average territory size is about 162 ha on 
the wintering ground. In tlie Sass River area, 
Wood Buffalo National Park, the radii of the nest- 
ing territories average 0.9 km. Rarely, however, 
are nests of two different pairs closer than 1.3 
km, and when they are closer, nesting success is 
below average (Kuyt 1976a). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The numbers have increased since a low of 21 
birds in 1941 -1942. The 1977 count of whooping 
cranes was 75 birds in the wild (Aransas Refuge - 
Wood Buffalo National Park had 69 birds, and 
experimental Rocky Mountain flock had 6) and 



27 in captivity (Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 
had 22; International Crane Foundation, 3; and 
San Antonio Zoo, Texas, 2) (WCRT 1977). 

The potential for population growth in the 
wild is quite low for many reasons (Stevenson 
and Griffith 1946). Major reasons are that only 
one young survives and there is high juvenile 
mortality during migration. Erickson (1961) 
suggests that although numbers have increased, 
there has not been an increase in rate of annual 
production per breeding pair. Thus, while the 
average annual production per pair has remained 
essentially the same, an increasing proportion of 
the older birds is returning to Aransas without 
progeny. Novakowski (1966) also suggests that 
early separation of young from adults during 
spring migration may account for high losses of 
young of the year. 

Allen (1952) estimated that the historical 
(1870) population was about 1,500 birds. 

REPRODUCTION 

Usually two, smooth, buff eggs with dark 
blotches are layed in late April or early May. The 
incubation period is 29 days. Incubation is shared 
by both parents, with one parent generally inclin- 
ed to spend more time on the nest (Allen 1952). 
Parents and young leave the nest site 2 to 3 days 
after hatching, and spend the summer traveling 
from pond to pond feeding (E. Kuyt, personal 
communication). The family unit is maintained 
through the winter, with the young gradually 
gaining more independence. Just before the migra- 
tion, the parents begin to drive the young away, 
but do not separate entirely until enroute to the 
nesting grounds (Allen 1952, Novakowski 1966). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Early accounts of a superabundance of 
whooping cranes probably caused a delay in rec- 
ognizing and responding to the decline in popula- 
tion. Many people probably misidentified the 
more numerous sandhill crane (Allen 1952). 

Efforts to prevent whooping crane extinction 
have been considerable and have succeeded mar- 
ginally in increasing the total numbers in the wild. 
The sequence of events is detailed in Allen (1952) 
and WCRT (1977). 

The Migratory Bird Act of 1918 provided 
legal protection of migratory birds and paved the 
way for cooperation in whooping crane manage- 
ment between the United States and Canada. 
Aransas National Wildlife Refuge was established 
in 1937 to protect whooping cranes, waterfowl. 



and other coastal Texas wildlife. The refuge lies 
between San Antonio Bay and Aransas Bay on 
the Texas Gulf coast, and in 1937 was the winter- 
ing ground for 60% of the whooping cranes 
(WCRT 1977). 

The American Ornithologists' Union wrote a 
report in 1944 calling for the National Audubon 
Society and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to 
determine the status of whooping cranes, and to 
stop the trend toward extinction. The Wilson Soci- 
ety made the same request in 1944 (Allen 1952). 

In 1945, the Cooperative Whooping Crane 
Project, involving the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- 
vice and the National Audubon Society, was set 
up to investigate means to protect and restore the 
species. 

Robert Allen's 1952 monograph, The Whoop- 
ing Crane, a product of 39 months of study, out- 
lined early management needs. 

The nesting grounds were discovered in 1954 
in Wood Buffalo National Park, which had been 
created in 1922 as a preserve and management 
area for bison. 

The Cooperative Whooping Crane Project was 
replaced by the Whooping Crane Advisory Group, 
appointed by the Director of the Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildhfe in 1956 to provide advice to 
the Bureau on the crane's problems. 

The Standing Committee of the International 
Wild Waterfowl Association created the Whooping 
Crane Conservation Association in 1961. This 
association has both Canadian and United States 
membership and is privately funded. The associa- 
tion encourages artificial propagation to increase 
numbers, and promotes public education to 
protect the cranes on migration. The International 
Crane Foundation is another private organization 
whose goals are to conserve cranes worldwide 
(WCRT 1977), and also contributes to the whoop- 
ing crane project. 

Many efforts have been made to reverse the 
trend towards extinction. In 1946, food habit 
studies were initiated. Shordy afterwards, tech- 
niques for keeping abreast of population numbers 
were developed, e.g. monitoring flyways. Warning 
signs were posted on the Intracoastal Waterway, 
which bounds the Aransas Refuge. Oil drilling in 
the area of the refuge was handled in a coopera- 
tive spirit and cattle grazing was found not to 
compete with cranes (Allen 1952). Public educa- 
tion played a large role in reversing the downward 
trends (Walkinshaw 1973). 

The role played by the Canadian Wildlife 
Service of the Canadian Department of Environ- 
ment is equal in importance to that of the U.S. 



Fish and Wildlife Service. This group has con- 
ducted surveys since 1954 to record events on the 
breeding grounds. Other important functions 
include (WCRT 1977): 

1. Fire patrol and fire suppression 

2. Prohibition of public access into or low-fly- 
ing aircraft over the area. 

3. Resistance to attempts by commercial inter- 
ests to develop the breeding areas. 

4. Conduct periodic censuses. 

A migration monitoring program was estab- 
lished by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 
fall of 1975 to : 

1. Attempt to prevent exposure to disease out- 
breaks and other unusual hazards. 

2. Alert key areas along flyways. 

3. Provide information to be used to determine 
major stop-over areas. 

4. Provide information for determining critical 
habitat. 

The National Audubon Society has a network 
that is coordinated with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service program; and several States along the fly- 
way assist in crane protection. 

A recovery team was approved in November 
1975, and has produced a draft Recovery Plan 
(WCRT 1977). The primary objective of their 
plan is to remove the whooping crane from its 
endangered status. The requirements necessary to 
reach this objective are: 

1. Increase the Wood Buffalo— Aransas popula- 
tion to at least 40 nesting pairs. 

2. Establish at least two additional, separate and 
self-sustaining populations consisting of at 
least 20 nesting pairs. 

Additional research is advised on food habits 
and avEiilability in relation to climatic conditions, 
spatial requirements, and territorial behavior in 
an expanding population. Additional data are also 
needed on the impact of increasing human activi- 
ties in the habitat area. 

The Canadian Wildlife Service and U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service removed 50 eggs from Wood 
Buffalo in 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971, and 1974 and 
attempted to hatch them at Patuxent Research 
Center, Maryland. As of 1975, 19 whoopers have 
been raised in this effort. The goal of producing 
second-generation captive birds for release has not 
yet been achieved (Kuyt 1976a). 

In 1975, 14 eggs were taken from Wood Buf- 
falo nests and transplanted to foster sandhill 
crane parents at Grays Lake National Wildlife 



Refuge, Idaho. The goal of this effort is to estab- 
lish an additional isolated population so that a 
single calamity could not destroy the entire popu- 
lation (Kuyt 1976a). Eggs were also transplanted 
in 1976 and 1977. As of 1977, six birds have 
been successfully raised and now migrate with the 
sandhill cranes (WCRT 1977). 

Other management suggestions (Allen 1952) 
which have not been achieved include inclusion of 
Mustang Lake into the Aransas refuge, closure of 
it to fishing, and conversion of the lake to the 
predredged condition. Allen (1952) also suggested 
extending the boundaries of the refuge, and this 
has been accomplished in part by the National 
Audubon Society's leasing of lands adjacent to 
the refuge (WCRT 1977). 

Critical Habitat was designated in 1978 (43 
FR 20938; 15 May 1978) and includes these areas: 
Colorado Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge 

(all), and Alamosa National Wildlife 

Refuge (all). 
Idaho Grays Lake National WildUfe Refuge 

(all plus a 1.6- km perimeter). 
Kansas Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (all), 

Cheyenne Bottoms State Waterfowl 

Management Area (all). 

Nebraska A strip along the Platte River in 
Dawson, Gosper, Kearney, Buffalo, 
and Phelps Counties. 

New 

Mexico Bosque del Apache National Wildlife 
Refuge (part). 

Oklahoma Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge 
(all). 

Texas Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (all), 

northeast to Pringle Lake, southeast 
to Gulf Intracoastal Waterway plat- 
form channel marker 25, and north- 
west to the refuge. 

Eight additional areas have been proposed as 
critical habitat (43 FR 36588; 17 August 1978): 
Kansas Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge. 
Montana Medicine Lake National Wildlife 

Refuge. 
Nebraska A section of the Nebraska River in 
Brown, Burleigh, Divide, Dunn, Em- 
mons, McKenzie, McLean, Morton, 
Mountrail, Penville, Sioux, Ward, and 
areas in Campbell and Williams 
Counties. 



AUTHORITIES 

David Blankinship (Recovery Team) 
National Audubon Society 
721 Pine Street 
Rockport,TX 78382 

Roderick Drewien 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge 

Box 278 

San Antonio, NM 87832 

Ray Erickson (Recovery Team) 
Assistant Director 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 
Laurel, MD 20810 

Conrad Fjetland 

c/o U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
5796 Bickel Church Road 
Pickerington, OH 43147 

Harold D. Irby (Recovery Team) 

Program Director 

Migratory Game 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

4200 Smith School Road 

Austin, TX 78744 

Ernie Kuyt 

Canadian Wildlife Service 
9942 108th Street 
Edmonton, Alberta 
T5K 2JS 

Ross Lock (Recovery Team) 

Non-Game Specialist 

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission 

2200 North 33rd Street 

Lincoln, NE 68503 

Dave Olsen (Recovery Team Leader) 
Division of Wildlife Refuges 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Department of the Interior 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

L. H. Walkinshaw 
4691 Timberlane Road 
Lake Wales, FL 33853 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 



Natl. 



South 
Dakota 



Conson, Dewey, Haakon, Hughes, 
Potter, Stanley, Sully, Walworth, and 
Ziebach Counties. 



Allen, R. P. 1952. The whooping crane. 
Audubon Soc. Res. Rep. 2. New York. 

. 1954. Additional data on the food of the 

whooping crane. Auk. 71(2):198-199. 



. 1956. A report on the whooping crane's 

northern breeding grounds. Natl. Aud. Soc. 
Supple. Res. Rep. 3.60 pp. 

Archibald, G. W. 1976. Crane taxonomy as 
revealed by the unison call. Pages 225-251 in 
J. C. Lewis, ed. Proc. Intl. Crane Workshop. 
Oklahoma State Univ. Publ. and Printing. 
355 pp. 

Bard, F. G. 1956. Whooping cranes in migration, 
1956. Blue Jay 14 (2):39-42. 

. 1958. Whooping cranes, 1958. Blue Jay 

16(1):11-14. 

Blankinship, D. R. 1976. Studies of whooping 
cranes on the wintering grounds. Pages 197- 
206 in J. C. Lewis, ed. Proc. Intl. Crane 
Workshop. Oklahoma State Univ., Publ. 
Printing. 355 pp. 

Bent, A. C. 1926. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can marsh birds. Dover Publ., Inc., New York. 
392 pp. 

Drewien, R. C. 1975 & 1976. Unpublished quar- 
terly progress reports 1-8, whooping crane 
transplant experiment. Idaho Coop. Wildl. 
Res. Unit, Univ. Idaho, Moscow. 

Erickson, R. C. 1961. Production and survival of 
the whooping crane. U.S. Bur. Sport Fish 
Wildl. Serv. Rep. 29 pp. 

. 1966. Production and survival of the 

whooping crane. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. Admin. 
Rep. 

. 1975. Captive breeding of whooping 

cranes at the Patuxent Wildlife Research 
Center. Pages 99-114 in R. D. Martin, ed. 
Breeding Endangered Species in Captivity. 
Academic Press, New York. 420 pp. 

. 1976. Whooping crane studies at the 

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Pages 166- 
176 in J. C. Lewis, ed. Proceedings Intl. Crane 
Workshop. Oklahoma State Univ. Publ. Print- 
ing. 355 pp. 

. 1979. Whooping crane (Grus americana). 

In R. C. Erickson and Ruhr, eds. Crane 
research around the world. Cosponsored by 
U.S. Chapter of LC.B.P., Intl. Crane Found., 
and U.S. Fish Wildl. Sen'. 

Hahn, P. 1963. Where is that vanished bird. Royal 
Ontario Museum, Univ. Toronto, Toronto. 

Hovrard, J. A. 1954. Aransas, a national wildlife 
refuge. U.S. Dep. Inter., Fish Wildl. Serv. 11: 
1-12. 



Kepler, C. B. 1976. Dominance and dominance- 
related behavior in the whooping crane. Pages 
177-196 in J. C. Lewis, ed. Proc. Intl. Crane 
Workshop. Cosponsored by U.S. Chapter 
I.C.B.P., Intl. Crane Found., and U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. 

Kuyt, E. 1968. Collection of whooping crane eggs 
from Wood Buffalo National Park. Trans Fed- 
Prov. Wildl. Conf. 32:30-35. 

. 1975. Nest site fidelity, productivity, 

and breeding habitat of whooping cranes. 
Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest 
Territories, Canada. In Crane Res. Around the 
World, Internl. Crane Found. 

. 1976a. Whooping cranes: the long road 

back. Natur. Can. (Ottowa) 5(2):2-9. 

. 1976b. The continuing story of the 

whooping crane. Pages 109-111 in Canada's 
threatened species and habitats. Symposium 
on Canada's threatened species and habitats, 
Canadian Nature Federation and World Wild- 
life Fund, Ottowa, 20-24 May 1976. 

. 1976c. Recent clutch size data for 



whooping cranes, including a three-egg clutch. 
The Blue Jay 34(2):82-83. 

Lowery, G. H., Jr. 1974. Louisiana birds. Pub- 
lished for Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries 
Commission by Louisiana State Univ. Pres. 
651 pp. 

McNulty, F. 1966. The whooping crane; the bird 
that defies extinction. Dutton, New York. 
190 pp. 

Muir, D. 1976. Whooping crane summer: filming 
the great white cranes. Natur. Can. (Ottowa) 
5(2):25-32. 

Novakowski, N. S. 1966. Whooping crane popula- 
tion dynamics on the nesting grounds. Wood 
Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories, 
Canada. Can. Wildl. Serv. Res. Rep. 1.20 pp. 

Pratt, J. J. 1961. Transactions of the whooping 
crane conservation conference. Modem Game 
Breeding, April 1961. 

Stevenson, J. O., and R. E. Griffith. 1946. Winter 
life of the whooping crane. Condor 48(4): 
160-178. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1938-present. 
Whooping crane census. Informal reports by 
the refuge manager, Aransas National Wild- 
life Refuge, Austwell, Texas. 



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. A great white bird. 
50-minute film, color. National Audiovisual 
Center, GSA, Washington, D.C. 

WCRT (Whooping Crane Recovery Team). 1977. 
Whooping crane recovery plan. Technical 
review draft. U.S. Dep. Inter., Fish Wildl. 
Serv. 136 pp. 

Walkinshaw, L. H. 1973. Cranes of the world. 
Winchester Press, New York. 370 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesvnie, FL 32601 



10 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.4 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

LIGHT FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL 



K'r^^r^^ 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoasl of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivident 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed lo: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\'ice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report shoidd be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.4 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
LIGHT FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-SHdell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 







CREDIT: SANFORD WILBUR 



LIGHT-FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL 

Rallus longirostris levipes Bangs (1899) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Gruifonnes 

FAMILY Rallidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES King Rail (part), 

California Clapper Rail (part), Southern Cali- 
fornia Clapper Rail, Bangs Rail, Light-footed 
Rail, Southwestern Clapper Rail, Los Angeles 
Clapper Rail (Grinnell and Miller 1944) 

DATES 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Update to be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (42FR36427, 14 July 
1977). Protected Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act, (40 Stat. 755; 16 USC 703-711, 
3 July 1918) as amended 3 Dec. 1969. 
PL91-135. 



State: California - Endangered 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Formerly common in aU coastal marshes with- 
in its geographic range, but now, because of drain- 
age and/or filling of some marshes and pollution 

with chemicals and debris/?. /. levipes is much more 
restricted in occurrence and fewer in numbers 
(Willett 1912,1933,GrinneIleta]. 1918, Stephens 
1919, Edwards 1922). It was not as well protected 
from hunters as the California clapper rail, and its 
range is being reduced by reclamation of marshes 
(Bent 1926). 

Overharvesting may have occurred in some 
areas, but reduction in populations can be at- 
tributed almost entirely to loss of habitat. The 
area of the salt marsh between Santa Barbara and 
the Mexican Border is estimated to have been 
10,500 ha, while at present there are approxi- 
mately 3,440 ha (Speth 1971), much of which 
has been degraded by water pollution, water di- 
version, and restriction of tidal flow. Of the 4 ma- 
jor habitat areas, only Anaheim Bay appears to be 



relatively safe from future habitat destruction. 
Los Penasquitos has dried up and does not sup- 
port rail, Upper Newport is "safe" under State 
management, and Tijuana Slough is vulnerable, 
but FWS plans to preserve it. Particularly hard hit 
were areas known to have supported large popula- 
tions of rails such as San Diego Bay, reduced from 
990 to 146 ha; Mission Bay, from 970 to 8.5 ha; 
and the Los Angeles-Long Beach area, from 2750 
to 28 ha. Thus, entire populations have been ex- 
terminated (Recovery Team 1977). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

32 
DESCRIPTION 

Rallus longirostris levipes is a chicken-size 
bird with a gray-brown back, tawny breast, ver- 
tical dusky and white bars on its flanks, and a 
white patch under its short, upcocked tail; it has 
long legs, toes and bill and is a strong runner and 
a weak flyer. Although similar to R. I. obsoletus, 
it is slightly smaller; with a more slender bill and a 
back darker, browner or more olive (less grayish) 
in tone, with narrower and less black marking; its 
breast is a richer cinnamon color and the stripe 
over the eye more whitish, less rusty (Bangs 1899, 
Bent 1926, van Rossem 1929, Ridgway and 
Friedmann 1941). 

The size of the adult male is: wing, 154.5 - 167 
(av. 161.9) mm; tail, 62.5 - 69 (66.7); exposed 
culmen, 56-61 (58.9); tarsus, 53-60.5 (56.9); 
middle toe without claw, 50-54 (51.2^. The adult 
female is: wing, 138 - 155.5 (147.3); tail, 57 - 67 
(62.6); exposed culmen, 51.5-58 (54.2); tarsus, 
47-51 (49.5); middle two without claw, 41-48 
(44.9) (Oberholser 1937) Weight - male, av. 306 
gm.; female, av 248 gm. (Ohmart and Smith 1973). 

Its eggs are drab, cream-colored, and sparsely 
marked with purple 44.6 x 31.0 mm (Bent 
1926). 

The light-footed clapper rail has a confusing 
taxonomic history. Originally thought to be a 
King Rail [Rallus elegans) by Henshaw (1876); 
then the same as California Rail [Rallus obsoletus), 
which at that time was considered a distinct spe- 
cies by Belding (1883); then thought to be a 
separate species [Rallus levipes) by Bangs (1899); 
then a subspecies of the California Rail [Rallus 
obsoletus levipes) that was still considered a dif- 



ferent species from either King or Clapper Rail by 
van Rossem (1929); then united with the King 
Rail as Rallus elegans levipes by Peters (1934); it 
was finally classified a clapper rail subspecies Ral- 
lus longirostris levipes (Oberholser 1937), which 
designation was accepted by Ridgway and Fried- 
mann (1941), the American Ornithologists Union 
(1957), and subsequent authorities. 

RANGE 

The light-footed clapper rail ranges the coastal 
salt marshes from Santa Barbara County, Cali- 
fornia, south to San Quintin Bay, Baja California 
1977), which is the originally described range of 
Cooke (1914), Grinnell et al. (1918) and Bent 
(1926). Later evaluations (Grinnell and Miller 
1944, American Ornithologists Union 1957) 
found no Santa Barbara records after 1875, so set 
the northern limits at Point Mugu and Hueneme, 
Ventura County. Confusion over distinction of 
levipes from another subspecies farther south in 
Baja California resulted in placing the southern 
breeding limit of levipes at Ensenada, Baja Cali- 
fornia (Friedmann et al. 1950, American Ornith- 
ologists' Union). Study of more adequate speci- 
men samples extended the breeding range of 
levipes southward to San Quintin Bay (S. Wilbur 
ms.). Distribution is markedly interrupted be- 
cause of discontinuous habitat (van Rossem 1929; 
Grinnell et al. 1918, Edwards 1922, Dawson 
1924). 

Areas that have recent records of light-footed 
clapper rails are: Santa Barbara Co. - Carpinteria 
Marsh (or El Estero or Sandyland Slough); Ven- 
tura Co. - Mugu Marshes (Pacific Missile Range); 
Orange Co. - Anaheim Bay marshes. Upper New- 
port Bay; San Diego Co. - Tijuana River estuary; 
Sweet Water Marsh ; Otay River Slough; Marine 
Biology Study Area; San Diego River; Mission 
Bay; Los Penasquitos; San Elijo Lagoon (Wilbur 
1974). Despite published reference to the contrary 
(Friedmann et al. 1950, American Ornithologists' 
Union 1957, van Rossem 1947), there is no evi- 
dence of migration or of wandering from home 
marshes after the breeding season (Wilbur and 
Tomlinson 1976). 

RANGE MAP 

The past and present distribution is shown on 
tlie following page. 



LIGHT-FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL 
Past and Present Distribution 



Goleta Slough 
Carpinteria Marsh 

Mugu Lagoon' 



■"^-^ 



%. 



Bolsa Chi CO Lagoon 
Upper Newport Bay » 

Santa Margarita River 




Batiquitos Lagoon 

San Elilo Lagoon 

San Dieguito River 

Los Penasquitos Lagoon 

San Diego River - Mission Bay 

San Diego Bay 

Tijuana Estuary 



La Mision - La Salina 

Bahia de Todos Santos 



Bahia de San Quintin 



Past and present distribution of the Hght-footed clapper rail. 



STATES/COUNTIES 

California: Orange, San Diego, Santa Barbara, 
Ventura. 



HABITAT 

The light-footed clapper rail is found in salt- 
water marshes traversed by tidal sloughs, where 
cordgrass {Spartina foliosa) and pickleweed {Salt- 
cornia) are the conspicuous plants. One nesting is 
recorded for an inland marsh grown to reeds in 
Los Angeles Co. (Willett 1906). In Tijuana Estuary, 
22 of 34 nests were built in cordgrass. Nest den- 
sity is greater in tall cordgrass (0.52 nests per ha. 
of habitat). Generally speaking, the highest den- 
sities of rails appear to be in those marshes with 
the most cordgrass Qorgensen 1975). Clapper 
rails require a healthy tidal salt marsh environment 
with cordgrass or pickleweed for nesting and es- 
cape cover; abundant food in the form of crabs, 
clams and related invertebrates; and tidal flats 
interspersed with saltmarsh vegetation as a feed- 
ing area. These conditions prevail in coastal salt 
marshes that have a tidal prism adequate to pre- 
serve a normal salinity range and prevent stagna- 
tion. If suitable physical environment is available, 
other factors seem to have little influence. Preda- 
tion by other animals is seldom a limiting factor, 
and raUs seem to tolerate a high level of human 
occupancy of their habitat provided such use does 
not result in habitat degradation or loss of birds 
(Recovery Team 1977). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Striped shore crabs (Pachygrapsus crassipes) 
and purple shore crabs [Hemigrapsiis oregonensis) 
are regularly eaten by the clapper rail. Remains 
found in pellets cast by rails incorporated fiddler 
crab [Uca crenulata), beach hopper [Orchestoidea 
sp.), California hornshell [Certhidea californica), 
and a gastropod [Melampus olivaceus). Probably 
(like other clapper rails) the light-footed clapper 
rail eats various bivalve molluscs such as clams 
of the genus Macoma (Jorgensen 1975). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Dense growth of either pickleweed or cord- 
grass for nesting and escape cover (Recovery Team) 
is required by the clapper rail. 



NESTING OR BEDDING 

The clapper rail's nest is a loose arrangement 
of plant stems on high ground in a salt marsh, 
well concealed in dense or tall vegetation, usually 
Spartina. One nest measured 28 by 18 cm on the 
outside, with a cavity 13 cm across and 1.3 cm 
deep (Bent 1926, Edwards 1922). Nests 
are also frequently placed in cordgrass (Spartina). 
Those in Spartina most often are placed directly 
on the ground, while those in cordgrass are ele- 
eated 10 to 45 cm. Nests are constructed of what- 
ever vegetation is available at the site and are 
placed so as to be well concealed. The nests are 
bouyant and will float with the tide Qorgensen 
1975). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Probably pairs are spaced by aggressive terri- 
torial defense as in other subspecies of clapper 
rails. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None other than those mentioned elsewhere. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Estimates now indicate a total population of 
about 250 birds on the basis of work in Santa 
Barbara and Ventura counties (V. Basham, un- 
published), at Anaheim Bay (B. Massey, C. Collins, 
J. Lindell), and at Tijuana Estuary Qorgensen 
1975). Tot£il population estimates are distributed 
as follows: Santa Barbara County, Carpinteria, 
10; Orange County, Anaheim Bay, 40-50; Upper 
Newrport Bay 40-50; San Diego County, Los 
Penasquitos Lagoon 5, Mission Bay 8, San Diego 
River 5, San Diego Bay area 40-50, Tijuana Estu- 
ary 75-85; Baja California (occur but population 
size undetermined)* Bahia de Todos Santos, La 
Mision and La Salina may have rails also (Recovery 
Team 1977). 

REPRODUCTION 

The young of the clapper raU are able to swim 
on the day of hatching. 

Nesting occurs from mid-March to 1 July, 
with extreme dates for complete clutches 18 
March to 31 July. Egg dates (56 records) are from 
18 March to 11 June (Bent 1926). 



Most egg laying occurs from early April to 
early May, with 3 to 11 eggs per clutch, usually 5 
to 9. The incubation period averages 23 days 
Qorgensen, 1975). 

Both sexes are believed to incubate (Bent 
1926). At Tijuana Estuary 86% of 28 active nests 
successfully hatched at least 1 egg. There were 
losses due to eggs being washed away by high 
tides and failure to hatch for unknown reasons. 
Chicks were found dead in several nests apparently 
from drowning, although young are said to be 
able to swim at day of hatching (Bent 1926). 
Nests have been destroyed by rats. At least some 
renesting occurs and some pairs may raise second 
broods. 

MANAGEMENT 

A recovery team was appointed and a recovery 
plan prepared in January 1977. The light-footed 
clapper rail is endangered because its range is 
limited to a relatively small remnant of suitable 
marsh habitat, and this remnant continues to de- 
crease. Arresting the decline of the rail population 
requires stopping all loss and degradation of exist- 
ing habitat. Even then, population will remciin 
threatened because each segment is so small it 
could easily be eradicated by pollution, disease, 
predation, or other local catastrophes. 

The recovery plan proposed by the Light- 
Footed Clapper Rail Recovery Team includes: 
(1) protecting all existing habitat; (2) increasing 
its carrying capacity and stability, thereby in- 
creasing the size of each population unit; and 
(3) creating and stocking new habitat. The objec- 
tive of the recovery plan is to develop and maintain 
a breeding population of at least 400 pairs of light- 
footed clapper rails well distributed geographi- 
cally. This can be done by preserving and restor- 
ing approximately 1620 ha. of tidal saltmarsh 
habitat in 15 or more coastal marshes. Addition- 
ally, efforts should be made to have occupied 
salt marsh habitat preserved in Baja California. 

An action program to achieve these objectives 
includes: (1) preserving and increasing existing 
populations by preserving existing habitat, pre- 
venting development or degradation, increasing 
amount of habitat, and reducing effect of other 
limiting factors; (2) reestablishing former rail 
populations by restoring tidal flow to previously 
inhabited marshes, restoring cordgrass-pickleweed 
vegetation by planting if it fails to volunteer, and 



transplanting rails to new sites; (3) monitoring 
rail populations to determine progress of manage- 
ment and status of the populations; and (4) carry- 
ing on a program of education and planning ad- 
vise directed toward preservation of rail habitat 
(Recovery Team 1977). Saving Tijuana Marsh is 
the chief priority for recovery of the light-footed 
clapper rail (Sanford Wilbur pers. comm.). 

AUTHORITIES 

Sanford R. Wilbur 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
1190 E. Ojai Avenue 
Ojai, California 93023 

Ronald M. Jurek 

California Dept. of Fish and Game 

1416 9th Street 

Sacramento, California 95814 

Ronald Hein 

California Department of Fish and Game 

Long Beach, California 90840 

Charles T. Collins 

Department of Biology 

California State University at Long Beach 

Long Beach, California 90840 

R. Guy McCaskie 
1310 14th Street 
Imperial Beach, California 92032 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Because of the very small populations and 
limited suitable habitat that appears to be rapidly 
diminishing, the light-footed clapper rail appears 
to be in extreme jeopardy. Only vigorous efforts 
to preserve a number of unpolluted salt marshes 
with free-flowing tidal currents will be effective 
in saving this subspecies from extinction. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologists' Union. 1957. Check-list 
of North American birds. 5th ed. Baltimore, 
Md. AOU. 641pp. 

Bangs, O. 1899. A new rail from southern Cali- 
fornia, Proc. New Eng. Zool. Club 1:45-46. 

Belding, L. 1883. Catalogue of a collection of 
birds made at various points along the western 
coast of Lower California, north of Cape St. 



Eugenis. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 5:527-532. 

Bent, A. C. 1926. Life histories of North American 
marsh birds. U.S. Nat. Mus. BuU. 135:272. 

Cooke, W. W. 1914. Distribution and Migration of 
North American rails and their allies. U.S. 
Dept. of Agric. Bull. 128:50 pp. 

Dawson, W. 1924. Birds of California. Vol. 3. p. 
1533. 

Edwards, H. A. 1922. Some notes on the Light- 
footed Rail. Oologist 39:60-61. 

Frey, H. W., R. F. Hein, and J. L. Spruill. 1970. 
Report on the natural resources of Upper 
Newport Bay and recommendations concern- 
ing the Bay's development Calif. Dept. Fish 
and Game. 68 pp. 

Friedmann, H., L. Griscom and R. T. Moore. 
1950. Distributional Checklist of the birds of 
Mexico. Pac. Coast Avifauna 29:202 pp. 

Grinnell, J. 1898. Birds of the Pacific slope of Los 
Angeles County. Pasadena Acad. Sci. Pub. 2. 

. 1915. A distributional list of the birds of 

of California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 11. 217 pp. 

Grinnell, J. and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribu- 
tion of the birds of California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 27:128. 

Grinnell, J., H. C. Bryant, and T. I. Storer. 1918. 
The Game birds of California, p. 289. 

Henshaw, H. W. 1876. Report on the ornithology 
of the portions of California visited during the 
field season of 1875. Ann. Rep. Geographic 
Survey west of the 100th Meridian. Appendix 
H8 of Appendix JJ. pp. 224-278. 

Jorgensen, P. D. 1975. Habitat preference of the 
Light-footed Clapper Rail in Tijuana Marsh, 
California. M.S. thesis, San Diego State Uni- 
versity. 115 pp. 

Light-footed Rail Recovery Team. 1977. Light- 
footed Clapper Rail recovery plan. Office of 
Endangered species, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Wash., D.C. 

McCaskie, G. 1972. Southern Pacific Coast Re- 
gion. Am. Birds 26:903. 

Mudie, P., B. Browning and J. Speth. 1974. The 
natural resources of Los Penasquitos Lagoon 
and recommendations for use and develop- 
ment. Calif. Dept. Fish and Game, Coastal 
wetlands Series no. 7. 75 pp. 



Oberholser, H. C. 1937. A revision of the Clapper 
Rails {Rallus longirostris Boddaert) Proc. U.S. 
Nat. Mus. 84:313-354. 

Ohmart, R. D. and R. W. Smith. 1973. North Am- 
erican Clapper Rails {Rallus longirostris) liter- 
ature survey, with special consideration being 
given to the past and current status ofyuman- 
sis. Report in fulfillment of Bur. Reclamation 
contract 14-06-300-2409. 

Peters, J. 1934. Check-list of birds of the world. 
Vol. 2. Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 
p. 159. 

Ridgway, R. and H. Friedmann. 1941. Birds of 
North and Middle America. Part IX. Bull. U.S. 
Nat. Mus. 50:75. 

Romero, P. D. 1972. Anaheim Bay study, July 
1970 to June 1971. Calif. Dept. Fish and 
Game. 22 pp. 

Sams, J. R. and K. Scott, Jr. 1959. Birds of San 
Diego County, California. San Diego Soc. Nat. 
Hist. Occas. Pap. No. 10. 

Sexton, C. W. 1972. Clapper Rails at Upper New- 
port Bay, California. Unpub. Ms. U. of Calif, 
at Irvine. 

Speth, J. W. 1971. The status of coastal wetlands 
in southern California. Paper presented at an- 
nual meeting. Western Section of The Wildlife 
Society. 19 pp. 

Speth, J., R. Fordice, R. Hein, and P. Giguere. 
1970. Th*" natural resources of Golata Slough 
and recommendations for use and develop- 
ment. Calif. Dept. Fish and Game. 42 pp. 

Stephens, F. 1919. An annotated list of the birds 
of San Diego County, California. Trans. San 
Diego Soc. Nat. Hist. 3:1-40. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened 
WildUfe of the United States. U.S. Dept. of 
Interior, Resource Pub. 114. 289 pp. 

van Rossem,A.J. 1929. The status of some Pacific 
Coast Clapper Rails. Condor 31:213-215. 

. 1947. Comments on certain birds of Baja 

California, including descriptions of three new 
races. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 50:51-58. 

Warner, D. S. and R. W. Dickerman. 1959. The 
status oi Rallus elegans tenuirostris in Mexico. 



Condor 61:49-51. 
Wilbur, S. R. 1974. The status of the Light-footed 
clapper Rail. Amer. Birds 28:868-870. 

Wilbur, S. R. and R. E. Tomlinson. 1976. The 
literature of the Western Clapper Rails. USFWS 
Spec. Sci. Rep. - Wildlife. 194. 31 pp. 

Willett, G. 1906. The Southern Clapper Rail 
breeding on fresh water. Auk 23:432. 

. 1912. Birds of the Pacific slope of south- 



em California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 7. 122 pp. 
. 1933. A revised list of the birds of south- 



wfestem California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 2 1 : 
52. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.5 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

SAN CLEMENTE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or ihrcatcned vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
iNASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.58 



FWS/OBS-80/01.5 
March 1980 



SKLKCri:i) VIR 1 KBRAir. KNDANGERED SPKCIES 

OF i hi: skacx)as 1 of ihk united S IA IES- 

SAN CLEMENTE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National CoastaJ Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Scrxicc 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PHOTO OF CLOSELY RELATED SUBSPECIES 



SAN CLEMENTE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE 

Lanius ludovicianus meamsi Ridgway 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passerifonnes 

FAMILY Laniidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES California shrike, island shrike, 

San Clemente shrike, Meams' shrike, 
Santa Barbara Island Shrike. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Update To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: FR 42 40685, 11 Aug. 
1977. p. 40685. 

States: Protected by California law. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Destruction over large areas of the dense, 
brushy vegetation required for shrike territory 



headquarters has undoubtly reduced the number 
of possible wintering and breeding areas consider- 
ing the aggressive territorial behavior of the birds. 
This has reduced the reproductive potential of L. 
I. mearnsi to the point where it has almost the 
lowest ratio (30%) of immatures to adults, of any 
subspecies except L. I. anthonyi, another island 
race (Miller 1931). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

None assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The San Clemente loggerhead shrike is a 
medium-sized bird, slightly smaller than a robin, 
gray above, white below and on the rump, with a 
black mask over the eyes. Black wings and tail, 
each have patches of white. Of all the subspecies 
of L. ludovicianus, mearnsi is the most isolated 
and is among the most sharply characterized (Mil- 
ler 1931). 

Overall length is 224 mm (av. of 10 adults) 
(Meams 1898). It is similar to L. I. anthonyi of 
Santa Cruz Island, but the upper tail coverts are 
abruptly white; there is more white on the scap- 



ulars, the white spot at the base of the primaries 
is larger, and the underparts of the body much 
less strongly tinged with gray. In the white upper 
tail coverts and the greater extent of white on 
posterior scapulars and at the base of the primaries, 
it is similar to L. I. gambeli, but the gray of the 
upper parts is very much darker (quite as dark as 
L. I. anthonyi), with much less white at the base 
of primaries and on the lateral rectrices (Ridgway 
1904). 

L. I. mearnsi may be readily distinguished 
from nelsoni by its much darker upper parts, 
more conspicuously white rump, shorter wing, 
smaller amount of white on primaries, and much 
smaller bill. 

Measurements: Wing length, av. 97.64 mm; 
white on primaries 53.8% of wing length; tail 
length av. 100.28 mm; white tip on outer tail 
feather 28.1% of tail length; bill length, av. 27.60 
mm; middle toe av. 13.20 mm; hind toe av. 9.92 
mm. The only race with which meanisi integrades 
is anthonyi to the north (Miller 1931). 

RANGE 

This shrike is a permanent resident on San 
Clemente Island, off southwestern California 
(American Ornithologists' Union 1957). 

RANGE MAP 

The range map on the following page shows 
the location of San Clemente Island, this shrike's 
total range. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

California: Los Angeles. 

HABITAT 

San Clemente Island, the southernmost of the 
California Channel Islands, is approximately 34 
km long and 2.4 to 6.4 km wide. The nearest 
island, Santa Catalina, is about 34 km north. The 
nearest point on the mainland is about 80 km to 
the northeast. 

Goats were introduced not later than 1827, 
and by 1840 had formed a dense population. By 
1877, large numbers of sheep grazed there also 
(Raven 1963). 

The island has been under jurisdiction of the 
U.S. Navy since 1934, when all ranching presum- 
ably terminated. 

The topography is dominated by a plateau 



with a steeply sloping east side and gently sloping 
west side, covered with introduced grasses except 
in places completely denuded by goats. Trees and 
shrubs grow only on the bottoms and sides of the 
canyons. On the east side, ironwood {Lyonotha- 
mus), island oak (Quercus toinentella), and 
lemonade bush {Rhus integrifolia) are the most 
abundant species. The west side canyons are 
mostly denuded, but have some growth of toyon 
(Heteromeles), lemonade bush, and island cherry 
[Prunus ilicifolia lyonii) (Stewart and Clow 1974). 
Shrikes are found in washes, ravines and mesas, 
where there are either scattered tall bushes such 
as toyon and wild cherry, or low thorny scrub 
and cactus patches (Grinnell and Miller 1944). 

The presence or absence of thorny bushes 
seems to have little effect on determining the hab- 
itat of American shrikes (presumably including 
L. I. mearnsi). Impaling devices are so varied as to 
be available in some form in almost any type of 
habitat except entirely barren areas (Miller 1931). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Dense tall brush or low tree growth is essential 
for roosting and nesting in each territory, whether 
breeding or wintering (Miller 1931). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

In each territory there is a headquarters where 
the roosting place or, if a breeding territory, the 
nest is located. The headquarters provides good 
lookout perches, feeding facilities, and some sort 
of brushy growth for shelter at night. The requisite 
for roosting places seems to be some support 
above the ground within a screen of overhanging 
branches. Roosts are marked by conspicuous fecal 
deposits. 

For nesting, shrikes prefer dense bushes or 
small, thickly grown trees at medium heights, 
rarely less than 1 m or more than 7 m off the 
ground (Miller 1931). Howell (1917) speaks of 
nests of mearnsi placed about 0.6 m from ground 
in a "certain kind of thorny bush." This state- 
ment applies to the more barren parts of San Cle- 
mente. Where there are canyons on the island, 
Grinnell (1897) and Howell (1917) reported this 
shrike nesting in bushes on the steep canyon sides. 
Typical nests described by Grinnell (1897) and 
Linton (1908) were composed of dry twigs, weed 
stems, and grasses, thickly lined with rootlets and 
sheep's wool, and well concealed in thick bushes. 



SAN FRANCISCO 



CALIFORNIA 



'0^=^ 



LOS ANGELES 



* ^ 



/ 



?^ 



SAN CLEMENTE ISLAND 



Total range of the San Clemente loggerhead shrike 



OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

In regions where nesting sites are scarce, con- 
siderable modification of the winter and fall feed- 
ing territories probably takes place when they are 
converted into breeding territories. Presumably in 
reorganizing breeding territories into fall and win- 
ter feeding areas, one or the other of the adults 
keeps possession of the nesting locality, while the 
other members of the family seek territories un- 
occupied by shrikes, and which, in some cases, 
may be suitable only for winter and fall occu- 
pancy. Size and shape of territories depends on 
the vegetative types present, the concentration of 
food supply, the provision of nest sites, the local 
abundance of the species and local physical bar- 
riers (Miller 1931), as well as on the age, sex, and 
physical condition of the bird. 

POPULATION AND TRENDS 

No more than 16 individuals were seen from 
1-5 and 8-9 May 1974 (Stewart and Clow 1974). 
Specific records were: 2 May (4); 4 May (5-6); 5 
May (1 feeding fledgling) (Stewart and Clow 1974). 

Formerly, L. I. mearnsi was rated by some 
authors as "fairly common," but the total popula- 
tion has always been small (Grinnell and Miller 
1944). Long ago, it was considered tolerably com- 
mon; that is, 2 or 3 could be generally seen during 
an hour's walk, but they were very shy and hardest 
to secure of any bird on the island (Grinnell 1897 ; 
Meams 1898). They were reported fairly well 
distributed over the whole island, but extremely 
shy by Linton (1908). In especially favored little 
canyons, several pairs would congregate. Two 
pairs were found breeding not 100 m apart, while 
a third was found within 0.4 kilometers (Howell 
1917). 

Causes of shrike mortality on San Clemente 
are unknown, although some, particularly of 
nestlings and juveniles, is undoubtedly caused by 
predatory birds and mammals. Percentage of first 
year birds in samples of winter and spring popula- 
tions is only about 36%, by far the smallest per- 
centage of all races except anthonyi, another 
island form (most races have 50% or more im- 
matures). This indicates a relatively poor repro- 
ductive rate in the island populations. It may indi- 
cate a lower population loss than mainland birds, 
but it also shows the vulnerability of island birds 
to any change in mortality rate or reproductive 



potential (Miller 1931). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Shrikes hunt quite late in the evening and 
early in the morning, at least in warm weather. 
They are opportunists, living on the most abun- 
dcmt and readily obtainable supply of animal food, 

including all kinds of insects and other arthropods, 
small reptiles, birds, and mammals that they can 
capture. One was observed carrying a young 
house finch with the adult house finch in pursuit 
on 5 May 1974 (Stewart and Clow 1974). If there 
is an infestation of a particular kind of insect, 
shrikes will concentrate on that food (Miller 1931). 

The method of hunting is to perch on objects 
from 6 in (15.24 cm) to 6 ft (1.83 m) above the 
ground where prey may be seen clearly. Oc- 
casionally the bird hops about in search of animals. 
If prey is not secured from a certain post within a 
minute or two, it moves on to another part of the 
territory. Passive hunting has been noted com- 
monly during a large part of the day at times 
other than when feeding young. A less common 
method of feeding is capturing insects in the air 
(MUler 1931). 

Dead prey is impaled on a thorn, twig, splin- 
ter, or other sharp structure, or eaten almost im- 
mediately, depending on its size. If the shrike is 
hungry when large prey is impaled, it eats all it 
can— as much as 7 g at one feeding. Then the re- 
mainder is left hanging for later feedings, which 
usually continue until the last morsel is eaten. 
The practical value to shrikes of impaled food 
older than a few days is slight, as dry or spoiled 
food is not eaten (Miller 1931). 

REPRODUCTION 

A set consists of five or six eggs. Eggs vary 
from dull white to either light neutral gray or 
buff, covered with small spots of neutral gray, 
yellowish brown and umber, with occasional fine 
black scrawlings near the large end. 

Several sets have been found in March, and 
young are commonly found out of the nest at the 
end of March, indicating that eggs are present in 
February. Incubation usually starts with the lay- 
ing of the next-to-last egg; it is performed solely 
by female. The male feeds the female during in- 
cubation, either on or off the nest. Incubation 
lasts about 16 days. Twenty days is the normal 
time for young to remain in nest. Parents con- 



4 



tinue to feed young until about the 35th day 
(Miller 1931). 

Some birds raise two broods in one season. A 
female whose mate was killed did not find a new 
mate while feeding young older than 16 days 
(Miller 1931). 

It is not certain whether the male seeks the 
territory of the female or vice versa for breeding, 
but probably the former (Miller 1931). 

Specific instances of finding nests with eggs 
or young have been described by Bent (1950:182), 
Linton (1908), and Howell (1917). 

MANAGEMENT 

The only practical action to take for the 
benefit of the San Clemente loggerhead shrike 
would be to remove or confine all of the livestock, 
(particularly goats) on the island, to permit the 
regrowth of dense patches of tall brush. This must 
be accomplished over considerable areas to permit 
adequate spacing of territories— at least 100 m 
apart for each individual bird at all times of the 
year. Replanting of native woody species of plants 
in clumps for territorial headquarters would has- 
ten rehabilitation. Until livestock can be removed, 
exclosures to protect woody plants from over- 
browsing might help. 



AUTHORITIES 

Robert M. Stewart 

William C. Clow 

Point Reyes Bird Observatory 

Box 321 

Bolinas, Calif. 94924 

Lee Jones 
Dept. of Zoology 
University of California 
Los Angeles, Calif. 90024 

Jan Larson 

Naval Ocean Systems Center 
Code 4105 
SanDiego,CaHf. 92152 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

It would appear that the widespread destruc- 



tion of dense patches of tall brush spaced widely 
enough to accomodate this shrike's aggressive ter- 
ritorial behavior and requirements for nesting and 
observation perches is the main reason for its 
poor reproduction and evident decline. Correc- 
tion of overbrowsing by livestock, particularly 
goats, is the only hope for survival. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologists' Union. 1957. Check-list 
of North American Birds, 5th Ed. Baltimore, 
Md. Amer. Omith. Union. 

Bent, A. C. 1950. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can wagtails, shrikes, vireos, and their allies. 
U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 197:180-182. 

Grinnell, J. 1897. Report on the birds recorded 
during a visit to the islands of Santa Barbara, 
San Nicolas, and San Clemente, in the spring 
of 1897. Pasadena Acad. Sci. Publ. 1:1-21. 

Grinnell, J. and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribu- 
tion of the birds of California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 2 7 . 

Howell, A. B. 1917. Birds of the islands off the 
coast of southern California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 12:88. 

Linton, C. B. 1908. Notes from San Clemente 
Island. Condor 10:82-86. 

Mearns, E. A. 1898. Description of two new birds 
from the Santa Barbara Islands, Southern 
CaUfornia. Auk 15:258-264. 

Miller, A. H. 1931. Systematic revision and natural 
history of the American shrikes (Lanius). 
Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 38:11-242. 

Raven, P. H. 1963. A flora of San Clemente 
Island, California. Aliso 5:289-347. 

Ridgway, R. 1904. The Birds of North and Middle 
America. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 50, pt. 3:252. 

Stewart, R. M. and W. C. Clow. 1974. Part I. San 
Clemente Island, in The status of the Song 
Sparrow and Bewick's Wren on San Clemente 
Island and Santa Barbara Island, California, 
by R. M. Stewart, J. Small, W. C. Clow and 
R. P. Henderson. Report to Endangered 
Species Off. U.S. Fish and Wildl. Serv. by 
Point Reyes Bird Observatory. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.6 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE PINE BARRENS TREEFROG 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the F,ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of PLndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of F-ndangercd Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.6 
March 1980 



SELFXTED VKR I EBRA IE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OE IHE UNITED STATES- 

THE PINE BARRENS TREEFROG 



A Cooperati\c Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1 010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Ser\ice 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PINE BARRENS TREEFROG 

Hyla andersonii Baird 



States: Endangered: Florida, South Carolina. 
Threatened: New Jersey. 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Amphibia 

ORDER Salientia (Anura) 

FAMILY Hylidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Anderson treefrog 

DATE: 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 14 October 1976 

5 April 1977 
1 June 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (Florida population only) 
(43 FR 18109; 5 Apr. 77). 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The species occurs in small, isolated popula- 
tions scattered along Atlantic and Gulf Coastal 
Plains (relict distribution). Many of these sites 
are undergoing rapid alteration, including 
drainage, development and agricultural mod- 
ifications. The resultant loss of habitat con- 
stitutes the most serious threat to the Pine Bar- 
rens treefrog. 



PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The animal is green dorsally with a narrow 
yellow or white stripe along the dorsolateral 
edge. Belly is white. A lavender or plum-colored 
band extends along the sides from the nostrils 
to the hind limbs. Axilla and normally con- 
cealed undersides of hind limbs are light orange 
or orange spotted. Adults are 30 to 50 mm 
(snout-vent length). 

Illustrated in color in Dickerson (1969), 
Leviton (1972), Conant (1975), Means and 
Longden (1976), and Means (1976b). Black 
and white photographs in Wright and Wright 
(1949). Eggs illustrated by Livezey and Wright 
(1947). Noble and Noble (1923) illustrated the 
tadpole stages. Gosner and Black (1967) and 
Means and Longden (1976) provide audiospec- 
trograms of the breeding call. 

RANGE 

The species distribution has three principal 
foci: 1) the Pine Barrens of central New Jersey; 

2) the upper Coastal Plain and parts of the lower 
Coastal Plain of North and South Carolina; and 

3) Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties in 
the western Florida Panhandle. A single speci- 
men from Richmond County, Georgia, and the 
holotype from Anderson, South Carolina, may 
represent a fourth distributional center. There 
is no indication that the distribution is contin- 
uous between New Jersey and Florida. 

Although individual populations have been 
extirpated and total numbers have no doubt 
been reduced, the geographic distribution has 
probably changed little in historic times. 

RANGE MAP 

Known distribution is presented on an ac- 
companying map. 



STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton. 

Georgia Richmond (?). 

New Jersey Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, 
. Cape May, Cumberland, Glouces- 
ter, Middlesex, Monmouth, 
Ocean, Salem. 



N. Carolina Bladen, Cumberland, Duplin, 
Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, 
Lee, Lenoir, Moore, Onslow, 
Pende, Richmond, Sampson, 
Scotland, Wayne. 

Pennsylvania Delaware (?) 

S. Carolina Chesterfield. 

HABITAT 

Only the breeding habitat is known. Chorus- 
ing Pine Barrens treefrogs usually associate with 
evergreen shrubs in sphagnaceous seepage bogs 
on hillsides below pine-oak ridges. In New Jer- 
sey and North Carolina, Atlantic white cedar 
[Chamaecyparis thyoides) is a dominant tree 
species (Wright and Wright 1949). Means and 
Longden (1976) note the absence of cedar but 
the constant dominance of titi trees (Cliftonia 
and Cyrilla) in Florida localities. The breeding 
habitat can best be characterized as shrubby 
bogs. 

Means and Longden (1976) describe the 
habitat of the Pine Barrens treefrog in Florida, 
and Means (1976b) provides photographs of 
Florida breeding localities. Habitat photographs 
for New Jersey and North Carolina are in Noble 
and Noble (1923) and Wright (1932). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Noble and Noble (1923) reported that the 
food habits are not specialized. The treefrogs 
eat anything of small size moving in their vi- 
cinity, including grasshoppers, beetles, and ants. 
Tadpoles feed on algae (Gosner 1959). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Nothing is known about specific require- 
ments. Probably like other small treefrogs, they 
use small crevices or the undersides of leaves 
during the day, and forage at night. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Spawning occurs in sphagnaceous shrub 
bogs (see Habitat, above). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Males call during the breeding season from 
low bushes and occasionally from the ground. 




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100 


SCALE 


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CONIC 


PROJECTION 


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WEST LDMCITUftI 



The range of the Pine Barrens treefrog is indicated by shading on this map. 



OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Little is known about the species beyond 
its specialized and unique breeding habitat des- 
cribed above. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

No population estimates are reported. 
Means (1976b) reported that since 1972, two 
known breeding sites have been rendered un- 
suitable because of clearing for improved pas- 
ture. A. J. Bullard (personal communication) 
reported some North Carolina breeding local- 
ities also have recently been destroyed. 

Since the discovery of the Pine Barrens tree- 
frog in Florida (Christman 1970), some 47 
breeding congregations have been located in 
three West Florida counties (P. Moler, personal 
communication). These are all small seepage 
bogs, and none has been found to contain more 
than a dozen calling frogs, with most having 
fewer than four (P. Moler, personal communica- 
tions). 

REPRODUCTION 

Treefrogs breed from May (April in Florida) 
to August. Eggs are laid singly on the bo t- 
tom or attached to sphagnum (Wright and 
Wright 1949). Eggs hatch in 3 days and may 
number up to 200 or more per female. Tadpoles 
transform during the summer and frogs probably 
reach sexual maturity in 1 year. 

Nothing is known concerning natural longe- 
vity or survival rates, although a captive survived 
7 years (A.J. Bullard, personal communication). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

No management or conservation measures 
have been instituted other than legal protection 
against taking, possessing or molesting the spe- 
cies. The relict, disjunct habitat should be pro- 
tected from development. 

Many of the known breeding localities in 
Florida are located within Eglin Air Force Base 
and Blackwater River State Forest. Means 
(1976b) suggests purchase of some of the re- 
maining breeding localities in Florida to prevent 
habitat destruction. 



Critical Habitat has been designated in 
Okaloosa County, Florida (42 FR 58754; 11 
Nov. 77): (1) NW'/4 Sec. 35, T4NR22W; (2) 
NE'/4 Sec. 27, T4NR22W; (3) SWA Sec. 26, 
T5NR23W; (4) NWA Sec. 34, T4NR23W; (5) 
NW'/4 Sec. 32, T4NR22W; (6) NWA Sec. 12, 
T4NR22W; (7) NE'A Sec. 11, T4NR22W. 

AUTHORITIES 

A.J. Bullard, Jr. 

103 Smith Chapel Road 

Mt. Olive, NC 28365 

D. Bruce Means 
Tall Timbers Research Station 
Route l,Box 160 
Tallahassee, FL 32303 

Paul Moler 

Wildlife Research Lab. 

Florida Game & Fish Water Fish. Comm. 

Gainesville, FL 32601 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The disjunct distribution of the Pine Barrens 
treefrog makes it of considerable interest from 
an evolutionary and biogeographic point of 
view; it is the least known treefrog in the United 
States. There is a pressing need for basic distri- 
butional and biological information. 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bullard, A. J. 1965. Additional records of the 
treefrog, Hyla andersonii, from the coastal 
plain of North Carolina. Herpetologica 21 
(2):154-155. 

Christman, S. P. 191 Q. Hyla andersonii m Flor- 
ida. Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 33(1):80. 

Conant, R. 1975. A field guide to reptiles and 
amphibians of eastern and central North 
America. 2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., 
Boston. 429 pp. 

Dickerson, M. C. 1969. The frog book. Dover 
Publ.Inc, New York. 253 pp. 



Gosner, K. L. 1959. Systematic variations in 
tadpole teeth with notes on food. Herpeto- 
logical5(40):103-120. 

Gosner, K. L. and I. H. Black. 1967. Hyla 
andersonii Baird. Cat. Am. Amphib. Rep- 
tiles. 54.1-54.2. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Ave., Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Leviton. A. 1972. Reptiles and amphibians of 
North America. Doubleday and Co., New 
York. 250 pp. 

Livezey, R. L., and A. H. Wright. 1947. A sy- 
noptic key to the salientian eggs of the 
United States. Am. Midi. Natur. 37(1): 179- 
222. 

. 1976a. Pine barrens treefrog. In 

Hillestad, H. O., D. B. Means, and W. W. 
Baker, eds. Endangered and threatened 
vertebrates of the southeastern United 
States. Tall Timbers Res. Stn., Misc. Publ. 4. 

. 1976b. Endangered species: Pine bar- 



rens treefrog. Florida Natur. 49(5): 15-20. 



. 1979. Pine Barrens treefrog. Pages 3-4 

in R. W. McDiarmid ed.. Rare and endan- 
gered biota of Florida, Vol. 3, Amphibians 
and reptiles. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gaines- 
ville. 



Means, D. B.,andC. T. Longden. 1976. Aspects 
of the biology and zoogeography of the 
pine barrens treefrog [Hyla andersonii) in 
northern Florida. Herpetologica 32(2): 117- 
130. 



Noble, G. K., and R. C. Noble. 1923. The An- 
derson treefrog {Hyla andersonii Baird): 
Observations on its habits and life history. 
Zoologica ll(18):416-455. 

Wright, A. H. 1932. Life-histories of the frogs 
of Okefenokee Swamp, Georgia. Macmillian 
Co., New York. 497 pp. 

Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright. 1949. Hand- 
book of frogs and toads of the United States 
and Canada. Comstock Publ. Assoc. Cornell 
Univ. Press, Ithaca, N.Y. 640 pp. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.7 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE RED COCKADED WOODPECKER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



prefacp: 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubhc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aie not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as ainciuicd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Kndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SUIS should he directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sewice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal F,cosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.7 
March 1980 



SliLKCn:!) VI:R 1 EBRA 1 K KNDANGERP:D SPKCIES 
OF IHi: SKACOAS I OF 1 HE UNFFED S FA TES- 

THE RED COCKADED WOODPECKER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems i'eam, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidcll, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and U'iUllifc Ser\ice 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




RED-COCKADED WOODPECKER 

Picoides borealis Vieillot 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Piciformes 

FAMILY Picidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES none 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 17 October 1976, 1 March 1977 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 16047, 13 Octo- 
ber 1970). 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Missis- 

sippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, 
Texas. Extirpated: Missouri. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The primary reason for the current status of 
the red-cockaded woodpecker is a decrease in 
quantity and quality of suitable habitat, primarily 
due to the short-term-rotation timber management 
currently being practiced in the Southeast. Short- 
term-rotation prevents the development of ma- 
ture, diseased pine trees that are necessary for 
roosting and nesting. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The red-cockaded woodpecker is small, 18 to 
20 cm long, with awingspanof 35 to 38 cm. The 
cap and nape are black, surrounding a large, white 
cheek patch. Wings and back are black, horizon- 



tally barred with white. Underparts are whitish 
with dark spots on the flanks. The adult male has 
a small red streak, the 'cockade,' on each side of 
the black cap, but this is rarely visible except 
when the bird is displaying. The most distin- 
guishing field mark is the black cap and nape sur- 
rounding the large white cheek patch. 

The species is illustrated in Robbins et al. 
(1966). Black and white photos appear in Mur- 
phey (1939) and Jackson et al. (1976b). 

RANGE 

Present range (nonmigratory species) includes 
the following areas: Alabama, southern Arkan- 
sas, Florida, Georgia, Cumberland Plateau region 
of Kentucky, Louisiana, southeastern Maryland, 
Mississippi, eastern North Carolina, southeastern 
Oklahoma, South Carolina, eastern Tennessee, 
eastern Texas, and southeastern Virginia. 

Former range included the entire States of 
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, 
Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New 
Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Caro- 
lina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia (Jackson 
1971). 

In the Southeast, there are 76.7 million ha of 
commercial forest in major pine types. Approxi- 
mately 10.4 milHon ha, of which 0.9 million ha 
are in public ownership, are suitable for red-cock- 
aded woodpeckers (Czuhai 1971). 

RANGE MAP 

Known distribution is indicated by shading. 
Dots represent populations on publicly owned or 
managed lands; large dots represent at least 10 
clans, while small dots represent 1 to 9 clans. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama Baldwin, Bibb, Calhoun, Chilton, Clay, 
Cleburne, Covington, Escambia, Hale, 
Jefferson, Lawrence, Macon, Perry, 
Shelby, St. Clair, Talledega, Tusca- 
loosa, Winston. 

Arkansas Ashley, Calhoun, Clark, Columbia, 
Hempstead, Lafayette, Monroe, Oua- 
chita, Polk, Scott, Union. 

Florida Alachua, Baker, Bay, Brevard, Char- 
lotte, Citrus, Clay, Columbia, Duval, 
Franklin, Glades, Gulf, Hernando, 
Highlands, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, 



Marion, Martin, Okaloosa, Okeecho- 
bee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pasco, St. 
Johns, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton. 

Georgia Appling, Baldwin, Brantley, Charlton, 
Chattahoochee, Clarke, Clinch, Deca- 
tur, Floyd, Glynn, Grady, Harris, Jas- 
per, Jenkins, Jones, Pierce, Putnam, 
Screven, Tattnall, Telfair, Thomas, 
Toombs, Turner, Ware, Washington, 
Wilkes. 

Kentucky Laurel, McCreary. 

Louisiana Allen, Beauregard, Bienville, Bossier, 
(Parishes) Caddo, Calcasieu, Catahoula, Clai- 
borne, Grant, La Salle, Morehouse, 
Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, St. 
Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Ver- 
non, Washington. 

Maryland Dorchester, Worcester (?). 

Mississippi Choctaw, Copiah, Franklin, Harrison, 
Hinds, Jackson, Jones, Lafayette, Lau- 
derdale, Leake, Madison, Marion, 
Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Pearl River, 
Scott, Smith, Stone, Wayne, Wilkin- 
son, Winston. 



North 
Carolina 



Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, 
Cumberland, Gates, Harnett, Hertford, 
Hoke, Hyde, Jones, Montgomery, 
Moore, Northampton, Onslow, Pam- 
lico, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, 
Wake, Wayne. 



Oklahoma Bryan, Latimer, Le Flore, McCurtain, 
Pittsburg, Pushmataha. 



South 
Carolina 



Aiken, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, 
Calhoun, Charleston, Chesterfield, 
Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dil- 
lon, Dorchester, Edgefield, Florence, 
Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Lau- 
rens, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, 
Richland, Sumter, Williamsburg. 



Tennessee Blount, Campbell, Cumberland, 
Morgan. 

Texas Angelina, Cass, Cherokee, Hardin, 



L» if. 




CONIC PROJECTION 



Shading on this map depicts the present range of the red-cockaded woodpecker in southeastern 
United States. Dots represent populations on public lands, small dots, 1-9 clans; large dots, 10 or 
more clans. 

3 



Houston, Jasper, Montgomery, Nacog- 
doches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San 
Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trini- 
ty, Tyler, Walker. 

Virginia Prince Georges (?), Southampton (?), 
Surry, Sussex (?). 

HABITAT 

Mature to over-mature southern pines are the 
best habitat for roosting and nesting. Longleaf 
{Pinus palustris), loblolly {Pinus taeda), shortleaf 
(Pinus echinata), slash {Pinus elliottii), and pond 
(Pinus rigida) pines are used, depending on local- 
ity (Thompson and Baker 1971). Younger pines 
(10 to 21cm d.b.h.) sometimes are used for forag- 
ing, especially after an unusually hot burning of 
the area which results in killed and weakened 
trees which offer high-grade feeding areas (Beck- 
ett 1974). Fire, an essential element of this habitat, 
prevents thick understory. Red-cockaded wood- 
peckers are discouraged by dense stands of pine 
saplings and thick hardwood understories. 

Although over-mature pines are required for 
nesting and roosting, the red-cockaded woodpeck- 
ers will forage in a variety of habitat types 
depending on food availability and proximity to 
cavity-tree sites. 

The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Com- 
mission (1976) and Nesbitt et al. (1978), have 
studied fall habitat usage in a Florida flatwoods 
community. Percent of total foraging time spent 
in each habitat type was: 

Pond /slash pine flatwoods 43.8 

Longleaf pine flatwoods 38.2 

Slash pine plantation 9.4 

Bayhead/pond borders, 

cypress domes and others 6.5 

Roosting areas 2.2 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The red-cockaded woodpecker feeds chiefly 
on wood-boring insects, ants, beetles, grubs, grass- 
hoppers, crickets, and caterpillers (Murphy 1939). 
Analysis of 99 stomach content samples from the 
Southeast revealed a diet of 84% insects and 16% 
plant material (Beal 1911). Plant fruits eaten 
include (Murphy 1939, Ligon 1970, Baker 1971a): 

Wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) 

Magnolia {Magnolia grandi flora) 

Poison ivy {Rhus radicans) 

Wild grape ( Vitis sp) 

Pokeberry {Phytolacca americana) 

Blueberry {Vaccinium spp.) 



Wild cherry {Prunus serotina) 

Black gum {Nyssa sylvatica) 

Woodpeckers prey on the com earworm {Helicov- 
era armigeva) when corn fields are nearby. (Baker 
1971a). 

Foraging on a tree trunk it uses the bill and/or 
feet to pry off pieces of bark, exposing insects. 
One technique involves backing down the tree, 
flaking off bark with the feet while catching prey 
with the bill. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Roosting requires a cavity in a living pine tree. 
A sample of 259 cavity trees in east central Missis- 
sippi ranged from 40 to 116 years in age, with a 
mean of 75.9 years (Jackson 1977). Usually the 
tree is infected with red heart {Fames pini), a 
fungus disease which weakens the heartwood 
(Affeltranger 1971). Jackson (1977) suggests a 
cavity can provide an infection site for red heart 
disease. After the heartwood is weakened, an 
excavation can be completed. A tree may have 
several roosting cavities. 

The distinguishing characteristic of a cavity 
tree is the flow of sap that glazes the tree around 
the opening. Birds initiate and maintain sap flow 
by pecking out chunks of bark and cambium, 
forming 'resin wells.' Active sap flow may pre- 
vent predators and/or competitors from entering 
the roost cavity (Ligon 1970, Dennis 1971, Jack- 
son 1974). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The adult male's roost cavity is used for nest- 
ing. The bottom of the gourd-shaped cavity is 
covered with chips and debris; sap often smears 
onto the eggs (Murphey 1939). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Mating behavior, as observed by Crosby 
(1971a): the female landed near the male and 
raised her tail. The male mounted from her left 
side, fell, separated, and resumed feeding after 3 
seconds. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Clan (see Reproduction) home-range require- 
ments depend on three variables: clan size, habitat 
type, and season. Crosby (1971b) followed two 
color-marked adult pairs in north central Florida 
during the spring. This study produced an average 
estimate of 17.2 ha per adult pair. Baker (1971b), 
observing color-marked individuals in north Flo- 



rida, estimated home range of an eight-bird clan 
to be 65.6 ha during the summer. 

Lay and Russell (1970) divided known areas 
by the number of clans present to estimate home 
ranges of 26.7 ha and 67.7 ha per clan in two 
eastern Texas forests. Beckett (1974) used the 
same technique to estimate 86.2 ha per clan in a 
South Carolina forest. 

Skorupa and McFarlane (1979) compared 
summer and winter home range requirements of 
two adult pairs. Results indicated a 112% and 
71% increase in winter forage range requirements. 
Fall home range requirements in central Florida 
were determined by the Florida Game and Fresh 
Water Fish Commission (1976) and Nesbitt et al. 
(unpublished). A bird in each clan was equipped 

with a miniature radio transmitter. Results indi- 
cated an average home range of 69.8 ha. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Estimates of total population range from 
3,000 to 10,000 (U.S. Department of the Interior 
1973). 

The number of colonies (groups of cavity 
trees) on public lands is between 2,800 and 3,600; 
of these, an estimated 2,500 are active (see Man- 
agement and Conservation). 

Subpopulations exist on ecological islands of 
suitable habitat. The fractioning of distribution 
results in reduced gene flow between subpopu- 
lations, as well as reduced ability to disperse 
into and occupy suitable habitats that might be- 
come available in the future (Jackson 1976). 

Colonies were surveyed in 10 southeastern 
States in 1969-70. Thompson (1976) reported the 
status of 312 colonies resurveyed in 1973-74. 
Only 271 remained active, a 13.3% loss, at an an- 
nual loss rate of 3.5%. For the 4-year period, 
losses on Federal, State, and private lands were, 
respectively, 8.7%, 27.3%, and 22. 9%. The largest 
factor in this reduction was timber harvest. 

Clearcutting and short-term-rotation timber 
management have virtually eliminated the species 
from Kentucky, where Jackson et al. (1976b) 
found red-cockaded woodpeckers at only two 
locations. 

As trends continue toward short-term timber 
rotation throughout the Southeast, the species 
will become increasingly endangered. 

REPRODUCTION 

The species nests during April, May, and June. 
Clutch size is usually two to four eggs. The incu- 
bation period is approximately 10 days; duration 



of the nestling stage is about 27 days (Jackson et 
al. 1976a, W. W. Baker personal communication). 

Usually one or two young are fledged. Lon- 
gevity and survival rates are not known. 

A family unit is called a 'clan,' and consists of 
two pair-bonded adults, the young of the year, 
and sometimes several 'helpers' that are young of 
previous years. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

A Recovery Team has been appointed and a 
draft recovery plan submitted to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service for review. 

Jackson (1976) suggests that properly man- 
aging interstate highway right-of-ways might re- 
unite fragmented populations. 

The following tabulation presents population 
estimates of species numbers on publicly owned 
or managed lands. Unless otherwise noted, all 
data were obtained by personal communication 
with the listed observers. (Key: NF = National 
Forest; NWR = National Wildlife Refuge; SF = 
State Forest; SF = State Park; WMA = WildHfe 
Management Area.) 



State 



Location, estimate, and reference 



Alabama Conecuh NF; 22 colonies; O. Stewart 
Talledega NF; 30 colonies; O.Stewart 
Tuskegee NF; 3 colonies; O. Stewart 
W. B. Bankhead NF; 6 colonies; O. 

Stewart 
Felsenthal NWR; 20-30 colonies; J. 
Howe 
Arkansas Ouachita NF; no estimate available. 

Florida Apalachicola NF; 227 known; 647 
estimated;D. Bethancourt 

Aucilla WMA; present; no estimates. 
S. Stafford 

Austin Gary Memorial Forest (Univ. 

of Florida) ; present; exact number not 
known; D. Hirth 

Big Cypress Swamp; 1 cl£m;J. Kern 

Blackwater River SF;approx. 25 colo- 
nies; J. Bethea 

Camp Blanding; 20-25 active colonies; 
J. Schatz 

Gary SF; approx. 6 colonies; J. 
Bethea 

Eglin Air Force Base; approx 55 colo- 
nies; W. Alford, 



Fisheating Creek WMA; at least 2 ac- 
tive colonies ;T. Breault 
Johnathan Dickinson SP; 1 active co- 
lony; J. Stevenson 

J. W. Corbett WMA; 20-30 birds; N. 
Eichholz 

Nassau WMA; present, number not 
known; S. Stafford 

Ocala NF; 30 colonies known, 48 es- 
timated; D Bethancourt 

Osceola NF; 32 known active colonies 
50 estimated; pers. observation. 

Saint Marks NWR. 3 active colonies; 
J. White 

Secil Webb WMA; more than 20 active 
colonics; L. Campbell 

Three Lakes WMA; at least 5 colonies; 
R. McCracken 

Withlacoochee SF; approx. 27 
colonies; J. Bethea 
Georgia Baldwin SF; present, exact no. not 
known; J. Hammond 

Dixon Memorial SF; present, exact 
no. not known; J. Hammond 

Ft. Benning; at least 80 colonies; J. 
Medcaff 

Fort Gordon; 4 birds (est.); H. Ford- 
ham 

Oconee NF; 24 active colonies; T. 
Richards 

Okefenokee NWR; 33 colonies; J. 
Eadia 

Piedmont NWR; 70 colonies; S. 
Pagans 

Daniel Boone NF; 2 or 3 active colo- 
nies; W. Williams. 
Louisiana D'Arbonne NWR; present, exact no. 
not known; J. Howe 

Kisatchie NF; 354 colonies; R. Wilson 
Fort Polk; at least 200 colonies; R. 
Aycock 

Maryland Blackwater NWR; 20 birds (est.) B. 
Julian 

Mississippi Bienville NF; 101 colonies; G. Sirmon 
Copiah County WMA; present, exact 

no. not known. W. Turcotte 
DeSoto NF; 88 colonies; G. Sirmon 
Homochitto NF; 84 colonies; G. Sir- 
mon 



Marion County WMA; present, exact 
no. not known. W. Turcotte. 

Natchez Trace Pkwy.; 1 active colony; 
W. Turcotte 

Noxubee NWR. 71 colonies; T. 
McDaniel 

North 

Carolina Blanden Lakes SF; at least 2 
colonies; S. Taylor 
Crotan NF; 3-35 active colonies; B. 

Sanders 
Fort Bragg; over 100 active colonies; 

B. Sanders 
Mattamuskcet NWR; 6 colonies; J. 

Roberts 
Pee Dee NWR; Present, exact no. not 

known; J. Hollowman 
Uwharrie NF; 1-3 active colonies; B. 
Sanders 

Oklahoma McCurtain County; 48-53 active colo- 
nies (Wood 1975). 

South 

Carolina Carolina Sandhills NWR; over 90 colo- 
nies; M. Hurdle 
Cheraw SP; 16 colonies; R. Hendrick 
Francis Marion NF; 500 active colo- 
nies (est.) D. Urbston 
Givhans Ferry SP; at least 1 colony; 

R. Hendrick 
Harbison SF; 3 colonies; J. Tiller 
Huntington Beach SP; 1 colony; R. 

Hendrick 
Lee SP; at least 1 colony; R. Hendrick 
Little Pee Dee SP; 5 colonies; R. 

Hendrick 
Manchester SF; 50 colonies; J. Tiller 
Sand Hills SF; 55 colonies; M. Hurdle 
Santee NWR; 4 colonies; C. Strickland 
Santee State Resort; 3 colonies; R. 

Hendrick 
Savannah River Plant, U.S. Dept. of 

Energy; 14 colonies; D. Roth. 
Sesquicentennial SP; at least 2 colo- 
nies; R. Hendrick 
Sumter NF; 15 active colonies; D. 
Urbston 
Tennessee Catoosa WMA; 6 colonies; B. Yambert 
Great Smoky Mountains NP; sightings 
in Cade's Cove area; J. Collier 
Texas Angelina NF; min. 46 colonies, max. 

60; D. Gates 



Davy Crocket NF; min. 245 colonies; 

max. 29 1;D. Gates 
Sabine NF; min. 104 colonies, max. 

120; D. Gates 
Sam Houston NF; min. 87 colonies, 

max. 225; D. Gates 



AUTHORITIES 

W. Wilson Baker (Recovery Team) 
Tall Timbers Research Station 
Route l,Box 160 
Tallahasse, FL 32303 

Ted Beckett 
Magnolia Gardens 
Route 4 
Charleston, SC 29407 

Vernon Carter (Recovery Team) 

Regional Forester 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

17 Executive Park Drive, N.E. 

Atlanta, GA 30329 

Thad Cherry (Recovery Team) 
Wildlife Research Supervisor 
Weyerhauser Company 
P.G. Box 1391 
New Bern, NC 28560 

Melvin Hopkins (Recovery Team) 
National Forests in North Carolina 
P.O. Box 2750 
Asheville,NC 28802 

Jerome A.Jackson (Recovery Team Leader) 

Department of Zoology 

Mississippi State University 

P.O. Box Z 

Mississippi State, MS 39762 

Daniel W. Lay 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

Box 4608, SFA 

Nacogdoches, TX 75961 

Michael R. Lennartz 

Department of Forestry 

Southeastern Forest Experiment Station 

Clemson University 

Clemson,SC 29631 

Teddy E. Lynn, Jr. 
International Paper Company 
Georgetown Woodlands Region 
Georgetown, SC 29440 



Robert W. McFarlane 
Savannah River Ecology Lab 
P.O. Drawer E 
Aiken, SC 29801 

Richard L. Thompson 
Florida Management Biologist 
Fish and Wildlife Service 
P.O. Box 190 
Tallahassee, FL 32302 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Cavities produced by red-cockaded wood- 
peckers are used by other species, including the 
honey bee (Apis mellifera), rat snake {Elaphe ob- 
soleta), red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes caro- 
inus), red-headed woodpecker {Melanerpes ery- 
throcephalus), white-breasted nuthatch {Sitta 
car o line nsis), tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), 
eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis), common flicker 
(Colaptes auratus), pileated woodpecker {Dryo- 
copus pileatus), great crested flycatcher (Myiar- 
chus crinitus), screech owl (Otus asio), wood 
duck (Aix sponsa), starling (Sturnus vulgaris), 
gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), fox squirrel 
{Sciurus niger), and flying squirrel {Glaucomys 
volans) (Baker 1971b, Jackson et al. 1976a). 

The fragmentation of nesting habitat, and 
thus of the woodpecker's distribution, may be 
leading to reduced gene flow between populations 
and a loss of ability to colonize new habitat that 
may develop. 

Subjects needing further investigation include 
seasonal variation of food habits and home range 
requirements, causes of high nestling mortality 
(relative to other woodpeckers), pesticide levels 
and their significance, and reintroduction tech- 
niques. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Affeltranger, C. 1971. The red heart disease of 
southern pines. Pages 96-99 in R. L. Thomp- 
son, ed. The ecology and management of the 
red-cockaded woodpecker. Proc. Symp. Oke- 
fenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, Folkston, Geor- 
gia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. Sport Fish. Wild, 
and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., Tallahassee, Flo- 
rida. 188 pp. 

Baker, W. W. 1971a. Observations on the food ha- 
bits of the red-cockaded woodpecker. Pages 
100-107 in R. L. Thompson, ed. The ecology 
and management of the red-cockaded wood- 
pecker. Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. 



Refuge, Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. 
Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. 
Stn., Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 

1971b. Progress report on life history 



studies of the red-cockaded woodpecker at 
Tall Timbers Research Station. Pages 44-59 in 
R. L. Thompson, ed. The ecology and man- 
agement of the red-cockaded woodpecker. 
Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, 
Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., 
Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 
Beal, F. E. L. 1911. Food of the woodpeckers in 
the United States. U. S. Dep. Agric. Biol. Sur- 
vey Bull. 37:1-64. 

Beckett, T. A. 1974. Habitat acreage requirements 

of the red-cockaded woodpecker. EBBA News 

37:3-7. 
Crosby, G. T. 1971a. Ecology of the red-cockaded 

woodpecker in the nesting season. M.S. Thesis. 

Univ. of Florida, Gainesville. 45 pp. 

1971b. Home range characteristics of the 

red-cockaded woodpecker in north central 
Florida. Pages 70-73 in R. L. Thompson, ed. 
The ecology and management of the red-cock- 
aded woodpecker. Proc. Symp. Okefenokee 
Natl. Wildl. Refuge, Folkston, Georgia. May 
26-27. U.S. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall 
Timbers Res. Stn., Tallahassee, Florida. 188 
pp. 
Czuhai, E. 1971. Synoptic review of forest 
resources and use within the range of the 
red-cockaded woodpecker. Pages 108-124 in 
R. L. Thompson, ed. The ecology and man- 
agement of the red-cockaded woodpecker. 
Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, 
Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27; U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., 
Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 

Dennis, J. V. 1971. Utilization of pine resin by 
the red-cockaded woodpecker and its effec- 
tiveness in protecting roosting and nesting 
sites. Pages 78-86 in R. L. Thompson, ed. 
Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, 
Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., 
Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission. 
1976. Red-cockaded woodpecker. Pages 79- 
87 in Cross Florida Barge Canal restudy 
report: endangered, threatened, rare, special 



concern, status undetermined, and biologi- 
cally sensitive species. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 
unpublished. 267 pp. 

Jackson, J. A. 1971. The evolution, taxonomy, 
distribution, past populations and current sta- 
tus of the red-cockaded woodpecker. Pages 4- 
29 in R. L. Thompson, ed. The ecology and 
management of the red-cockaded woodpecker. 
Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, 
Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., 
Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 

1974. Gray rat snakes versus red- 
cockaded woodpeckers: predator prey adap- 
tations. Auk 91(2):342-347. 

1976. Rights-of-way management for an 



endangered species — the red-cockaded wood- 
pecker. Pages 247-252 in Proc. Symp. Envi- 
ronmental Concerns in Rights-of-Way Manage- 
ment. Mississippi State Univ., 
Jackson, J. A., W. W. Backer, V. Carter, T. Cherry, 
and M. L. Hopkins. 1976a. Recovery plan for 
the red-cockaded woodpecker. 23 pp. 

Jackson, J. A., and R. L. Thompson. 1971. A 
glossary of terms used in association with the 
red-cockaded woodpecker. Pages 187-188 in 
R. L. Thompson, ed. The ecology and man- 
agement of the red-cockaded woodpecker. 
Proc. Symp. Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, 
Folkston, Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., 
Tallahassee, Florida. 188 pp. 

Jackson, J. A., R. Weeks, and P. Shindala. 1976b. 

The present status and future of red-cockaded 

woodpeckers in Kentucky. Kentucky Warbler 

52(4)73-80. 
Lay, D. W., and D. N. Russell. 1970. Notes on the 

red-cockaded woodpecker in Texas. Auk 

87(4):781-786. 
Ligon, J. D. 1968. Sexual differences in foraging 

behavior in two species of Dendrocopus 

woodpeckers. Auk 85(2):203-215. 

1970. Behavior and breeding biology of 

the red-cockaded woodpecker. Auk 87(2): 
255-278. 

Murphey, E. E. 1939. Red-cockaded woodpecker. 
Pages 75-79 in A. C. Bent, ed. North Ameri- 
can woodpeckers. Dover Publication, Inc. 
New York. 

Nesbitt, S. A., D. T. Gilbert, and D. B. Barbour. 
1978. Red-cockaded woodpecker fall move- 



ments in a Florida flatwoods community. 
Auk 95(1)145-151. 

Robbins, C. S., R. Bruun, H. S. Zim, and A. 
Singer. 1966. A guide to field identification. 
Birds of North America. Golden Press, New 
York. 340 pp. 

Skorupa, J. A., and M. W. McFarlane. 1979. Sea- 
sonal variation in foraging territory of red- 
cockaded woodpeckers. Wilson Bull. 88(4): 
662-665. 

Thompson, R. L. 1976. Changes in status of red- 
cockaded woodpecker colonies. Wilson Bull. 
88(3):491-492. 

Thompson, R. L., and W. W. Baker. 1971. A sur- 
vey of red-cockaded woodpecker nesting habi- 
tat requirements. Pages 170-186 in R. L. 
Thompson, ed. The ecology and management 
of the red-cockaded woodpecker. Proc. Symp. 
Okefenokee Natl. Wildl. Refuge, Folkston, 
Georgia. May 26-27. U.S. Bur. Sport Fish. 
Wildl. and Tall Timbers Res. Stn., Tallahassee, 
Florida. 188 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threa- 
tened wildlife of the United States. Com- 
piled by Office of Endangered Species and 
International Activities, Bur. Sport Fish. 
WUdl. Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing 
Office, Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 

Wood, D. A. 1975. Status, habitat, home range, 
and notes on the behavior of the red- 
cockaded woodpecker in Oklahoma. M.S. 
Thesis. Oklahoma State Univ. 60 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.8 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate 
Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the 
United States- 

IVORYBILLED 
WOODPECKER 



^r* 




W% 



h 



» W' 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amcntlcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.8 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
IVORY BILLED WOODPECKER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 










V 



CREDIT: LAURA DIXON, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE 



IVORY BILLED WOODPECKER 

Camp ephilus principalis principalis (Linnaeus) 
Campephiliis principalis bairdii Cassin 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Piciformes 

FAMILY Picidae 

OTHER NAMES American Ivory -billed 

Woodpecker, Kent, Ivory-bill, Pearly- 
bill, Log-god, Log-cock, White-back 
Woodpecker, Poule de Bois, Grand 
Pique-bois, Lord -god, Cuban Ivory- 
billed Woodpecker, Carpentero Real. 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates to be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (42 FR 36428, 14 July 
1977). 

States: Endangered: North Carolina; Pro- 

tected by Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
of 3 July 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 
U.S.C. 703-711) as amended 3 Decem- 
ber 1969. Public Law 91-135. South 
Carolina; Georgia; Florida; Alabama; 



Mississippi; Texas; Arkansas (black 
List, extinct or near extinction). 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

C. p. principalis is probably very close to ex- 
tinction because of the scarcity of suitable habitat 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1973). Ivory-bHls 
disappeared when the mature forests they in- 
habited were cut over, and the larger timber es- 
sential for providing adequate food supply was 
removed. In many cases, their disappearance al- 
most coincided with logging operations; in other 
cases there was no close correlation, but there are 
not records of ivory -bills remaining very long after 
cutting of forests. Their disappearance in the 
Suwannee River region of Florida is believed to 
have been due to excessive collecting rather than 
logging (Tanner 1942). Herbert Stoddard and 
Whitney Eastman shared the conviction that ivory- 
bills were reduced to near extinction by gun pres- 
sure, but that with large land holdings coming 
into possession of ranchers and timber companies, 
the bird had a better chance of survivzd (Eastman 
1958). Some shooting for sport or curiosity is 
known to have occurred, particularly before pas- 
sage of protective laws. Although direct killing by 
man is not as important as loss of habitat by log-' 
ging in reducing their numbers, it could be impor- 
tant locally when only a very few are left (Tanner 
1942). 

C. p. bairdii, the Cuban Ivory-billed Wood- 
pecker was once widely distributed in Cuba, but 
is now limited to remote areas in Oriente Province. 
Land clearing during the speculative sugar boom 
of the early 1900's and later lumbering activities 
extirpated it from its former range. By far the ma- 
jor predator is man, as these woodpeckers are 
prized as food by the natives (Lamb 1957). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

75 

DESCRIPTION 

C. p. principalis is a very large (crow-sized) 
woodpecker, 50 cm long, with 46 cm wingspan. 
Its shape is long and slender, with a long tapering 
tail (Audubon 1842, Tanner 1942). Both sexes 
are mostly glossy blue-black, with tail and pri- 
maries duller black. There is a narrow white stripe 
on each side of neck, starting below the eye and 
continuing down to the folded secondaries, which 
are conspicuously white, as are all but 5 of the 
outermost primaries and the under-wing coverts. 
This makes a large white patch on the rear half of 



the wing, narrowing toward the tip. The nasal 
plumes and anterior edge of lores are white. The 
crest is red in the male, black in the femede. The 
iris is pale, clear lemon-yellow. Tarsi and toes are 
light gray. The bill is large and ivory-white (Ridg- 
way 1914, Tanner 1942). The best field identific- 
ation character is the large white patch on the 
wing, conspicuous when the bird is perched. Call 
notes are a nasal "kent, kent" (Tanner 1942). 

Measurements.- Adult male (15): wing, 240- 
263 (255.8 mm); tail, 147-160.5 (154.4); culmen, 
63-72.5 (68.2); tarsus, 42.5-46 (44.2); outer an- 
terior toe, 30-34 (32.1). Aduh female (11): wing, 
240-262 (256.4 mm); tail, 151-166 (159.5); cul- 
men, 61-67.5 (64.3); tarsus, 40.5-44 (42.6); outer 
anterior toe, 30-33.5 (31.7) (Ridgway 1914). 

The eggs are pure china-white, exceedingly 
glossy, and more pointed than most woodpeckers. 
Measurements (13 eggs) 34.5 x 23.6 to 36.8 x 
26.9 (av. 34.8 x 25.2 mm) (Bendire 1895). 

C. p. bairdii is similar to C. p. principalis but 
slightly smaller; the bill is decidedly smaller; nasal 
tufts much smaller; and white stripe on side of 
head continues nearly to the base of the bill. 

Measurements.- Adult male (2): wing, 236- 
250 (243 mm); tail, 137-154 (145.2); culmen, 
59-61 (60); tarsus, 40-42 (41); outer anterior toe, 
30.5-31.5 (31). Adult female (2): wing, 240-255 
(247.5 mm); tail, 159.5-165.5 (162.5); culmen, 
58-60 (59); tarsus, 41; outer anterior toe, 30.5- 
31.5 (31) (Ridgway 1914). 

RANGE 

C. p. principalis formerly was a resident in the 
bottomlands and swampy forests of southeastern 
United States from northeastern Texas, south- 
eastern Oklahoma, northeastern Arkansas, south- 
eastern Missouri, southeastern Illinois, southern 
Indiana and southeastern North Carolina, south- 
ward to the Brazos River, Texas, the Gulf Coast 
and southern Florida (A.O.U. 1957, Bent 1931, 
Tanner 1942). There are probably a few still in 
southeastern Texas, Louisiana, Florida and South 
Carolina (Dennis Unpubl.). 

C. p. bairdii was formerly distributed widely 
in Cuba, but is now apparently confined to north- 
eastern Oriente Province (from the pinares of 
Mayari eastward); it was seen at an elevation of ap- 
proximately 213 m in 1942 (Bond 1950). Records 
in the 20th century come only from northern 
Oriente Province in the extreme eastern part of 
Cuba. The Sierra del Cristo region apparently had 
ivory-bills until at least 1920 (Dennis 1948). A 
few pairs were thought by Barbour to be in the 
Sierra de Nipe near Mayari (1943); Abelardo 







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Moreno in Lamb (1957) found three ivory -bills in 
the Sierra de Moa region east of Sierra del Crista]. 

RANGE MAP 

(Adapted from Tanner 1942, Dennis 1967, 
Lamb 1957). 

STATES/COUNTIES: (from Tanner 1942) 

North Ciirolina: New Hanover. 

South Carolina: Chesterfield, Clarendon, Berk- 
ley, Georgetown, Charlestown, 
Barnwell, Allendale, Beaufort. 

Georgia: Tattnall, Pierce, Ware. 

Florida: Liberty, Gulf, Wakulla, Leon, 

Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Suwan- 
nee, Levy, Baker, Clay, Alachua, 
Putnam, Marion, Citrus, Sump- 
ter, Volusia, Seminole, Her- 
nando, Sumpter, Lake, Polk, 
Orange, Osceola, Brevard, Pinel- 
las, Clearwater, Hillsborough, 
Manatee, Highlands, Okeecho- 
bee, Desoto, Charlotte, Collier, 
Lee. 

Mississippi: 



Alabama: 



Louisiana: 



Monroe, Clay, Hancock, Harri- 
son, Jackson, Warren, Bolivar. 

Hale, Dallas, Wilcox, Pike, 
Marengo. 

Morehouse Parish, West Carroll 
Parish, East Carroll Parish, Mad- 
ison Parish, Franklin Parish, 
Tensas Parish, Concordia Parish, 
West Feliciana Parish. St. Mar- 
tin Parish, Iberville Parish, Iberia 
Parish, Lafourch Parish. 

White. 

Stoddard. 

Fulton. 

Mississippi, Jackson, Poinsett, 
Phillips. 

Atoka, Bryan. 

Cooke, Jasper, Harris, Brazoria. 



Illinois: 
Missouri: 
Kentucky: 
Arkansas: 

Oklahoma: 

Texas: 

HABITAT 

C. p. principalis resides in swampy forests, es- 
pecially the large bottomland river swamps of the 
coastal plain and Mississippi Delta and the cypress 
swamps of Florida. It was most abundant in the 
lower bottoms of the Mississippi River, the rivers 
of South Carolina and Georgia, and in Florida 



swamps and swampy hammocks. Habitats were 
divided by Tanner (1942) into three main regional 
types: (1) Bottomlands of the Mississippi Delta; 

(2) River bottoms outside the Mississippi Delta; 

(3) the Florida region. 

The Mississippi Delta, the alluvial flood plain 
of the Mississippi River, stretches from the junc- 
tion of the Ohio and Mississippi to the Gulf of 
Mexico, and is from 64 to 130 km wide. Ivory- 
biU distribution was evidently limited to the higher 
parts of the "first bottoms," which were rarely 
covered with water more than a few months of 
the year. The soil is a moderately well-drained al- 
luvial clay. The forest is a sweet gum-oak associa- 
tion with dominant trees being sweet gum, bot- 
tomland red oak and green ash. Associated with 
them are willow oak, water oak, over cup oak, 
American elm, cedar elm, hackberry, water 
hickory, and pecan. Ivory-bills fed mostly upon 
sweet gvim and bottomland red oak. 

The river bottoms outside the Mississippi 
Delta are the floodplains of the larger rivers of the 
southeastern United States, flowing either into 
the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. The soil is alluvial 
clay that is usually flooded annually. Ivory-bills 
have been observed in those bottomlands in both 
oak -sweet gum and cypress-tupelo forests but were 
most common in oat-sweet gum. These habitats 
differ from those of the Mississippi Delta primar- 
ily in their smaller area, but also in the predomin- 
ance of laurel oak and water oak. Dominant for- 
est species on dryer sites of these bottoms are 
sweet gum, laurel oak and water oak and associated 
with their dominants are overcup oak, cow oak, 
water hickory, green ash and American elm. West 
of the Mississippi Delta in eastern Texas, the 
sweet gum-oak association consists of sweet gum 
and willow oak as dominants, with overcup oak, 
water hickory, green ash, black gum and cedar 
elm as important associates. Loblolly and long- 
leaf pine woods border all of these river swamps, 
but ivory -bills rarely feed in them. 

Ivors-bill habitats in the Florida region vary 
considerably, although cypress is a dominant tree 
in all of them, a condition not found in ivory-bill 
habitat outside of the Florida region. Another dif- 
ference is that ivory-bills in Florida, unUke else- 
where, frequently feed in the pine woods 
bordering the swamp. Many ivory-bills 
are recorded in swamps along the small rivers of 
central and southern Florida where the predomin- 
ant trees are baldcypress, red maple, laurel oak, 
black gum, with some sweet gum and cabbage 
palmetto. Ivory-bills frequently nested in cypress 



trees, but only occasionally fed upon them. In the 
Mississippi Delta region, they nested only in var- 
ious species of hardwood trees (at least in the 
Singer Tract), in parts of the woods where the 
ground was at least partly covered with water dur- 
ing the nesting season (Tanner 1942). 

A characteristic of all habitats used by ivory- 
bills is that other species of woodpeckers, such as 
the pileated and red-bellied woodpeckers, reach 
their greatest abundance there also. The most 
likely places to look for ivory-bills are bottom- 
land forests where big sweet gums and oaks are 
abundant, where there are many dead and dying 
trees, and where other woodpeckers are abundant. 
The many dying and dead trees in old age stands 
of timber contain the wood-boring insects eaten 
by the woodpeckers. The sweet gum-oak bottom- 
land forests supply the best feeding conditions on 
the Mississippi Delta. The wood-boring insects are 
most abundant in wood 2 or 3 years dead from 
storm, fire, logging, or disease. These conditions 
occur most often in large, old forests, and their 
elimination or isolation has made it increasingly 
difficult for ivory-bills to find sufficient food and 
to move from one area to another in search of a 
variable food supply that has always been more or 
less eruptive and undependable (Tanner 1942). 
Virgin haidwood is not a necessity and pines are 
more important than Tanner thought in the 
Neches River Valley (Dennis 1967). 

The ivory-bill is a nomadic "disaster species," 
moving into areas where trees have been killed by 
fire, storms, insect attack, or flooding (Dennis 
1967). Observations in Texas and Florida by 
Herbert Stoddard and John Dennis convinced 
them that old age or virgin hardwood forests are 
not essential as long as there are large numbers 
of recently dead trees to supply the type of 
wood-boring grubs prefened by ivory-bills. They 
thought that dead pine trees, including recently 
cut slash, were frequently used (Dennis 1967). 

C. p. bairdii. Gunclach (1876) found Cuban 
ivory-bills in the high country of Pinar del Rio 
and also in low country along river bottoms simi- 
lar to the habitat of the American ivory-bill, near 
Guantanamo in eastern Cuba. During the last half 
of the 19th century, Cuban ivory-bills were found 
mainly in high country in pine forests on deep 
lateritic soil. They feed in both hardwoods and 
pines, but nest and roost almost exclusively in old 
pine trees (Pinus cubensis) (Lamb 1957). The 
lateritic soil, composed of small, hard nodules of 
iron ore, drains very quickly and completely, so 
that it can support pine forest up to about 300 m 



elevation. Above that, hardwood becomes domin- 
ant. Most of the pine land has been lumbered, but 
the birds have managed to adapt to changing habi- 
tat, living in large dead pines that are still standing 
and feeding on dead pines and dead hardwoods, 
both of which are infested with wood-boring 
beetles. They roost and nest only in pines, and 
large enough pines are becoming rare.' 

FOOD AND FORAGING 

C. p. principalis. Audubon (1842) mentions 
grapes, persimmons £ind blackberries as food of 
ivory-bills, in addition to beetles and their larvae. 
Allen and Kellogg (1937) found ivory-bills digging 
trenches in rotten wood, as plicated wood- 
peckers do, to get at the large wood-boring beetle 
larvae. More often, they scaled off bark from 
recently dead trees or from dead branches of liv- 
ing trees to get at insects and larvae hidden be- 
neath. Most feeding was in dead pines at the 
edges of swamps. They sometimes fed on the 
ground like flickers. 

The most common feeding behavior is to 
knock the bark off recently dead trees with side- 
wise blows or quick flicks of the bill to uncover 
and eat the borers that live between the bark and 
the sapwood. When feeding the young, they hold 
grubs in the back of the bill while continuing to 
scale bark for additional food. Grubs 2.5 to 5 cm 
long are used to feed young. Ivory-bill workings 
for food show as bare places on recently dead 
limbs of trees where the bark has been scaled off 
clean for a considerable extent. Pileated wood- 
peckers do some scaling, but it is usually confined 
to smaller limbs and to those longer dead. They 
obtain most of their food by digging in the wood, 
while ivory -bills obtain theirs by scaling the bark. 
Extensive scaling of bark from a tree so recently 
dead that the bark is still tight, with a brownish 
or reddish color of the exposed wood showing 
that the work is fresh, is one good indication of 
the presence of ivory-bills (Tanner 1942). How- 
ever, they do also chisel into the wood, making 
somewhat conical holes. In the Singer Tract, 
Louisiana, most feeding was on sweet gum. Nut- 
tail's oak, and hackberry, over 30 cm in diameter. 
Wandering and ranges of ivory-bills are prob- 
ably controlled by abundance of food. They re- 
quire an unusually large supply of certain wood- 
boring insects which make up most of their diet 
and which is abundant only in occasional localities 
for a comparatively short period. Birds remain in 
one locality as long as the food lasts, then move, 
sometimes for considerable distances, until they 



find another area with an adequate food supply 
(Tanner 1942). 

Contents of three ivory-bUl stomachs from 
Louisiana and Texas summarized by Cottam and 
Knapper (1939) (including those reported by Beal 
1911) were as follows: 46% of combined content 
was of animal origin, 45.33% being long-horned 
beetles (Cerambicidae), and 0.67% of engraver 
beetles (Tomiscus sp.); 54% was of vegetable 
origin, 14% being seeds of Magnolia grandiflora, 
27% of Carya, 12.67% of seeds of poison ivy 
{Rhus radicans), and 0.33% being fragments of 
unidentified gall. In three stomachs from a Caro- 
lina region, Wilson (1811) found large quantities 
of large grubs fitting the description of some 
larger larval Cerambycids. In two stomachs from 
Louisiana, Goss (1859) found one large Cera m6yx 
and the stones of cherries. In debris from an ivory- 
bill nest in the Singer Tract, Louisiana, soon after 
the young had left, Tanner (1942) found 1 frag- 
ment of Elatrid larva; 21 mandibles of Cerambycid 
larvae; 1 mandible of a Scarabaeid beetle larva, 
and a few fragments of adult insects, probably 
Coleoptera. E. A. Mcllhenny [in Bendire 1895), 
said they fed on acorns. Alexander Sprunt, Jr., 
in Tanner (1942), saw ivory -bills feeding on black 
gum and tupelo berries. Probably, the seasons 
when fruits or seeds are eaten are from late sum- 
mer to early winter when they are most easily 
available; stomachs with large percentages of 
vegetable food were taken in November. Ivory -b ills 
drink water from hollows in trees (Tanner 1942). 

C. p. bairdii. Their feeding habits are about 
equally divided between pine and hardwood for- 
ests, and they have been seen feeding on both 
types of tree. They feed both by scaling bark and 
by digging holes in wood, with the majority of 
feeding signs of the scahng type. There are no re- 
cords of the actual food eaten, but presumably it 
consists of larvae of wood-boring beetles like 
those preferred by American ivory-bills. Such in- 
sects were found in trees used by the Cuban ivory- 
bills. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

- C. p. principalis nests and roosts in holes in 
large dead or living trees, usually hardwoods. 

C. p. bairdii requires holes in large dead pine 
stubs for both nesting and roosting. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

C. p. principalis. Allen and Kellogg (1937) 



quote Audubon who believed the nesting hole is 
always made in the trunk of a live tree, generally 
an ash orhackberry, and at great height. However, 
they noted that there were records of nesting in 
live cypress, partly dead oaks, a dead royal palm 
stub, and an old and nccirly rotten white elm 
stump, indicating as great a variety as nest sites 
of the pileated woodpecker. Beyer (1900) found 
a nest as low as 8 m in a living over-cup oak. 
Allen and Kellogg (1937) found a nest in Florida 
10 m up in a live cypress and three nests in Louis- 
iana in oak and one in a red maple. Nest trees 
were very large. One nest was in a dead pin oak 
stub about 16 m high; the entrance hole was 13 
cm high and 11.4 cm wide; depth of nest cavity, 
47 cm, and diameter 20 cm at egg level (Allen 
and Kellogg 1937). In Florida, height of nests 
from the ground averaged 15 m (Tanner 1942) 
with extremes of at least 8 m (Hoyt 1905) and 20 
m (Ridgway 1898). In Louisiana, nests averaged 
15.5 m and ranged from 12 to 21 m from ground, 
all in dead trees or dead parts of living trees where 
wood was a bit punky but still quite hard. The 
average depth of all reliably measured nest cavities 
is 48 cm (Tanner 1942). Nesting and roosting 
holes of ivory -bills have oval or irregular entrances 
measuring about 13 cm vertically and 10 cm across, 
or about 2.5 cm larger than pileated woodpecker 
entrance holes (Tanner 1942). 

Ivory-bills do not use old nesting holes, but 
excavate new ones usually in different trees. One 
roosting hole has never been seen occupied by 
more than one bird even by a young one still in 
the company of its parents. For at least 2 weeks 
after leaving the nest, young roost in the open in 
trees while the parents roost in holes. The birds 
emerge from their roosting holes much later in 
the morning than other woodpeckers. Then pairs 
and young join together for their daily feeding 
flights (Tanner 1942). 

C. p. bairdii nest and roost almost exclusively 
in holes in old pines. Only one instance of a roost 
hole in a hardwood has been reported. Nesting 
and roosting sites were found in 16 pine trees 
which contained 33 holes dug by ivory-bills 
(Lamb 1957). Dennis (1948) found a nest about 
10 m from the ground in a dead pine stub. The 
opening was approximately 10.2 by 10.2 cm, 
forming a rough square. Old holes found by Lamb 
(1957) were all considerably lower than 10 m, 
averaging about 6 m above ground. The pine stubs 
used were never over 8 m tall. In the virgin forest 



area, holes were closer to 9 m from ground and 
one was nearly 18 m. Measurements of a female's 
roost entrance were 15.6 cm (width) by 24.1 cm 
(height); inside diameter of the cavity was 25.4 
cm and depth of cavity from entrance to bottom 
was 32 cm. 



RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

A pair of C. p. principalis was observed by 
Allen and Kellogg (1937) to clasp bills, evidently 
as part of courtship behavior. Tanner (1942) ob- 
served a similar event. He also described soft con- 
versational notes by both members of a pair when 
they exchanged places on the nest. The drumming 
display consists of a double tap instead of the 
multiple taps or drum-roll of other North Ameri- 
can woodpeckers (Tanner 1942). 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

C. p. principalis. Earlier accounts gave no ac- 
curate or definite statements of abundance, but 
indicated that it never was common. An excep- 
tion was Audubon (1842) who said it was "very 
abundant along the Buffalo Bayou (near Hous- 
ton?), Texas." Audubon's "very abundant" may 
have meant compared with ivory-bills in other 
localities, where Audubon usually described the 
species as quite rare (Tanner 1942). Arthur T. 
Wayne and his hunters collected 5 ivory-bills 
in California Swamp, 97 km (58 mi) south of 
Old Town, Florida and saw 4 more several days 
after the fifth one was collected. The following 
year, 1893, five more were collected from that 
swamp. Later observations indicate that those 
10 birds were practically all that were present in 
that area of 154 km^ . In vicinity of the Wacissa 
River, Florida, in 1894 Wayne collected 19 ivory- 
bills and some persisted there until about 1937. 
On that basis. Tanner (1942) estimated that there 
were probably about 12 pairs in that 188 km^ 
swampy area, or 1 pair per 16 km^ . Wayne (1910) 
stated that he saw 200 ivory-bills in Florida dur- 
ing the years 1892 to 1894. In the Singer Tract of 
about 300 km^ of virgin forest in Louisiana, in 
1934, there were about 7 pairs, or 1 pair per 43 
sq km. Total population in all areas in 1939 was 
estimated at about 24 individuals (Tanner 1942). 

The greatest distance a pair traveled from the 



roosting area in Singer Tract in breeding season 
was 2 km (Tanner 1942). Birds of the Singer 
Tract appeared to be sedentary, with ranges up to 
6 km or more across. However, birds in other 
areas appear to wander considerable distances, 
probably in response to the availability of food 
(Tanner 1942) near the nesting site. 

Bark-stripping from recently dead pines, pos- 
sibly the work of ivory-bills, was seen along Men- 
ard, Big Sandy, and Village Creeks; along the 
Neches River north and northwest of Beaumont; 
and near Votaw and Silsbee, Texas, in December 
1973 (Orie L. Loucks, Prof, of Botany, U. of 
Wisconsin in lit. 17 March 1975). 

On 22 May 1976, one ivory-bill was reported 
near the mouth of Wolf Creek, flying across 
Magnolia Ridge Road north of Beaumont, Texas 
(William B. Mounsey, University of the Wilderness 
ms. report, 4 Sept. 1976). 

There were repeated reports of sightings of 
ivory-bills in swamps along the Congaree and 
Wataree Rivers, South Carolona, during the per- 
iod 1966-67; John V. Dennis (Unpubl.) believed 
these to be valid in part. 

Herbert Stoddard saw a pair in beetle-killed 
pines near Thomasville, Georgia, probably in 
1958 Q. V. Dennis ms. 1976). On 3 and 4 March 
1950, Eastman reported seeing a male and female 
ivory-bill on the Chipola River in northwestern 
Florida, and in April 1950 Dennis heard one near 
the same place (Dennis 1967, J. V. Dennis ms. 
1976). 

On 28 Aug. 1966, Bedford P. Brown J. and 
Jeffrey R. Sanders, Chicago bird watchers, heard 
the distinctive call notes and saw 2 female ivory- 
bills on Boiling Creek, a tributary of the Yellow 
River at the Elgin Air Force Base in northwestern 
Florida;they reported the sighting to J. V. Dennis, 
who tried unsuccessfully to find the birds again 
(Dennis 1967, Dennis 1976). 

A feather from a cavity of a wind-blown tree 
northwest of Lake Okeechobee, Florida, around 
1965, was identified by Alexander Wetmore and 
John Aldrich as that of an ivory-bill. However, 
the white patch on the feather was stained brown, 
indicating it had been in the tree hole a long time 
Q. W. Aldrich pers. comm., Agey and Heinzman 
1971). 

Near the Neches River north of Beaumont, 
Texas, above Dam B Reservoir, in April 1966, 
one was seen by Mrs. Olga Hooks Lloyd, bird 
watcher of Beaumont, and again in the same area 



on 10 December 1966, one was seen by John 
Dennis; there are also several other probable re- 
cords from theNechesRiver Valley (Dennis 1967). 

A sound recording of ivory-bill call notes was 
made at Stanford Preserve on Village Creek, north 
of Beaumont, Texas, 25 February 1968 by Helen 
and Peter Isleib of Cordova, Alaska, and John V. 
Dennis. The recording is now in possession of the 
National Geo.graphic Society. Isleib found bill 
marks on bark -striped trees nearby which measured 
the same as the tip of ivory-bill's bill rather than 
that of a pileated woodpecker, according to Alex- 
ander Wetmore (Peter Isleib pers. comm.). The 
sound recording was analyzed by Peter Paul 
Kellogg {in lit. 14 February 1969) at Cornell 
University Library of Natural Sounds and by 
John W. Hardy, Bioacoustics Laboratory, Florida 
State University, and both thought it sounded 
very much like the call of an ivory-bill, although 
Hardy (1975) believed that one of the call notes 
of a blue jay was possible. 

On 22 May 1971, 2 ivory -bills were sighted 
and one was photographed in the Atchafalaya 
River swamp west of Baton Rouge, La. by an un- 
identified dog trainer. The beginnings of a hole 
and fresh chips on the ground under the place the 
bird was photographed were found (George H. 
Lowery,Jr. pers. comm., Stewart 1971). 

James Tanner and PaulSykesin 1968 searched 
the same areas in the Neches River valley, Texas, 
where John Dennis and others reported evidence 
of ivory-bills in 1966, with negative results with 
respect to sightings, sound or indication of feed- 
ing (Sykes 1968, Tanner in lit. 6 March 1968). 

C. p. bairdii. Demiis (1948) found 3 Cuban 
ivory-bills, 2 of them a mated pair that were in- 
cubating, in April 1948, in the Sierra de Moa, 
Oriente Province, Cuba, and heard of another 
group of 6 being seen there in 1941. 

Lamb (1957) found 4 pairs in the Moa region 
and found another area supporting 2 pairs farther 
inland at a higher elevation, between the Moa 
and Punta Gorda Rivers, but with identical habi- 
tat (pine forest). In summary. Lamb (1957) esti- 
mated the number of Cuban ivory-bills extant 
in July of 1956 as 6 pairs or 12 individuals, all 
between the watersheds of the Moa-Cubanas 
Rivers to the west and the Punta Gorda River to 
the east, along the north coast of Oriente Pro- 
vince, and in the extreme headwaters of the Cale- 
tura River, a large tributary of the Moa River, and 
in the headwaters of the JaquEuii River, a tribu- 



Xaxy of the Toa River, and on the divide between 
the Toa and Moa Rivers. The population density 
was computed as about 40.2 km^ per pair, and 
the smallest area estimated for a single pair was 
19.3 km^ . Observations were made during March, 
June, and early July. 

More recent sightings include 2 south of 
Cupeyal in late 1967, a female northwest of 
Cupeyalin February 1968, and a female at Yateras 
in May 1972. All are in the Moa-Guantanamo 
region, Oriente Province. Certainly no more than 
8 pairs still exist and probably fewer than 6 (L. S. 
Varona 1974, and O. H. Garrido 1974 in King 
1978). 

REPRODUCTION 

C. p. principalis. In the Florida region, most 
nests have been in living or dead cypress, but also 
in bay and cabbage palm (Tanner 1942). Thomp- 
son (1896) said ivory-bills nested in long-dead 
pine trees in the Okefenokee Swamp region. In 
northern Louisiana, Tanner (1942) found nests in 
red maple, sweet gum, and Nuttall's oak. In the 
same region, Beyer (1900) found nests in Ameri- 
can elm and overcup oak. In southern Louisiana, 
Mcllhenny in Bendire (1895) said birds built in 
cypress or tupelo, preferably partly dead. Audu- 
bon (1842) thought they preferred hackberry 
trees for nesting. 

The presence of eggs has been recorded on 
the following dates: Florida (4 records), 4 March 
to 19 April; Louisiana (5 records), 6 March to 19 
May; Georgia (2 records) 6 and 10 April; Texas 
(2 records) 11 April and 3 May (Arthur Allen in 
Bent 1939). Time of nesting is evidently irregular. 
Scott (1881) collected an incubating female in 
Florida 20 January 1880. Scott (1888) found a 
nest containing a one-third grown young 17 
March 1887. Ridgway (1898) collected a male 
that left the nest hole on 15 February 1898. Hoyt 
(1905) noted that nesting began in the latter part 
of January and eggs were laid by 10 February. 
Tanner in Bent (1939) noted young leaving the 
nest on 30 March 1937 in Louisiana, and appar- 
ently the same pair had young in the last week in 
February 1938. In contrast, there are 10 records 
of April nesting, 5 for May and 1 (Beyer 1900) of 
a young just out of nest in July. The later records 
might represent second attempts at nesting. 
Florida birds, in general, start nesting earlier than 
those in Louisiana (Bent 1939). There is no cor- 
relation between the erratic timing of nesting and 



weather, except possibly the amount of sunshine. 
They have tended to nest earher in cloudy winters. 
No correlation with food supply has been found, 
but the possible effects are not discounted (Tan- 
ner 1942). 

According to Mcllhenny in Bendire (1895), 
the female does all work of excavating the nesting 
cavity, but Audubon (1842) states that both birds 
work at excavating. Thompson (1896) also re- 
ports that both sexes excavate. 

Although Bendire (1895) said there were 5 
eggs per clutch and only 1 brood per season, 
Arthur Allen in Bent (1939) found the number of 
eggs normally not more than 3, and 1 or 2 of 
those often infertile. Frequently, if nesting is suc- 
cessful at all, it results in a single young rather 
than 2 or3. Tanner (1942) figures that the average 
number of eggs per set is 2.9 with a range of 1 to 
4, and that early nests had fewer eggs than later 
ones. He said the period of incubation and length 
of time young stay in the nest is unknown. In the 
Singer Tract, the male incubated every night and 
the female most of the time during the day. They 
exchanged places about eight times a day, with 
no regularity in the setting time except when the 
female relieved the male in the morning and just 
before he took his place for the night. Both sexes 
share about equally in feeding the young in the 
nest and for a while after they leave the nest. Young 
follow parents on feeding trips and gradually 
learn to obtain food for themselves after about 4 
weeks, but still receive food from adults after 2 to 
2.5 months (Tanner 1942). Hoyt (1905) states 
that after young leave the nest in April, they re- 
main with their parents until the mating season in 
December. Some young stay with parents even 
after another family is fledged the following nest- 
ing season. All aggregations of ivory-bills are 
probably family groups of one or more years pro- 
duction. Tanner (1942) says the average number 
of young per brood leaving the nest is 2.11 with 
a survival success of 50%. He says there is no data 
on survival of young to breeding age nor length of 
time an adult can live and successfully breed. The 
important difference between nesting of ivory- 
bills and other species is that it lays fewer eggs. A 
pair may go through a season without any attempt 
at nesting. It probably takes at least 2 years to 
reach breeding age. Possibly the quantity of food 
or lack of synchronization of the reproductive 
cycles of a mated pair may determine whether 
nesting will occur. The lower rate of reproduction 



accentuates the danger inherent in the small size 
of the population. The most likely serious preda- 
tors on nesting ivory-bills are barred owls, rac- 
coons, and nest mites. 

Ivory-bill pairs usually nest well separated 
from each other (about 4.8 km apart in the Singer 
Tract), and, at least occasionally, nest in the same 
area year after year. There are no records of birds 
protecting territory from trespass by another 
ivory-bill (Tanner 1942). 

C. p. bairdii. Incubation is shared by both 
sexes (Dennis 1948). Feeding and brooding are 
thought to be shared by both sexes (Lamb 1957). 
Causes of nesting failure are always traceable to 
human interference, although crows are thought 
by natives to be predators on nests (Lamb 1957). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

C. p. principalis. The only way of preserving 
the ivory-billed woodpecker is to preserve in their 
entirety any areas that can be found where the 
birds still exist. A suitable area would be about 
6 to 8 km^ of good habitat for each pair. Pos- 
sibly some timber may be selectively cut, leaving 
dead and dying trees. The quantity of food may 
be artificially increased by progressively killing 
enough trees at a time to supply a large number 
of wood-boring insect larvae (Tanner 1942, 
Paul Sykes in lit. 1968). Dennis (1967) found 
that trees killed by girdling do not attract as 
many wood-boring insects as those killed by 
flooding and suggested limited inundation and 
cutting of pine slash as a means of increasing 
ivory -bill food supply. 

In October 1974, a bill was passed by Congress 
creating a preserve of 34,000 ha of potential 
ivory-bill habitat in the Big Thicket area of 
southeastern Texas (Dennis ms. 1976). 

Public information is an important part of 
ivory-bill management as with other endangered 
species. Only an interested and sympathetic public 
can save the bird from such threats as big dams, 
wholesale clearing of bottomland timber, and 
drainage of favorable habitat (Dennis 1967). 

In 1967, the U.S. Corps of Engineers halted 
the timber management plan at Dam B Reservoir 
on Neches River, Texas, in deference to ivory- 
bills. Federal and state wardens in area were alerted 
and public appeal received positive and gratifying 
response (Harry Goodwin in lit. to Roland Cle- 
ment 19 December 1967). 



The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service adopted a 
policy of informing the public of locations of re- 
ported ivory-bill sightings as opposed to restric- 
tion of such information advocated by Herbert 
Stoddard and some other knowledgeable people 
(Letter from Director, Fish and Wildlife Service 
to E. V. Komarek of 12 September 1967, mem- 
orandum to Secretary of Interior from Director, 
Fish and Wildhfe Service of 20 July 1967; Letter 
of 1 July 1967 from John Dennis to George M. 
Sutton). 

C p. bairdii. Establishment of refuges in areas 
where birds are still known to exist in the most 
important step in management, for without pre- 
servation of habitat, fast disappearing due to lum- 
bering, the bird cannot survive. Further effort to 
locate existing birds is needed to pinpoint pros- 
pective refuge areas (Lamb 1957). Plans were 
made to erect nesting boxes as an experiment to 
substitute for suitable dead pine stubs which were 
disappearing. Whether this was done, and if so 
what happened, is unrecorded (Lamb 1957). For- 
est reservations have been established at Cuepyal 
and Jaguane under auspices of the Academy of 
Sciences since 1963. Each reservation is watched 
and no further exploitation of timber is being per- 
mitted, although much of the larger timber has 
already been removed (Lamb 1957; Fisher et al. 
1969). 

The ivory-billed woodpecker is protected un- 
der the Protected Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 40 
Stat. 755: 16 WSC 703-74, 3 July 1918; as 
amended 3 December 1969. PL 91-135. 

AUTHORITIES 

James T. Tanner 
Dept. of Zoology 
University of Tennessee 
Knoxville , Tennessee 37916 

John V. Dennis 

3 Joy Street 

Nantuckett, Massachusetts 02554 

Paul W. Sykes 

P.O. Box 2077 

Delray Beach, Florida 33444 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

From the evidence presented, I believe that a 
few ivory-bills still exist in the United States, but 
they are so nomadic that it will continue to be 



difficult to verify the occasional sighting. Never- 
theless, every effort should be made to locate 
nesting pairs and to take measures to preserve 
nesting habitat in those locations. Then additional 
feeding areas should be artificially created near 
such locations. -J. W. Aldrich. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

A. O. U. 1950. Report of the AOU Committee on 
bird protection, 1949. Auk. 67:320. 

. 1957. Check-list of North American 

birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Balti- 
more. 691 pp. 

Agey, H. N. and G. M. Heinzman. 1971. The 
Ivory-billed woodpecker found in Central 
Florida. Florida Nat. 42: 46-47 and 64. 

Allen, A. A. and P. P. Kellogg. 1937. Recent ob- 
servations on the Ivory -billed Woodpecker. 
Auk. 54:164-184. 

Arthur, S. C. 1918. The birds of Louisiana. Bull. 
La. Dept. Cons. 5:53. 

Audubon, J. J. 1842. The birds of America. Vol. 
4:214-226. 

Avery, W. C. 1890. Birds observed in Alabama. 
Amer. Field 34:608. 

Barbour, T. 1943. Cuban ornithology. Mem. Nut- 
tall Ornith. Club 9:129 pp. 

Baynard, O. E. 1913. Breeding birds of Alachua 
County, Florida. Auk. 30:245. 

Beal, F. E. L. 1911. Food of the Woodpeckers of 
the United States. Bull. U.S. Bur. Biol. Serv. 
37:62-63. 

Bendire, C. E. 1895. Life histories of North Am- 
erican birds. U.S. Nat. Mus. Spec. Bull. 3:42- 
45. 

Bent, A. C. 1939. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can woodpeckers. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 174:1- 
12. 

Beyer, G. E. 1900. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker 
in Louisiana. Auk. 17:97-99. 

Bond, J. 1936. Birds of the West Indies. Acad. 
Nat. Sciences, Philadelphia. 

Bond, J. 1950. Check-list of birds of the West 
Indies. Acad. Nat. Sciences of Philadelphia. 

Bryant, H. 1859. Birds observed in eastern Florida 



10 



south of St. Augustine. Proc. Boston Soc. 
Nat. Hist. 7:11. 

Clarke, S. C. 1885. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker 
in Florida. Forest and Stream 24:367. 

Cooke, VV. W. 1914. Some winter birds of Okla- 
homa. Auk 31:480. 

Cory, C. B. 1886. The birds of the West Indies, 
including the Bahama Islands, the Greater and 
Lesser Antilles, excepting the islands of 
Tobago and Trinidad. Auk. 3:373-374. 

Cottam, C. and P. Knappen. 1939. Food of some 
uncommon North American birds. Auk 56: 
162. 

Covington, J. D. 1922. The winter birds of Biloxi, 
Mississippi region. Auk 39:545. 

Dennis, J. V. 1948. Last remnant of Ivory-billed 
Woodpecker in Cuba. Auk 65:497-507. 

Dennis, J. V. 1967. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker 
—its present status and proposjds for its pre- 
servation. U.S. Dept. Interior, Bur. Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife, Spec. Rep. Washington, 
D.C. 

Dennis, J. V. 1967a. The ivory-bill flies still. 
Audubon Mag. 69:38-45. 

Eastman, W. 1958. Ten-year search for the Ivory- 
billed Woodpecker. Atlantic Naturalist 13: 
216-228. 

Fisher, J., N. Simon and J. Vincent. 1969. Wild- 
life in danger. New York, Viking Press. 

Gosse, P. H. 1859. Letters from Alabama. Lon- 
don pp. 91-93 (in Tanner 1942). 

Greenway, J. C. 1958. Extinct and vanishing birds 
of the World. Amer. Comm. for Intemat. 
WildUfe Protection, New York, N.Y. Special 
Pub. 13:357-360. 

Gundlach, J. 1876. Contribucion a la Ornitologia 
Cubana. Habana. 

Hardy, J. W. 1975. A tape recording of a possible 
Ivory -billed Woodpecker. Amer. Birds 29: 
647-651. 

Hasbrouck, E. M. 1891. The present status of the 
Ivory-billed Woodpecker {Campephilus prin- 
cipalis) Auk 8:174-186. 

Howe, R. H. and L. King. 1902. Notes on various 
Florida birds. Contrib. N. A. Ornith. 1:30. 



Howell, A. H. 1907. Birds of Alabama. U.S. Bur. 
Biol. Surv. pp. 159-162. 

Howell, A. H. 1911. Birds of Arkansas. Bull. Bur. 
Biol. Surv. 38:45-46. 

Howell, A. H. 1932. Florida bird hfe. New York 
pp. 313-315. 

Hoyt, R. D. 1905. Nesting of the Ivory-billed 
Woodpecker in Florida. Warbler (ser. 2) 1:52- 
55. 

King, W. B. 1978 (in press). (Revised) Red data 
book (Aves). I.C.B.P., Survival Service, 
Morges, Switzerland. 

Kline, H. A. 1886. Ivory-billed Woodpecker. For- 
est and Stream 26:163. 

Lamb, G. R. 1957. The Ivory-billed Woodpecker 
in Cuba. Research Rept. No. 1, Pan-American 
Sect. Intnat. Comm. Bird Preservation. 

Mcllhenny, E. A. 1941. The passing of the Ivory- 
billed Woodpecker. Auk 58:582-584. 

Merriam, C. H. 1874. Ornithological notes from 
the south. Amer. Nat. 8:88. 

Murphy, R. C. 1929. A second topotype of 
Campephilus principalis. Auk 46:376. 

Nice, M. M. 1931. The birds of Oklahoma. Pub. 
Univ. Okla. 3:116. 

Oberholser, H. C. 1938. The bird life of Louisiana. 
Bull La. Dept. Cons. 28:38-382. 

Pindar, L. O. 1925. Birds of Fuhon County, 
Kentucky. Wilson BuU. 37:86. 

Ridgway, R. 1898. The home of the ivory-bill. 
Osprey 3:35-36. 

Ridgway, R. 1914. The birds of North and Middle 
America. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 50, pt. 6. 

Ridgway, R. 1915. Bird-life in southern Illinois. 
Bird-Lore 17:194. 

Scott, W. E. C. 1881. On birds observed in Sump- 
ter. Levy and Hillsboro Counties, Florida. 
Bull. Nuttall Ornith. Club 6:14-21. 

Scott, W. E. C. 1888. Supplementary notes from 
the Gulf coast of Florida, with a description 
of a new species of marsh wren. Auk 5:183- 
188. 

Scott, W. E. C. 1889. A summary' of observations 
on the birds of the Gulf coast of Florida. Auk 
6:251. 



11 



Stewart, J. R., Jr. 1971. Central Southern Region. 
American Birds 25:868. 

Sykes, P. W., Jr. 1968. Report on the search for 
the Ivory-billed Woodpecker [Campephilus 
principalis principalis) in eastern Texas, Jan- 
uary 1968. Administrative report, Fish and 
Wildlife Service. 

Tanner, J. T. 1942. The Ivory -billed Woodpecker. 
Nat. Audubon Soc. Research Rep. No. 1, New 
York. 

Thompson, J. M. 1896. An archer's sojourn in the 
Okefinoke. Atlantic Monthly 77:486-491. 

Thompson, M. 1889. A red-headed family. 
Oologist 6:23-29. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened 



wildlife of the United States. U.S. Dept. of 
Interior, Resource Pub. 114, G.P.O. Washing- 
ton, D.C. 

Wayne, A. T. 1910. Birds of South Carolina. Con- 
trib. Charleston Mus.:87-88. 

Wetmore, A. 1943. Evidence for the former oc- 
currence of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in 
Ohio. Wilson Bull. 55:127. 

Williams, R. W., Jr. 1904. A preliminary list of 
the birds of Leon County, Florida. Auk 21: 
455. 

Wilson, A. 1811. American Ornithology. Phil- 
adelphia Vol. 4:20-26. 

Yell. 1885. The big woodpecker. Forest and 
Stream 24:107. 



12 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.9 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE OCELOT 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species /\ct of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of f^ndangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704'')8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.9 
March 1980 



SKLKCi i:d vi:r 1 kbra 1 i: kndangered spkcies 

OF THE SEACOAS 1 OF 1 HE UNFFED STA TES- 



THE OCELOT 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National ("oastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald \V. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish antl Wildlife Scr\ice 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




OCELOT 

Felis pardalis Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivora 

FAMILY Felidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES leopard cat, ocelote, tiger cat, 

tigrUIo 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 31 May 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (non-U. S. populations 

only) (44FR43705, 25 July 1979). 
States: Endangered: Massachusetts, Texas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Habitat destruction and degradation from 
brush-clearing operations are primarily responsible 
for the ocelot's population status (Culbertson 
and Schmidly 1974, Davis 1974). Population de- 
clines are also affected by predator control activi- 
ties and persecution. Serious population declines in 
Central and South America are due to pet and fur 
trade exploitation (lUCN 1972, Paradiso 1972). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Medium-sized (0.8 to 1.2 m long) spotted cat 
wdth moderately long tail. Females average smaller 
than males. Ground color is grayish to cinnamon 
dorsally, paler on sides; underparts and inside of 
limbs are whitish; dark markings form streaks that 



run obliquely down sides; areas enclosed by 
black-bordered spots are more intense than 
ground color. There are two black stripes on 
the cheeks; the tail is spotted and ringed with black. 
Young have coloration similar to adults, but 
darker. Photographs appear in Davis (1974) and 
Guggisberg (1975). 

RANGE 

Extremely rare to nonexistent in Arizona 
(Cockrum 1960). In Texas, the ocelot occupies 
the lower Rio Grande Valley south of a line from 
Eagle Pass to just north of Corpus Christi (Hock 
1955, Culbertson and Schmidly 1974, Davis 
1974). There has been one record each from the 
Trans-Pecos (Schmidly 1977) and northern Texas 
(Davis 1951), but these are thought to be released 
or escaped captives (W. C. Brownlee and R. 
McBride personal communication). In Mexico, 
the species occurs in eastern Coahuila, along the 
Rio Sabines vicinity of the Sierra de San Marcos, 
and south and east of Saltillo (Baker 1956, lUCN 
1972). It is also present in suitable habitat in Cen- 
tral and South America (lUCN 1972). 

The ocelot's former distribution included cen- 
tral and eastern Texas, into southern Arkansas 
and western Louisiana, and south into Mexico 
east of the highlands. Ocelots were also found 
from central Arizona south into the Sonoran and 
west slopes of the Sierra Madre. There are no 
records from Mexico City (C. Conway personal 
communication). The Mexican highlands form a 
barrier between the race of ocelot that occurs in 
Texas {F. p. albescens) and that which occurs (or 
occurred) in Arizona (F. p. sonoriensis) Goldman 
1925). The ocelot was also distributed transcon- 
tinentally throughout Central and South America 
as far south as Uruguay and northern Argentina 
(Goldman 1943, Hock 1955, Hall and Kelson 

1959, lUCN 1972, Guggisberg 1975). 

RANGE MAP 

Shading refers to present range (Cockrum 

1960, Davis 1974, Brownlee 1978, R. McBride 
personal communication); dots indicate sightings 
and/or kills within the last century. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Arizona Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz. 

Texas Cameron, Hidalgo, Kenedy, Willacy. 



HABITAT 

Ocelots inhabit tropical and subtropical for- 
ests ranging from low swamp to upland oak 
forests (Hall and Kelson 1959, lUCN 1972). In 
the northern part of their range they inhabit 
dense, nearly impenetrable chaparral thickets 
(Davis 1974); they also use second-growth forests 
and partially cleared lands (lUCN 1972). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Ocelots hunt mostly at night, but it is not un- 
usual for them to be seen in the daytime (Cala- 
hane 1947, Hall and Kelson 1959, Denis 1964). 
Their food habits are not well known; they are re- 
ported to feed on small and moderate-sized mam- 
mals, birds, monkeys, tree lizards, and, occasion- 
ally, domestic fowl (Hall and Kelson 1959, Denis 
1964, Davis 1974). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Ocelots take refuge in caves in rock bluffs, 
hollow trees, or dense parts of thickets (Davis 
1974). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

The den site is usually a cave in a rocky bluff, 
hollow tree, or the dense part of a thicket (Davis 
1974). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Home range area is not known. Pairs share the 
same territory but do not hunt together (Guggis- 
berg 1975). They often rest in trees (Davis 1974); 
they are excellent tree climbers (Hall and Kelson 
1959). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

There are no firm estimates on populations in 
the United States or Latin America. lUCN is con- 
ducting a status survey in Latin America, and the 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is making a 
field survey in Texas. Preliminary findings of the 
Texas survey indicate around 35 at Santa Ana Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge and 24 at Laguna Atascosa 
National Wildlife Refuge (Brownlee 1978). How- 
ever, others claim that there are only 12 to 15 
ocelots on Laguna Atascosa and none are found 




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at Santa Ana, due to its small size (688 ha) (R. 
McBride, personal communication). 

Another survey in South Texas in 1976 esti- 
mated the ocelot population at 30 to 40 in Wil- 
lacy County, to 2 in Hidalgo County, 12 to 20 
in Cameron County, and an unknown number in 
Kenedy County (R. McBride personal communi- 
cation). 

The species rarely occurs in southern Arizona 
(Cockrum 1960). Populations are declining in 
Texas due to predator control activities and parti- 
cularly to brush-clearing operations in the lower 
Rio Grande Valley (Culbertson and Schmidly 
1974, Davis 1974). Latin American populations 
are reduced and in some areas are seriously de- 
pleted (lUCN 1972, Paradiso 1972). 

REPRODUCTION 

There is no fixed breeding season in the tropics 
(Denis 1964). In Texas, breeding takes place in 
late summer, with young bom in September, 
October, and November (Davis 1974). Gestation 
period is believed to be about 70 days (Guggis- 
berg 1975). Litter size ranges from two to four, 
with two being more common (Leopold 1959, 
Denis 1964, lUCN 1972). In Texas, average litter 
size appears to be one (R. McBride personal com- 
munication). Growth and development of young 
are not well known. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

No recovery team has been appointed at this 
time. 

Ocelots are protected in Texas and some 
Latin American countries, but U.S. populations 
are not listed on the official U.S. Endangered Spe- 
cies list. 

Brush is no longer cleared on the National 
Wildlife Refuges in the lower Rio Grande Valley 
(lUCN 1972), in order to maintain natural habi- 
tat. Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is 
thought to contain habitat most similar to that 
required by ocelots. 

AUTHORITIES 

W. C. Brownlee 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

4200 Smith School Road 

Austin, TX 78744 

W. B. Davis 

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science 

Texas A&M University 

College Station, TX 77843 



Roy McBride 
Department of Biology 
Sul Ross State University 
Box 725 
Alpine, TX 78930 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The use of questionnaire surveys may lead to 
overestimates of populations and inaccurate dis- 
tributional patterns when escaped or released cap- 
tives are sighted or even when the same individual 
is sighted repeatedly. Intensive field surveys are 
needed to accurately define the current status of 
the ocelot. Its ecology and life history also require 
further investigation. 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bailey, V. 1905 Biological survey of Texas, 
Am. Fauna 25:1-222. 



N. 



1931. Mammals of New Mexico. N. Am. 

Fauna 53:283-285. 

Baker, R. H. 1956. Mammals of Coahuila, Mexico. 
Univ. Kansas Publ. Mus. Natur. Hist. 9:125- 

335. 
Bangs, 6. 1898. The land mammals of peninsular 
Florida and the coast region of Georgia. Proc. 
Boston Soc. Natur. Hist. 28:157-235. 

Brownlee, W. C. 1978. Feline status survey. Per- 
formance Report, Proj. W-103-R-7. Texas 
Parks Wildl. Dep. Austin. 4 pp. 

Calahane, V. H. 1947. Mammals of North Ameri- 
ca. MacMillan Co., New York. 682 pp. 

Chapman, F. M. 1894. Remarks on certain land 
mammals from Florida, with a list of species 
known to occur in the state. Bull. Am. Mus. 
Natur. Hist. 6:333-346. 

Cockrum, W. L. 1960. The recent mammals of 
Arizona: their taxonomy and distribution. 
Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson. 276 pp. 

Culbertson, K., and D. J. Schmidly. 1974. Sum- 
mary of statements on the status of the rare, 
endangered, and peripheral mammals in Texas. 
Texas Organization for Endangered Species, 
Temple. 8 pp. 

Davis, W. B. 1951. Unusual occurrence of the oce- 
lot in Texas. J. Mammal. 32:363-364. 



1974. The mammals of Texas. Texas 

Parks Wildl. Dep. Bull. 41:1-294. 

Denis, A. 1964. Cats of the world. Houghton 
Mifflin Co., Boston. 144 pp. 

Goldman, E. A. 1925. Two new ocelots from 
Mexico. J. Mammal. 6:122-124. 

1943. The races of ocelot and margay in 

Middle America. J. Mammal. 24:372-385. 

Goodwyn, F. 1970. Behavior, life history and pre- 
sent status of the jaguarundi, Felis yagour- 
oundi {Ldicepede) in South Texas. M.A. Thesis. 
Texas A&I University, Kingsville. 63 pp. 

Guggisberg, C. A. W. 1975. Wildcats of the world. 
Taplinger Publ. Co., New York. 382 pp. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. Mammals of 
North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press, New 
York. 1,083 pp. 

Hock, R.J. 1955. Southeastern exotic felids. Am. 
Midi. Natur. 53:324-328. 

Harlan, R. 1825. Fauna Americana: being a des- 
cription of the mammiferous animals in- 
habiting North America. Anthony Finely, 
Philadelphia. 320 pp. 

lUCN. 1972. Red data book. Vol. I, Mamnalia. 
Compiled by H. A. Goodwin and C. W. Hollo- 
way. lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Layne, J. N. 1974. The land mammals of Florida. 
In P. J. Gleason, ed. Environments of south 
Florida; past and present. Mem. 2 Miami 
Geol. Surv. 452 pp. 

Leopold, A. S. 1959. Wildlife of Mexico; the 
game birds and mammals. Univ. California 
Press, Berkeley. 568 pp. 

Lowery, G. H., Jr. 1974. The mammals of Louisi- 
ana and its adjacent waters. Louisiana State 
Univ. Press, Baton Rouge. 565 pp. 

Lowman, G. E. 1975. A survey of endangered, 
threatened, rare, status undetermined, peri- 
pheral, and unique mammals of the south- 
eastern national forests and grasslands. USDA 
For. Serv., Atlanta, Ga. 121 pp. 

Maynard, C.J. 1883. The mammals of Florida. Q. 
J. Boston Zool. Soc. 2: 1-50. 



Paradiso, J. L. 1972. Status report on cats (Feli- 
dae) of the world, 1971. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 
Spec. Sci. Rep. Wildl. 157. 

Schmidly, D. J. 1977. The mammals of Trans- 
Pecos Texas. Texas A&M Press, College Sta- 
tion. 225 pp. 

Sealander, J. A., and P. S. Gipson. 1974. Threat- 
ened Arkansas mammals. Unedited draft re- 
report to State of Arkansas Planning Depart- 
ment, Little Rock. 

Seton, E. T. 1937. Lives of game animals. Vol. I. 
Literary Guild, New York. 

Silveira, E. K. 1972. A case of cannabalism among 
ocelots, Felts parda lis nitis, at Brasilia Zoo. 
Int. Zoo. Yearb. 12:182-183. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
GainesvUle, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.10 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE ATTWATER'S GREATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN 




''l:^^^ 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



prefacp: 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as air.iiulcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he directed lo: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and W ildlife Senice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be dirccicvl to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.10 
March 1980 



SELECTKD Vl.R 1 KBRA 1 K ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACt)AS T OF IHE UNFFED STA lES- 

THE ATTWATER'S GREATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfc Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




ATTWATER'S GREATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN 

Tympanuchus cupido attwateri Bendire 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Galliformes 

FAMILY Tetraonidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Attwater's prairie chicken 

greater prairie chicken, heath hen 

DATE: 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Update 1 August 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967) 

States: Endangered: Texas 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Conversion of natural tall grass prairie to agri- 
cultural lands for soybeans, grain, sorghum, rice, 
and cotton has eliminated extensive amounts of 
habitat. Commercial development and urban 
sprawl have contributed to the loss of habitat 
while overgrazing and oil development have re- 
duced habitat quality (Lehmann and Mauermann 
1963, W. Shifflett personal communication). 

The Attwater's prairie chicken was formerly 
killed in great numbers for target practice and 
sport (Lehmann 1941). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Prairie chickens are large, hen-like birds; males 
weigh almost 1 kg, and females 0.75 kg. They are 
brovm barred with black above, buffy barred with 



black below, and have a short, rounded, dark tail. 
Males have an orange comb above the eye, and, 
on each side of the neck, an area of orange skin 
that inflates during the courtship display. Tufts 
of feathers (pinnae) extend down each side of the 
neck, and point forward during courtship. 

The Attwater's prairie chicken is distinguished 
from the lesser prairie chicken (T. pallidicinctus), 
which still occurs in the Texas panhandle, by 
orange instead of reddish throat pouches. From 
the northern race {T. cupido pinnatus), formerly 
found in Texas, it differs in having the back of 
the tarsus unfeathered. From the extinct heath 
hen {T. cupido cupido), it differs in having pure 
white axillaries and rounded pinnae. 

Color plates appear in Lehmann (1941) and 
Peterson (1947); black-and-white illustrations 
appear in Lehmann and Mauermann (1963). 

RANGE 

This species' range formerly extended over 
the entire Gulf coastal prairie of southwestern 
Louisiana and Texas, and south to the Rio 
Grande (Lehmann and Mauermann 1963). At 
present, it is confined to small, disjunct popula- 
tions scattered over about 12 Texas counties, 
mainly Refugio, Austin, and Colorado. It is extir- 
pated in Louisiana. 

RANGE MAP 

Present range (W. Shifflett personal com- 
munication) is shaded on the following page. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Texas Aransas, Austin, Brazoria, Cham- 

bers,' Colorado, Dewitt, Fort Bend, 
Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jefferson,' 
Refugio, Victoria, Waller,' Wharton. 

HABITAT 

Coastal grassland prairie approaches ideal 
conditions when (1) vegetation is diversified and 
native grasses, sedges, legumes, brush, and dwarfed 
trees provide a variety of cover; (2) knolls, ridges, 
and hog wallows are frequent and soils vary from 
loose sand to tight clay or silt; and (3) permanent 
sources of water are not more than 0.2 km apart 
(Lehmann 1941). 

Cultivation causes immediate abandonment, 
but the birds will usually return after the field lies 



' Indicates counties in which V. Lehmann (personal com- 
munication) believes the species may no longer occur. 



fallow for a year or two (V. Lehmann personal 
communication). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Food of adults is 85% vegetable and 15% 
animal; this ratio is approximately reversed in the 
young. Favorite plants are ruellia {Ruellia ciliosa), 
perennial ragweed {Ambrosia psilostachya), black- 
berry {Rubus sp.), doveweed {Croton sp.), and 
sensitive briar {Neptunia lutea); favorite animals 
are grasshoppers and beetles. 

Except during breeding season, adults feed 
twice daily (dawn to 08:00 and 16:00 to dark). 
Gizzards collected at noon are usually empty. 
Feeding is slow and dehberate. Their capacity is 
large; 20 cc in gullet and 30 cc in gizzard. The 
variety of foods found in a stomach is im- 
mense—up to 29 kinds of food and more than 
1,300 items (Lehmann 1941). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

These birds require light to medium cover for 
roosting, especially on gentle slopes, and medium 
heavy to heavy cover for nesting and escape. 
Light cover is necessary for booming (see Repro- 
duction) and feeding. Hence, considerable habi- 
tat diversity is required (Lehmann 1941). Fallow 
rice fields and weedy, sandy slopes are used for 
brood habitat in Austin and Colorado counties 
(W. Shifflett personal communication). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Prairie chickens usually nest on well-drained 
mounds or ridges near trails and within 1.3 km of 
a booming ground. The nest is a shallow depres- 
sion about 18 cm in diameter, more or less roofed 
over by a medium to heavy grass cover, and lined 
with bits of dead grass and a few feathers (Leh- 
mann 1941). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Preferred booming sites are short-grass flats, 
often not elevated, 0.4 ha or so in area, and sur- 
rounded by moderate grass cover suitable for 
nesting. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Permanent sources of surface water no more 
than 1.6 km apart are a must. Heavy rainfall in 
late April or May is a hazard to nesting (Lehmann 
1941). 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The species formerly numbered nearly 
1,000,000 birds. In 1937, the population was esti- 
mated at 8,700 (Lehmann 1941). In 1962, Leh- 
mann and Mauermann estimated the total popula- 
tion at 1,335. Since then, fluctuation has been 
only slight, and the 1978 estimate was 1,500 indi- 
viduals (W. Shifflett personal communication). 

REPRODUCTION 

Elaborate displays by males on the booming 
grounds commence in February, peak in March, 
and end in May. Females visit the booming 
ground briefly for copulation and then select sites 
and construct nests. Peak laying occurs in late 
March and early April, at which time an average 
of 12 eggs are laid. Hens take two feeding forays 
daily, incubating the eggs the remainder of the 
day. The incubation period is 23 days. Hatchlings 
are precocious and immediately follow the hen 
away from the nest. Some young leave the hen at 
6 to 8 weeks of age, while others remain into the 
fall (Lehmann 1941). 

An annual increase of 100% is considered 
good, despite the potential for 600% (Lehmann 
1941). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Prairie chickens have been protected from 
hunting since 1937. Lehmann (1941) conducted a 
thorough study of Attwater's prairie chicken. 

A 3,200-ha acquisition in the middle of prime 
prairie chicken range in Colorado County was de- 
signated the Attwater's Prairie Chicken National 
Wildlife Refuge. Management techniques used to 
improve the habitat include a closely regulated 
grazing program, prescribed burning, mowing, 
shrub eradication, and experimental crop plantings 
(W. Shifflett personal communication). 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service monitor the 
Texas population annually (W. Shifflett personal 
communication). 

Lehmann and Mauermann (1963) have made 
several management recommendations. Sugges- 
tions include posting signs on roads to alert 
motorists that they are in prairie chicken habitat; 
transplanting of chickens from inhospitable areas 
east of the Brazos River to better ranges (e.g., 
Victoria County); and organizing and supervising 
a predator control program. 

A Recovery Team has been appointed. 



AUTHORITIES 

Bill Brownlee (Recovery Team) 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. 
4200 Smith School Road 
Austin, TX 78744 

Royce Jurries 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. 
1131 Travis Street 
Columbus, TX 78934 

Val. W. Lehmann 

P.O.Box 185 

Carrizo Springs, TX 78834 

Wayne Shifflett (Recovery Team) 
Attwater's Prairie Chicken NWR 
P.O.Box 518 
Eagle Lake, TX 77434 

Nova Silvy (Recovery Team Leader) 
Dept. Wildlife and Fisheries Science 
Texas A&M University 
College Station, TX 77843 

James Teer (Recovery Team) 
Welder Wildlife Foundation 
P.O. Box 1400 
Sinton.TX 78387 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The prairie chicken population is rather stable 
due in part to the slowing down of conversion of 
prairie lands to croplands. If several large ranches 
should alter existing ranching operations, the prai- 
rie chicken could be pushed close to extinction. 
However, the Attwater's prairie chicken NWR 
should prevent the species from becoming extinct. 

LITERATURE CITED/ SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Brownlee, W. C. 1970-1977. Attwater's prairie 
chicken population census. Texas Parks Wildl. 
Dep., Austin. Progress Rep. 

. 1973. Vegetative requirements of Att- 
water's prairie chickens. Texas Parks Wildl. 
Dep., Austin. Progress Rep. 

Lehmann, V. W. 1941. Attwater's prairie chicken, 
its life history and management. N. Am. Fauna 
57:65 pp. 



Lehmann, V. W. and R. G. Mauermann. 1963 
Status of Attwater's prairie chicken. J. Wildl. 
Manage. 27:713-725. 

Peterson, R. T. 1947. A field guide to the birds. 
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 230 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
GainesvUle,FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.11 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE CAPE SABLE SPARROW 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as aiiuridcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Knginccrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Kndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sen'ice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems I cam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704')8 



II 



FWS/OBS-80/01.11 
March 1980 



si:lp:cii:d vi;ri kbraii: kndangered spkcies 
OF rin: skacoast oi i hi: united siai es- 

THE CAPE SABLE SPARROW 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

ant! the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal F.cosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CAPE SABLE SPARROW 

Ammospiza marititna mirabilis Howell 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passeriformes 

FAMILY Fringillidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Cape Sable se2iside sparrow 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined. 

Updates 17 August 1978, 10 October 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967) 

States: Endangered: Florida 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The Cape Sable sparrow inhabits only un- 



Credit: Harold Werner 



stable interior marshes within a limited area of 
southern Florida. There are only three known dis- 
junct populations, two of them nearly extir- 
pated. Progressive invasion of marshlands by 
fast-growing exotic trees (Casuarina, Melaleuca, 
Schinus) poses a major threat to the remaining 
habitat, which is also under pressure from hurri- 
canes, housing development, and inland encroach- 
ment of mangroves. Frequent man-induced wild- 
fires and predation by feral cats and dogs may 
have caused the declines of some previously 
extensive colonies (U.S. Department of the 
Interior 1973; Werner 1975,1976, 1979; Mac- 
Kenzie 1977). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The Cape Sable sparrow is about 13 cm long, 
and colored olive-gray with olive-brown tail and 
wings. It is marked with a yellow spot before the 



eye and a white streak and black whisker along 
the jaw. The ventral coloration is light gray to 
nearly white, with darker streaking on breast and 
sides. It tends to be greener above and whiter 
below than other races of seaside sparrows. The 
sexes are similar. 

Immature birds are streaked dorsally with 
brown to light buff, with less streaking on Hght 
underparts. The yellow eye spot and dark whisker 
are reduced or absent. 

Color illustrations appear in Holt and Sutton 
(1926), Howell (1932), Peterson (1947), and 
Sprunt (1954); Werner (1975) presents black-and- 
white photographs. 

RANGE 

This sparrow is a nonmigratory resident of 
fresh to slightly brackish marshes in extreme 
southern and southwestern peninsular Florida. It 
ranges from 8 to 34 km inland, and is isolated 
from other races of seaside sparrow by at least 
260 km along the Gulf and 280 km along the At- 
lantic coast of the State. Three disjunct, low- 
density populations occur in marshes at Cape Sa- 
ble, the Big Cypress Swamp, and the Taylor 
Slough area of Everglades National Park, the last 
being the location of the bulk of the population 
(Werner 1975, 1976,1979). 

The species was once common landward of 
the mangrove zone from Carnestown to Shark 
Valley Slough, including the coastal marl prairie 
on Cape Sable (Stimson 1956). It is now only 
rarely seen in this area (Werner 1979). 

Emigration of fledglings is the chief dispersal 
mechanism for an otherwise sedentary popula- 
tions (Werner 1975, 1976). 

RANGE MAP 

Known localities for Cape Sable sparrows are 
based on surveys conducted in 1970-1975 (re- 
drawn from Werner 1976). Critical Habitat is re- 
drawn from 42 FR 49685, 11 August 1977. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida Collier, Dade, Monroe. 

HABITAT 

The species inhabits seasonally flooded brush- 
less subtropical marshes (prairies) of interior sou- 
thern Florida. Habitats vary from entirely fresh to 
slightly brackish, generally remaining dry most of 
the year. Brushy or rocky marshlands are avoided, 
as are extremely dense stands of cordgrass {Spar- 



tina bakeri) (Werner 1975, 1976, 1979). 

Werner (1975, 1976) described Cape Sable 
sparrow habitat in terms of four major graminoid 
communities: muhly grass {Muhlenbergia filipes) 
prairie; short sawgrass [Cladium jamaicensis) prai- 
rie; prairies of tall, clumped cordgrass; and prairies 
of low cordgrass growing with an irregular spatial 

distribution. 

Photographs of habitat appear in Holt and 

Sutton (1926), Stimson (1968), and Werner 

(1975). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The Cape Sable sparrow is primarily insecti- 
vorous, with beetles and spiders comprising the 
bulk of the diet. Amphipods, mollusks, and vege- 
table matter are of minor importance (Howell 
(1932). They feed almost entirely on or near the 
ground, but are occasionally observed in sawgrass 
flowers during the breeding season (Werner 1975). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Sparrows generally remain hidden in marsh 
vegetation during the hottest part of the day. The 
microclimate may be moderated by moisture 
from heavy morning dew (Werner 1975, 1979). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

A woven grass nest is generally concealed 
within a tussock of grass 6 to 37 cm above ground. 
Nest construction may be either cupped or 
domed (Werner 1975, 1979). 

Werner (1975) reported nests primarily in 
Muhly grass and occasionally in sawgrass. Nesting 
is also known to take place in cordgrass and glass- 
wort {Salicornia) (Nicholson 1928, Stimson 
1968). 

Photographs of nests and nest sites appear in 
Stimson (1968) and Werner (1975). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Males often chase females during the breeding 
season. A female occasionally extends and vi- 
brates her wings when approached by a male. The 
significance of such interactions is not known 
(Werner 1975). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Fire is a dangerous but vital component of 
Cape Sable sparrow habitat. Periodic burning of 
interior marshlands is necessary for perpetuation 






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of optimal conditions. Sparrow populations are 
closely related to the age of vegetation after fires. 
Maximum density is achieved within 3 or 4 years 
after a burn, followed by a sharp decline as the 
dead component of vegetation increases. Pro- 
longed absence of fire permits the elimination 
of marsh by hardwood invasion. Colonies may be 
enhanced or reduced by fire, depending on several 
critical factors, such as burn pattern, percent of 
contiguous habitat burned, size and percent of 
colony evicted, proximity of and isolation from 
adjacent colonies, and frequency and season of 
burning (Werner 1975, 1976). 

The breeding season appears to be closely re- 
lated to the hydroperiod of the marsh. Singing 
and nesting decrease abruptly when when the on- 
set of heavy rains causes the marsh to flood 
(Werner 1979), MacKenzie 1977). Dew may be an 
important source of moisture during the dry sea- 
son (Werner 1975, 1976). 

Cape Sable sparrows interact very little with 
other birds in their habitat area. Predation on 
adult sparrows appears to be low. Mortality may 
increase as summer floods inundate protective 
vegetation. Nestlings are subject to attack by ants 
(Werner 1975, 1976); 19% of nests surveyed by 
Werner (1975) at Taylor Slough are known to 
have failed due to predation. Similar failure of an 
additional 6% is suspected. 

The entire nesting cycle is completed within 
the confines of a male's territory. Werner (1975) 
reported territories of from 0.3 to 6.8 ha, some of 
them overlapping. Territories, generally retained 
through successive breeding seasons, are defended 
by song and occasional chasing and combat. Ave- 
rage territory size decreased with increasing popu- 
lation density following fire. New residents usual- 
ly occupy suboptimal sites adjacent to established 
occupants. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Werner (1976) estimated the total Cape Sable 
sparrow population at 1,900 to 2,800 birds. Over 
95% live in 8,800 to 12,800 ha of marshland in 
the Taylor Slough area of South Florida. Muhly 
grass prairie provides the principal habitat. Werner 
(1976) described this final stronghold as 'an area 
of widely spaced individuals, broken by various 
sized patches of unacceptable habitat, on which 
islands of greater density appear and disappear, 
following the tracks of fires. . . .' A formerly large 
population adjoining Big Cypress Swamp (Stim- 
son 1956) was devastated by extensive fires 
during the spring breeding season (Stimson 1961, 



1968; Werner 1976, MacKenzie 1977). Recent 
surveys indicate at least a 95% reduction since 
1955. Only two singing males were recorded at 
Ochopee site in 1975, compared with 10 in 1970 
(Werner 1975, 1976, 1979). 

The species was regularly sighted on the coastal 
marl prairie of Cape Sable between 1918 and 
1935 (Howell 1919, 1932; Holt and Sutton 1926; 
Nicholson 1928; Semple 1936; Stimson 1956). 
Believed to have been extirpated by a severe hur- 
ricane on 2 September 1935 (Stimson 1956, 
1968), they were rediscovered on Cape Sable near 
Little Fox Lake in 1970 (Werner 1971). Altera- 
tion of the habitat by the storm of 1935 apparent- 
ly is responsible for the population decline. Only 
a few widely spaced individuals remain (Werner 
1975, 1976). 

REPRODUCTION 

The potential breeding season slightly exceeds 
5 months, extending from February to August. 
Up to three broods are produced in a single sea- 
son. The pair bond may change between broods 
or continue over two consecutive years (Werner 
1975, 1979). 

Normally, three or four eggs are laid per nest, 
rarely two or five. Eggs are incubated by the fe- 
male. Incubation requires more than 11 days. 
Both parents feed the young. Flightless young 
leave the nest 9 to 11 days after hatching; they 
are capable of short flights about 2.5 weeks after 
hatching (Werner 1976, 1979). They become 
independent at about 45 days (MacKenzie 1977). 

Fledglings begin to molt in July; the post- 
nuptial molt of adults is completed August to 
September (Werner 1975). 

Photographs of nestlings appear in Werner 
(1975). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Recovery efforts have emphasized determina- 
tion of ecological requirements as well as restora- 
tion and maintenance of habitat. Primary manage- 
ment strategies involve controlling water, fire, and 
exotics to maintain historic conditions. Acquisi- 
tion and management of private land in Big Cy- 
press area has been recommended (Werner 1979, 
MacKenzie 1977). 

Specific management recommendations pro- 
vided by Werner (1975) are: (1) eliminate exotic 
plants and animals from areas occupied by Cape 
Sable sparrows; (2) employ controlled periodic 
burns to retard hardwood invasion of suitable 
marshes; (3) restrict burning to August and Sep- 



tember, to approximate timing of natural light- 
ning strikes that follow the breeding season; 

(4) start burns with a single ignition spot to pre- 
vent entrapment of birds in junction zones; 

(5) to promote optimum population size, bum 
15% to 20% of the habitat each year, using small, 
evenly distributed fires in the oldest roughs; and 

(6) the habitat of small colonies should not be 
burned, but the burning of limited adjacent areas 
could prove beneficial by expanding the habitat. 

Critical Habitat has been designated to 
include 'areas of land, water, and airspace in the 
Taylor Slough vicinity of Collier, Dade, and Mon- 
roe Counties' (42 FR 49685, 11 August 1977; 42 
FR 47840, 22 September 1977). Rulemaking in- 
cludes areas both within and outside Everglades 
National Park. 

No recovery team has been appointed. 

AUTHORITIES 

Sonny Bass 
Research Biologist 
Everglades National Park 
P.O. Box 279 
Homestead, FL 33030 

J. A. Kushlan 
Research Biologist 
Everglades National Park 
P.O. Box 279 
Homestead, FL 33030 

J.C.Ogden 
Research Department 
National Audubon Society 
115 Indian Mount Trail 
Tavernier, FL 33070 

W. B. Robertson, Jr. 
Research Biologist 
Everglades National Park 
P.O. Box 279 
Homestead, FL 33030 

L. A. Stimson 

4339 S.W. 9th Terrace 

Miami, FL 33134 

H. W. Werner 

Research Management Specialist 

Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains 

National Parks 
3225 National Park Highway 
Carlsbad, NM 88220 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Previouslv known as Ammospiza mirabilis 
(Howell 1932). 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Previously known as Ammospiza mirabilis 
(Howell 1932; Stimson 1954, 1968; American 
Ornithologist's Union 1957), the Cape Sable spar- 
row was considered the last avian species identi- 
fied in continental United States (Stimson 1968; 
Werner 1975, 1976). It has recently been designa- 
ted a subspecies of A. maritima (Eisenmann 
1973). Morphologically and behaviorally similar 
to other subspecies of seaside sparrows (Griscom 
1944, Stimson 1968), it is unique in its geographi- 
cal isolation and confinement to interior marshes 
(Werner 1975, 1976, 1979). 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologist's Union. 1957. Check- 
Hst of North American Birds, 5th ed. Port 
City Press, Baltimore. 

Anderson, W. 1942. Rediscovery of the Cape 
Sable seaside sparrow in Collier County. Fla. 
Nat. 16:12. 

Beecher, W. J. 1955. Late-Pleistocene isolation of 
salt-marsh sparrows. Ecology 36:23-28. 

Dietrich, A. L. 1938. Observations of birds seen 
in South Florida. Fla. Nat. 11:101. 

Eisenmann, E. (Chairman). 1973. Thirty-second 
supplement to the American Ornithologist's 
Union check-list of North American birds. 
Auk 40:411-419. 

Griscom, L. 1944. A second revision of the sea- 
side sparrows. La State Univ. Mus; Zool. 
Occas. Paper 19:313-328. 

Holt, E. G., and G. M. Sutton. 1926. Notes on 
birds observed in southern Florida. Ann. Car- 
negie Mus. 16:409-439. 

Howell, A. H. 1919. Description oa a new seaside 
sparrow from Florida. Auk 36:86-87. 

. 1932. Florida bird life. Coward-McCann, 

Inc., New York. 579 pp. 

MacKenzie, J. P. S. 1977. Birds in peril. Hough- 
ton Mifflin Co., Boston. 191 pp. 

Nicholson, D. J. 1928. Nesting habits of seaside 
sparrows in Florida. Wilson Bull. 40:225-237. 



. 1938. An historical trip to Cape Sable. 

Fla. Nat. 11:41-44. 

Ogden, J. C. 1972. Florida region. Am. Birds 26: 
852. 

Peterson, R. T. 1947. A field guide to the birds. 
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 230 pp. 

Robertson, W. B., Jr., and J. A. Kushlan. 1974. 
The southern Florida avifauna. Pages 414-452 
in P. J. Gleason, ed. Environments of South 
Florida: present and past. Miami Geological 
Society, Memoir 2. 

Sample, J. B. 1936. The Cape Sable sparrow and 
hurricanes. Auk 53:341. 

Sprunt, A., Jr. 1954. Florida bird life. Coward- 
McCann, Inc., New York. 527 pp. 

Stimson, L. A. 1944. Rediscovery of the Cape 
Sable sparrow confirmed. Fla. Nat. 17:31-32. 

. 1948. Cape Sable sparrow still in Collier 

County. Fla. Nat. 21 :68-69. 

1953. Cape Sable seaside sparrow. Fla. 



Nat. 26:57. 



. 1954, Cape Sable seaside sparrow: Am- 

mospiza mirabilis (Howell). Pages 479-481 in 
A. Sprunt, Jr. Florida bird life. Coward-Mc- 
Cann, Inc., New York. 527 pp, 

. 1956. The Cape Sable seaside sparrow: 
its former and present distribution. Auk 73: 
489-502. 

1961. Cape Sable sparrows: fire and 



range extension. Fla. Nat. 34:139-140. 

. 1968. Cape Sable sparrow. Pages 859- 
868 in O. L. Austin, Jr. Life histories of 
North American cardinals, grosbeaks, bun- 
tings, towhees, finches, sparrows, and allies. 
U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 237. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threat- 
ened wildlife of the United States. Compiled 
by Office of Endangered Species and Interna- 
tional Activities. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. 
Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 
Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 

Werner, H. W. 1971. Cape Sable sparrows redisco- 
vered on Cape Sable. Auk 88:432. 

. 1975. The biology of the Cape Sable 

sparrow. U.S. Gov. Rep., Everglades Natl. 
Park. 215 pp. 

. 1976. Distribution, habitat, and origin of 

the Cape Sable seaside sparrow. M.S. Thesi 
Univ. of Fla., Tampa. 53 pp. 



. 1979. Cape Sable seaside sparrow. Pages 

19-20 m H. W. Kale, ed. Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 2, Birds. Univ. Presses 
of Florida, Gainesville. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.12 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoasl of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of F,ndangercd Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.12 
March 1980 



SELIXTKD V1:R 1 EBRAl i: KNDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS 1 OF 1 HE UNITED S lATES- 

LEATHERBAGK SEA TURTLE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WildHfc Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wiltllife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: P. C. H. PRITCHARD 



LEATHERBACK SEA TURTLE 

Dermochelys coriacea Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Testudinata 

FAMILY Dermochelyidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES leathery turtle 

DATES 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates: . .22 September 1976, 20 January 1977. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 8495;2June 1970). 

States: Endangered: Georgia, Maryland, 

Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, 
South Carolina, Texas. 
Protected: Alabama 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

General population reduction and overuse by 
humans are the primary factors determining the 
status of leatherback turtles. Exposure and vul- 
nerability while nesting make overharvesting by 
man possible. 

Sea turtles require relatively undisturbed 
beaches for nesting. Increasing development and 
human activity on beaches is incompatible with 
successful turtle reproduction. Illumination of 
beaches at night can distract hatchlings away 
from the sea (McFarlane 1963). 

Harvesting eggs has put tremendous pressure 
on this species. Occasionally adults are slaughtered 
on nesting beaches. Meat is used as fish bait and 
as human food (lUCN 1968, Pritchard 1979a, 
Rebel 1974). 

Predation is extensive — particularly on hatch- 
lings. Pritchard (1971) identified several species 
of crabs, fishes, reptiles, and mammals that prey 
on hatchlings. Predation on adults is generally 



limited to sharks and killer whales {Orcinus orca) 
Caldwell and Caldwell 1969). 

Incidental catches by commercial shrimping 
and fishing boats result in entanglement and sub- 
sequent drowning in the trawler nets. 

Littering of the seas is believed to have some 
impact on sea turtle populations. Plastic bags have 
the appearance of jellyfish, but cause death when 
eaten by turtles (Rebel 1974). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The largest of all turtles, it is easily disting- 
uished by its leathery skin. The neck and limbs 
are thick and feebly retractible. Average carapace 
length is 155cm. Adults generally weigh from 
290 to 590kg. The carapace is triangular, and is 
covered with a layer of rubbery skin rather than 
horny shields. Carapace has seven longitudinal 
ridges. Head and neck are black or dark brown 
with a few white or yellow blotches. Each side of 
the gray upper jaw has a tooth-like cusp. The 
lower jaw is hooked anteriorly. Paddle-like claw- 
less limbs are black with white margins, and may 
have white spots. 

Hatchlings are dark brown or black with 
white or yellow carapacial keels and flipper mar- 
gins. Skin is covered with small scales that become 
thinner with each molt — starting about 3 weeks 
after hatching. 

Black-and-white photographs are in Carr 
(1952, 1967), Bustard (1973), Rebel (1974), 
Riedman and Witham (1974), and LeBuff (1976). 
Deraniyagala (1939) presents a complete pictorial 
and descriptive anatomical discussion. 

RANGE 

The leatherback is widely distributed in the 
oceans of the world. From tropical Atlantic, 
Pacific, and Indian Oceans, they are found as far 
north as British Columbia, Newfoundland, and 
the British Isles. They are found as far south as 
Australia, Cape of Good Hope, and Argentina. 
Other bodies of water, such as the Mediterranean 
Sea are also inhabited. 

In spite of what appears to be a large range, it 
represents a reduction as compared to the range 
in earlier times (lUCN 1968). 

Major nesting beaches are in Malaya, Surinam, 
French Guiana, Mexico, Costa Rica, South Africa, 
Dominican Republic, and U.S. Virgin Islands. 



Annual United States nesting is restricted to 
Florida, although one nesting incident in 1966 in 
North Carolina was reported by Schwartz (Per- 
sonal communication). Atlantic Coast nests have 
been recorded from Flagler Beach to Miami, with 
the majority of records from Palm Beach and 
Martin Counties. There appears to be a small 
population that nests regularly on Hutchinson 
Island, Martin County. On the Gulf Coast, nesting 
is common in March and April (A. F. Carr per- 
sonal communication). 

Two reported nesting occurrences in Florida 
have been on publicly owned beaches: Sebastian 
State Park, Brevard County, and St. Vincent 
National Wildhfe Refuge, Franklin County. Other 
recorded nesting beaches are in private ownership. 
They are protected by the Florida Department of 
Natural Resources which, according to Witham 
(Personal communication), protects all nesting 
sea turtles. 

RANGE MAP 

Distribution off the continental United States 
is illustrated by shading adjacent coasthnes. 
Recorded nesting localities are depicted by dots. 

STATES /COUNTIES 

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile. 

California: Del Norte, Humboldt, Los Angeles, 
Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Orange, 
San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis 
Abispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, 
Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Ventura. 

Delaware: Kent, Sussex. 

Florida: Bay, Brevard Broward, Charlotte, 
Citrus, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Duval, 
Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, 
Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, 
Lee, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, 
Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, 
Pinellas, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa 
Rosa, Sarasota, Volusia, Wakulla, 
Walton. 

Georgia: Bryan, Camdon, Chatham, Glynn, 
Liberty, Mcintosh. 

Louisiana: Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, 
(Parishes) Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, 
Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Maine: Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, 

Sagadahoc, Waldo, Washington, York. 

Maryland: Calvert, Dorchester, Somerset, St. 
Marys, Talbot, Worchester. 



pp^ 




SCALE 
<^c ;oo 2»o aoo uiles 
200 300 40O ■iLOMC'reBs 

CONIC PROJECTION 



vest LOMCtTWOC 



Eastern distribution of leatherback sea turtle offshore (shading) and nesting beaches (dots) 



Massachusetts: Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middle- 
sex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth. 

Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

New 

Hampshire: Rockingham. 

New Jersey: Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, 
Monmouth, Ocean. 

New York: Nassau, Suffolk. 

North 

Carolina: Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, Dare, 
Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender. 

Oregon: Clatsop, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Lane, 

Lincoln, Tillamook. 
Rhode 
Island: Newport, Washington. 

South 

Carolina: Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, 
Georgetown, Horry. 

Texas: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, 

Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, 
Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, 
Willacy. 

Virginia: Accomack, Gloucester, Lancaster, 

Mathews, Middlesex, Northampton, 
Northumberland, Virginia Beach, 
York. 

Washington: Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, 
Pacific. 

HABITAT 

Leatherbacks are the most pelagic of the sea 
turtles, and are often found near the edge of the 
continental shelf. In Northern waters, they some- 
times enter shallow estuarine bays (Deranigayala 
1939, Pope 1939). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Although apparently omniverous, consuming 
sea urchins, squid, crustaceans, tunicates, fish, 
blue-green algae, and floating seaweed, its princi- 
pal food is jellyfish. Deeply notched , sharp edged 
jaws appear adapted for holding and cutting soft- 
bodied prey. The mouth has fleshy papillae, and 
the throat has a valve which probably assist in 
swallowing and retaining soft-bodied prey (Prit- 
chard 1971). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 



NESTING OR BEDDING 

Leatherbacks require a sloping sandy beach 
backed up by vegetation for nesting. There must 
be sufficient slope so that the crawl to dry sand 
is not too far. The depth of the coarse dry sand is 
important because the female first excavates a pit 
for her body and then must reach moist sand so 
that she can make the proper flask-shaped nest 
(Pritchard 1969a, Witham 1976). Preferred 
beaches are mainland or island areas near deep 
water and rough seas (Rebel 1974). 

Site specificity such as that displayed by the 
green turtle (Chelonia mydas) is not apparent for 
the leatherback. Lund (1974) suggests renesting is 
generally greater than 7 miles from the initial nest. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Estimates are based on counts of nesting fe- 
males: Trengganu (Malaya), 4,000; French Guiana, 
15,000; Costa Rica, 1,000; Trinidad, Surinam, 
Tongaland, and Ceylon, 200 to 400; and Jalsico 
(Mexico) to northern Peru, 5,000. Pritchard 
(1969b) estimates the world female breeding 
population to be from 29,000tto 40,000. 

Lund (1974) estimates that about 25 leather- 
back nest in Florida each year; The number of 
females involved is uncertain. 

REPRODUCTION 

The nesting season varies per locality; Suri- 
nam and Guyana, May to July; Costa Rica, April 
to July; Silebache (includes French Guiana) Miy 
to August; Trinidad, March to August; and the 
Danish West Indies, March to May (Rebel 1974). 
Florida nesting season is from April to August. 

Females nest at night at intervals of 2 to 3 
years. As many as six cluches may be laid a 
season with an average inter-nesting period of 10 
days (Pritchard 1969a; Lund 1976) Clutches av- 
erage 80 to 85 eggs with the last layer of eggs 
generally abnormal. The white spherical eggs are 
approximately 50 to 54 mm in diameter (Pope 
1939; Lund 1976). Incubation takes from 55 to 
74 days and emergence of the hatchlings occurs at 
night. 

Animals mature in 6 to 10 years. Mating takes 



place in shallow water offshore of the laying 
beach. Occasionally males will crawl up the beach 
in an attempt to mate with nesting females (Le- 
Buff 1976). Photographs of courtship and mating 
are in Bustard (1973). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The Malayan Nature Society transplanted eggs 
into enclosures to increase numbers of hatchlings. 
This project is now under the control of Malayan 
Fisheries Department (lUCN 1968). 

Marquez M. (1976) recommended formation 
of seven natural reserves for the coast of Mexico. 
These are the major Mexican sea turtle nesting 
sites and include Playa de la Escolbilla, Oaxaca 
State, a leatherback nesting beach. 

Other protective measures should include ef- 
forts to curtail the loss of leatherbacks in fishing 
or shrimping trawls, protection of nesting beaches 
from turtles, and a limitation of development on 
nesting beaches (Pritchard 1971). 

Legal protection to varying degrees exists in 
Mexico, Costa Rica, Surinam, French Guiana, 
Ascension Island, Trust Territory of the Pacific, 
Tahiti, Fiji Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Australia, 
Sarawak, British Indian Ocean, Seychelle's Islands, 
South Africa and the United States (Pritchard 
1969b; U.S. Department of Commerce 1976). 

The leatherback is listed in Appendix 1 of 
1976 Convention on Internation Trade in Endan- 
gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Commer- 
cial trade in this species is subject to strict regula- 
tion, and both an export and import permit are 
necessary for trade by participating countries. 

Critical Habitat has been determined to in- 
clude a major nesting area on Sandy Point Beach 
at the western edge of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Is- 
lands (43 FR 43688-43689; 26 September 1978), 
as well as adjacent waters (44 FR 17710-17712; 
23 March 1979). 

AUTHORITIES 

Archie Carr 

Department of Zoology 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL 32611 

George Hughes 

Oceanographic Research Institute 

P.O. Box 736 

Durban, Natal 

South Africa 



Frank Lund 

P.O. Box 541 

Jupiter Island, FL 33458 

Nicholas Mrosovsky 
Department of Zoology 
University of Toronto 
Ontario , Canada M5 3 1 A 1 

Peter Pritchard 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawar 7 
Maitland,FL 32751 

J. P. Schults 
Surinam Forest Service 
P.O. Box 436 
Paramaribo, Surinam 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 



Nesting records for the United States are not 
complete because the entire coast has not been 
surveyed. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Brongersma, L. D. 1970. Miscellaneous notes on 
turtles. 111. Koninkl. Nederl. Akademic Weten- 
schappen-Amoterdam. Proc. Serv. C. 73(4): 
323-335. 

Bustard, R. 1973. Sea turtles, natural history, and 
conservation. Taplinger Publ.,New York. 220 
pp. 

Caldwell, D. K. 1959. On the status of the Atlan- 
tic leatherback turtle, Dermochelys coriacea 
coriacea, as a visitant to Florida nesting 
beaches, with natural history notes. Quart. J. 
Florida Acad. Sci. 21(3):285-291. 

Caldwell, D. K., and M. C. Caldwell. 1969. Addi- 
tion of the leatherback sea turtle to the 
known prey of the killer whale, Orcinus orca.. 
J. Mammal. 50(3):636. 

Caldwell, D. K., and W. F. Rathjen. 1969. Unre- 
corded West Indian nesting sites for the leath- 
erback and hawksbill sea turtles, Dermochelys 
coricaea and Ertmochelys i. imbricata. Copeia 
1969(3):622-623. 

Carr, A. F. 1952. Handbook of turtles. Turtles of 
the United States, Canada, and Baja Califor- 
nia. Comstock Publ. Assoc, Cornell Univ. 
Press, Ithaca, N.Y. 542 pp. 

. 1967. So excellent a fishe. The Natural 



History Press, Garden City, N.Y. 248 pp. 

Carr, A. F., and A. R. Main. 1973. Report on an 
inquiry into ecological implications of a turtle 
farming project. In Turtle farming project in 
northern Australia. Union Offset Co., PTY, 
Limited, Canberra, Australia. 80 pp. 

Carr, A. F., and L. H. Ogren. 1959. The ecology 
and migrations of sea turtles, 3. Dermochelys 
in Costa Rica. Ame. Mus. November 1958. 29 
pp. 

Deraniyagala, P. E. P. 1939. Tetrapod reptiles of 
Ceylon. Vol. 1. Columbo Mus. Publ. Ceylon. 
412 pp. 

Ernst, C. H. and R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of 
the United States. Univ. Kentucky Press, Lex- 
ington. 347 pp. 

Frair, W., R. G. Ackman, and N. Mrosovsky. 
1972. Body temperature oi Dermochelys cor- 
iacea: Warm turtle from cold water. Science 
177:791-0793. 

lUCN. 1968. Red data book. Vol. 3. Amphibia 
and reptiha. Compiled by R. E. Honegger. 
lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

LeBuff, C. R., Jr. 1976. Tourist turtle. Florida 
Wildl. 30(2): 16-17. 

Lund, F. 1974. A survey of marine turtle nesting 
in the United States. Unpubl. 39 pp. 

. 1979. Atlantic leatherback. Pages 54-55 

in R. W. McDiarmid ed. Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 3, Amphibians and rep- 
tiles. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

Marquez M., R. 1976. Reserves naturales papa la 
conservation de las tortugas marinas en Mexi- 
co. INP/SI 83:1-22. 

McFarlane, R. W. 1963. Disorientation of logger- 
head hatchlings by artificial road lighting. 
Copeial963(l):153. 

Montoya, A. E. 1969. Programas de investigacion 
y conservacion de las tortugas marinas en 
Mexico. Pages 34-53 in Marine turtles. lUCN 
New Publ. Ser. Suppl. Paper 20. 

Neill, W. H., E. R. Stevens, E. G. Carey, K. D. 
Lawson, N. Mrosovsky, and W. Frair. 1974. 
Thermal inertia versus thermoregulation in 
'warm' turtles and tunas. Science 184:1008- 
1010. 

Pope, C. H. 1939. Turtles of the United States 
and Canada. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New 
York. 343 pp. 



Pritchard, P. C. H. 1969a. Sea turtles ot the Gui- 
anas, Bull. Fla. St. Mus. 13(2): 120-132. 

. 1969b. Summary of world sea turtle su- 

vival situation. lUCN Bull. 2(11):90-91. 

1971. The leatherback or leathery turtle 



Dermochelys coriacea. lUCN Monogr. 1. 
Morges, Switzerland. 39 pp. 

Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea turtles and the turtle in- 
dustry of the West Indies, Florida, and the 
Gulf of Mexico. Rev. Ed. Univ. of Miami 
Press, Coral Gables. 250 pp. 

Riedman, S. R., and R. Witham. 1974. Turtles 
extinction or survival? Abelard-Schuman, 
New York. 156 pp. 

Survival Service Commission. 1969. Marine tur- 
tles. Proc. working meeting of marine turtle 
specialists organized by lUCN at Morges, 
Switzerland. 

Tweedie, M. W. F. 1953. The breeding of the 
leathery turtle. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 123 
(2):273-275. 

U.S. Department of Commerce. 1976. Proposed 
listing of the green sea turtle [Chelonia my- 
das), loggerhead {Caretta caretta), and pacific 
ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) as 
threatened species under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973. Draft EIS. Natl. Oceanic 
Atm. Admin., Natl. Marine Fish. Serv. Wash- 
ington, D.C. 

Witham, R. 1976. Dermochelys coriacea. In H. O. 
Hillestad, D. B. Means, and W. W. Baker, eds. 
Endangered and threatened vertebrates of the 
southeastern United States. Tall Timbers Res. 
Stn. Misc. Publ. 4. 

Worth, R. F., and J. B. Smith. 1976. Marine turtle 
nesting on Hutchinson Island, Florida in 
1973. Florida Dep. Nat. Resour. Marine Res. 
Lab. Florida Mar. Res. Publ. 18. 

Yerger, R. W. 1965. The leatherback turtle on the 
Gulf coast of Florida. Copeia 1963 (3):365- 
366. 

Zim, H. S., and H. M. Smith. 1953. Reptiles and 
amphibians. A Guide to familiar America spe- 
cies. Simon and Schuster, New York. 147 pp. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.13 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

6REEN SEA TURTLE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubHc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of F^ndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Ct)mputer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.13 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF IHE UNFI ED STATES- 
GREEN SEA TURTLE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Pish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




Credit: O. James 



GREEN SEA TURTLE 
Chelonia mydas Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Testudinata 

FAMILY Cheloniidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Edible turde, tortuga verde. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined. 

Updates. . .22 September 1976, 8 February 1977. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered : waters of Florida and Pa- 
cific Coast of Mexico (43 FR 32800- 
32811, 28 July 1978). 
Threatened: elswhere throughout its 
range (43 FR 32800-32811, 28 July 
1978). 



States: Endangered: Florida, Maryland, Mis- 
sissippi, New Jersey, Texas. 
Protected: Alabama, Georgia, North 
Carolina, South Carolina. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The green turtle's vulnerability while nesting 
has led to its overexploitation for food by local 
populations seeking a readily available source of 
protein food. Recent technological advances such 
as freezing and canning have increased its use for 
food, and an increase in demand for turtle pro- 
ducts (leather, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals) 
has placed considerable stress on the species. 
Nesting populations in Bermuda, Florida, the 
Greater Antilles, and Jamaica have been extir- 
pated or nearly so (U.S. Department of Com- 
merce 1976). 

In many areas, excessive predation on eggs 
and hatchlings has substantially reduced recruit- 
ment, causing populations to decrease. 



Relatively undisturbed beaches are necessary 
for nesting. Increasing development and use of 
beaches is incompatible with sea turtle reproduc- 
tion. Illumination of beaches at night, for exam- 
ple, can distract hatchlings away from the sea 
(McFarlane 1963). 

Sea turtles are caught incidentally to commer- 
cial fishing and shrimping activities. Some turtles 
are eaten by fishermen, some are sold in local 
markets, and some are mutilated or drowned as 
a result of entanglement in trawls (U.S. Depart- 
ment of Commerce 1976). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The green turtle is a large sea turtle with a 
broad, heart-shaped shell and small head. Flippers 
are paddle shaped, each with a single claw. Adults 
are 91 to 122 cm long and weigh 100 to 200 kg. 

The color varies widely. In general, hatch- 
lings have black carapaces, white plastrons, and 
white margins on the shell and limbs. Adults have 
a smooth, keelless carapace, colored light to dark 
brown, with brown mottling. The plastron is 
whitish to hght yellow; the upper surface of the 
head is light brown with yellow markings; sides of 
the head are brown with broad yellow margins; 
the neck is dusky above and yellow near the shell 
below. The tail and flippers are colored like the 
carapace and plastron. 

The carapace can be identified by four costal 
plates, none of which borders the nuchal shield, 
and by the absence of jagged marginals. Large 
scutes on the carapace do not overlap. There is 
only one pair of prefrontals between the eyes. 

This species is illustrated in Carr (1967), Par- 
sons (1962), Ernst and Barbour (1972), Rebel 
(1974), and Riedman and Witham (1974). 

RANGE 

The green turtle is distributed world-wide in 
waters above 20° C in the coldest month. Juveniles 
are sometimes found over a wider temperature 
range and thus a greater area. Green turtles live in 
waters off the North American coast from Massa- 
chusetts to Mexico and from British Columbia to 
Baja California (U.S. Department of Commerce 
1976). They are uncommon off California. 

Major nesting grounds in the Western Hemi- 
sphere include the Michoacan Coast, Mexico; Tor- 
tuguero, Costa Rica; Shell Beach, Guyana; Bigi 



Santi, Surinam; and Aves Island. See Hirth (1971) 
for nesting sites in the Eastern Hemisphere. 

Known annual nesting in the continental U.S. 
is limited to small nesting populations of the east 
coast of Florida, from Brevard County to Brow- 
ard County. Jupiter and Hutchinson Islands have 
the greatest number of nests. For detailed infor- 
mation on nesting at Hutchinson Island, see Galla- 
ger et al. (1972) and Worth and Smith (1976). 

Their former distribution included nesting 
beaches on the Dry Tortugas, Cayman Islands, 
several other previously undisturbed islands, and 
more extensively in Florida (lUCN 1968). 

A small population of Pacific green turtles 
{Chelonia mydas agassizii) bask and nest on some 
of the islands in the Hawaiian Islands National 
Wildlife Refuge. These islands are Federally owned 
and protected, although until recently, according 
to Balazs (1976), turtles had been harvested. 

In Florida, green turtles have nested on pub- 
licly owned lands in Merritt Island and Hobe 
Sound National Wildlife Refuges, and St. Lucie 
and Sebastian State Parks, Other nesting beaches 
are privately owned and the Florida Department 
of Natural Resources, according to R. Witham 
(personal communication), protects all nesting on 
these beaches. 



RANGE MAP 

Distribution offshore continental U.S. is illus- 
trated on the following maps by shading of the 
adjacent coastline; nesting beaches are depicted 
by dots. 
STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama Baldwin, Mobile. Mobile. 

California Del Norte, Humboldt, Los Angeles, 
Marin, Mendocino, Monterey, Orange, 
San Diego, San Francisco, San Luis 
Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, 
Santa Cruz, Sonoma, Ventura. 

Delaware Sussex. 

Florida Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Cit- 
rus, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Duval, Flag- 
ler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, Hillsbo- 
rough, Indian River, Jefferson, Lee, 
Levy, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, 
Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, 
Pinellas, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa 
Rosa, Sarasota, Volusia, Wakulla, Wal- 
ton. 

Georgia Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Li- 
berty, Mcintosh. 








SCALE 






to 


ioo 


io ioo ^^o 


_^oo », 


lE 


-ex 


"° 


3CMJ 400 


K,.0«£T 


" 




CONIC 


PROJECTION 







Eastern distribution of green sea turtles offshore (shading) and nesting beaches (dots) 




4 



Louisiana 
(parishes) 

Maryland 

Massa- 
chusetts 

Mississippi 

New 
Jersey 



Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, 
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, 
Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Worcester. 

Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, 
Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth. 

Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, 
Ocean. 



New York Nassau, Suffolk. 



North 
Carolina 

Oregon 

Rhode? 
Island 

South 
Carolina 

Texas 



Virginia 

Wash- 
ington 



Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, Dare, 
Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender. 

Clatsop, Coos. Curry, Douglas, Lane, 
Lincoln, Tillamook. 

Newport, Washington. 

Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, 
Georgetown, Horry. 

Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, 
Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, 
Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, 
Willacy. 

Accomack, Northampton. 

Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Pa- 
cific. 



HABITAT 

The green turtle inhabits comparatively shal- 
low waters inside reefs and in bays and inlets. 
Favored habitat appears to be lagoons and shoals 
with an abundance of marine grass and algae. This 
habitat type occurs in much of the Gulf of Mexi- 
co and Caribbean shore waters and around many 
oceanic islands. Green turtles are long-distance 
migrants and are occasionally seen in the open sea 
en route from feeding grounds to nesting beaches 
or vice versa (Carr 1952, 1967). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Adults are largely herbivorous, feeding on 
marine algae and shallow water pastures of marine 
grasses (including Thalassia, Zostera, Cymodocea, 
and Halophila) (Carr 1952, Randall 1965). Small 
mollusks, sponges, crustaceans, and jellyfish are 
often consumed (Carr 1952,Hirth 1971). 



SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Pacific green turtles bask on reefs or uninhab- 
ited islands. 

Some green turtles have been known to rest 
with their shells wedged under rocks or reefs on 
the bottom of the sea (Carr 1952). 

Witham (1976b) states that hatchlings find re- 
fuge and food in sargassum [Sargassum sp.). Frick 
(1975) observed hatchlings resting on sargassum 
clumps. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Successful nesting requires a sloping beach 
platform with open ocean exposure and minimal 
disturbance. A variety of textures of sand can be 
used, but it must be friable and well drained (A. 
F. Carr personal communication). The presence 
or absence of vegetation does not appear to be 
critical; vegetation can be helpful in nesting be- 
cause roots may prevent the sand from crumbling; 
on the other hand, it can be detrimental if the 
roots pierce the eggshells (Caldwell 1959). On 
beaches without rooted plants, rain or the wetting 
of the sand by the turtle aids in preventing the 
sand from crumbling (Bustard 1973, Carr and 
Main 1973). 

Illustrated descriptions of nesting appear in 
Hendrickson (1958), Carr and Ogren (I960), and 
Hirth(1977). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Estimates of the breeding female population 
for the Western Hemisphere nesting areas are: 

Sarawak Turtle Islands 10,000 

Surinam 2,500 

Tortuguero 6,000 

Aldabra fewer than 1,000 

Australia 75,000, but includes 

flatbacks {Chelonis depressa) and 
loggerheads {Caretta caretta) 

Florida 50 

(Hirth 1971, Lund 1974). 
Ehrenfeld (1974) estimates the world popu- 
lation of green turtles at between 100,000 and 
400,000. 



Numbers fluctuate vvdth losses of nesting 
beaches to storms or development. Thus, it is 
difficult to predict trends. According to A. F. 
Carr (personal communication), persons inves- 
tigating green turtles around the world are con- 
cerned with the apparent decline in total numbers. 

REPRODUCTION 

Breeding season varies with locality: 

Michoacan Coast, Mexico .... May to September 

Tortuguero, Costa Rica June to November 

Shell Beach, Guyana March to August 

Bigi Santi, Surinam February to August 

Aves Island March to December 

Florida April to July 

(Hirth 1971, Rebel 1974). 

Nocturnal nesting occurs at 2-, 3-, or 4-year 
intervals (Carr and Ogren 1960, Hirth 1971). As 
many as seven clutches are laid in one season, 
with renesting occurring at 9- to 13-day intervals. 
Carr and Ogren (1960) plotted returns of turdes 
at Tortuguero in 1956 through 1959 and observed 
that renesting was usually within 1.5 km of the 
previous site. 

Clutch size varies from 75 to 200 eggs with in- 
cubation taking from 48 to 70 days, depending 
on beach and water conditions (Carr and Hirth 
1962). Hatchlings generally emerge at night with- 
in a period of 48 hours (lUCN 1968, Rebel 1974). 

Animals are believed to reach maturity in 4 to 
6 years in tropical waters and 5 to 13 years in 
temperate waters. Hirth (1971) estimates survival 
rates to maturity to be 1% to 3% of the hatch- 
lings. A. F.Carr (personal communication to L.H. 
Ogren 1975) estimates survivorship in Costa Rica 
to be about 0.1% of the hatchlings. 

Copulation occurs near the nesting beach 
(Bustard 1973). Whether the female stores sperm 
for successive laying seasons has not been deter- 
mined. Photographs of courtship and mating 
appear in Booth and Peters (1972). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Carr (1969) has made several suggestions for 
protection of the green turtle: Export of turtle 
products should be discontinued and catches for 
local use should be strictly supervised. No turtle 
boats should be permitted to operate off the 
northern 20 km of Tortuguero Beach. The sale or 
storage of calipee in Costa Rica should also be 
prohibited. 

The Survival Service Commission (1969) sug- 
gests that setting aside Ascension, Astove, Aves, 



Aldabra, Jabal Aziz, Sabah Turtle Islands, and the 
French Frigate Shoal as turtle islands could help 
stabilize turtle populations in those areas. 

Marquez M. (1976) recommends formation of 
several natural reserves for the coast of Mexico, 
which include the major Mexican sea turtle nest- 
ing sites. Two reserves, Playa de Rancho Nuevo, 
Tamaulipas State, and Isla Contoy, Quintana Roo 
State, are green turtle nesting areas. 

Cayman Turtle Farm, Ltd., has made exten- 
sive efforts at captive breeding. At present, the 
farm is dependent on natural stocks of eggs, and 
according to Hirth (1971), the project cannot be 
considered a complete success until it is indepen- 
dent of those sources. Some biologists suggest 
that such a project may never be ecologically or 
economically efficient. Others are concerned that 
turtle production could increase demand and thus 
increase the pressure on natural stocks (Ehrenfeld 
1974). 

Hatcheries operate in Australia, Malaysia, 
Mexico, United States, and other countries. These 
and similar efforts to curtail natural predation 
could have a beneficial impact on numbers. 
Stocking has been attempted in many areas, but 
there have been no indications of definite success. 

Green turtles are legally protected to varying 
degrees in the following places: Mexico, Costa 
Rica, Panama, Surinam, French Guiana, Ascen- 
sion Island, Trust Territory of the Pacific, Tahiti, 
Fiji Islands, Kingdom of Tonga, Australia, Sara- 
wak, British Indian Ocean and Seychelles Islands, 
Israel, South Africa, Europa Islands, and the U.S. 
(Pritchard 1969, U.S. Department of Commerce 
1976,43 FR 32800-32811). 

Most populations are hsted under Appendix I 
of the Convention on International Trade in 
Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; 
commercial trade is subject to strict regulation, 
and both an export and import permit are neces- 
sary for trade by participating countries. Austra- 
lian populations are listed under Appendix II, 
which requires export permits for trade in those 
populations. 

AUTHORITIES 

George H. Balazs 
University of Hawaii at Manoa 
Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology 
P.O. Box 1346, Coconut Island 
Kaneohe, HI 96744 



Archie Carr 

Department of Zoology 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL 32611 

Harold Hirth 
Department ofBiology 
University of Utah 
Salt Lake City, UT 84112 

George Hughes 

Oceanographic Research Institute 

P.O. Box 736 

Durban, Natal 

South Africa 

Frank Lund 

P.O. Box 541 

Jupiter Island, FL 33458 

Peter Pritchard 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawer 7 
Maitland,FL 32751 

J. P. Schulz 
Surinam Forest Service 
P.O. Box 436 
Paramaribo, Surinam 

Ross Witham 

Florida Department of Natural 

Resources 
Marine Research Lab 
P.O. Box 941 
Jensen Beach, FL 33457 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Nesting records for the U.S. are not complete, 
as the entire coast has not been surveyed. Recruit- 
ment in Florida is probably very low due to pre- 
dation, particularly by raccoons [Procyon lotor). 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Allen, E. R., and W. T. Neill. 1953. Know your 
reptiles: the green turtle. Florida Wildl. 7(4): 
19,32. 

Banks, E. 1937. The breeding of the edible turtle 
(Chelonia mydas). Sarawak Mus. J. 4(15): 
523-532. 

Balazs, G. H. 1976. Green turtle migrations in the 
Hawaiian Archipelago. Biol. Conserv. 9:125- 
140; 



Booth, J., and J. A. Peters. 1972. Behavioural 
studies on the green turtle {Chelonia mydas) 
in the sea. Anim. Behav. 20(4):808-812. 

Bustard, H. R. 1970. The adaptive significance 
of coloration in hatchling green sea turtles. 
Herpetologica 26:224-227. 

• 1973. Sea turtles, natural history and 

conservation. Taplinger Publ., New York 
220 pp. 

Caldwell, D. K. 1959. The loggerhead turtles of 
Cape Romain, South Carolina. Bull. Florida 
St. Mus.4(10):340. 

. 1963. The sea turtle fishery of Baja 
California, Mexico. Calif. Fish and Game 
49(3):140-151. 

Caldwell, D. K., and A. F. Carr. 1957. Status of 
the sea turtle fishery in Florida. Trans. N. 
Am. Wildl. Comm. 22:457-463. 

Carr, A. F. 1952. Handbook of turtles: The 
turtles of the United States, Canada, and Baja 
California. Comstock Publ. Assoc, Cornell 
Univ. Press, Ithaca, New York. 542 pp. 

• 1964. Transoceanic migrations of the 
green sea turtle. Bioscience 14(8):49-52. 

. 1967. So excellent a fishe. The Natural 

History Press, Garden City, N. Y. 248 pp. 

. 1969. Sea turtle resources of the Carib- 
bean and Gulf of Mexico. lUCN Bull. 2(10): 
74-83. 



. 1970. Green sea turtles in peril. Natl. 

Parks Conserv. Mag. 44(271): 19-24. 

1972. Great reptiles, great enigmas. 



Audubon Mag. 74(2)24-35. 

-. 1975. The Ascension Island green turtle 



colony. Copeia 1975(3):547-555. 

Carr, A. F., and H. Hirth. 1962, The ecology and 
migrations of sea turtles: 5 comparative fea- 
tures of isolated green turtle colonies. Am. 
Mus. Novit. 2091:1-42. 

Carr, R. F., and R. M. Ingle. 1959. The green tur- 
tle {Chelonia mydas) in Florida. Bull Mar. Sci. 
Gulf-Carib. 9(3):315-320. 

Carr, A. F., and A. R. Main. 1973. Report on an 
inquiry into ecological implications of a turtle 
farming project. In Turtle farming project in 
northern Australia. Union Offset Co., Pty., 
Limited, Canberra, Australia. 80 pp. 

Carr, A. F., and L. Ogren. 1960. The ecology and 
migrations of sea turtle, 4. The green turtle in 



the Caribbean Sea. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. His- 
tory 121(l):l-48. 

Cox, G. A., and R. G. Mauermann. 1976. Inciden- 
tal catch and disposition of sea turtles by the 
Brownsville-Port Isabel Gulf shrimp fleet. Un- 
publ. 

Deraniyagala, P. E. P. 1939. Tetrapod reptiles of 
Ceylon. Vol. 1. Columbo Mus. Publ. Ceylon. 
412 pp. 

Ehrenfeld, D. 1974. Conserving the edible sea tur- 
tle: Can mariculture help? Am. Sci. 62(1):23- 
31. 

Ehrhart, L. M. 1976. Final report to the National 
Aeronautics and Space Administration Ken- 
nedy Space Center. A study of a diverse 
coastal ecosystem of Florida. Office of Gradu- 
ate Studies and Research, Florida Technologi- 
cal Univ. Orlando. Unpubl. 

Ernst, C. H., and R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of 
the United States. Univ. Kentucky Press, Lex- 
ington. 347 pp. 

Frick, J. 1971. Observations on sea turtles at Al- 
dabra Atoll. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. London 
Ser. Bull. 260:273-410. 

Gallagher, R. M., M. H. Hollinger, R. M. Ingle, and 
C. R. Futch. 1972. Marine turtle nesting on 
Hutchinson Island, Florida in 1971. Florida 
Dep. Nat. Resour. Spec. Sci. Rep. 37. 11 pp. 

Harrisson, T. 1956. The edible turde {Chelonia 
mydas) in Borneo. 4. Growing turtles and 
growing problems. Sarawak Mus. J. 7(7):233- 
239. 

Hendrickson, J. R. 1958. The green sea turtle, 
Chelonia mydas, (Linn.) in Malaya and Sara- 
wak. Proc. Zool. Soc, London. 130(4) :455- 
535. 

Hendrickson, J. R., and E. Balasingam. 1966. 
Nesting beach prefemces of Malayan sea tur- 
tles. BuU. Natl. Mus., Singapore. 33(10):69-76. 

Hirth, H. F. 1971. Synopsis of biological data on 
the green turtle, Chelonis mydas. F.A.O. Fish. 
Syn. 85. Firm/585. SAST-Green Turtle-5.31 
(07)005.02. 

Ingle, R. M., and W. F. G. Smith. 1949. Sea tur- 
tles and the turtle industry of the West Indies, 
Florida, and the Gulf of Mexico. Univ. Miami. 
Press, Miami. 

lUCN. 1968. Red data book. Vol. 3. Amphibia 
and reptiha. Compiled by R. E. Honegger. 
lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 



Lund, F. 1974. A survey of marine turtle nesting 
in the United States. Unpubl. 39 pp. 

.1979. Atlantic green turtle. Pages 23-24 

in R. W. McDiarmid ed. Rare and endangered- 
biota of Florida, Vol. 3. Amphibians 
and reptiles. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gaines- 
ville. 
Marquez M., R. 1976. Reservas naturales para la 
conservacion de las tortugas marinas en Mexi- 
co. INP/SIi83: 1-22. 

McFarlane, R. W. 1963. Disorientation of logger- 
head hatchlings by artificial road lighting. 
Copeia 1963(1): 153. 

Montoya, A. E. 1969. Programas de investigacion 
y conservacion de las tortugas marinas en 
Mexico. Pages 34-53 in Marine turtles. lUCN 
New Publ. Ser. Suppl. Paper 20. 

Parsons, J. J. 1962. The green turtle and man. 
Univ. of Florida Press, Gainesville. 126 pp. 

Pope, C. H. 1939. Turtles of the United States 
and Canada. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. New York. 
343 pp. 

Pritchard, P. C. H. 1969. Summary of world sea 
turtle survival. lUCN Bull. 2(11):90-91. 

Randall, J. 1965. Grazing effect on sea grasses by 
herbivorous reef fishes in the West Indies. 
Ecology 46:225. 

Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea turtles and the turtle in- 
dustry of the West Indies, Florida, and the 
Gulf of Mexico. Univ. of Miami Press, Miami. 
250 pp. 

Riedman, S. R., and R. Witham. 1974. Turtles ex- 
tinction or survival? Abelard-Schuman, New 
York. 156 pp. 

Schwartz, F.J. 1976. Behavioral and tolerance re- 
sponses to natural cold winter water tempera- 
tures by three species of sea turtles in North 
Carolina. Page 5 in Florida and interregional 
conference on sea turtles. Florida Dep. Nat. 
Resour. Marine Res. Lab. Unpubl. 

Survival Service Commission. 1969. Marine turtles. 
Proc. Work. Meet. Marine Turtle Special, 
organized by lUCN at Morges, Switzerland. 

True, F. W. 1884. The fisheries and fishery indus- 
tries of the United States, Sec. 1, Pt. 2. The 
useful aquatic reptiles and batrachians. U.S. 
Comm. Fish. 

U.S. Department of Commerce. 1976. Proposed 
listing of the green sea turtle [Chelonia my- 
das), loggerhead [Caretta caretta), and Pacific 



ridley sea turtle {Leptdochelys olivacea) as 
threatened species under the Endangered Spe- 
cies Act of 1973. Draft EIS. Natl. Oceanic 
Atm. Admin., Natl. Mar. Fish. Serv. Washing- 
ton, D.C. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threat- 
ened wildlife of the United States. Compiled 
by Office of Endangered Species and Interna- 
tional Activities, Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. Re- 
sour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 
Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 

Walker, W. F. 1971. Swimming in sea turtles of 
the family Cheloniidae. Copeia 1971(2):229- 
233. 

. 1976a. Chelonia mydas account. In H. 

O. Hillestad, D. B. Means, and W. W. Baker, 
eds. Endangered and threatened vertebrates of 
the southeastern United States. Tall Timbers 
Res. Sta. Misc. Publ. 4. 

1976b. Evidence for ocean-current me- 



diated dispersal in young turtles, Chelonia 
mydas (Linnaeus). M.S. Thesis. Univ. of Okla- 
homa, Norman. 48 pp. 

Worth, D. F., and J. B. Smith. 1976. Marine turtle 
nesting on Hutchinson Island, Florida, in 
1973. Florida Dep. Nat. Resour. Mar. Res. 
Lab. Publ. 18. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.14 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE TEXAS BLIND SALAMANDER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal F^cosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.14 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRA IE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF FHE UNITED STATES- 

THE TEXAS BLIND SALAMANDER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and W'iltllife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: J.JOHNSON 



TEXAS BLIND SALAMANDER 

Typhlomolge rathbuni Stejneger 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Amphibia 

ORDER Caudata 

FAMILY Plethodontidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES None 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined. 

Updates 21 November 1977, 31 March 1978, 

22 August 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered (32 FR 4000, 11 March 

1978. 
States Endangered: Texas 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The Texas blind salamander is endangered be- 



cause of its extremely restricted distribution in a 
fragile subterranean ecosystem. At accessible lo- 
cations (especially Ezell's Cave), sightings de- 
clined sharply in the 1960's, due probably to 
overcollecting by scientific, commercial, and 
hobbyist collectors. When the cave was sealed to 
prevent human entrance, the bat colony that 
supplied a presumably important energy resource 
in the form of guano was eliminated. 

Recent research (Longley 1978) has shown 
that the major part of the population is located in 
inaccessible parts of the Edwards Aquifer and is 
probably stable at present. However, there is a po- 
tential for contamination of the aquifer, as well as 
evidence that extensive groundwater withdrawal 
is causing the head in that aquifer to decrease. 
This could ultimately lead to intrusion of poor 
quality water from adjacent aquifers (Longley 
1978). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The Texas blind salamander is all white or 
pinkish with blood-red external gills and tooth- 
pick-like legs. Head and snout are strongly flat- 
tened with two small black dots representing 
vestigial eyes beneath the skin. It reaches a total 
length of 13 cm. Color photographs appear in 
Mohr and Poulson (1966), Zahl (1972), and 
Conant (1975). 

RANGE 

The species occurs only in subterranean 
waters of the Edwards Aquifer near San Marcos, 
Hays County, Texas. It can be seen only in caves, 
sinkholes, and fissures, including Ezell's Cave, 
Primer's Well, and Rattlesnake Cave. Two addi- 
tional sites, Johnson's Well and Wonder (Beaver) 
Cave, have been recorded, but no Texas blind 
salamanders have been seen in either location for 
many years (Russell 1976). Longley (1978) has 
placed nylon nets over Pipe Spring at San Marcos 
Springs and the type locality artesian well, Aqua- 
tic Station, Southwest Texas State University in 
San Marcos, and collected Texas blind salaman- 
ders as they were washed out of the aquifer. 

Their total distribution is limited to about 
104 km? mostly beneath the city of San Marcos 
(Russell 1876). However, based on known distri- 
bution (see range map), the figure could be less 
than this, perhaps as little as 10 km^ (F. E. Potter 
personal communication). 

RANGE MAP 

Current localities (observed within the past 5 
years) are indicated by dots. Former localities 
(not observed within the past 50 years) are shown 
by triangles (F. E. Potter personal communica- 
tion). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Texas Hays. 

HABITAT 

The blind salamander inhabits water-filled 
caverns of the San Marcos Pool of the Edwards 
Aquifer. It is knovm only from incidental speci- 
mens washed out of the aquifer or found near the 
water surface in caves. Water quality is considered 
very good with average temperatures in the vicini- 
ty of 21° C (Longley 1978). 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

These salamanders feed on any living inverte- 
brates they can handle, including a tiny snail 
species, copepods, amphipods, and a shrimp. Cap- 
tive specimens have been maintained for up to 2 
years on epigeal forms of daphnia and other small 
crustaceans, suggesting use of any such forms as 
may happen to wash into the aquifer from the 
surface. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not known. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

The blind salamander is completely adapted 
to the cave environment. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Information is lacking on population size, but 
it is believed to be stable because of the large 
number of specimens and high percentage of ju- 
veniles washed out of the aquifer by springs and 
artesian wells. In the 2-year period 1975-1977, 
Longley (1978) netted 133 specimens, 32 of 
which washed from the type locality artesian well 
and 101 of which washed from Pipe Spring at San 
Marcos Springs, a previously unreported locality 
for the species. 

REPRODUCTION 

Information on reproduction is scanty. One 
gravid female contained 39 eggs. Tiny specimens 
less than 2 cm long have been found throughout 
the year (Longley 1978). Dunn (1926) reported 
eggs laid March 15, 1886, and spermatheca 
packed with spermatozoa in early fall of 1916. 
Gravid females have been observed each month of 
the year (F. E. Potter personal communication). 
Brandon (1971) discusses tesdcular lobes ranging 
from zero to four in the seven specimens he ex- 
amined. There appears to be a correlation be- 
tween size (age class), number of lobes, and num- 
ber of times sperm has been produced. 




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MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Following the original fear that the species 
was being depleted, the Nature Conservancy pur- 
chased Ezell's Cave in 1967. The bat colony that 
had roosted there and contributed much of the 
basic energy for the cave and local aquifer com- 
munity had been almost eliminated when the cave 
entrance was sealed some years before. Although 
efforts to reestablish the bat colony have thus far 
been unsuccessful, a few cave-dwellers, including 
Typhlomolge rathbuni, are still infrequently ob- 
served (F. E. Potter personal communication). 

The continued protection afforded by offi- 
cial Hsting should minimize the potential impact 
of collectors on the few cave habitats accessible 
to them. The major part of the blind salamander's 
habitat is inaccessible, but adverse impact is pro- 
jected as the aquifer level declines with increased 
ground water usage (Longley 1978). Concurrent 
vkdth this decline in water quantity is the increased 
potential for urban pollution as more and more 
urbanization takes place along the aquifer re- 
charge zone. General management plans, de- 
signed by action agencies to maximize recharge 
and minimize introduced contaminants, mostly to 
benefit human consumption, should also benefit 
the diverse assemblage of species occupying the 
aquifer, including Typhlomolge rathbuni. A study 
is currently underway at Ezell's Cave to deter- 
mine existing environmental conditions (water 
quality) and present trends in faunal abundance 
and diversity. The results should serve as a basis 
on which to monitor conditions in the cave. 

AUTHORITIES 

Glenn Longley 
Biology Department 
Southwest Texas State University 
San Marcos, TX 78666 

Floyd E. Potter, Jr. 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

4200 Smith School Road 

Austin, TX 78744 

Samuel S. Sweet 

Department of Biological Sciences 
University of California, Santa Barbara 
Santa Barbara, CA 93106 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Mitchell and Reddell (1965) placed the Texas 
blind salamander in the genus Eurycea; however, 
Brandon (1971) retained Typhlomolge. New data 



on skull morphology support the continued 
recognition of the genus Typhlomolge (Potter and 
Sweet 1979). 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Brandon, R. A. 1971. North American troglobi- 
tic salamanders: Some aspects of modification 
in cave habitats with special reference to 
Gyrinophilus palleucus. Bull. Natl. Speleol. 
Soc. 33:1-2L 

Conant, R. 1975. A field guide to reptiles and am- 
phibians of eastern and central North America, 
2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 
429 pp. 

Dunn, E. R. 1926. The salamanders of the family 
Plethodontidae. Smith College Publications, 
Northampton, Mass. 441 pp. 

Longley, G. 1975. Environmental assessment, 
Upper San Marcos River watershed. Environ- 
mental Sciences of San Marcos. Soil Conserv. 
Serv. Contract AG-48-SCS 01256. 367 pp. 

. 1978. Status of the Texas blind salaman- 
der. Endangered Species Report 2. U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv., Albuquerque. 45 pp. 

Mitchell, R. W., and J. R. Reddell. 1965. Eurycea 
tridentifera , a new species of troglobitic sala- 
mander from Texas and a reclassification of 
Typhlomolge rathbuni. TexasJ.Sci. 17:12-27. 

Mohr, C. E., and T. L. Poulson. 1966. The Hfe of 
the cave. McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York. 
232 pp. 

Potter, F. E., Jr. 1963. Gross morphological varia- 
tion in the genus Typhlomolge with descrip- 
tion of a new species. Unpubl. M.S. Thesis. 
Univ. of Texas, Austin. 66 pp. 

Potter, F. E., Jr. and S. S. Sweet. 1979. Generic 
boundaries in Texas cave salamanders and a 
redescription of Typhlomolge robusta (Am- 
phibia: Plethodontidae). Copeia. In press. 

Russell, W. H. 1976. Distribution of troglobitic 
salamanders in the San Marcos area. Hays 
County, Texas. Unpubl. Rep. 7601, Texas 
Assoc. Biol. Invest. Trogl. Eurycea, Austin. 
35 pp. 

Zahl, P. A. 1972. The shadowy world of salaman- 
ders. Natl. Geog. Mag. 142(1):104-117. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.15 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

YUMA CLAPPER RAIL 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Fndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.15 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

YUMA CLAPPER RAIL 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




YUMA CLAPPER RAIL 

Rallus longirostris yumanensis Dickey (1923) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Gruiformes 

FAMILY Rallidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES None 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Update to be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 Mar 
1967). Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 
3 July 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 
703-711) as amended 3 December 
1969. Public Law 91-135. 

State: California: Rare 

Arizona: Protected 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Grinnell (1914) did not report any clapper 
rails and noted that marshes were few and small 
in size during his 3-month vertebrate survey along 
the Lower Colorado River from 15 February to 
15 May 1910, suggesting a considerable increase 
in both habitat and rails as a result of damming 
of river since then (Ohmart and Smith 1973). 
Since clappers normally do not return to the 
Colorado River habitat until about April 22-25, it 
would have been easy for Grinnell to miss the 
influx of birds. 

Reclamation projects along the Colorado 
River have both created and destroyed marsh 
habitat. Dam construction may have generally 
increased habitat by creating marshes. Therefore, 
birds may now be at the northernmost point of 
their historic range. 

Channelization has eliminated large areas of 
habitat near Yuma since 1963 (Tomlinson and 
Todd 1973). 



PRIORITY INDEX 

8 

DESCRIPTION 

R. I. yumanensis is a chicken-size bird, gray- 
brown above with cinnamon brown breast, flanks 
barred gray and white, and a white patch under 
the upturned tail. Bill, legs, and toes are long. 
Similar to R. I. levipes but paler underparts, 
duller and more olivaceous upper parts. More 
slender tarsus and bill (Dickey 1923). Very simi- 
lar to levipes of southern coastal California, 
differing only in more slender proportions and 
paler coloration (Van Rossem 1929). Similar to 
rhizophorae (of Sonora) in paleness but, in gen- 
eral, more brownish (less grayish) and has more 
pointed wings because of difference in length of 
primaries. Compared with levipes, it is paler on 
breast and throat, has grayer flanks, duller wing 
coverts and more extensive brown in the crown 
(Banks and Tomlinson 1974). Ripley (1977), 
although noting the above differences, is dubious 
about the validity of yumanensis as a subspecies. 

Measurements — Male: Wing 143.1-160.1 mm 
(av. 149.8 mm); tail 60.3-69.0 (av. 64.2); exposed 
culmen 55.4-61.8 (av. 59.2); tarsus 47.9-55.0 
(av. 50.3); middle toe without claw 50.3-54.6 
(av. 52.7); weight 222-307 g (av. 256g). Female: 
wing 135.6-148.5 mm (av. 141.8mm); tail 57.8- 
62.6 (av. 59.9); exposed culmen 51.9-58.2 (55.5); 
tarsus 43.0-49.5 (45.4); middle toe without claw 
46.5-51.1 (49.0); weight 192-268g (219g). Banks 
and Tomlinson 1974). 

Eggs are oval, glossy, pale pinkish buff and 
cartridge buff, with sparse spots of varying brown 
shades;41.8 by 28.8mm (Bent 1926). 

RANGE 

This rail breeds, at present, in marshes along 
the Colorado River in California and Arizona, 
from Needles to the Topock marsh south to the 
Colorado River delta in Sonora; west to marshes 
along the southeastern Salton Sea, California; 
east, locally, to the Gila River near Tacna, Ari- 
zona, and possibly the Salt River near Phoenix 
(Tomlinson and Todd 1973, Ohmart and Smith 



1973). It is thought to winter, at least in part, in 
coastal and interior marshes and coastal mangrove 
swamps in Mexico, including Estero Mescales, 
8 km north of Teacapan, and Castillo, 11km east 
of Mazatlan, Sinaloa; also at Laguna San Felipe, 
Puebla (Banks and Tomlinson 1974). 

The former more restricted range is documen- 
ted by Dickey (1923), Bent (1926, Van Rossem 
(1929), Moffitt (1932), Abbott (1940), and 
Grinnell and Miller (1944). 

Lack of authentic winter records in the north- 
em breeding areas is noted by Phillips et al. 
(1964), Todd (1971), and Tomlinson and Todd 
(1973). Winter records of clapper rails (presum- 
ably yumanesis but possibly wanderers of other 
subspecies) at Salton Sea appearing on two 1976 
Christmas bird counts published in American 
Birds 31 (4):880, 1977 and confirmed by R. Guy 
McCaskie (pers. comm.) ; and also at Topock Marsh 
in January 1974 (Smith 1974), suggest that some 
individuals do not migrate. 

Breeding populations along the Colorado Riv- 
er, the Colorado River delta and at Salton Sea have 
been identified from specimens as yumanensis 
(Banks and Tomlinson 1974). No specimens rep- 
resentative of the small, isolated populations 
along the Gila and Salt Rivers in Arizona, nor any 
winter specimens from the Colorado River or 
Salton Sea have been critically examined. 



RANGE MAP: 

The following map depicts breeding range 
(from Tomlinson and Todd 1973) and winter re- 
cords (from Banks and TomHnson, 1974). 



STATES/COUNTIES: 

California: Imperial, Riverside, San Bernardino. 
Arizona: Maricopa, Mohave, Yuma. 

HABITAT 

The Yuma clapper rail requires freshwater or 



NEV. 



ARIZONA 



SAN BERNARDINO CO. 



Needles ' 



MOHAVE CO. 



I Topock Marsh 



Topock 
Gorge 

LakeHavasu "*>s^ Bill Williams 
Delta 
Parker Dam 



CC 

o 



< 



Headgate Rock Dam_^ 
-jC 



Parker 



Lost Lake »\ 



Wl)(/ar 



Lake IVIodvalya 



RIVERSIDE CO. 



BIythe 




Palo Verde Diversion Dan 



U.S. Highway 60-70 



Palo Verde Lagoon 
Davis L.( 
Three Fingers L. 



Draper L.Jl] 



Taylor Ferry 



/)£> Cibola L. 



YUMA CO. 



IMPERIAL CO. 

/Xii Aniencan 
Morelos 



Martinez I 
Laguna Dam i 



» Dobe L. 
Imperial Dam 



r.^^'y 



oi 



n^ 



'MIttry L. 



Yuma 



Tacna 



BAJA CALIFORNIA 



Colorado River Delta 

• Riito 




MARICOPA CO. 



RWef 




WINTER 
RECORDS 



SONORA 



Known range of the Yuma clapper rail. 
3 



brackish stream sides and marshes, associated 
with heavy riparian and swamp vegetation (Grin- 
nel and Miller 1944), such as alkaline cattail mar- 
shes (Phillips et al. 1964). In general, habitat con- 
sists of shallow-water marshes containing dense 
stands of cattail (Typha latifolia) and big bulrush 
or tule (Scirpus acutus), in both brackish and 
freshwater situations. Shallow water with mud 
flats available for feeding are selected over areas 
where water is deep and steep banks prevalent. 
Stands of cattail and tules dissected by narrow 
channels of water 1.6 to 7 m wide had densest 
populations, according to Tomlinson and Todd 
(1973). Preferrred breeding habitat is light cattail 
or tule stands with downed vegetation, with adja- 
cent dry land a must (Ohmart and Smith 1973). 
Water of breeding habitat on the Colorado River 
Delta in Mexico is salty and growths of cattails 
and tules appear to be limited to small fresh or 
brackish sloughs. The vegetation is characterized 
by an overstory of saltcedar {Tamarix sp.) and an 
understory of iodine bush {Allenrolfia occident- 
alis), all quite different from the habitat above 
the delta (Tomlinson and Todd 1973). 

The rail seems to require wet mudflat or sand- 
bar sites, covered rather densely with mostly ma- 
ture vegetation exceeding 0.5m. Optimum condi- 
tions are created by open ponds or channels as 
opposed to unbroken stands of vegetation. Salt- 
cedar {Tamarix pentandra) stands are rarely 
utilized (Todd 1971). 

The following habitat characteristics appeared 
in locations where clapper rail densities were 
higher than average: 

1. Water, flowing through many small 
channels from 0.5 to 3 m wide, either covered 
with vegetation or appearing as small bodies 
of open water 0.02 to 0.2 hectares in size. 

2. Extensive areas of water of depth less 
than 0.3 m little or no daily fluctuation in 
water level. 

3. High ground in strips or, less importantly, 
as small islands. 

4. Emergent vegetation, cattail or bulrush, 
with little or no Phragmites sp., which are too 
high and have few down stems (Gould 1975). 

At Topock Marsh, the highest densities were 
found in light cattail stands — lowest, in heavy 
stands. Dense cattail had 0.9 rails per 10 ha; light 



light cattail 1.9 per 10 ha; dense buUrush 1.7 per 
10 ha; light bullrush 1.8 per 10 ha. The majority 
of rails were in the ecotone between emergent 
vegetation and higher ground, either at the shore- 
line or on hummocks in the marsh (Smith 1974). 
Winter habitat probably includes mangrove 
swamps on the Pacific coast of Sinaloa and fresh- 
water marshes of Puebla (Banks and Tomlinson 
1974). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The major food is invertebrates, with little 
vegetable matter. Crayfish [Procambarus and 
Oropectes) were the dominant food in 9 of 10 
stomachs from Topock Marsh south to Imperial 
Reservoir. Of two stomachs from the confluence 
of the Gila and Colorado Rivers, one contained 
primarily (98%) freshwater clams {Corbicula sp.), 
and the other, 97% isopods. Colorado River delta 
specimens contained a greater variety of food, but 
the majorcomponents were water beetles and fish. 
Of 16 stomachs, 9 had crayfish, 1 1 had insect frag- 
ments, 4 had water beetles, 4 had fish, and 3 
contained clams. Other insects in small amounts 
were weevils, damselfly nymphs, dragonfly 
nymphs, grasshoppers, and insect eggs. Spiders, 
leeches, prawns, and a small mammal bone were 
also found. Plant material consisted of twigs (10% 
in one stomach), 2 legume seeds (1 stomach) and 
18 unidentified black seeds (3 stomachs). Like 
other subspecies of clapper rail, yumanensis seems 
to be a selective opportunist whose variety of 
food is limited by its availability in the particular 
habitat (Ohmart and Tomlinson 1977). In To- 
pock Marsh, crayfish are an important part of the 
diet. Crayfish are found in all areas where rails 
occurred, with the greatest number of crayfish in 
water 8 to 15 cm deep with abundent stems and 
leaves lying in the water. Floating and recumbent 
vegetation is important in foraging areas, as they 
provide habitat for crayfish and a platform to 
walk on (Smith 1974). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

None other than mentioned in other sections. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

In three nests, material consisted of black 



sticks with dry leaves on them, two nests were 
made of fine stems with dry blossoms attached. 
Nests were located on hummocks and in the 
crotches of small shrubs just above water in dense 
cattail and tamarisk associations (Abbott 1940). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The rail appears to defend its territory (Tom- 
linson in Ohmart and Smith 1973). The 'clatter 
call' is given in unison by male and female and 
with adjacent birds (Tomlinson in Ohmart and 
Smith 1973). Territory size averages 1.44 ha 
(Smith 1974). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None other than specified in other sections. 

POPULATIONS NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

A multiagency Yuma clapper rail census re- 
corded 889 along the Colorado River in 1973 and 
787 in 1974. In the Imperial Valley, 134 were 
recorded in 1974 (no count in 1973). Total count 
for the Colorado River and Imperial Valley com- 
bined in 1974 was 921 rails (Gould 1975). Esti- 
mated local populations in 1973 were: Topock 
Marsh 109-136, Topock Gorge-52-65, Bill Wil- 
liams River delta-21-35, Colorado River delta- 
145 (Cornelius 1972, Ohmart and Smith 1973). 
Total population was estimated at over 1,000 
(Tomlinson in Ohmart and Smith 1973). 

Factors regulating populations include preda- 
tion by raccoon and coyote (Abbot 1940), bob- 
cat, feral house cat, dog, and Cooper's hawk 
(Todd in Ohmart and Smith 1973); and habitat 
destruction (Tomlinson and Todd 1973, Corne- 
lius 1972). 

REPRODUCTION 

A nest with 7 slightly incubated eggs was 
found near the Salton Sea on 12 May 1940. Obser- 
vations along the lower Colorado River in summer 
(8 May to 16 September) include an adult with 
3 young 2 weeks old on 17 July (Phillips et al. 
1964); and a nest with one egg, another with two 
eggs, and two empty found on 5 May. A nest with 
six fresh eggs, one with seven fresh eggs, and one 
with seven slightly incubated eggs were found on 
12 May. Abbot (1940) reports a clutch of six 



slightly incubated eggs on 26 May, and five 
clutches ranging from six to seven eggs (average 
6.5). 

The incubation period is unknown, but is 
probably similar to other clapper rails, 21 to 23 
days (Ohmart and Smith 1973). 

Hatching success is suggested by three quar- 
ter- to half-grown downy chicks found on 23 
June (Tomlinson in Ohmart and Smith 1973) and 
three 2-week-old young (Phillips et al. 1964). 

A breeding period in May and June was indi- 
cated by responses to taped calls (Tomlinson and 
Todd 1973). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

An annual or periodic index to abundance of 
rails will be important in view of constant change 
in the rivers through reclamation projects. Taped 
call notes could be used to obtain such an index, 
but would be costly to maintain. Since cattails 
and tules are so important as habitat, estimates of 
rail population size can be determined by inspec- 
tion of aerial photographs taken periodically. Prior 
research could determine average density of rails 
for specific habitat types and sizes. Spot checks 
on the ground would help to determine accuracy 
(Tomlinson and Todd 1973). 

State, national, and international uses of 
Colorado River water are all involved in manage- 
ment of Yuma clapper rails. Occasionally, such 
management, even that for fish and wildlife, if it 
involves dredging out cattail growth, is detrimental 
to rail survival. The main requirement in manage- 
ment for Yuma clapper rails is that extensive 
growths of cattails and tules must be preserved 
throughout its range. 

AUTHORITIES 

Richard L. Todd 

Arizona Department of Game and Fish 
2222 West Greenway Road 
Phoenix, Arizona 85023 

Roy E. Tomlinson 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

P.O. Box 1306 

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87103 

Philip M. Smith 

1613 W.Peoria Ave. No. 2 

Phoenix, Arizona 85029 



Robert D. Ohmart 
Department of Zoology 
Arizona State University 
Tempe, Arizona 85281 

Gale W. Monson 
8831 N. Riviera Drive 
Tucson, Arizona 85704 

Gordon I. Gould, Jr. 
1080 E.Nevada 
Blythe, California 92225 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Research attention focused on the Yuma 
clapper rail because of its endangered status has 
cleared up two important matters. Despite doubts 
expressed by Ripley (1977), Banks and Tomlin- 
son (1974) have shown, on the basis of critical 
study of adequate specimens, that it is a taxa- 
nomically valid subspecies, examples of which can 
be recognized as migrants when away from their 
breeding areas. 

Also, it has been found that the populations 
of this rail will respond to changing distribution 
of its preferred type of habitat, which has now 
been described in detail, by extending its range 
(Tomlinson and Todd 1973, Ohmart and Smith 
1973, Smith 1974, Gould 1974). This informa- 
tion should make possible the continued exis- 
tence of this subspecies by means of specific habi- 
tat management for it, in addition to the several 
other competing land uses in the limited sites 
available along the lower Colorado River and 
adjoining areas.— John W. Aldrich. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Abott, C. G. 1940. Notes from the Salton Sea, 
California. Condor 42:264. 

Banks, R. C, and R. E. Tomlinson. 1974. Taxo- 
nomic status of certain Clapper Rails of south- 
western United States and northwestern Mexi- 
co. Wilson Bull. 86:325-335. 

Bent, A. C. 1926. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can marsh birds. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 135:275. 

California Department of Fish and Game. 1978. 
At the crossroads: a report on California's 



endangered and rare fish and wildlife. Bian- 
nual Rep. 103 pp. 

Cornelius, S. S. 1972. Yuma Clapper Rail census, 
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge. Unpubl. 

Dickey, D. R. 1923. Description of a new Clapper 
Rail from the Colorado River valley. Auk 40: 
90-94. 

Gould, G. I., Jr. 1975. Yuma Clapper Rail study- 
censuses and habitat distribution 1973-74. 
California Dep. Fish Game Admin. Rep. 75-2, 
April 1975. 

Grinnell, J. 1914. An account of the mammals 
and birds of the lower Colorado Valley. Univ. 
Cahf. Publ. Zool. 12:51-294. 

Grinnell, J., and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribu- 
tion of the birds of California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 27:128. 

Moffitt, J. 1932. Clapper Rails occur on marshes 
of Salton Sea, California. Condor 34: 137. 

Oberholser, H. C. 1937. A revision of the Clapper 
Rails [Rallus longirostris Boddaert). Proc. 
U.S.Nat. Mus. 84:313-354. 

Ohmart, R. D., and R. E. Tomlinson. 1974. Food 
of western Clapper Rails. Wilson Bull. 89:332- 
336. 

Ohmart, R. D., and R. W. Smith. 1973. North 
American Clapper Rails [Rallus longirostris), 
literature survey with special consideration 
being given to the past and current status of 
yumanensis. Bur. Reclam. Rep. 

PhilUps, A., J. Marshall, and G. Monson. 1964. 
The birds of Arizona. Univ. Arizona Press, 
Tucson. 31pp. 

Ridgway, R., and H. Friedmann. 1941. The birds 
of North and Middle America, Part 9. U.S. 
Nat. Mus. Bull. 50. 

Ripley, S. D. 1977. Rails of the world. David R. 
Godine, Boston. 

Smith, P. M. 1974. Yun.a Clapper Rail study, 



Mohave County, Arizona, 1973. California 
Dep. Fish Game, Spec. Wildl. Investig. Prog. 
Rep. Job 11-5.9. June 1974. 

Todd, R. C. 1971. Report on the study of the 
Yuma Clapper Rail along the Colorado River. 
Prepared for Colorado River WildUfe Council 
Meeting,, April 5-6, 1971, Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Tomhnson, R. D., and R. L. Todd. 1973. Distri- 
bution of two western Clapper Rail races as 
determined by responses to taped calls. Con- 
dor 75:177-183. 

Van Rossem, A.J. 1929. The status of some Paci- 
fic Coast Clapper Rails. Condor 31:213-215. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.16 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

SANTA BARBARA SONG SPARROW 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Knginccrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of F.ndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should bo directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.16 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 

OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
SANTA BARBARA SONG SPARROW 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coeistal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PHOTO OF CUOSELY REUATED SUBSPECIES 



CREDIT: HERBERT CLARKE 



SANTA BARBARA SONG SPARROW 

Melospiza melodia graminea Townsend (1890) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passeriformes 

FAMILY Fringillidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Bell Finch, Coast Song 

Sparrow, California Song Sparrow. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered. (42 FR 36427), 14 July 
1977. 

States: Protected: California. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

There is general agreement among ornitho- 
logists who have searched for song sparrows on 
Santa Barbara Island during the breeding season 
that the subspecies M. m. graminea is extinct (G. 
L. Hunt, Jr. pers. comm. to J. W. Aldrich, 18 
Aug. 1972, and Warren King, 26 March 1974; 
Small and Henderson 1974). The main reason for 
its decline and extinction was elimination of 
dense vegetation over the entire island by feral 
domestic rabbits whose population exploded 
from 1953-1959; and, finally, extensive fire in 
1959 that destroyed the remaining vegetation and 
litter down to the mineral soil. Feral cats, which 
were numerous in earlier times, along with bam 
owls {Tyto alba) and American kestrels {Falco 
sparverius) may have contributed to the decline, 
particularly after the 1959 fire destroyed the 
concealing vegetation (Small and Henderson 
1974). 



PRIORITY INDEX 

None assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

M. m. graminea is small, brownish gray above, 
white streaked with black below, with a black 
spot on chest. It is distinguished from related 
races of song sparrow by shorter wings and tail, 
and, except for tnicronyx of San Miguel Island, 
by more grayish (less brownish) coloration. It 
differs from M. m. clementae of the Other Chan- 
nel Islands in smaller bill, tarsus, and feet; from 
M. m. cooperi, of the adjoining mainland; in 
smaller bill; from coronatorum of Los Coronados 
Islands in larger tarsi and feet. Nineteen adults 
measured: length, 5.50 - 6.12 in (140 - 155 mm) 
av. 5.80 in (147 mm); wing, 2.25 - 2.50 in (57.2 
- 63.5 mm) av. 2.35 in (59.7 mm); bill, 0.40 - 
0.46 in (10.2 - 11.7 mm) av. 0.43 in (10.9 mm) 
(Townsend 1896, Grinnell 1897, 1928, Van 
Rossen 1924). 

RANGE 

Formerly a permanent resident on Santa Bar- 
bara Island off southwestern California, it was 
confined to that island (Willett 1933; Grinnell 
and Miller 1944, American Ornithologist Union 
1957). 

RANGE MAP 

See range map on following page. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

C^difomia: Los Angeles. 

HABITAT 

Santa Barbara Island, with an area of only 2.6 
km^ , is 61 km from the mainland and 37 km 
from the nearest other island (Santa Catalina). No 
permanent fresh water is present on the island. A 
low ridge extends along the western edge with 
high points 171 and 193 m above sea level. The 
central portion is a graded slope, almost level in 
some areas, then falling steeply to the ocean on 
the eastern edge, which is cut by a number of 
canyons. It has an equable climate, and practically 
never frosts; rainfall is only 12 in (30.5 cm), but 
wet fogs are frequent. Vegetation was formerly 
long, coarse grass growing thick and tangled every- 
where, making walking difficult (Townsend 1890). 
Sparse brush covered slopes and ravines (Grirmell 



1897). The song sparrows were found where the 
brush afforded protection (Wright and Snyder 
1913). Song sparrows used bushes for nesting, 
and fog supplied the moisture essential to birds of 
this type (Grinnell and Miller 1944). In more 
recent times, thickets of giant tree-sunflower 
{Coreopsis gigantea) were abundant (Philbrick 
1972; Sumner 1958). Gross changes in vegetation 
have taken place in the 20th century as a result of 
agriculture, the effect of overgrazing by rabbits, 
and more recently, a severe fire ( 1959) that burned 
over almost the entire island and eliminated most 
of the remaining vegetation (Small and Henderson 
1974). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

No information is available, but the diet pre- 
sumably consisted of insects and small seeds, the 
same as mainland populations. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Dense growths of grass (Townsend 1890), 
sparse brush cover on slopes and ravines used for 
nesting (GrinneU 1897), and thickets of giant 
tree-sunflower (Small and Henderson 1974) were 
all important cover vegetation for song sparrows. 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

Five nests were all practically the same size 
and composition. A typical one was supported by 
obliquely growing twigs of a bush and lined with 
yellow grasses, in marked contrast to the larger 
brown grass and weed stems of which the nest 
structure was built (Grinnell 1897). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Song, notes and actions are the same as those 
of mainland races of song sparrow, a strongly 
territorial species. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None is known other than dense vegetative 
cover for nesting and concealment. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Once extremely abundant - in fact, the most 
abundant bird - on the small island of Santa Bar- 
bara (Townsend 1890). They were numerous 



SAN FRANCISCXD 



CALIFORNIA 



t>t^' 



LOS ANGELES 



t 






SANTA BARBARA ISLAND 



Total range of the Santa Barbara song sparrow. 



everywhere, especially on the brush-covered fields 
on the southern part of the mesa (Grinnell 1897). 
They were abundant residents on Santa Barbara on 
first of May 1908, and at times were "fairly 
swarming" in short scrub (Howell 1917), abun- 
dant residents on the island in 1911 (Willett 
1933); permanent residents, abundant, but no 
year given (Grinnell and Miller 1944). By 1967, 
the subspecies was extinct according to Kenneth 
Baker, National Park Service (pers. comm. to 
Chnton Lostetter, FWS 1972). Monitoring of all 
land birds by means of periodic searches of all 
parts of Santa Barbara Island from 15 May to 23 
July 1972 failed to produce sight or sound of a 
song sparrow (George L. Hunt, Jr. pers. comm. 
1972). No trace of song sparrows was found on 
the isleind by diligent search by Small and Hender- 
son from 13 to 17 May 1974, despite open condi- 
tion of land that made it easy to observe any bird 
present. A song sparrow sighting on the island by 
Robert DeLong on 19 August 1967 may be the 
last record of the subspecies (Small and Hender- 
son 1974). Records of single song sparrows in 
1972 and 1973 by George Hunt, Jr. were thought 
by him to be migrants of other races from the 
mainland, since they were associated with waves 
of migrant landbirds (Small and Henderson 1974). 

REPRODUCTION 

Nest containing 2 eggs, advanced in incuba- 
tion, were found 16 June 1911. At that date most 
of the young were already full grown (Willett 
1912 and 1933). In mid-May 1897, fuU-grovm 
juveniles were numerous, more so than adults, 
which were all apparently engaged in nest build- 
ing or raising second broods. From 3 to 5 eggs 
were laid per set. Five sets averaging 3.8 eggs each 
were secured on May 14 and 15. Eggs averaged 
0.61 X 0.78 in (15.5 x 19.8 mm), with extremes 
of 0.70 to 0.82 in (17.8 - 20.8 mm) in length and 
0.57 to 0.64 in (14.5 - 16.3 mm) in diameter 
(GrinneU 1897). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

It is now too late to manage for this species, 
but the example may be useful in planning habi- 
tat restoration and management to prevent ex- 
tinction of other wildlife species on Santa Bar- 
bara Island. The Santa Barbara song sparrow is 
protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and 
by the National Monument status of the island, 



under the National Park Service. 

AUTHORITIES 

George Hunt, Jr. 
U. of Calif. 
Irvine, Calif. 

Kenneth Baker 
Nat. Park Service 

John Small 

Point Reyes Bird Observatory 



R. P. Henderson 

Point Reyes Bird Observatory 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The evidence seems conclusive that the subspe- 
cies of song sparrow that bred on Santa Barbara Is- 
land (M. m. graminea) is now extinct and that 
song sparrows observed on the island from time 
to time are probably migrants from other breed- 
ing areas. 

LITERATURE CITED 

American Ornithologists Union. 1957. Check-list 
of North American Birds, 5th Edition. Balti- 
more, Md., Amer. Omith. Union. 

Grinnell, J. 1897. Report on the birds recorded 
during a visit to the islands of Santa Barbara, 
San Nicholas and San Clemente in spring of 
1897. Pasadena Academy of Sciences Pub. 
1:1-21(6). 

Grinnell, J. 1928. The Song Sparrow of San 
Miguel Island, California. Proc. Biol. Soc. 
Wash. 41:37-38. 

Grinnell, J., and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribu- 
tion of the birds of California. Pac. Coast 
Avifauna 27:608 pp. (554). 

Howell, A. B. 1917. Birds of the islands off the 
coast of southern California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 12:1-127(80). 

Van Rossem, A. J. 1924. A survey of the Song 
Sparrows of Santa Barbara Islands. Condor 
26:217-220. 

Philbrick, P. N. 1972. The plants of Santa Barbara 
Island, California. Madrono 21:329-393. 



Small, J., and R. P. Henderson. 1974. Part II. 
Santa Barbara Island, hi "The status of the 
Song Sparrow and Bewick's Wren on San 
Clemente Island and Santa Barbara Island, 
California" by R. M. Stewart, John Smail, 
William Clow and R. P. Henderson. Report 
to Endangered Species Office U. S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service by Point Reyes Bird Observa- 
tory, Bolinas, Calif. 94924. Oct 1974. 

Sumner, L. 1958. The rabbits of Santa Barbara 
Island, a progress report. In Smail and Hen- 
derson 1974. (hsted above). 

Townsend, C. H. 1890. Scientific results of ex- 
ploration by the U. S. Fish Commission Al- 
batross. No. XIV - Birds from the coasts of 
western North America and adjacent islands, 
collected in 1888-89 with descriptions of new 
species. Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 13:131-142 
(139). 

Willett, G. 1912. Birds of the Pacific slope of 
southern California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 7:1- 
122(84). 

Willett, G. 1933. A revised list of the birds of 
southwestern California. Pac. Coast Avifavma 
21:1-204(185). 

Wright, H., and G.K.Snyder. 1913. Birds observed 
in the summer of 1912 among the Santa Bar- 
bara Islands. Condor 15:86-92(91). 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.17 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

ESKIMO CURLEW 




^^^^^£^^^ 






Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc ncH necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.17 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRA IE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF IHE UNITED STATES- 



ESKIMO CURLEW 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

lOIO Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




M- 




i»^- 









•^-iV:.^ 



•.-^ 



►>. ."f ^.r VT' • -^i .. . c ■* * 



ESKIMO CURLEW 

(Numenius borealis Forster) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER. Charadriiformes 

FAMILY Charadriidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Doughbird, fute, prairie 

pigeon, pipi-pi-uk or tura-tura 

courlis du nord or Corbigeau 

des Esquimaux, chittering 

curlew, zarapito, Chorlo 

campino and Chorlo grande. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967; 35 FR 12122, 29 July 1970). 

States: Endangered: South Carolina, Texas, 
Alaska. 



CREDIT: PES, WASHINGTON, D.C. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The evidence is overwhelming that unrestricted 
hunting for the market, particularly during north- 
ward spring migrations through the midwestem \ 
prairies of the United States, and to a lesser 
degree in the fall migration in southeastern Labra- 
dor and (after severe storms) on the coast of Mas- 
sachusetts, drastically and rapidly reduced this cur- 
lew's population between 1870 and 1890 (Mackay 
1892, Forbush 1912, p. 427, Swenk 1915, Bent 
1929, p. 126, Greenway 1958, Vincent 1966, Fish 
and Wildlife Service 1973). Other factors that 
may have contributed to its rapid decline are 
severe storms during long overocean migrations 
(Townsend and Allen 1907, Forbush 1912);habi- 
tat altered by cultivation and grazing on winter- 
ing grounds and the spring migration route 
(Cooke 1910, Dement'ev and Gladkov 1951); and 
a succession of unsuccessful breeding seasons 
caused by unfavorable weather (Banks 1977). A 
characteristic of the Eskimo curlew that may have 
contributed to its rapid decline was its tame nature 
and extreme gregariousness, making it easy to 
shoot (Swenk 1916, Bent 1929 ,p. 127,Coues 1861 



MacKay 1892). Its continued failure to recover 
after hunting in the United States was banned by 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1916 must be 
attributable to some unique characteristic that 
makes it more vulnerable to environmental condi- 
tions than other shorebirds with similar migration, 
breeding, and wintering ranges. That characteris- 
tic may be a greater concentration of all members 
of the population at all times, making it more 
vulnerable to short but critical periods of unfavor- 
able weather and habitat conditions (Banks 1977). 
The conversion of native grasslands to cultivated 
fields in both the main wintering area in southern 
South America and the principle migration route 
through the tall grass prairie of the United States, 
which coincided with the population decline 
(Cooke 1910, Dement'ev and Gladkov 1969) and 
has continued to the present is one likely reason 
for its failure to recover. 

It may be that only the natural grasslands of 
the southern South American pampas and the tall 
grass prairies of the United States could produce 
enough easily available food, in the form of grass- 
hopper egg pods, to supply the energy for both 
the curlew's exceptionally long migration flights 
and the initiation of breeding in the spring. The 
Arctic tundra presumably provides enough crow- 
berries and blueberries to support the fall migra- 
tion, but the South American and North Ameri- 
can grasslands, whose more productive areas are 
now largely cultivated, may not provide enough 
suitable insect life in winter and early spriiig to 
enable the curlews to travel their long traditional 
migration routes. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

55 

DESCRIPTION 

Eskimo curlews are medium-sized shorebirds 
(about 30 cm long), smaller than whimbrels with 
shorter (about 5 cm), more slender, slightly down- 
curved bills; uniformly dark (rather than barred) 
primaries; greenish (rather than gray) legs; more 
blackish above with unstriped dark crowns. They 
may be distinguished from very similar little cur- 
lews [Numenius minutus) which breed in north- 
east Asia and migrate through western Asia to 
Austraha, by their generally darker and more 
buffy coloration with v-shaped black marks, in- 
stead of streaks, below and darker cinnamon buff 



coloration under wings (Forrand 1977). The two 
forms are considered races of the same species by 
Dement'ev and Gladkov (1951) but as two distinct 
species by the American Ornithologists' Union 
(1957). 

RANGE 

N. borealis formerly nested in the Arctic 
tundra of northwestern Mackenzie between the 
Mackenzie and Coppermine Rivers (MacFarlane 
1891, Swainson and Richardson 1881). There 
have been several probable sightings by Canadian 
Wildlife Service personnel east of the Mackenzie 
River delta in a general area where nesting is 
known to have occurred formerly. They probably 
nested in Alaskan tundra west to the Bering Sea 
(Nelson 1887, Murdock 1885); they wintered in 
grasslands of southern South America from 
southern Brazil and Uruguay, with a few probably 
north of Buenos Aires, Argentina (Cooke 1910), 
south to middle-eastern Argentina, chiefly north 
of the Chubut River; casually to Chile and Tierra 
del Fuego (Greenway 1958, Barrows 1884, Bent 
1929, Cooke 1910, Swenk 1926, Sclater and 
Hudson 1889,Wetmore 1926). 

Fall migration (adults preceeding young), be- 
ginning in July, was southeasterly from the breed- 
ing grounds to a feeding and staging area on the 
coast of southern Labrador (Audubon 1835, 
Townsend 1907,Coues 1861, Austin 1932, Todd 
1963); thence via Newfoundland and Nova Scotia 
(Tufts 1961, Peters and Burleigh 1951) over the 
Atlantic Ocean directly to eastern South America, 
and ending on the wintering grounds in early Sep- 
tember (Sclater and Hudson 1889 , Barrows 1884). 
Severe storms occassionally forced the birds to 
land on the north Atlantic coast of the United 
States (Bent 1929,Forbush 19 12, Sage and Bishop 
1913, Palmer 1949, Griscom and Snyder 1955), 
Bermuda, and the eastern islands of the West 
Indies (Bond 1956). 

There was a much smaller flight down the 
west side of Hudson Bay with a few individuals 
reaching points on the Great Lakes and even Cin- 
cinnati, Ohio, and Cooke Co. Texas (Cooke 1910, 
Hagar and Anderson 1977). By what route those 
birds reached the wintering grounds (if they did) 
is unknown. 

Spring migration began in late February (Bar- 
rows 1884), heading northwest from the winter- 
ing area, probably across the Andes in Chile, the 



Pacific Ocean, northern Middle America (Guate- 
mala - Salvin 1861), and the Gulf of Mexico, to 
the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, arriving there 
in early March (Greenway 1958); thence gradually 
northward, primarily through the prairies of mid- 
dle United States, to eastern South Dakota; thence 
rather quickly to the breeding grounds, arriving 
before the end of May (Bent 1929). There was 
some accidental in-migration in Greenland, Ice- 
land, Britain, the Falkland Islands, and north- 
eastern Siberia (American Ornithologists' Union 
1957). 

RANGE MAP 

A map of breeding and wintering areas and 
migration routes is shown on the following page. 

STATES/COUNTIES 



Alaska: 


Cape Lisboume, Kotzebue 
Sound, Nulato, Point Barrow, St. 
Michael, St. Paul Id. 


Arkansas: 


Washington. 


Colorado: 


Denver. 


Connecticut: 


Middlesex, New Haven, Toland. 


Illinois: 


Cooke. 


Indiana: 


Knox, White. 


Iowa: 


Des Moines, Jackson, Johnson, 
Polk, Poweshiek. 


Kansas: 


Douglas, Ellis, Lyon, Russell, 
Sedgwick, Woodson. 


Louisiana: 


Acadia, Jefferson Davis, Orleans, 
Plaquemines. 


Maine : 


Cumberland, Hancock, Knox, 
Lincoln, Penobscot. 


Massachusetts: 


Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Nan- 
tucket, Suffolk. 


Michigan : 


Kalamazoo, St. Clair. 


Missouri: 


Jasper, St. Louis, Vernon. 


Nebraska: 


Adams, Buffalo, Douglas, Fill- 
more, Hall, Hamilton, Lincoln, 
Madison, York. 


New York: 


Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Suffolk, 
Queens. 


Ohio: 


Hamilton. 


Oklahoma: 


Osage. 



Pennsylvania: Erie. 

South Dakota: Brown, Clay, Douglas, Hanlin, 
Pennington, Yankton. 

Texas: Aransas, Bexar, Cameron, Cal- 

houn, Cooke, Galveston, Kendall, 
Lampassas, Nueces, Pecos, San 
Patricio, Victoria, Washington, 
Wise, Young. 

Wisconsin: Dodge. 

HABITAT 

The Eskimo curlew nested on treeless Arctic 
tundra, fed in open natural grassland and tundra, 
burned prairies, meadows, pastures, plowed lands, 
and intertidal zones during migration and on win- 
tering grounds. Most of the time was spent in the 
North American tundra and tall-grass prairie, and 
the South American pampas (MacFarlane 1881; 
Coues 1861, 1874; Cooke 1910; Swenk 1916; 
Bent 1929; Greenway 1958). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The chief food in late summer on Arctic tun- 
dra, including the migration staging area in Labra- 
dor, was crowberry (Empetrum nigrum and blue- 
berry Vaccinium sp.). (Audubon 1835; Coues 
1861, 1874; Townsend 1907; Greenway 1958.) 
A small species of snail abounding on rocks in 
intertidal areas in southern Labrador was also 
eaten extensively (Coues 1861). Ants were men- 
tioned as food on tundra breeding areas (Swainson 
and Richardson 1881, Bent 1929, Coues 1861). 
Grasshoppers [Melanoplus sp.) and their egg cap- 
sules or pods, obtained by probing in unplowed 
prairie land, were important food on the spring 
migration (Swenk 1916). On plowed land, they 
fed on white grubs and cutworms (Swenk 1916). 
Adult grasshoppers would not be available on the 
prairies as early in spring as curlews were moving 
through successive temperature zones on way 
north (U.S. Entomological Commission 1877), so 
only egg pods and emerging young grasshoppers 
were present at that time. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

None known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nests are shallow depressions in the surface of 



KNOWN BREEDING RANGE 



Dots Indicate Published Records 



D 




cC^^' 



<s> 



Known range of the Eskimo curlew 



KNOWN 
WINTER RANGE 



4 



open tundra, lined sparsely with decayed leaves 
and dried grasses (MacFarlane 1891). 

There is no information on any special roost- 
ing behavior or requirements. Roosting is evidently 
in the open in the same habitat as nesting and 
winter and migration feeding. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

None known. Presumably, there is an aerial 
territory flight song like other shorebirds have. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Open Arctic tundra for nesting and summer 
feeding. Extensive natural upland grassland for 
winter and migration feeding. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

No exact population counts or even reliable 
estimates have ever been made. Comments of 
early observers were that the curlews were for- 
merly present in tremendous numbers on the 
Labrador and prairie migration stopovers. They 
arrived in Texas in "immense flocks" in spring 
from 1856-1875 (Bent 1929). 

In Kansas, they were abundant as late as 1878, 
but were much reduced in 1879 and decreased 
rapidly after that (Bent 1929). From 1866 to 
1888, they reached Omaha, Neb., in late April, 
remaining in force for a week to 10 days. Enorm- 
ous flocks consisting of thousands of individuals 
formed dense masses extending a quarter to a half 
mile (0.4-0.8 km) in length and a hundred or 
more yards (91 m) in width which, when alighting, 
would cover 40 to 50 acres (16 to 24 hectares) of 
ground. At that time, they were slaughtered liter- 
ally by the cart-load. Their numbers in the prairies 
began diminishing rapidly in the early 1880's 
(Swenk 1916). On the Labrador migration staging 
area in 1833, Audubon (1835) described great 
flocks that reminded him of passenger pigeon 
abundance. A "cloud" of curlews in fall migration 
was seen on the Magdalen Islands in 1890— perhaps 
the last big flocks seen in the east (Forbush 1912). 
During the last 50 years, very few have been seen 
during migration at any one time. The most recent 
records are Galveston Island, Texas, 22 March 
1959 (1), 3 April 1960 (1), 31 March 1961 (1), 
24 March 1962 (1), and 31 March 1962 (2) 
(Emanuel 1962); Barbados, West Indies, fall migra- 



tion 1963 (1 specimen); North Point, West side of 
James Bay, Ontario, 15 August 1976 (2). 

REPRODUCTION 

Nests are very difficult to find. Incubating 
birds flush long before observers approach. 
Eggs, usually 4 to a clutch, resemble the grass in 
color, being dark brownish green to blue blotched 
with brown, more heavily on the larger end 
(MacFarlane 1891). Eggs were present in nests at 
Fort Anderson, Mackenzie from May 27 through 
June 13 (MacFarlane 1891). Eggs were found at 
Point Lake, Mackenzie, on 13 June 1822 (Swain- 
son and Rich2u:dson 1881). Time of hatching and 
length of time young duce dependent on adults is 
unknown, but by the end of July the breeding 
season is over for the most part and the adults 
head south, soon to be followed by the young. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

With the present state of our knowledge of 
the distribution of the remaining Eskimo curlew 
population, particularly during the breeding and 
wintering seasons, nothing can be done to manage 
it except to rigidly protect the occasional indivi- 
duals that are discovered; to keep a lookout for 
them in areas where they formerly concentrated, 
such as the southern tip of the Labrador Peninsula, 
the coast of New England and Long Island, the 
tail-grass prairie belt from the coast of Texas and 
Louisiana north to South Dakota, and the Argen- 
tina grasslands from Buenos Aires south to the 
Chubut River. Also, special effort should be made 
to locate the present breeding grounds of the 
small remaining population, with special attention 
given to the former breeding area along the Arctic 
coast between the Anderson and Coppermine 
Rivers and south to Great Bear Lake, Mackenzie. 
It might be beneficial to increase the area of un- 
plowed grassland along the migration routes and/ 
or in wintering grounds. 

AUTHORITIES 

No living person has had enough personal ex- 
perience with Eskimo curlews to be considered an 
authority on the species. 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The preparer has been most impressed by the 



failure of the Eskimo curlew population to re- 
cover from its rapid decline in the 1880's after 
hunting was stopped, in contrast with the golden 
plover, a shorebird with a similar migration pat- 
tern with which it associated in migration and on 
its wintering grounds. The decrease in availability 
of grasshopper egg pods, which were much more 
numerous before most of the natural grassland of 
the tall grass prairie belt was plowed up to plant 
crops (U.S. Entomological Commission 1877) 
may have been the main reason for failure to re- 
cover. Grasshoppers avoid cultivated land for egg 
laying and the great destructive flights of grass- 
hoppers in the American prairies declined at 
about the same time as the Eskimo curlew; both 
coincided with the extensive breaking of the 
prairie sod in the American Midlands. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologists 's Union. 1957. Checklist 
of North American Birds, 5th ed. Port City 
Press, Baltimore, Md. 

Audubon, J. J. 1835. Ornithological Biography, 
Vol. 3:69. 

Austin, O. L., Jr. 1932. The birds of Newfound- 
land Labrador. Memoirs Nuttall Ornith. Club. 
Cambridge, Mass. 

Baerg, W. J. 1931. Birds of Arkansas. Agric. Exp. 
Sta. U. of Arkansas, Fayetteville. 

Banks, R. C. 1977. The dechne and fall of the 
Eskimo Curlew, or why did the curlew go ex- 
taille? Amer. Birds 31:127-134. 

Barrows, W. B. 1884. Birds of lower Uruguay. 
Auk 1:313-319. 

Beardslee, C. S. and H. D. Mitchell. 1965. Birds of 
the Niagara Frontier Region. Bull. Buffalo 
Soc. Nat. Sci. 22. 

Bent, A. C. 1929. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can shorebirds. Part IL U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 
146. 

Bond, J. 1956. Checklist of birds of the West 
Indies. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 

Bull, J. 1964. Birds of the New York Area. New 
York, Harper and Row Publishers. 

Butler, A. W. 1898. The Birds of Indiana. Indiana 
Dept. Geol. & Nat. Resources 22nd Ann. Re- 
port. Indianapolis. 



Coues, E. 1861. Notes on the ornithology of 
Labrador. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 
13:215-257. 

. 1874. Birds of the Northwest; a hand- 



book of the ornithology of the region drained 
by the Missouri River and its tributaries. U.S. 
Geol. Surv. Terr. Wise. Publ. No. 3, 791 pp. 

Cooke, W. W. 1910. Distribution and migration of 
North American shorebirds. Bur. Biol. Surv. 
Bull. 35:1-100. 

Dement'ev, L. P., and N. A. Gladkov, ed. 1969. 
Birds of the Soviet Union Vol. III. Translated 
from Russian by Israel Program for Scientific 
Translators, Jerusalem pp. 356-360. 

DuMont, P. A. 1934. A revised Hst of the birds of 
Iowa. U. of Iowa Studies 15(5):1-171. 

Emanuel, V. L. 1961. Another probable record of 
an Eskimo Curlew on Galveston, Island, Texas. 
Auk 78:259-260. 

. 1962. Texans rediscover the near extinct 

Eskimo Curlew. Audubon Magazine 64:162- 
165. 

Farrand, J., Jr. 1977. What to look for: Eskimo 
and Little Curlews compared. Amer. Birds 31 : 
137-138a. 

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened Wild- 
life of the United States. Resource Publ. 114, 
289 pp. 

Forbush, E. H. 1912. A history of the game birds, 
wildfowl and shorebirds of Massachusetts and 
adjacent states. Mass. State Board of Agric. 
Boston 622 pp. (p. 416) 

. 1925. Birds of Massachusetts and other 

New England states. Part I. Mass. Dept. Agric. 
Boston. 

Greenway, J. C, Jr. 1958. Extinct and vanishing 
birds of the world. Spec. Publ. No. 13 Amer. 
Comm. Intemat. Wildlife Protection. New 
York 518 pp. 

Griscom, L. and D. E. Snyder. 1955. The Birds of 
Massachusetts, and annotated and revised list. 
Salem, Peabody Museum. 

Griscom, L. and E. V. Folger. 1948. The Birds of 
Nantucket. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge. 

Hagar, J. A. and K. S. Anderson. 1977. Sight re- 
cord of Eskimo Curlew. Amer. Birds 31:135- 
136. 



Housse, P. R. 1945. Las Aves de Chile. Ediciones 
de la Universidad de Chile. 

Jones, Lynds. 1903. Birds of Ohio. Ohio State 
Acad. Sci. Spec. Papers No. 6. 

Johnson, A. W. 1965. The birds of Chile. Buenos 
Aires, Piatt Establecimientos Graficos S.A. 

Johnston, R. F. 1960. Directory to the bird- 
life of Kansas. U. of Kansas, Mus. Nat. Hist. 
Misc. Pub. 23:172. 

MacFarlane, R. 1891. Notes on and list of birds 
collected in Arctic America, 1861-1866. 
{Numeniiis p. 429) Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 14: 
413-446. 

MacKay, G. H. 1892. Habits of the Eskimo Cur- 
lew {Nurnenius borealis) in New England. 
Auk 9:16-21. 

Merriam, C. H. 1877. A review of the birds of 
Connecticut. New Haven, Tuttle, Morehouse 
and Taylor Printers. 

Murdock,J. 1885. Bird Migration at Point Barrow, 
Arctic Alaska. Auk 2:63. 

Murphye, R. C. 1933. Probable record of Eskimo 
Curlew {Nurnenius borealis) at Montauk Point, 
N.Y. Auk 50:101-102. 

Nelson, E. W. 1887. Report on Natural history 
collections made in Alaska between years 
1877 and 1881. Arctic series of publications 
issued in connection with the Signal Service, 
U.S. Army. Wash. D.C. G.P.O. 

Oberholser, H. C. 1938. The bird Hfe of Louisiana. 
Louisiana Dept. of Conservation. Bull. 28. 

. 1974. The bird life of Texas. Vol. I. U. 

of Texas Press, Austin. 

Palmer, R. S. 1949. Maine birds. Bull. Mus. Comp. 
ZooL, Harvard, 102:656 pp. 

Peters, H. S. and T. D. Burleigh. 1951. The Birds 
of Newfoundland. Dept. Nat. Resources, 
Newfoundland, St. Johns. 

Ridgway, R. 1919. The birds of North and Middle 
America. Part VIII. Bull. 50. U.S. Nat. Mus. p. 
413. 

Roberts, T. S. 1932. The birds of Minnesota. Vol. 
I. Minneapolis, Univ. of Minnesota Press. 

Sage, J. H. and L. B. Bishop. 1913. The birds of 
Connecticut. Conn. Geol. and Nat. Hist. Surv. 
Bull. 20. 



Salvin, O. 1861. A list of species to be added to 
the ornithology of Central America. Ibis 39: 
351-356. 

Sclater, P. L. and W. H. Hudson. 1889. Argentine 
Ornithology. Vol. 2. R. H. Porter London, p. 
192. 

Swainson, W. and J. Richardson. 1881. Birds 
(part second) Fauna Boreali-Americana. Lon- 
don, John Murray. 

Swenk, M. H. 1916. The Eskimo Curlew and its 
disappearance. Smithsonian Rep. for 1915, 
pp. 325-340. 

. 1926. The Eskimo Curlew in Nebraska. 

Wilson Bull. 38:117-118. 

Todd, W. E. C. 1940. Birds of Western Pennsyl- 
vania. Univ. Pittsburg Press. 

. 1963. Birds of the Labrador Peninsula 



and adjacent areas. Toronto, Univ. Toronto 
press. 

Townsend, C. W. and G. M. Allen. 1907. Birds of 
Labrador. Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 33: 
277-428. 

Tufts, Robie W. 1961. The birds of Nova Scotia. 
Nova Scotia Museum, HjJifax. 

U.S. Entomological Commission. 1877. First An- 
nual Report of the U.S. Entomological Com- 
mission for the year 1877 relating to the 
Rocky Mountain Locust. 

Vincent, J. (Compiler). 1966. Red data book. 
Vol. 2. Aves. Intematl. Union for Conserva- 
tion of Nature and Natural Resources. Morges. 
Switzerland. 

Wetmore, A. 1926. Observations on the birds of 
Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Chile. U.S. 
Nat. Mus. Bull. 133:448 pp. 

. 1939. Recent observations on the Eski- 
mo curlew in Argentina. Auk 56:475. 

Widmann, O. 1907. Birds of Missouri. St. Louis. 

Williams, G. G. 1959. Probable Eskimo Curlew on 
Galveston Island, Texas. Auk 76:539-541. 

Wood, N. A. 1951. The birds of Michigan. Univ. 
of Mich Press, Ann Arbor. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.18 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

SOUTHERN SEA OTTER 




ill a/ a 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoasl of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.58 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.18 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

SOUTHERN SEA OTTER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 











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CREDIT: W. C. LOY, USFWS 



SOUTHERN SEA OTTER 

Enhydra lutris nereis [Merriam] 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivora 

FAMILY Mustelidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES California sea otter 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 1 November 1978 



LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Threatened (42 FR 2965, 14 Jan 1977) 
States Fully protected: California 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The southern sea otter is the southernmost 
form of a marine mammal that originally ex- 
tended along the rim of the Pacific Ocean from 
the northern islands of Japan to Baja California. 
Originally estimated to number from 16,000 to 
10,000 off the California coast, the species was 
heavily hunted for its valuable fur by Russian, 
Indian, Spanish, British, and American traders. By 
1911, the California population was reduced to 
an estimated 50 animals. Following protection 
afforded by the International Fur Seal Treaty of 
1911 and by the State of California in 1913, the 
population began to recover. A survey conducted 
by the California Department of Fish and Game 
in 1976 estimated the population at about 1,860 
individuals located along a 257-km span of coast- 
line (Woodhouse et al. 1977). The population 
now (1978) occurs 2dong about 320 km of coast- 
line. Considering that there are oil depots at both 
ends of the current range (Moss Landing and 
Morro Bay) and increased tanker traffic offshore. 



and that sea otters may die if their fur is contami- 
nated by oil, the current population size and dis- 
tribution is marginal to insure survival. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Although the smallest of marine mammals, 
the sea otter is the largest member of the weasel 
family. Adult otters in California weigh from 20 
to 39 kg and are from 1 to 1.6 m long. The dense, 
dark-browTi fur may become grizzled with age, 
especially in older males, and the forelimbs are 
modified for feeding, while the flipper-like hind 
limbs are used in swimming (Merriam 1904, 
Kenyon 1969). The skull is flattened dorsally, 
with large nasal openings; two rear upper cheek 
teeth are wider than long; there are three upper 
premolars and two lower incisors on each side of 
the jaw (Hall and Kelson 1959). 

RANGE 

Originally found from Morro Hermoso, Baja 
California, north along the Pacific Coast to Cali- 
fornia, Oregon, and Washington, the sea otter is 
currently restricted to coastal waters of central 
California. Established populations now occur 
from Ano Nuevo Island in the north to Avila 
Beach to the south (Wild and Ames 1974). Occa- 
sional individuals are seen in California as far 
north as Humboldt County and as far south as 
Los Angeles County. 

RANGE MAP 

The extent of coastline supporting established 
populations of the southern sea otter is shown 
by shading on the accompanying map (Wild and 
Ames 1974, R. J. Jameson, pers. observ.). 

STATES/COUNTIES 



California 



HABITAT 



Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis 
Obispo 



Otter habitat is the neritic zone within 3 miles 
of shore; the animals are usually found within 
one-half mile of shore and occasionally on shore. 



Associated with a wide variety of sublittoral 
communities, the presence of an adequate food 
supply is an important factor in determining the 
presence of sea otters (Woodhouse et al. 1977). 
Although found over sandy substrates, sea otter 
population centers seem to be associated with 
hard substrates and stands of kelp [Macrocystis 
pyrifera and Nereocystis lutkeana). Water depth 
ranges from to 36 m, in California, sea otters 
are usually found in depths of less than 25 m. 
Shelter from storm waves seems to be a require- 
ment, either in the form of kelp beds or sheltered 
coves (Kenyon 1969). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Food supply represents a critical environ- 
mental factor for sea otters. A sea otter consumes 
about 20% to 25% of its body weight in food 
each day (Kenyon 1969), and a meal passes 
through the digestive tract in about 2.8 hr (Stull- 
ken and Kirkpatrick 1955). This large volume of 
food is apparently needed to maintain body tem- 
perature in cold waters (Morrison et al. 1974). To 
meet these requirements, Loughlin (1977) found 
that radio-tagged otters spent 34% of their total 
time (or 73% of their active time) in foraging. Sea 
otters are active both day and night, and 45% of 
their foraging is nocturnal (Loughlin 1977,Shimek 
and Monk 1977). Feeding is usually in water 1 to 
25 m deep. Occasionally, individuals will leave the 
water at low tide to forage for mussels {Mytilus 
calif ornianus) , but they return to the water to eat 
them (R. J. Jameson, unpubl.). Foraging dives 
range from 10 to 120 sec, but are usually less than 
60 sec long. Depth of water and availability and 
type of prey seem to be important factors in de- 
termining the length of these foraging dives. Food 
is usually gathered from the bottom, but Califor- 
nia sea otters spend considerable time foraging in 
the kelp canopy where snails {Tegula spp) and 
kelp crabs {Pugettia producta) are abundant. A 
stone 'tool' may be used to break hard-shelled 
molluscs, such as abalone, from the bottom 
(Houk and Geibel 1974) and at the surface, this 
tool may be used as an anvil to break mollusc 
shells (Hall and Schaller 1964). Woodhouse et al. 
(1977) conclude that the type of food eaten cor- 
responds to availability more than to preference, 
although foraging energetics certainly favors the 
collecting of food items with high caloric rewards. 
Foods commonly taken by sea otters in Call- 



't. Ano Nuevo 



Monterey 
Bay 

Pt. Lobos 
Pt. Sur 



MONTEREY 



O 
O 





O 
O 

o 



Morro Bay 
Avila 



-.1 L 



miles 



Pt. Conception 



The range of the southern sea otter 
3 



fornia include the following: abalone [Haliotis 
sp.), Turban snails {Tegula sp.), sea urchins 
(Strongylocentrotus sp.), rock crabs {Cancer 
sp.), kelp crabs {Pugettis. sp.), mussels {Mytilus 
sp), Pismo clams (Tivela stultorum), and octopus 
[Octopus sp.). (Hall and Schaller 1964, Ebert 
1968, Wild and Ames 1974, Miller et al. 1975, 
Woodhouse et al. 1977). 

In recently reoccupied habitat, the diet may 
consist almost exclusively of readily available 
large food items such as abalone, sea urchins, 
and Pismo clams, but with continued occupancy 
and consequent depletion of large, easily obtained 
food items, the otters' diets become more diverse 
(WUd and Ames 1974). 



SHELTER REQUIREMENTS: 

Sea otters in California do not 'haul out' as 
frequently as they do in Alaska; however, in re- 
cent years several regular hauling areas have been 
discovered. These areas are used primarily during 
the winter and spring months when kelp beds are 
reduced in size, and air and water temperatures 
are lower (R. J. Jameson, unpubl.). Most of the 
year, otters seek shelter in the extensive beds of 
g\3int kelp that occur throughout most of the 
present range. 



area for extended periods (Loughlin 1977). Dur- 
ing the breeding season, a male-female pair may 
remain together for only one copulation, or may 
form a bond that can last several days (Kenyon 
1969, Vandevere 1970). It is not known if a spe- 
cial set of habitat characteristics are required for 
courtship and breeding, but available information 
suggests there are none. 



OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL REQUIREMENTS 

Lacking a layer of blubber, sea otters depend 
on air trapped in their dense fur for insulation 
against heat loss to their environment (Kenyon 
1969). With captives, Kenyon discovered that 
soiled fur rapidly loses its insulating ability, ren- 
dering the animal a sure victim to hypothermia. 
Recent experiments in Alaska have shown that 
sea otters exposed to crude oil floating on the 
water can die (Siniff et al. 1977). This finding is 
of critical importance, since it relates to the po- 
tential damage to otters from offshore oil pollu- 
tion. Although no wild sea otter deaths have yet 
been reported from oil pollution in California, 
a major spill could be very damaging (California 
Department of Fish and Game 1976). 



NESTING OR BEDDING: 

Sea otters may roll themselves in kelp fronds 
while resting or sleeping, presumably to avoid 
transport by wind and currents. Mothers wdll 
similarly leave pups in kelp while diving for food 
(Fisher 1939). Typical haul-out areas are rela- 
tively low-lying intertidal rocks covered with a 
lush growth of a variety of marine algae. 



RITUAL REQUIREMENTS: 

Sea otters are most frequently members of 
aggregations known as 'rafts' (LoughUn 1977, 
Schneider 1978). Territoriality may be expressed 
by some males who defend areas near female 
rafts, but the evidence for territoriality is circum- 
stantial and needs to be better documented. 
Otters are known to remain in the same limited 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The rate of increase of the California sea otter 
population has been 5.4% per year since 1940 
(Woodhouse et al. 1977). The present population 
is far below the 16,000 estimated as the potential 
for California waters (California Department of 
Fish and Game 1976), or the estimate of 47,800 
given by Miller (1974) for all waters from the 
Oregon-California border to Morro Hermoso, Baja 
California. While the currently occupied range 
may be nearing carrying capacity, population 
growth has occurred in recent years by expansion 
of the range both up and down the coast (Wild 
and Ames 1974). Observations indicate that high 
densities of otters occur at the limits of the range. 
These groups, consisting primarily of males, move 
into unoccupied territory as the food supply 
behind them is depleted (California Department 



of Fish and Game 1976). If expansion and popu- 
lation growth are allowed to continue at current 
rates, doubling of population size could be 
expected every 15 years. 

Resident sea otters are relatively sedentary; 
the average linear dimension of the home range is 
about 2.5 km (Loughlin 1977). Females have 
larger home ranges (averaging 80 ha) than males 
(38.5 ha) (Loughlin 1977); however, recent tag- 
ging studies indicate that some otters, particularly 
males, use large segments of coastline up to 160 
km (R. J. Jameson Unpubl.). These individuals 
spend the winter with large rafts of males near the 
ends of the range, returning to the central part 
during the peak breeding season (summer). They 
have few natural enemies. White sharks appar- 
ently prey on sea otters (Morejohn et al. 1975). 
Most mortality seems to occur in young of the 
year and older individuals (Kenyon 1969, More- 
John et al. 1975). Sea otters have moderate to 
heavy loads of internal parasites (Morejohn et al. 
1975), and these may cause higher mortality 
during times of stress. Due to the high daily 
caloric requirement, severe winter storms pre- 
venting feeding may be responsible for additional 
mortality (Wild and Ames 1974), 

REPRODUCTION 

Some female sea otters begin reproductive 
activity at 3 years of age, and all over 6 years are 
reproducing. Males do not mature until 5 or 6 
years of age (Schneider 1978). Breeding season 
peaks from July to September (R.J.Jameson Un- 
publ.), and pupping is most frequent from Novem- 
ber through March (Vandevere 1970). Implanta- 
tion is delayed 4 to 4'/2 months, and development 
then proceeds for 4 to 4V2 months, making the 
gestation period 8 to 9 months overall (Sinha et 
al. 1966, Schneider 1978). Twinning is rare 
among sea otters, and it is unlikely that a female 
could support two pups. Two years has been ac- 
cepted as the interval between births (Kenyon 
1969), but recent studies in Alaska and California 
indicate that some females pup in consecutive 
years. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The California sea otter population currently 
represents a slowly recovering population of ma- 
rine mammals occupying only part of its original 



range. With few natural enemies, continued growth 
in numbers and range may be expected. Because 
of its relatively low reproductive potential, con- 
tinued protection from human predation and 
habitat degradation will be necessary if this 
recovery is to continue. The most recent sea-otter 
survey, conducted by the California Department 
of Fish and Game in 1979 resulted in an estimate 
of less than 1,500, a decrease of about 300 from 
the 1976 census. Since the weather conditions 
during the 1979 survey were unfavorable, it is 
considered quite low. 

Kelp forests growing along rocky coasts ap- 
pear to constitute optimum otter habitat in Cali- 
fornia. Estes and Palmisano (1974) indicated that 
sea otter predation on herbivores may be impor- 
tant in the maintenance of large stands of kelp. If 
increased growth of macrophytes is correlated 
with this predation by sea otters, their presence in 
an area may increase primary productivity. The 
trophic consequences of the reestablishment of 
the sea otter population remain to be seen. Mean- 
while, protecting the kelp bed habitat from physi- 
cal and chemical degradation will continue to be 
important for the entire littoral ecosystem. 

The southern sea otter now occupies only a 
small fraction of its original range. The continuity 
of the sea otters' current territory makes the 
species quite vulnerable to catastrophic events 
and augments the importance of establishing 
satellite populations in other parts of its former 
range to insure its survival. Previous translocation 
programs have demonstrated the feasibility of es- 
tablishing new populations of the sea otter (Ken- 
yon 1969, Jameson et al. 1978). Estabhshment 
of satellite populations will greatly decrease the 
probability of the entire population's being des- 
troyed by an epizootic or an oil spill. 

In the past 10 years, questions have arisen 
concerning the compatabiHty of the sea otter 
with sport and commercial shellfishing interests. 
The abundance of large abalones, sea urchins, and 
Pismo clams diminishes following reoccupancy of 
an area by sea otters (Miller 1974, Woodhouse et 
al. 1977). However, other studies indicated that 
after the initial period of reinvasion, the diet of 
the sea otter becomes more diverse, and the com- 
munity food web may enjoy a broader base 
resulting from reduction of the numbers of large 
herbivores (Palmisano and Estes 1977, Rosenthal 
and Barilotti 1973), and a consequent increase of 



macrophytic algae. Under such a regime of preda- 
tion, large herbivores are usually restricted to 
refugia protected from carnivores (Lowry and 
Pearse 1973, Cooper et al. 1977). This was appar- 
ently the undisturbed condition of California sub- 
littoral communities (Rashkin 1972). The super- 
abundance of large herbivores upon which the 
commercial shellfish industry is based is appar- 
ently an artifact of the historic reduction in sea 
otter numbers. Herbivore-carnivore numbers can 
be expected to return to equihbrium following 
the sea otter's reoccupancy of its former range. 

AUTHORITIES 

Ronald J . Jameson 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

Piedras Blancas Field Station 

P.O. Box 67 

San Simeon, California 93452 



Karl W. Kenyon 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
11990 Lakeside Place N.W. 
Seattle, Washington 98125 



Service (retired) 



A. M.Johnson 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

Anchorage Field Station 

4454 Business Park Boulevard 

Anchorage, Alaska 99503 

James E. Estes 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

CCMS; Applied Science Building 

University of California 

Santa Cruz, California 95064 

J. E. Vandevere 
93 Via Ventura 
Monterey, California 93940 

Tom Loughlin 

National Marine Fisheries Service 

Marine Mammals and Endangered Species Div. 

F-33 NMFS 

Washington, D.C. 20235 

D. Miller and J. Ames 

California Department of Fish and Game 

2201 Garden Road 

Monterey, California 93940 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Recently there has been some controversy 
over the systematic status of the southern popula- 
tions of sea otter (Roest 1973, 1976; Davis and 
Lidicker 1975). Pointing to an apparent latitudi- 
nal cline in some skull measurements, Roest 
(1973) contended that the southern sea otter is not 
subspecifically distinct, but represents one end of 
a size continuum. Davis and Lidicker (1975) 
argue that available evidence is best interpreted to 
suggest that a genetically distinct group of sea ot- 
ters exists off the California coast. 

Subspecies are often recognized primarily on 
morphological criteria, which usually are the 
result of genetic divergence due to selection with- 
in different sets of environmental parameters. To 
date, most attention has been paid to relatively 
few cranial measurements in sea otters. The north- 
ern and southern populations of the sea otter ap- 
pear to display some differences in diet and ana- 
tomy as well as in cranial morphology (Wood- 
house et al. 1977, Miller 1974), which may or 
may not be genetically based. It is certainly pos- 
sible that selection has resulted in some genetic 
divergence between these populations. However, 
we suggest the application of modern systematic 
techniques aimed at assessing this genetic distance 
between populations (such as karyology, protein 
electrophoresis, immunology, and perhaps DNA 
annealing) to adequately resolve this controversy. 
Meanwhile, it would be inappropriate to sacrifice 
the protection afforded the recovering southern 
populations to a disagreement over an as-yet 
unresolved taxonomic issue. This issue was ad- 
dressed by the USFWS in the Federal Register (14 
January 1977): "This question actually is not 
relevant to the matter at hand, because sections 3 
and 4 of the Act allows [sic] the listing of popu- 
lations of species in portions of their range, as 
well as entire species and subspecies. Since the 
southern sea otter does form a significant popu- 
lation, it can be treated independently under the 
Act, regardless of its taxonomic status. The Ser- 
vice decided, however, to utilize the subspecific 
designation Enhydra lutris nereis in this rule- 
making, although this decision had no connection 
with the decision to list as threatened." 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Barabash-Nikiforov, I. I., V. V. Reshetkin, and N. 
K. Shidlovskaya. 1947. The sea otter (kalan). 
Transl. from Russian by A. Birron and Z. S. 
Cole. 1962. Nat. Sci. Found, and U.S. Dept. 
Int., Washington, D.C. (Israel Program for Sci. 
Transl.). 

Bolin, R. L. 1938. Reappearance of the southern 
sea otter along the California coast. J. Mamm. 
19:301-303. 



Boolootian, R. A. 1961. 
California sea otter. 
47:287-292. 



The distribution of the 
Calif. Fish and Game 



California Dept. of Fish and Game. 1976. A 
porposal for sea otter protection and research, 
and request for the return of management to 
the state of California., 2 vol., unpubl. 

Cooper, J. M. and A. Hines. 1977. Subtidal aba- 
lone populations in an area inhabited by sea 
otters. Veliger 20:163-167. 

Davis, J. and W. Z. Lidicker, Jr. 1975. The taxon- 
omic status of the southern sea otter. Proc. 
Calif. Acad. Sci. 40:429-437. 



Hall, K. R. L. and G. B. Schaller. 1964. Tool- 
using behavior of the California sea otter. J. 
Mammal 45:287-298. 

Houk, J. L. and J. J. Geibel. 1974. Observation 
of underwater tool use by the sea otter, 
Enhydra lutris Linnaeus. Calif. Fish and Game 
60:207-208. 

Jameson, R. J., A. M.Johnson and K. W. Kenyon. 
1978. The status of translocated sea otter 
populations in the eastern Pacific Ocejm. 
Proc. 2nd Conf. Biol. Marine Mamm. p. 8. 

Kenyon, K.W. 1969. The sea otter in the eastern 
Pacific ocean. No. Amer. Fauna. 68 pp. 

Lensink, C. J. 1962. The history and status of 
sea otters in Alaska. Unpubl. Ph.D. disserta- 
tion, Purdue Univ. pp. 

Loughlin, T. R. 1977. Activity patterns, habitat 
partitioning, and grooming behavior of the sea 
otter, Enhydra lutris, in California. Unpubl. 
Ph.D. dissertation, Univ. of Calif., Los 
Angeles. pp. 

Lowry, L. F. and J. S. Pearse. 1973. Abalones 
and sea urchins in an area inhabited by sea 
otters. Mar. Biol. 23:213-219. 



Ebert, E.E. 1968. A food habits study of the 
hem sea otter, Enhydra lutris nereis. Calif. 
Fish and Game 54:33-42. 

Estes, J.A. 1977. Population estimates and feed- 
ing behavior of sea otters, pp 51 1-525 in M.L. 
Merritt and R. G. Fuller, eds., The Environ- 
ment of Amchitka Island, Alaska. U.S. ERDA 
TID-26712. 

Estes, J.A. and J. F. Palmisano. 1974. Sea otters: 
their role in structuring nearshore communi- 
ties. Science, 185:1058-1060. 

Fisher, E. M. 1939. Habits of the southern sea 
otter. J. Mammal 20:21-36. 

Hall, E. R. and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mammals 
of North America. Ronald Press, New York. 



Merriam, C. H. 1904. A new sea otter from 
southern California. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washing- 
ton 17:159-160. 

Miller, D.J. 1974. The sea otter Enhydra lutris. 
Calif. Dept. Fish and Game, Marine Resources 
Leaflet 7. pp. 

Miller, D. J., J. E. Hardwick and W. A. Dahlstrom. 
1975. Pismo Clams and sea otters. Calif. Dept. 
Fish and Game, Marine Resources Tech. Rep. 
31. pp. 

Morejohn, G. V., J. A. Ames, and D. B. Lewis. 
1975. Post mortem studies of sea otters, 
Enhydra lutris L., in California. Calif. Dept. 
Fish and Game, Marine Resource Tech. Rep. 
30. pp. 

Morrison, P., M. Rosenmann, and J. A. Estes. 



1974. Metabolism and thermoregulation in 
the sea otter. Physiol. Zool., 47:218-229. 

Palmisano, J. F. and J. A. Estes. 1977. Ecological 
interactions involving the sea otter, pp. 527- 
567, in M. L. Merritt and R. G. Fullers, eds., 
The Environment of Amchitka Island, Alaska. 
U.S. ERDATID- 26712. 

Rashkin, P. 1972. Monterey Peninsula shell 
mounds — some general remarks. Monterey 
Co. Archael. Soc. Quart. 1:5. 

Roest, A. I. 1973. Subspecies of the sea otter, 
Enhydra lutris. Los Angeles Co. Mus. Contrib. 
Sci. 252:1-17. 

. 1976. Systematics and the status of sea 

otters, Enhydra lutris. Bull. So. Calif. Acad. 
Sci. 75:267-270. 

Rosenthal, R.J. and D. C. Barilotti. 1973. Feed- 
ing behavior of transplanted sea otters and 
community interactions off Chichagof Island, 
southeast Alaska, pp. 74-88, in W.J. North, 
ed., Calif Inst Tech., Kelp Habitat Improv. 
Proj.,Ann. Rep. 1 July 1972-30 June 1973. 

Sandegren, F. E., E. W. Chu, and J. E. Vandevere. 
1973. Maternal behavior in the California sea 
otter. J. Mammal 54:668-679. 

Scheffer, V. B., and F, Wilke. 1950. Validity 
of the subspecies Enhydra lutris nereis, the 
southern sea otter. J. Washington Acad, Sci. 
40:269-272. 

Schneider, K. B. 1978. Sex and age segregation 
of sea otters. Alaska Dept of Fish and game, 
Final Rep. , Job 8.9R 45 pp. 

Shaw, S. B. 1971. Chlorinated hydrocarbon 
pesticides in California sea otters and harbor 
seals. Calif. Fish and Game 57:290-294. 



Siniff, D. B., A. M. Johnson, and T. W. Williams. 
1977. Observations on responses of sea otters 
[Enhydra lutris) to oil contamination. Proc. 
2nd Conf. Biol. Mar. Mammal, p. 32. 

Stephenson, M. D. 1977. Sea otter predation on 
pismo clams in Monterey Bay. Calif. Fish and 
Game 63:117-120. 

Stullken, D. E., and C. M. Kirkpatrick. 1955. 
Physiological investigation of captivity mor- 
tality in the sea otter {Enhydra lutris). Trans. 
20th N. Amer. Wildl. Conf. pp. 476-494. 

Vandevere, J. E. 1970. Reproduction in the sea 
otter, pp. 221-227, in Proc. 7th Ann. Conf. 
on Biol. Sonar and diving Mammals, Stanford 
Res. Inst., Menlo Park, Calif. 

Wild, P. W. and J. A. Ames. 1974. A report on 
the sea otter, Enhydra lutris L., in California. 
Calif. Dept Fish and Game, Marine Resources 
Tech. Rep. 20. PP- 

Woodhouse, C. D., R. K. Cowen, and L. R. 
Wilcoxon. 1977. A summary of knowledge of 
the sea otter, Enhydra lutris, L., in California 
and an appraisal of the completeness of bio- 
logical understanding of the species. U.S. Mar. 
Mammal Comm. Rep. No. MMC-76/02 (PB 
270 374). 

ACCOUNT PREPARED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

Piedras Blancas Field Station 

P.O. Box 67 

San Simeon, California 93452 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

1300 Blue Spruce Drive 

Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Shimek, S. J. and A. Monk. 1977. Daily activity 
of sea otter off the Monterey peninsula, 
California. J. Wildl. Mgmt. 41(2):277-283. 

Sinha, A. A., C. H. Conaway, and K. W. Kenyon. 
1966. Reproduction in the female sea otter. 
J. Wildl. Mgmt. 30(1):121-130. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.19 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

MORRO BAY KANGAROO RAT 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Knginecrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of P^ndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.19 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 

MORRO BAY KANGAROO RAT 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Shdell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: GLENN R. STEWART 



MORRO BAY KANGAROO RAT 

Dipodomys heermanni morroensis (Merriam) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Rodentia 

FAMILY Heteromyidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES Heermann's 

kangaroo rat 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 16 October 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered (35 FR 16047, 13 Oct 

1970). 
States Endangered: California 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Historically, this isolated subspecies has occu- 
pied a range of less than 10 km^ (Grinnell 1922). 
Recent appraisals have documented a continually 
shrinking range and, concomitantly, decreased 
population size. Three factors have contributed to 
this decline (Congdon and Roest 1975): 

1. Direct loss of habitat due to growth of resi- 
dential areas. 

2. Successional changes of sparsely vegetated 
areas into more thickly vegetated chaparral 
communities. 

3. Increased predation by domestic cats hunting 
in fields adjacent to human dwellings. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned 



DESCRIPTION 

The darkest colored of all kangaroo rats, this 
population was originally described as a distinct 
species, partly on the basis of its dark pelage and 
markings (Merriam 1907, Grinnell 1922). The hip 
stripe, characteristic of the genus, is often incom- 
pletely formed, thus failing to completely sepa- 
rate the thigh patch from the rest of the back 
(Grinnell 1922, Stewart and Roest 1960). The 
white side tail stripes are narrow; less than one- 
half the width of the dark dorsal and ventral 
stripes. The tail is often completely black just be- 
hind the white basal collar (Grinnell 1922). Audi- 
tory bullae are less highly inflated than neighbor- 
ing subspecies of D. heermanni (Grinnell 1922, 
Boulware 1943). 



RANGE 

This rat is found in six disjunct patches of 
habitat just south and southeast of Morro Bay, 
California. The total area currently occupied is 
estimated at 1.3 km^ (Roest 1977). All current 
populations occupy remnants of the historical 
range, and can be enclosed by a circle 6.5 km in 
diameter. 



RANGE MAP 

Distribution is shown on the accompanying 
map (after Roest 1977). Occupied areas are indi- 
cated by shading. 



STATES /COUNTIES 

California: San Luis Obispo. 

HABITAT 

Habitat consists of early serai stages of the 
chaparral community, where vegetation is low 
and sparse and shrubs are widely scattered (Cong- 
don and Roest 1975), on medium-textured sandy 
loam (Stewart and Roest 1960). Plants typical of 
the habitat include Lotus scoparius, Erigonum 
parvifolium. Salvia mellifera, and scattered annual 



grasses (Stewart and Roest 1960). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Food in the wild not known. In the related 
Tulare subspecies (D. h. tularensis) , food consists 
primarily of seeds of grasses and shrubs during the 
dry season, and grass and herb cuttings during the 
rainy season. Also, small amounts of insect mater- 
ial are taken seasonally (Tappe 1941, Fitch 1948). 
The Morro Bay subspecies probably stores small 
amounts of food material in its burrows, as 
reported for the Tulare subspecies (Fitch 1948). 
Captive Morro Bay kangaroo rats eat seeds and 
leaves of native plants found within their range, 
including those of Lotus, Dudleya, and Bromus 
(Stewart and Roest 1960). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Like other heteromyid rodents, the Morro 
Bay kangaroo rat constructs its own burrow in 
sandy soil. Burrows are often located along low 
ridges near open space, particularly in areas of 
thick brush (Congdon and Roest 1975). 

The burrow of D. h. morroensis consists of 
shallow tunnels (15 to 30cm below the surface) 
measuring 1.8 to 3 m long, with two or three 
chambers and a similar number of escape tunnels, 
the latter terminating about 2.5 cm below ground 
level (Stewart and Roest 1960). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nests are located in one of the chambers of 
the burrow systems (Stewart and Roest 1960). 
No description of the nest of this subspecies is 
available, but Tappe (1941) described the nest of 
the Tulare kangaroo rat as an ovoid chamber 12.7 
by 15 cm and 10 cm high, which was lined with 
fine grass stems, fine grass roots, and husks of 
grass seeds. The nests were used only during the 
breeding season. A similar nest may be made by 
the Morro Bay kangaroo rat. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The behavior of this free-living nocturnal 
rodent is not known. Information for the related 
great basin kangaroo rat (Z). microps) indicates a 
need by members of the genus Dipodomys for 
open ground around the burrow (Kenagy 1976). 
In D. microps, courtship is limited to drumming 




miles 



Current distribution of the Morro Bay kangaroo rats. 



by the male around the burrow of the female. 
Receptive females emerge and copulation quickly 
commences in the vicinity of her burrow. Com- 
peting males interact, including bouts of locked 
fighting, near the female's burrow (Kenagy 1976). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

The population density of other species of 
kangaroo rats has been shown to be inversely 
related to the density of shrubby vegetation 
(Rosenzweig 1973). This relationship reflects the 
requirements of saltatory locomotion and the 
erratic-leaping type of escape behavior that is 
highly developed in kangaroo rats. Kenagy (1976) 
suggests the leaping behavior may also function in 
reducing male-to-male physical contact during 
conflicts over access to females' burrows. Stewart 
and Roest (1960) report the invasion of a burned 
area by the Morro Bay kangaroo rat. Evidence 
indicates that open, sparsely vegetated habitat is a 
critical requirement for populations of this 
kangaroo rat. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The population of this subspecies is directly 
related to both the quality and quantity of avail- 
able habitat. The range was originally described 
by Grinnell (1922) as "less than 4 miles square" 
(41 km^ ). Stewart and Roest (1960) reported the 
area of remaining habitat to be less than 6.5 km^ . 
In 1960, the population numbered about 8,000 
individuals (Congdon and Roest 1975). A 1971 
study indicated a range of 3.6 km^ and a popu- 
lation of 3,000 kangaroo rats Congdon 1971, in 
Congdon and Roest 1975). Roest (1977) indi- 
cated that the range is now reduced to 1.3 km^ 
and the population numbers are between 1,500 
and 2,000 individuals. 

The density varies from 42 kangaroo rats per 
hectare in the most favorable habitat to an esti- 
mated 5 per hectare in marginal habitat. Territory 
size is estimated to be about 0.07 ha (Roest 
1977). Roest (1977) indicates considerable sea- 
sonality in their activity, with little or no activity 
in January and February, and increasing activity 
through early summer. A decline in activity was 
noted in mid-summer, and a fall resurgence is 
suggested. 



REPRODUCTION 

Most young are probably born from February 
through August, but breeding may continue 
throughout the year with a possible second peak 
of breeding in the fall (Roest 1977). A similar 
concentration of breeding in the spring and 
summer months occurs in D. h. tularensis, which 
also may have multiple litters per year (Fitch 
1946). Average litter size is probably just over 
three. Four recorded litters for the Morro Bay 
subspecies were 4, 3, 3, and 3 (Stewart and Roest 
1960). Other subspecies of D. heermanni are 
reported to have average litter sizes of 2.6 to 3.7 
(Fitch 1946). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

A summary of management problems for this 
subspecies is presented in Congdon and Roest 
(1975). The most significant adverse factor is the 
loss of habitat, caused by conversion of parts of 
the former range into suburban housing develop- 
ments. While kangaroo rats may be tolerant of the 
proximity of human dwellings (Stewart and 
Roest 1960), they are eliminated from developed 
land. A concomitant problem is predation by do- 
mestic cats near houses. A more serious problem 
in remaining prime habitat is the absence of wild 
fires, leading to higher shrub density and the 
development of a mature chaparral community. 
This subspecies may invade habitat created by 
burning (Stewart and Roest 1960). It disappears 
from fields as the shrub height and density in- 
crease (Congdon and Roest 1975). Management 
should thus be directed towards prevention of 
further loss of habitat by a moratorium on devel- 
opment of any remaining Morro Bay kangaroo rat 
habitat and maintenance of existing habitat in the 
early stages of succession, which constitutes the 
favored condition for this subspecies. Both these 
management programs could be most easily 
achieved within the confines of a publicly owned 
preserve. Recently, a 20-ha refuge for this animal 
was established by the California Department of 
Fish and Game for the westernmost ('Dunes') 
population (see range map)(Gustafson 1978). But 
the habitat in this refuge contains the lowest 
population density of Morro Bay kangaroo rats 
measured by Roest (1977). Other areas of prime 
habitat should be acquired. Areas of favorable 
habitat which are used by off-road vehicles are 



likely to suffer severe deterioration (U.S. Depart- 
ment of the Interior 1973), and such use should 
be curtailed. 



Fitch, H. S. 1948. Habits and economic relation- 
ships of the Tulare kangaroo rat. J. Mammal. 
29:5-35. 



AUTHORITY 

Aryan Roest 

Biological Sciences Department 
California Polytechnic State University 
San Luis Obispo, California 93407 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 



One reason for preserving this distinctive iso- 
lated population of kangaroo rats is its scientific 
status. From its first description in 1907 to the 
time of Boulware's publication (1943), it was 
recognized as a separate species. While no avail- 
able evidence indicates that it should not be con- 
sidered a subspecies of D. heermanni, Boulware 
(1943:393) found the characters of the Morro 
Bay kangaroo rat to be most different from its 
nearest neighbor (Z). h. jolonensis) and most simi- 
lar to a more removed southern relative (Z). h. 
arenae). Further study on the taxonomic position 
of the Morro Bay kangaroo rat is indicated. The 
species has a high reproductive potential and col- 
lection of a few specimens for critical examina- 
tion would present no danger to the population. 

The population of this subspecies is continu- 
ously declining and without protective measures, 
'the Morro Bay kangaroo rat is almost certainly 
doomed to extinction.' (Congdon and Roest 
1970). 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Boulware, J. T. 1943. Two new subspecies of 
kangaroo rats (genus Dipodomys) from south- 
ern California. Univ. California Publ. Zool. 
46:391-396. 

Congdon, J., and A. Roest. 1975. Status of the 
endangered Morro Bay kangaroo rat. J. 
Mammal. 56:679-683. 

Csuti, B. A. 1971. Karyotypes of kangaroo rats 
from southern California. J. Mammal. 52: 
202-206. 



Grinnell, J. 1922. A geographical study of the 
kangaroo rats of California. Univ. California 
Publ. Zool. 24:1-124. 

Gustafson, J. 1978. Morro Bay kangaroo rat land 
acquisition. California Dep. Fish Game Non- 
game Wildl. Invest. Final rep. E-1-1. 3 pp. 

Kenagy, G. J. 1976. Field observations of male 
fighting, drumming, and copulation in the 
Great Basin kangaroo rat {Dipodomys mi- 
crops).]. Mammal. 57:781-785. 

Merriam, C. H. 1907. Descriptions of ten new 
kangaroo rats. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 
20:75-80. 

Roest, A. 1977. Distribution and population esti- 
mate of the Morro Bay kangaroo rat. Califor- 
nia Dep. Fish Game Nongame Wildl. Invest 
Final Rep. E-1-1. 19 pp. 

Rosenzweig, M. L. 1973. Habitat selection experi- 
ments with a pair of coexisting heteromyid 
rodent species. Ecology 54: 111-117. 

Stewart, G. R. and A. I. Roest. 1960. Distribution 
and habits of kangaroo rats at Morro Bay. J. 
Mammal. 41:126-129. 

Tappe, D. T. 1941. Natural history of the Tulare 
kangaroo rat. J. Mammal. 22:117-148. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threatened 
wildlife of the United States. Resource Publ. 
114.289 pp. 

PREPARED/UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
1300 Blue Spruce Drive 
Fort ColHns, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.20 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services vi the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Flndangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.20 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WUdlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endjingered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN 

Sterna albifrons browni 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Charadriiformes 

FAMILY Laridae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Least tern, brown tern, 

brown least tern 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 22 Nov 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 



Federal 



States 



Endangered (35 FR 16047, 13 Oct 
1970; 35 FR 18320, 2 Dec 1970) 
Endangered: California 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The least tern nests on sandy ocean beaches 
and salt flats near lagoons and estuaries. Coastal 
highway construction, recreational development, 
and beach cottages have reduced habitat and per- 
mitted increased access to tern nesting beaches. 
Feeding areas have been developed, filled in, and 
polluted (Wilbur 1974). Continuing loss of shore- 



side nesting and feeding habitat, along with high 
levels of human disturbance and domestic preda- 
tors at the remaining colonies, have been respon- 
sible for a decline in numbers up to the present 
times (Craig 1971, Wilbur 1974). 

DESCRIPTION 

Least terns (subfamily Sterninae) are the 
smallest of the terns, measing 23 cm long with a 
wingspread of about 51 cm (Davis 1968). They 
are characterized by a black cap and white fore- 
head, grey wings with black tips and leading edges, 
yellow legs, and a black-tipped yellow bill. The 
sexes are similar. Immatures have darker plumage 
and dark bills; the contrast between their white 
heads and dark eye stripes is often distinctive (K. 
Bender in Wilbur 1974). It has faster wingbeats 
than other terns, and can hover longer than the 
larger terns. 

The California least tern cannot be reliably 
differentiated from other races of the least tern in 
the field on the basis of plumage characteristics 
alone (Burleigh and Lowery 1942). 

Illustrations and descriptions appear in Ridg- 
way (1919) and Bent (1921). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



RANGE 

The historical breeding range of the California 
least tern extended along the California coast 
from Moss Landing, Monterey County, to San 
Jose del Cabo in southern Baja California (Daw- 
son 1924, Grinnell 1928, Grinnell and Miller 
1944, A.O.U. 1957). Some least terns have nested 
in a number of locations farther north; between 
1939 and 1954, they nested at the mouth of the 
Pajaro River, Santa Cruz County (Pray 1954, 
Wilbur 1974), and nesting near San Francisco Bay 
in Alameda, Alameda County, was confirmed in 
1967 (Chandik and Baldridge 1967). There are 
numerous spring and summer records for this area 
(Grinnell and Wythe 1927, Allen 1934, Sibley 
1952, DeBenedictis and Chase 1963, Chase and 
Paxton 1965). Wilbur (1974) suggests that 
nestmg may have occurred here previously. In 
south San Francisco Bay, 60 were counted on 1 
Sept 1968, and a breeding colony of 30 pairs was 
established on Bay Farm Island, Alameda County, 
in 1969 (Gill 1977). A colony of 15 pairs was also 
reported in 1969 from Bair Island, San Mateo 
County (Anderson 1970). The nesting range has 
apparently always been widely discontinuous, 
with the majority of birds nesting in southern 
California from southern Santa Barbara County 
south through San Diego County (Wilbur 1974). 
Known nesting sites in Baja California are Scam- 
mons Lagoon (Bancroft 1927, Grinnell 1928), 
San Jose del Cabo (Lamb 1927, Grinnell 1928), 
Ensenada (Bahia Todos Santos), and Baliia de San 
Quintin (Massey 1977). 

The California least tern is migratory, usually 
arriving at its breeding area during the last week 
of April and departing again in August (Davis 
1968, 1974; Massey 1971; Swickard 1971, 1973), 
although terns have been recorded as early as 1 3 
March and as late as 31 October (Sibley 1952, 
Wilbur 1974). 

There are six records north of San Francisco 
Bay and four records of single birds seen at Hum- 
boldt Bay, Humboldt County; two specimens 
were collected at Fort Steven, Clatsop County, 
Oregon (DeSante et al. 1972, CLTRT, in prep.) 
Migrating least terns have also been recorded from 
the Colorado River valley (Grater 1939, Phillips 
et al. 1964) and at the Salton Sea, Imperial Coun- 
ty (McCaskie and Cardiff 1965, McCaskie 1971). 

The winter distribution of the California least 
tern is unknown. Least terns in Guatemala 



(Griscom 1932) and Veracruz (Warner and Mengel 
1951) have been identified as members of the 
subspecies browni. California least terns are 
thought to migrate to Peru, but Murphy (1936) 
doubts this. Recent efforts to find them in Peru 
have been unsuccessful. 

RANGE MAP 

Known nesting locations for the California 
least tern are shown on the accompanying map 
(from Wilbur 1974). 

STATES/COUNTIES: 

California: Alameda, Imperial, Los Angeles, 
Monterey, Orange, San Diego, San 
Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, 
Ventura. 

Mexico: Locations of breeding colonies in Baja 
California south of Bahia de San 
Quintin are unknown. 

HABITAT 

Nesting colonies require undisturbed flat areas 
with loose substrate, such as sandy upper sea 
beaches or open expanses of fill-dirt or dried mud 
characterized by little or no vegetation. For forag- 
ing, they need adjacent open ocean, surf-line, 
estuary or lagoon with a good supply of small fish 
(Grinnell and Miller 1944; Craig 1971; Massey 
1971; Swickard 1971, 1973; Wilbur 1974). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Least terns often feed in small loose groups of 
2 to 10 birds. While fishing, they hover above the 
water. If prey is sighted, the bird quickly plunges 
to the surface, usually breaking its fall just before 
reaching the water so it is only partially sub- 
merged instead of diving beneath the surface. 
Often, a series of short plunges and repeated hov- 
erings will occur before the actual dive, which is 
then usually made from only a few centimeters 
above the water (Bent 1921, Hardy 1957). 

They have not been seen eating anything but 
fish, including northern anchovy {Engraulis mor- 
dax), shiner perch {Cymanogaster aggregata), 
anchovy [Anchoa compressa), topsmelt (Athertn- 
ops affinis), killifish {Fundulus parvtpinnts) , ']a.ck- 
smelt [Atherinopsis calif orniensis) , California 
grunion [Leuresthes tenuis) and mosquito fish 




(_) Knovm occupied since 1970 



ELDORADO 






V 



S CRUZ 

5' 




25//281 AJ30)^'"' °'^'^° 
I25/ 29 



22- ^^ - y 

'32' 



27 



39 



41 



'ao^ 



43 



(34) 



California least tem nesting locations. 



{Gambusia affinis) (Swickard 1971;Massey 1972, 
1974; CLTRT in prep). Other subspecies occa- 
sionally feed on Crustacea, molluscs, sand eels 
(Ammodytes), annelid worms, and insects 
(Tompkins 1959). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

At first the young are weak and helpless. 
Adults brood chicks continuously the first day. 
By the second day, chicks make short walking 
trips from the nest. From the third day on, they 
become more active and are increasingly mobile 
(CLTRT in prep.) 

NESTING OR BEDDING: 

Nests are simple, shallow depressions in sand, 
dirt or gravel, usually without twigs or other 
materials. Bent (1921) states that on beaches 
where there are shells, the birds may encircle their 
scrapes with them. Likewise, Swickard (1971, 
1973) reported finding one nest, located on flat 
ground, that was completely lined with small 
twigs; Massey (1974) reported that nearly 20% of 
the nests she studied were partly or completely 
shell-lined. 

In sand, the bird scoops out the nest depres- 
sion (Davis 1968, 1974; Massey 1971, 1974;Swi- 
ckad 1971). But in hard soil, such as dried mud or 
fill, the nest can be any kind of natural or artifi- 
cial depression, including a dried boot track (Swi- 
ckard 1971). 

Scrapes are circular, about 20 mm deep and 
120 mm in diameter (Hardy 1957). Temporary 
scrapes are used for brooding when chicks begin 
to wander (Hardy 1957). 

Least terns are colonial, but usually do not 
form dense concentrations (Wilbur 1974). The 
distance between nests is 3 to 5 m or more (Wolk 
1954; Hardy 1957; Massey 1971, 1974). Nesting 
densities may be as low as 3 to 7 per ha (Swickard 
1971, 1973), although they are often greater; 145 
pairs nested on about 0.75 ha at FAA Island in 
Mission Bay, San Diego County, California. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Nesting beaches are usually used as a parading 
ground during courtship (Hardy 1957, Wilbur 
1974). 



OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Open expanses free from human disturbance 
are necessary for courtship, resting, and nesting; 
adjacent unpolluted lagoons or estuaries are 
needed for feeding (Longhurst 1969, Craig 1971, 
Wilbur 1974). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Thousands of terns once nested on the beaches 
and near the estuaries of the Pacific Coast of 
North America from Monterey Bay south to cen- 
tral Baja California. These flocks have dwindled 
rapidly in the last century. In 1970, the popula- 
tion in California was estimated at less than 300 
pairs, scattered over 15 nesting colonies (Craig 
1971), but this study was not made in the nesting 
season and did not attempt to obtain precise 
population data. The California Department of 
Fish and Game has since conducted annual cen- 
suses. In 1973, initial surveys estimated a popula- 
tion size of 624 pairs, with nesting activity at 19 
sites (Bender 1973). The 1974 surveys estimated 
the breeding population at 582 pairs. Breeding 
activity was recorded at 20 sites, but nesting 
occurred at only 16 of them (Bender 1974). The 
estimated breeding population was 600 pairs in 
1975 and 664 pairs in 1976 (Atwood et al. 1977). 
In 1977, 775 breeding pairs were located at 
29 colony sites, but 9 colonies were abandoned or 
had poor nesting success because of human distur- 
bance, predation, or flooding (Atwood et al. 
1977). This was the largest breeding population 
since the surveys began, but the greater numbers 
found are due in part to increased survey staff 
and more accurate survey methods (Atwood et al. 
1977). 

The breeding population of the California 
least tern is difficult to assess for several reasons. 
Birds may shift breeding sites from year to year, 
breeding dates may not be uniform, and age at 
first reproduction and longevity are unknown. 
Less standardized and concentrated censusing in 
the past no doubt missed nesting birds at some 
locations, and some censuses were too late or too 
early to find breeding birds. 

Local perturbations compound the difficul- 
ty in estimating population trends. A colony at 
Huntington Beach (Sunset Aquatic Regional 



Park), Orange County, had 51 nests in 1968 
(Davis 1968), 25 in 1969 (Massey 1971), 12 in 
1970 (Massev 1971) and only 1 or 2 in 1972 
(Bender 1973, 1974). At this site, fencing was in- 
stalled and vegetation removed to improve nesting 
success, but the birds gradually stopped nesting 
there for unknown reasons, and had not returned 
as of 1978. In 1969, a colony of 15 pairs was 
reported from Bair Island, San Mateo County 
(Anderson 1970). The birds did not use this area 
in 1971, but were present again from 1972 to 
1975; 14 active scrapes were located in July 1975 
(Gill 1977). 

REPRODUCTION 

California least terns are sociable and colonial 
nesters (Davis 1974). They are easily disturbed on 
the nest and will take flight for aerial territorial 
defense. If repeatedly disturbed, they abandon 
their nests (Hardy 1957, Davis 1974, Wilbur 
1974). Eggs are small, measuring about 31 by 24 
mm, and are buff-colored with various brown and 
purple streaks and specks. One to four are laid, 
with two to three the most common clutch size 
(Davis 1968, 1974; Anderson 1970; Swickard 
1971, 1973; Massey 1972). Eggs are laid late in 
the morning on consecutive days (Davis 1968, 
Massey 1971, 1974). 

Nesting starts in mid-May, with most of the 
nests completed by mid-June (Bent 1921, Davis 
1968, Swickard 1971, Massey 1974). Late season 
(July and August) nests may be renests (Wilbur 
1974). Chambers (1908) believed that terns often 
reared more than one brood per season, but other 
authorities do not consider the least tern a multi- 
ple-nesting species (Wilbur 1974). 

Incubation, which begins with the laying of 
the first egg, is irregular at first, but become regu- 
lar once the clutch is completed (Davis 1968, 
Swickard 1971, Massey 1972). The female does 
most of the incubating, but both parents partici- 
pate (Davis 1968, 1974). 

The incubation period varies from 17 to 28 
days; the normal length is 20 to 25 days (Hagar 
1937; Hardy 1957; Davis 1968, 1974; Swickard 
1971; Massey 1972). An incubation period of 14 
to 16 days given by Bent (1921) apparently is in 
error. Eggs hatch on consecutive days. Chicks are 
initially weak, but become strong and mobile by 
the third day (Davis 1968, 1974). 

In two colonies, hatching success was 80% to 



90%, and fledging rates varied betwen 1 1% and 
50% (Swickard 1971, Massey 1972). Infertility 
appears to be a minor cause of egg failure (Wilbur 
1974). Predation pressures appear to be high on 
both eggs and fledgings. Domestic predators 
(house cats and dogs) and Norway rats {Rattus 
norvegicus) are often implicated (Chambers 1908; 
Edward 1919; Craig 1971; Swickard 1971, 1973; 
Pentis 1972; Atwood et al. 1977). 

In the past, high tides caused heavy losses of 
California least tern eggs (Shepardson 1909, 
Sechrist 1915). Now few colonies are found in 
areas where tides are a problem. However, in areas 
with soil less permeable than beach sands, sum- 
mer rains can cause serious nest losses. Swickard 
(1971) noted that birds nesting on salt flats had 
only 43% hatching success after flooding from 
heavy rains, while on adjacent beach sands, rain 
water percolated through the nests and there was 
a 90% hatching success. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The least tern can tolerate some kinds of 
human activities; they have nested successfully 
between runways on military air fields (Atwood 
et al. 1977), in a small fenced enclosure on a pub- 
lic beach (Anon 1970, Massey 1972), beside a 
shopping center parking lot (Atwood et al. 1977), 
and on man-made fill alongside coastal lagoons 
and estuaries (Massey 1972, Pentis 1972). How- 
ever, use of any site depends on a nearby body of 
water containing abundant small fishes and on 
protection from harassment and predation (Wil- 
bur 1974). Fencing, posting and educational 
displays, and limited predator control provide 
protection for nesting birds (Craig 1971; Massey 
1972; Bender 1973, 1974; Atwood et al. 1977). 
Suitable feeding areas appear to be in critically 
short supply. Protecting those few that remain 
and restoring others that no longer support ade- 
quate fish populations because of reduced tidal 
flow or pollution may be the most significant 
management plan for the tern (Wilbur 1974). 

Since least terns require open nesting areas, 
natural succession tends to eliminate suitable 
nesting areas, particularly on man-made sites. 
Vegetation removal is advocated to encourage the 
continued use of those nesting beaches under- 
going succession. 

At Bair Island, the substrate is sandy loam 
which, when wet, sticks to tern eggs. In 1977, 



artificial dry sand mounds about 1 m in diameter 
were distributed in the colony as an alternative 
nesting substrate (Atwood et al. 1977). Elsewhere, 
clay pipes, clay roofing tiles, and special concrete 
blocks strategically placed in nesting areas have 
been used successfully by chicks for shade and 
protection (Atwood et al. 1977). 

Continued banding projects will be useful to 
determine postbreeding movements to wintering 
areas, to understand site-faithfulness, intercolony 
aggregations, and age at sexual maturity (Rypka 
1977). 

A recovery plan has been developed by the 
California Least Tern Recovery Team and is 
currently being reviewed by the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. The plan lists proposed actions for each 
colony. 

AUTHORITIES 

Sanford R. Wilbur 

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 

California Field Station 

Ojai, California 93023 

Alan Craig 

California Dept. of Fish and Game 
1416 Ninth Street 
Sacramento, California 95814 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

It is unclear whether the number of California 
least terns is actually increasing or if the apparent 
increase is a function of the increased level of 
research on this subspecies. Overall trends are 
difficult to elucidate from the cursory survey data 
that is currently available. Better coordination is 
needed to standardize the censusing of colonies. 

Least terns are adaptable and even small 
colonies could form the basis of substantial new 
colonies. Thus all colonies, regardless of their size, 
should be protected as much as possible from 
human harassment and predation. At present, the 
concentration of birds in a few breeding locations 
(33% of the total population is at two locations in 
San Diego County) makes the future of this 
species precarious. 

LITERATURE CITED / SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Allen, A. 1934. The season: San Francisco region. 



Bird Lore 36(4):316. 

American Ornithologists. Union. 1957. Check Ust 
of North American birds. 5th edition. 691 pp. 

Anderson, W. 1970. The California least tern 
breeding in Alameda and San Mateo Counties. 
California Fish and Game 56(2): 136- 137. 

Anonymous. 1970. Least tern. Wandering Tattler 
17(9):4. 

Atwood, J. L., P. D. Jorgenson, R. M. Jurek, and 
T. D. Manolis. 1977. Cahfornia least tern 
census and nesting survey, 1977. California 
Department of Fish and Game Nongame 
Wildlife. Investigations, E-1-1, Job V-2.11, 
Job Final Report. 35 pp. 

Bancroft, G. 1927. Breeding birds of Scammons 
Lagoon, Lower California. Condor 29(1):29- 

57. 

Bender, K. 1973. California least tern census and 
nesting survey, 1974. California Department 
of Fish and Game Nongame Wildlife Investi- 
gation W-54-R, Progress Report. 47 pp. 

. 1974. California least tern population 

and nesting survey, 1974. California Depart- 
ment of Fish and Game Nongame Wildlife 
Investigation W-54-R, Job Final Report. 17 
pp. 

Bent, A. C. 1921. Life history of North American 
gulls and terns. Nat. Mus. Bull. 13. 

Burleigh, T. D. and G. H. Lowery, Jr. 1942. An 
inland race of Sterna albifrons. Occas. Pap. 
Mus. Zool. Louisiana State Univ. 10:173-177. 

Chambers, W. L. 1908. The present status of the 
least tern in southern California. Condor 10 

(6):237. 

Chandik, T. and A. Baldridge. 1967. Nesting, 
middle Pacific coast region. Audubon Field 
Notes 21(5):600-603. 

Chase, T. and R. O. Paxton. 1965. Middle Pacific 
coast region. Audubon Field Notes 19(5): 
574-576. 

Craig, A. M. 1971. Survey of California least tern 
nesting sites. California Department of Fish 
and Game Project W-54-R-4, Job II-5.1. Job 
Completion Report. 55 pp. 



Davis, M. E. 1968. Nesting Behavior of the least 
tern {Sterna albifrons). M. Sc. thesis, Univ. 
Cahf., Los Angeles. 72 pp. 

1974. Experiments in the nesting behav- 



ior of the least tern Sterna albifrons browni. 
Proc. Linnaean Soc. N.Y. 72:25-43. 

Dawson, W. L. 1924. The birds of California. 
South Moulton County, San Diego. 2,162 pp. 

De Benedictis, P. and T. Chase, Jr. 1963. Middle 
Pacific Coast Region. Audubon Field Notes 
17(5):480-483. 

DeSante, D., R. Le Valley, and R. Stallcup. 1972. 
Middle Pacific coast region. American Birds 
26(1):112-118. 

Edwards, H. A. 1919. Losses suffered by breeding 
birds in southern California. Condor 21(2): 
65-68. 

Gill, R. Jr. 1977. Breeding avifauna of the south 
San Francisco Bay estuary. Western Birds 
8:1-12 

Grater, R. K. 1939. New bird records for Nevada. 

Condor 41(1):30. 
Grinnell,J. 1928. A distributional summation of 

the ornithology of Lower California. Univ. 

Cahf., Publ. Zool. 32(l):l-300. 

Grinnell, J. and A. Miller. 1944. The distribution 
of the birds of California. Pacific Coast Avi- 
fauna 27:1 -608. 

Grinnell, J. and M. W. Wythe. 1927. Directory of 
the bird-life of the San Francisco Bay region. 
Pacific Coast Avifauna 18: 1 - 160. 

Griscom, L. 1932. The distribution of bird-life 
in Guatemala. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 
64:1-439. 

Hagar, J. A. 1937. Least tern studies — 1935 and 
1936. Bull. Mass. Audubon Soc. 21(4):5-8. 

Hardy, J. W. 1957. The least tern in the Missis- 
sippi valley. Publ. of Museum, Mich. State 
Univ., Biol. Series l(l):l-60. 

Lamb C. C. 1927. Notes on some birds of the 
southern extremity of Lower California. 
Condor 29(3):155-157. 

Leach, H. R. and L. O. Fisk. 1972. At the cross- 
roads: a report on California's endangered and 



rare fish and wildlife. Calif Dept. of Fish and 
Game. 99 pp. 

Longhurst, A. R. 1969. The status of an endang- 
ered bird {Sterna albifrons) in San Diego 
County, 1969. U.S. Bur. Commer. Fish., 
Lajolla. Unpbl. Rep. 7 pp. 

McCaskie, G. 1971. Southern Pacific Coast 
Region. American Birds 25(5):905-908. 

McCaskie, G. and E. A. Cardiff. 1965. Notes on 
the distribution of the parasitic jaeger and 
some members of the Laridae in California. 
Condor 67(6):542-544. 

Massey, B. W. 1971. A breeding study of the 
California tern. California Dept. Fish and 
Game Wildlife Manage. Branch. Admin. Rep. 
71-9. 22 pp. 

. 1972. Breeding biology of the Califor- 



nia least tern. M.Sc. thesis, California State 
Univ. at Long Beach. 101 pp. 

. 1974. Breeding biology of the California 

least tern. Proc. Linnaean Soc. N.Y. 72:1-24. 

. 1977. Occurrence and nesting of the 

least tern and other endangered species in 
Baja California, Mexico. Western Birds 8: 
67-71. 

Murphy, R. C. 1936. Oceanic Birds of South 
America. Macmillan, N.Y. 1,245 pp. 

Pentis, A. 1972. Who will save the least tern? 
Environment Southwest 446:6-8 

Phillips, A., J. Marshall, and G. Monson. 1964. 
The birds of Arizona. Univ. Arizona Press, 
Tucson. 212 pp. 

Pray, R. H. 1954. Middle Pacific coast region. 
Audubon Field Notes 8(5):326-327. 

Ridgway, R. 1919. The birds of North and Middle 
America, part VIII. Bull. U.S. Nat Mus. 50: 
1-793. 

Rypka, D. D. 1977. California least tern banding 
project, 1977. Calif Dept. Fish and Game, 
Nongame Wildlife Investigations Project 
E-l-l,Job 2. 12, Job Final Report. 7 pp. 

Sechrist, E. E. 1915. Least Tern. Oologist 32 
(1):18. 

Shepardson, D. I. 1909. Notes on the least tern. 



Oologist 26(9): 152. 

Sibley, C. G. 1952. The birds of the south San 
Francisco Bay region. Unpubl. Rep. 42 pp. 
(Copy at Oakland Public Museum). 

Swickard, D. 1971. The status of the California 
least tern at Camp Pendleton, 1971. Camp 
Pendleton Marine Corps base. Unpubl. Rep. 
30 pp. 

. 1973. Status of the least tern at Camp 

Pendleton, California. California Birds 3(3): 
49-58. 

Tompkins, I. R. 1959. Life history notes on the 
least tern. Wilson Bulletin 71(4):313-322. 



Warner, D. W. and R. M. Mengel. 1951. Notes on 
birds from the Veracruz coastal plain. Wilson 
Bulletin 63(4):288-295. 

Wilbur, S. R. 1974. The literature of the Califor- 
nia least tern. Bur. Sport Fish Wildl. Spec. Sc. 
Report-Wildlife 175. 18 pp. 

Wolk, R. G. 1954. Some Preliminary observations 
on the reproductive behavior of the least tern 
(Sterna albifrons antillarum Lesson). M.Sc. 
thesis, Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y. 42 pp. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/ UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

1300 Spruce Drive 

Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.21 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

KIRTLAND'S WARBLER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of P'.ndangercd Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.21 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

KIRTLAND'S WARBLER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




KIRTLAND'S WARBLER 

Dendroica kirtlandii (Baird) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passeriformes 

FAMILY Parulidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Jack pine warbler 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 24 Oct 1977, 10 Jan. 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 Mar 
1967; 35 FR 18320, 2 Dec 1970). 

States Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Michi- 

gjui, North Carolina, South Carolina. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Small population size, restricted geographic 



distribution, and extremely narrow habitat re- 
quirements are the major causes of this species' 
precarious position. Prevention of fire and other 
forest management practices have eliminated much 
suitable breeding habitat. Nest parasitism by the 
brown-headed cowbird [Molothrus ater) has also 
contributed to past population declines. A pos- 
sible, but as yet unknown, factor may be opera- 
ting against Kirtland's warbler on the wintering 
grounds in the Bahama Islands (KWRT 1976). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The adult male has upper parts of bluish slate 
gray, streaked with black, a black mask and white 
eye ring, underparts dull yellow, sides streaked 
with black, and fuscous wings without bars. The 
adult female has upper parts bluish gray with fus- 
cous streaks, underparts of pale yellow, and 
fuscous speckling on the breast. It is large for a 
warbler— 14 to 15 cm long, with a short, stout bill. 



Color illustrations appear in Mayfield (1960) 
and the various field guides. 

RANGE 

Kirtland's warbler breeds in the northern 
Lower Peninsula of Michigan and winters in the 
Bahama Islands (Mayfield 1960). Strays have re- 
cently (1977, 1978) been observed near Peta- 
wawa, Ontario, Kazabazua, Quebec, and Black 
River Falls, Wisconsin (Ryel 1978b). Lane (1975) 
observed a male and female near Veracruz, Mexi- 
co in 1974. The strays are not believed to be evi- 
dence of additional populations (H. Mayfield, 
pers. comm.). 

RANGE MAP 

The known distribution of the Kirtland's 
warbler is depicted on the following map (KWRT 
1976). 



STATES/COUNTIES 

Breeding 

Michigan Alcona*, Alpena*, Clare*, Crawford, 
Iosco, Kalkaska, Montmorency*, 
Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego*, Presque 
Isle*, Roscommon, Wexford. 

*historical breeding localities in which the warb- 
ler has not been recorded since the 1972 breeding 
survey (Ryel 1978a). 

HABITAT 

This warbler has very specific breeding habitat 
requirements, including stands of jack pine {Pinus 
banksiana) 2 to 6 m high (8 to 21 years old) inter- 
spersed with many small openings, mmimal 
ground cover, and little or no hardwoods.The 
stands are usually on Grayling sands which drain 
very rapidly. Jack pine stands supporting breeding 
Kirtland's warblers are usually 30 ha or more in 
area. Historically, fire maintained the habitat by 
killing mature jack pines and opening up the 
forest for natural regeneration. The warbler then 
used these immature stands until they beccmie too 
old. 

The preferred wintering habitat on the Baha- 
ma Islands is not known, but Radabaugh (1974) 



suggests use of low, broad-leafed scrub, the pre- 
vailing form of vegetation. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

A variety of insects are taken from the ground, 
air, or pine foliage. Kirtland's warblers often 
hover at the ends of branches as they pluck in- 
sects out of the pine needle clusters. They also 
eat berries. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The ground nest is built of sedges and grasses, 
rounded in shape with an inside diameter of 50 to 
60 mm. Although a cover is not built, the place- 
ment of the nest under a grass tussock provides a 
canopy and often a tunnel entrance. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Males call from perches or from the ground. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

A breeding pair requires about 12 ha of young 
jack pine habitat for their territory (KWRT 1976). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

In 1951, there were an estimated 432 singing 
males; in 1961, 502; and in 1971, 201. In the 7 
years since then (1972-78), there have been 200, 
216, 167, 179, 200, 218, and 196 singing males 
counted on the breeding ground (Mayfield 1975, 
Ryel 1978b). In 1974 and 1978, there were unex- 
plained declines in singing males (Ryel 1978b). 
Mayfield (1953) stated that females and males are 
about equal in numbers; thus, the 1978 total for 
the species could be estimated at 400 individuals. 

REPRODUCTION 

They generally lay five eggs, which hatch in 
mid-June. Prior to cowbird control, nesting suc- 
cess averaged 1.4 fledglings per pair. After the 
cowbirds were trapped, the success rate rose to 
4 fledglings per pair. 




Known distribution of the Kirtland's warbler. 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The State of Michigan in 1957 set aside three 
tracts of 1,040 ha each (Mayfieid 1963, Radtke 
and Byelich 1963). Two were planted with open 
stands of jack pine, and all have attracted Kirt- 
land's warblers (KWRT 1976). 

The Kirtland's Warbler Management Area, es- 
tablished by the U.S. Forest Service in 1961, 
consists of some 1,620 ha of jack pine forest 
which is being managed for the warblers. Manage- 
ment activities on these refuges have included 
selective cutting, burning, and replanting to 
achieve the desired habitat type. The warblers 
have nested successfully in each of these areas 
(KWRT 1976). 

An intensive program to eliminate nest para- 
sitism by the brown-headed cowbird was begun in 
1972 and has proven immensely successful. 

The Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Team 
drafted a Recovery Plan (1976) whose primary 
objective is to reestablish a wild population 
throughout the former range at a minimum level 
of 1,000 pairs. Five steps are necessary to reach 
the primary objective: 

1. Maintain and develop suitable nesting 
habitat throughout the former range 

2. Protect the species on its wintering 
grounds and along the migration route 

3. Reduce key factors adversely affecting re- 
production and survival 

4. Monitor breeding populations to evaluate 
responses to management practices and envi- 
ronmental changes 

5. Reintroduce the species into the Upper 
Peninsula of Michigan or in other States to 
establish independent, self-sufficient popula- 
tions. 

AUTHORITIES 

John Byelich (Recovery team leader) 

P.O.Box 306 

Mio, Michigan 48647 

George W. Irvine (Recovery Team) 
Huron-Manistee National Forest 
421 South Mitchell Street 
Cadillac, Michigan 49601 

Nels Johnson (Recovery Team) 
Regional Biologist 



Michigan Department of Natural Resources 

P.O.Box 128 

Roscommon, Michigan 48653 

Wesley R.Jones (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Federal Building, Fort Snelling 
Twin Cities, Minnesota 55111 

Harold Mayfieid (Recovery Team) 
9235 River Road 
Waterville, Ohio 43566 

Robert Radtke (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Forest Service 
633 West Wisconsin Avenue 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53203 

L.H. Walkinshaw 
4691 Timberlane Road 
Lake Wales, Florida 33853 

Richard Winters (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
301 Manley Miles Building 
1405 South Harrison Road 
East Lansing, Michigan 48823 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

KWRT (Kirtland's Warbler Recovery Team). 1976. 
Kirtland's warbler recovery plan. pp. 

Lane, J. 1975. Kirtland's warbler in Mexico. Am. 
Birds 29(1):144. 

Mayfieid, H. F. 1953. A census of the Kirtland's 
warbler. Auk 70:17-20. 



. 1960. The Kirtland's warbler. Cranbrook 

Inst. Sci., Bloomfield Hills, Mich. pp; 

. 1962. 1961 decennial census of the Kirt- 



land's warbler. Auk 79:173-182,263-268. 
-. 1963. Establishment of preserves for the 



Kirtland's warbler in the state and national 
forests of Michigan. Wilson Bull. 75:216-220. 

. 1972. Third decennial census of Kirt- 



land's warbler. Auk 89:263-268. 
. 1973a. Census of Kirtland's warbler in 



1972. Auk 90:684-685. 



Statistical Serv. Rep. 167. 



. 1973b. Kirtland's warbler census. Am. 

Birds 27:950-952. 

. 1975. Numbers of Kirtland's warblers. 



Jack-Pine Warbler 53:39-47. 

Orr, C. D. 1975. 1974 breeding success of the 
Kirtland's warbler. Jack-Pine Warbler 53: 
59-66. 

Radabaugh, B. E. 1974. Kirtland's warbler and its 
Bahama wintering grounds. Wilson Bull. 96: 
374-383. 

Radtke, R., and John Byelich. 1963. Kirtland's 
warbler management. Wilson Bull. 75: 
208-215. 

Ryel, L. A. 1976. 1975 census of Kirtland's warb- 
ler. Jack-Pine Warbler 54:2-6. 

. 1978a. How to see a Kirtland's warbler. 

Birding 10:53-58. 

1978b. Kirtland's warbler status, June 



Shake, W. F., and J. P. Mattsson. 1975. Three 
years of cowbird control: an effort to save the 
Kirtland's warbler. Jack-Pine Warbler 53: 
48-53. 

Walkinshaw, L. H. 1972. Kirtland's warbler— en- 
dangered. Am. Birds 26:3-9. 

Walkinshaw, L. H., and W. R. Faust. 1974. Some 
aspects of Kirtland's warbler breeding biology. 
Jack-Pine Warbler 52:64-75. 

1975, 1974 Kirtland's warbler nesting 



1978. Michigan Dep. Nat. Resour. Surveys 



success in northern Crawford County, Michi- 
gan. Jack-Pine Warbler 53:54-58. 

Zimmerman, D. A. 1956. Jack pine association in 
the Lower Peninsula of Michigan: its structure 
and composition. Ph.D. thesis, Univ. Mich., 
Ann Arbor. 

PREPARED/UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Rm. 250 
Gainesville, Florida 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.22 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

HAWKSBILL TURTLE 




.^*v 









C*.r.iiiJ 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Knginecrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.22 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 



HAWKSBILL TURTLE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

SlidelL Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




HAWKSBILL TURTLE 

Eretmochelys imbricata Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Testudinata 

FAMILY Cheloniidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES carey 

DATES 

Entered into system To be determined 

Updates. . 22 September 1976; 14 February 1977 

22 May 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 8491 ;2 June 1970). 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Mary- 

land, Mississippi, New York, Texas. 
Protected: Alabama, North Carolina 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The hawksbill turtle is clearly being extir- 



pated from Atlantic and Carribean waters (Carr 
and Stancyk 1975). The major cause is exploita- 
tion for the shell, but meat and skin are also used. 
Eggs are harvested by man and other predators. 

Relatively undisturbed beaches are required 
for nesting. Increasing development and modifi- 
cation of beaches are incompatible with sea turtle 
reproduction. For example, illumination of 
beaches at night can result in distraction of hatch- 
lings away from the sea (McFarlane 1963). 

Other causes contribute to low total numbers. 
These include increased numbers of snorkelers 
and scuba divers who spear turtles for sport and 
prize (Carr and Stancyk 1975). Littering of seas, 
according to Rebel (1974), may cause fatalities 
(e.g. if a plastic bag is mistaken for a jellyfish and 
consumed). Also, tremendous predation of hatch- 
lings and eggs by camiverous ants, crabs, fishes, 
reptiles, birds, and mammals limits recruitment 
(Rebel 1974). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned 



DESCRIPTION 

The hawksbill is a small sea turtle with an 
elongated, oval shell with overlapping scutes on 
the carapace. The head is relatively small; flippers 
have two claws. Barnacles are often found on the 
carapace and plastron. General coloration is 
brovwi with numerous splashes of yellow, orange, 
or reddish-brown on the carapace. The plastron is 
yellowish with black spots on intergular and post- 
anal scales. Juveniles are black or very dark brown 
with light brown or yellow on edge of shell, limbs, 
and raised ridges on carapace. Adults are 76 to 89 
cm long, and weigh 43 to 75 kg. 

It is the only sea turtle with two pairs of pre- 
frontal scales on the head and four costal plates 
on each side of the carapace. 

Illustrated in Carr (1952, 1967), Ernst and 
Barbour (1972), Bustard (1973), Rebel (1974), 
and Riedman and Witham (1974). 

RANGE 

The hawksbill is scattered throughout the 
world's tropical waters. Distribution in the Atlan- 
tic Ocean extends from southern Brazil to Massa- 
chusetts. 

They nest on scattered islands and shores 
generally between 25° latitude north and south. 
Some western hemisphere nesting sites include: 
the tropical Gulf Coast of Mexico, West Indies, 
Bahamas, and scattered beaches off Central and 
South America. Continental United States nesting 
is limited to infrequent Florida nestings. Maps of 
prominent nesting beaches are compiled in Sur- 
vival Service Commission (1969). 

The sea turtle's range probablyhas not changed 
significantly, but numbers have declined consider- 
ably. Many nesting beaches have been abandoned 
either due to natural disaster (hurricanes, erosion, 
etc.), alteration of habitat, or commercial use by 
man. 

RANGE MAP 

Distribution in waters off the continental 
United States is illustrated by shading of adjacent 
coastal States and counties. Nesting records are 
depicted by dots. 

STATES /COUNTIES 

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile. 



Delaware: Sussex. 

Florida: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, 
Citrus, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Duval, 
Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, 
Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, 
Lee, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, 
Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, 
Pinellas, St. James, St. Lucie, Santa 
Rosa, Sarasota, Volusia, Wakulla, 
Walton. 

Georgia: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, 
Liberty, Mcintosh. 

Louisiana: Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, 
(Parishes) Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, 
Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Maryland: Worchester. 

Massachusetts: Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middle- 
sex, Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth. 

Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

New Jersey: Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, 
Ocean. 

New York: Nassau, Suffolk. 

North 

Carolina: Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, Dare, 
Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender. 

Rhode 

Island: Newport, Washington. 

South 

Carolina: Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, 
Georgetown, Horry. 

Texas: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, 

Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, 
Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, 
Willacy. 

Virginia: Accomack, Northampton. 

HABITAT 

Hawkbills frequent rocky areas, reefs, shallow 
coastal areas, lagoons of oceanic islands, and 
narrow creeks and passes (Carr 1952). They are 
generally found in water less than 20m deep. 
Hatchlings are often found floating in masses of 
sea plants (Pope 1939). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Work by Carr et al. (1966) demonstrates that 




United States distribution (shading) and nesting records (dots) for the hawksbill turtle. 



although turtles are omnivorous, these prefer 
invertebrates. Stomach samples include ectoprocts 
of the genera Amthia and Steganoporella, a 
hydroid probably of the genus Sertularia, evidence 
of remains of sea urchins, and the major food 
item appears to be the sponge, Geodia gibberosa 
(Carr et al. 1966). Rebel (1974) lists mangrove, 
algae, fish, barnacles, mollusks, and jellyfish as 
hawksbill food. 

They feed on the bottom and forage close to 
shores and reefs. Divers have observed them scrap- 
ing and chewing at reef faces. They have also been 
seen swimming around refuse dumped in shore 
waters at Ascension Island (Carr and Stanyck 
1975). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not Known. 



Surinam June to July 

Seychelles September to November 

Ceylon — northwest coast April to May 

—southwest coast November to February 
(Rebel 1974). 

Females nest nocturnally every 2 to 3 years 
but several times a season at 2-week intervals. 
Clutch size varies, but Carr et al. (1966) reported 
an average at Tortuguero to be 160 eggs. Carr and 
Main (1973) estimate that incubation lasts 60 days 
and believe that one in 1,000 or 10,000 survives 
to maturity. 

According to Ernst and Barbour (1972) 
maturity takes from 3 to 4 years. 

Mating takes place in shallow water near the 
nesting beaches (Pope 1939). Photographs of 
courtship and mating are in Bustard (1973). 



NESTING OR BEDDING 

Hawkbills use a variety of beach types for 
nesting. Carr et al (1966) stated that nearly every 
undisturbed deep-sand beach in the tropics may 
be visited by nesting females. 

Lund (1979) states that nesting occurs ran- 
domly. Carr and Stanyck (1975) believe there is 
some degree of site preparation, and Deraniyagala 
(1939) reports incidents of females returning to 
previous nesting sites. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not Known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not Known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Population estimates are not available. Carr 
and Stanyck (1975) point out that evidence from 
work at Tortuguero indicates a decline in popu- 
lation from 1956 to 1970. 

REPRODUCTION 

The nesting season varies with locality: 

Bermuda April to June 

British West Indies June to October 

Costa Rica May to November 

Venezuela May to August 

Guyana August 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Laws protect the hawksbill to varying degrees 
in the following areas: Mexico, Costa Rica, Puerto 
Rico, Surinam, French Guiana, Ascension Island, 
Trust Territory of the Pacific, Tahiti, Fiji Islands, 
Kingdom of Tonp^, Australia, Sarawak, British 
Indian Ocean and Seychelle's Islands, Israel 
South Africa, and Europa Island (Pritchard 1969; 
U.S. Department of Commerce 1976). 

Hawksbills are listed under Appendix 1 in the 
Convention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Commercial 
trade in the species is subject to strict regulation, 
and both an export and import permit are neces- 
sary for trade by participating countries. 

Marquez (1976) recommends preservation of 
several natural reserves along the coast of Mexico. 
Among these is Isla Contoy in Quintana Roo 
State, a nesting beach for hawksbills. 

Carr (personal communication) recommends 
that a ban be placed on international traffic and 
tourist sale of tortoise shells and protection of all 
nesting beaches. 

Pritchard (1969) suggested the following con- 
servation activites: more research devoted to 
studying the missing year (1st year) of the hatch- 
lings and developing a practical means of tagging 
hatchlings; investigating population dynamics and 
the possibility of sustained yield management; 
and promoting publicity concerning protection of 
sea turtles after population stability is deter- 
mined. 



Critical Habitat has been proposed for beach- 
es on Culebra and Mona Islands, Puerto Rico (43 
FR 22224-22225, 24 May 1978). 

The species adapts well to captivity and the 
chances for captive breeding are are good, but 
the cost may be prohibitive (Witham 1976). 

AUTHORITIES 

Archie Carr 

Department of Zoology 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL 32611 

George Hughes 

Oceanographic Research Institute 

P.O. Box 736 

Durban, 

Natal, South Africa 

Frank Lund 

P.O. Box 541 

Jupiter Island, FL 33458 

Bernard Nietschmann 
Department of Geology 
University of Michigan 
Ann Harbor, MI 48104 

Peter Pritchard 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawer 7 
Maitland,FL 32751 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bustard, R. 1973. Sea turtles, natural history and 
conservation. Taplinger Publ., New York. 220 
pp. 

Carr, A. F. 1952. Handbook of turtles. Turtles of 
the United States, Canada, and Baja Califor- 
nia. Comstock Publ. Assoc, Univ. Cornell 
Press, Ithaca, N.Y. 542 pp. 

. 1967. So excellent a fish. The Natural 

History Press, Garden City, N.Y. 248 pp. 

. 1972. Great reptiles, great enigmas. 

Audubon March: 24-35. 

Carr, A. F., H. F. Hirth, and L. Ogren. 1966. The 
ecology and migrations of sea turtles, 6. The 



hawksbill turtle in the Caribbean Sea. Amer. 
Mus. Nov. 2248. 29 pp. 

Carr, A. F., and A. R. Main. 1973. Report on an 
inquiry into ecological implications of a turtle 
farming project. In Turtle farming project in 
northern Australia. Union Offset Co., Pty, 
Limited, Canberra, Australia. 80 pp. 

Carr, A. F., and S. Stancyk. 1975. Observations 
on the ecology and survival outlook of the 
hawksbill turtle. Biol. Conserv. (8): 161-172. 

Deraniyagala, P. E. P. 1939. Tetrapod reptiles of 
Ceylon. Vol. 1. Columbo Mus. Publ. Ceylon. 
412 pp. 

Ernst, C. H., and R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of 
the United States. Univ. of Kentucky Press, 
Lexington. 347 pp. 

lUCN. 1968. Red data book. Vol. 3. Amphibia 
and reptilia. Compiled by R. E. Honegger. 
lUCN. Morges, Switzerland. 

Lund, F. 1979. Atlantic hawksbill. Pages 24-25 in 
R. W. McDiarmid, ed., Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 3, Amphibians and rep- 
tiles. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

Marquez M., R. 1976. Reserves naturales para la 
conservacion de las tortugas marinas en Mexi- 
co. INP/SIi83: 1-22. 

McFarlane, R.W. 1963. Disorientation of logger- 
head hatchlings by artificial road lighting. 
Copeia 1963(1):153. 

Montoya, A.E. 1969. Programs de investigacion y 
conservacion de las tortugas marinas en Mexi- 
co. Pages 34 to 53 in Marine turtles. lUCN 
New Publ. Ser. Suppl., Paper 20. 

Pope, C. H. 1939. Turtles of the United States 
and Canada. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., New 
York. 343 pp. 

Pritchard P. C. H. 1969. Summary of world sea 
turtle survival situation. lUCN Bull. 2(11):90- 
91. 

Rainey, W. E., and P. C. H. Pritchard. 1972. Dis- 
tribution and management of Ceiribbean sea 
turtles. Trans. N. Am. Wildl. Nat. Resour. 
Conf. 37:1-17. 

Rebel, T. P. 1974. Sea turtles and the turtle in- 
dustry of the West Indies, Florida, and the 
Gulf of Mexico. Rev. ed. Univ. of Miami 
Press, Coral Gables. 250 pp. 



Riedman, S. R., and R. Witham. 1974. Turtles: ex- 
tinction or survival? Abelard-Schumann New 
York. 156 pp. 

Schmidt, S., and R. P. Witham. 1961. In defense 
of the turtle. Sea Frontiers 7(4):21 1-219. 

Survival Serivce Commission. 1969. Marine tur- 
tles. Proc. working meeting of marine turtle 
specialists organized by lUCN at Morges, 
Switzerland. 

U.S. Department of Commerce. 1976. Proposed 
listing of the green sea turtle {Chelonia my- 
das). Loggerhead (Caretta caretta), and pacific 
ridley sea turtle {Lepidochelys olivacia) as 
threatened species under the Endangered Spe- 



cies Act of 1973. Draft EIS. Natl. Oceanic 
Atm. Admin., Natl. Marine Fish. Ser., Wash- 
ington, D.C. 

Walker, W. F. 1971. Swimming in sea turtles of 
the family Cheloniidae. Copeia 1971(2):229- 
233. 

Witham, R. P. 1976. Eretmochelys imbricata ac- 
count. In H. O. Hillestad, D. B. Means, and W. 
W. Baker, eds. Endangered and threated ver- 
tebrates of the southeastern United States. 
Tall timbers Res. Stn. Misc. Publ. 4. 

Zim, H. S., and H. M. Smith. 1953. Reptiles and 
amphibians: A guide to familiar American 
species. Simon and Schuster, New York. 147 
pp. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.23 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE INDIANA BAT 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the F.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngincers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.23 
March 1980 



SELFXTKD VER 1 EBRAl K ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAST OE 1 HE UNITED STATES- 

THE INDIANA BAT 



A C<)opcrati\c Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WiklHfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

ant! the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Scr\ ices 

Fish and Wildlife Ser\ice 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: STEVEN R. HUMPHREY 



INDIANA BAT 

Myotis sodalis Miller and Allen 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Chiroptera 

FAMILY Vespertilionidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Indiana myotis, social bat, 

Kentucky brown bat 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 28 April 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 

1977) 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, 

Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Mis- 
souri, New Jersey, New York, North 
Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, Vermont. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Approximately 87% of the entire species 
population winters in only seven caves (Humph- 
rey 1978). Disturbance or vandalism by man dis- 
rupts hibernation and results in deaths and abor- 
tions of young (Hall 1902, Humphrey and Scud- 
der 1978). Intrusion by vandals, spelunkers, and 
biologists have accounted for losses (IBRT 1975). 
Hall (1962) discusses clustering behavior of Indi- 
ana bats in caves and states that frequent disrup- 
tion of congregations could lead to extinction. 

Loss of habitat has caused 50% of the decline 
over recent years (Humphrey 1978). Some hiber- 
nation sites have been rendered unsuitable as a 
result of blocking or impeding air flow into the 
caves, thus changing the cave's climate (Humphrey 
1978). Urbanization and deforestation have con- 
tributed to the species decline (Mohr 1972). 
Humphrey et al. (1974) found that females breed 
in scattered nurseries in trees and suggests that 
losses of large amounts of summer habitat could 
be catastrophic. 

Natural factors such as a low population 



growth rate (Humphrey and Cope 1977), floods 
(Griffin 1953, DeBlase et al. 1965), freezes 
(Humphrey 1978), and cave-ins (Hall 1962) tend 
to inhibit recovery. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

None designated. 

DESCRIPTION 

Adults are 41 to 49 mm long and weigh 6 to 9 
g. The fur is huffy-brown on shoulders and sepia 
brown dorsally; underparts are pinkish white. 
Wing membrane and ears are blackish brown. 
Dark, fuscous brown hairs on and between toes 
do not extend beyond the tips of the claws. The 
calcar is keeled. FHght-age young lack distin- 
guishing markings. Barbour and Davis (1969), 
Humphrey (1975, 1977), and IBRT (1975) con- 
tain illustrations. 

RANGE 

Indiana bats range throughout most of the 
eastern U.S. from New Hampshire to Iowa to 
eastern Oklahoma, and southeast to the pan- 
handle of Florida. Their winter range is much 
smaller, being restricted primarily to Alabama, 
Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and West 
Virginia. 

RANGE MAP 

Dots on the following map represent winter 
caves; cross-hatched area is summer range (Hum- 
phrey 1978). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama: Blount, Calhoun, Cherokee, Cullman, 
DeKalb,Etowah, Jackson, Limestone, 
Madison, Marshall, Morgan. 

Arkansas: Baxter, Benton, Carroll, Clark, Clay, 
Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Craw- 
ford, Faulkner, Franklin, Fulton, Gar- 
land, Greene, Hot Spring, Howard, 
Independence, Izard, Jackson, John- 
son, Lawrence, Logan, Lonoke, Madi- 
son, Marion, Montgomery, Newton, 
Perry, Pike, Polk, Pope, Prairie, Pulas- 
ki, Randolph, Saline, Scott, Searcy, 
Sebastian, Sevier, Sharp, Stone, Van 
Buren, Washington, White, Woodruff, 
Yell. 

Con- 
necticut: Fairfield, Hartford, Litchfield, Middle- 
sex, New Haven, Tolland, Windham. 



Florida: Jackson. 

Georgia: Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Chero- 
kee, Cobb, Dade, Dawson, Fannin, 
Floyd, GUmer, Bordon, Haralson, 
Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, 
Polk, Towns, Union, Walker, White, 
Whitfield. 

Illinois: Adams, Bond, Brown, Bureau, Cal- 
houn, Carroll, Cass, Champaign, Chris- 
tian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, Coles, 
Cook, Crawford, Cumberland, DeKalb, 
DeWitt, Douglas, DuPage, Edgar, Ed- 
wards, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, 
Franklin, Fulton, Gallatin, Greene, 
Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, 
Henderson, Henry, Iroquois, Jackson, 
Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, 
Johnson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, 
Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lawrence, Lee, 
Livingston, Logan, McDonough, 
McLean, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, 
Marion, Marshall, Mason, Menard, 
Mercer, Monroe, Montgomery, Mor- 
gan, Moultrie, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, 
Piatt, Pike, Pope, Putnam, Randolph, 
Richland, Rock Island, St. Clare, Sa- 
line, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott, 
Shelby, Stark, Stephenson, Tazewell, 
Union, VermiHon, Wabash, Warren, 
Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside, 
Will, Williamson, Woodford. 

Indiana: All counties. 

Iowa: Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Cedar, 

Clarke, Clayton, Chnton, Dallas, Davis, 
Decatur, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fre- 
mont, Henry, Iowa, Jackson, Jasper, 
Jefferson, Johnson, Jones, Keokuk, 
Lee, Louisa, Lucas, Madison, Mahaska, 
Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Musca- 
tine, Page, Polk, Poweshiek, Ringgold, 
Scott, Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wa- 
pello, Warren, Washington, Wayne. 

Kansas: Atchison, Bourbon, Brovm, Cherokee, 
Crawford, Doniphan, Jefferson, John- 
son, Leavenworth, Linn, Miami, 
Wyandotte. 

Kentucky: Adair, Allen, Anderson, Barren, 

Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Boyle, 



_ 


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4 




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^1 




Tvs 


■ 1 


^1 








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\ •■-<y 


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\ 


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■/ INDIANA BAT 
1 1 SUMMER 




' \ 




\ / 




\ __--A^— 


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• 


WINTER CAVES 




) 


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^ 


V ■ 


WINTER CAVES 
(CRITICAL 
HABITAT) 


) 







500 


\ 








km 



Map showing the range, winter caves and critical habitat of the Indiana bat. 



Bracken, Breathitt, Breckenridge, Bul- 
litt, Butler, Caldwell, Campbell, Car- 
roll, Carter, Casey, Christian, Clark, 
Clay, Clinton, Crittenden, Cumber- 
land, Daviess, Edmonson, Elliott, Es- 
till, Fayette, Fleming, Floyd, Franklin. 
Gallatin, Garrard, Grant, Grayson, 
Green, Greenup, Hancock, Hardin, 
Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Henderson, 
Henry, Hopkins, Jackson, Jefferson, 
Jessamine, Johnson, Kenton, Knott, 
Knox, Larue, Laurel, Lawrence, Lee, 
Leslie, Letcher, Lewis, Lincoln, 
Livingston, Logan, Lyon, McCreary, 
McLean, Madison, Magoffin, Marion, 
Martin, Mason, Meade, Menifee, Mer- 
cer, Metcalfe, Monroe, Montgomery, 
Morgan, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, 
Ohio, Oldham, Owen, Owsley, Pendle- 
ton, Perry, Pike, Powell, Pulaski, 
Robertson, Rockcastle, Rowan, Rus- 
sell, Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, 
Taylor, Todd, Trigg, Trimble, Union, 
Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, 
Whitley, Wolfe, Woddford. 

Maryland: Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, 
Montgomery, Washington. 



Massa- 
chusetts: 



Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, 
Hampden, Middlesex, Worcester, 



Michigan: Allegany, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Cal- 
houn, Cass, Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, 
Hillsdale, Ingham, Iron, Jackson, Kala- 
mazoo, Kent, Lenawee, Livingston, 
Ottowa, St. Joseph, Shiawassee, Van 
Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne. 

Missouri: Adair, Andrew, Atchison, Audrain, 
Barry, Barton, Bates, Benton, Bol- 
linger, Boone, Buchanan, Butler, Cald- 
well, Callaway, Camden, Cape Girar- 
deau, Carroll, Carter, Cass, Cedar, 
Chariton, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clin- 
ton, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dade, 
Dallas, Daviess, DeKalb, Dent, Doug- 
las, Franklin, Gasconade, Gentry, 
Greene, Grundy, Harrison, Henry, 
Hickory, Holt, Howard, Howell, Iron, 
Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Johnson, 
Knox, Laclede, Lafayette, Lawrence, 
Lewis, Lincoln, Linn, Livingston, 



McDonald, Macon, Madison, Maries, 
Mercer, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, 
Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Nada- 
way, Oregon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, 
Pettis, Phelps, Pike, Platte, Polk, 
Pulaski, Putnam, Ralls, Randolph, 
Ray, Renolds, Ripley, St. Charles, 
St. Claire, St. Francois, Ste. Gene- 
vieve, St. Louis, St. Louis City, Saline, 
Schuyler, Scotland, Scott, Shannon, 
Shelby, Stoddard, Stone, Sullivan, 
Taney, Texas, Vernon,Warren, Wash- 
ington, Wayne, Webster, Worth, 
Wright. 

Nebraska: Nemaha, Pavmee, Richardson. 

New 

Hampshire: Cheshire, Grafton, Hillsborough, 
Merrimack, Sullivan. 

New Jersey: Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, Warren. 

New York: Albany, Broome, Cayuga, Chemung, 
Chenango, Columbia, Cortland, Dela- 
ware, Dutchess, Essex, Franklin, Ful- 
ton, Genessee, Hamilton, Herkimer, 
Jefferson, Lewis, Madison, Montgo- 
mery, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Os- 
wego, Otsego, Putnam, Rensselaer, St. 
Lawrence, Saratoga, Schenectady, 
Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga, Tompkins, 
Ulster, Warren, Washington. 

North 

Carolina: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, 
Burke, Caldwell, Cherokee, Graham, 
Haywood, Jackson, McDowell, 
Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Surrey, 
Swain, Tatauga, Wilkes, Yancey. 

Ohio: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Athens, Aug- 

laize, Belmont, Brown, Butler, Car- 
roll, Champaign, Clark, Clermont, 
Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, 
Crawford, Darke, Defiance, Delaware, 
Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Frankhn, Ful- 
ton, Gallia, Greene, Guernsey, Hamil- 
ton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, 
Henry, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, 
Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, 
Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, 
Lucas, Madison, Marion, Medina, 
Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Mont- 



gomery , Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, 
Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pick- 
away, Pike, Preble, Putnam, Richland, 
Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shel- 
by, Stark, Summit, Tuscarawas, Union, 
Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washing- 
ton, Wayne, Williams, Wood, Wyandot. 

Oklahoma: Adair, Cherokee, Craig, Delaware, 
Haskell, Latimer, Le Flore, Mayes, 
McCurtain, Mcintosh, Muskogee, Ot- 
tawa, Pittsburg, Pushmataha, Sequoy- 
ah, Wagone. 



Penn- 
sylvania: 



Adams, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, 
Bedford, Berks, Blair, Bradford, But- 
ler, Cambria, Carbon, Centre, Clear- 
field, Clinton, Columbia, Cumber- 
land, Dauphin, Fayette, Franklin, 
Fulton, Greene, Huntingdon, Indi- 
ana, Jefferson, Juniata, Lackawanna, 
Lancaster, Lawnrence, Lebanon, Lu- 
zerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Monroe, 
Montour, Northumberland, Perry, 
Pike, Schuylkill, Snyder, Somerset, 
Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Union, 
Washington, Wayne, Westmoreland, 
Wyoming, York. 

Tennessee: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, 
Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carter, 
Cheatham, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, 
Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, De- 
Kalb, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, 
Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, 
Hamilton, Hancock, Hickman, Jack- 
son, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lin- 
coln, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, 
Marion, Marshall, Maury, Meigs, Mon- 
roe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgem, 
Overton, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, 
Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, 
Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Stewart, 
Sullivan, Summer, Trousdale, Unicoi, 
Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washing- 
ton, White, Williamson, Wildon. 

Virginia: Albemarle, Alleghany, Amherst, Ap- 
pomattox, Augusta, Bath, Bedford, 
Bland, Botetourt, Buchanan, Bucking- 
ham Campbell, Carroll, Clarke, Craig, 
Culpeper, Cumberland, Dickenson, 
Fauquier, Floyd, Fluvanna, Franklin, 
Frederick, Giles, Goochland, Grayson, 



Greene, Henry, Highland, Lee, Lou- 
doun, Louisa, Madison, Montgomery, 
Nelson, Orange, Page, Patrick, Pittsyl- 
vania, Prince William, Pulaski, Rappa- 
hannock, Roanoke, Rockbridge, Rock- 
ingham, Russell, Scott, Shenandoah, 
Smyth, Spotsylvania, Tazewell, War- 
ren, Washington, Wise, Wythe. 

West 

Virginia: All counties. 

Wisconsin: Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafay- 
ette, Richland. 

HABITAT 

Winter hibernation is restricted to caves with 
specific climatic conditions, namely, temperature 
4° to 8° C and relative humidity from 66% to 95% 
(Barbour and Davis 1969, Humphrey 1978). 
These requirements are met only in a narrow zone 
close to a cave entrance (Hall 1962). 

Sexes and age classes diverge in summer. 
Females and juveniles live in stream bank and 
floodplain areas, roosting under the bark of trees 
(Humphrey et al. 1977). Males use floodplain 
ridges and hillside forests and usually roost in 
caves (LaVal et al. 1976, 1977). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Females and juveniles eat mainly small, soft- 
bodied flying insects, primarily Diptera (J.J. Bel- 
wood and S. R. Humphrey personal communica- 
tion). In early summer, femcdes and juveniles for- 
age along stream banks most of the time, and 
shift later to include trees and the edges of flood- 
plain forests (Humphrey et al. 1977). Foraging 
areas average 1.47 ha per animal in early summer, 
and 4.54 ha per animal by mid-summer (Humph- 
rey et al. 1977). Males forage in densely wooded 
areas at tree-top height (LaVal et al. 1976, 1977). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Winter caves have stable, cool temperatures 
(usually 4° to 8° C, but sometimes as low as 1° C), 
and high humidity (Humphrey and Scudder 1979, 
LaVal etal. 1976). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Summer nursery roosts are located under the 
bark of live or dead hardwoods, which serves as a 
buffer against sudden temperature changes, shel- 
ters the bats from weather and predators, and acts 
as a solar heat collector (Humphrey et al. 1977). 



RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The bats swarm near caves from August to 
November in Missouri and from mid-August to 
the end of October in Indiana and Kentucky 
(Cope and Humphrey 1977). Swarming is des- 
cribed as a phenomenon in which large numbers 
of bats fly in and out of a cave entrance from 
dusk to dawn, while relatively few roost in the 
cave during the day (Humphrey and Cope 1976). 
The significance of this activity is not known; it 
has been suggested that it relates to mate selec- 
tion and copulation, adjustment to and familiari- 
zation with seasonal ranges, and/or rest stops 
during migration (IBRT 1975, M. D. Tuttle per- 
sonal communication). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

It is possible that in some instances, the gray 
bat (My Otis grisescens), another Federally hsted 
endangered species, may compete for roosting 
space in winter caves (Hall 1962) and could pos- 
sibly displace the Indiana bat from them. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The recent discovery of two new winter caves 
has brought estimates of total population to 
509,000 (Richter et al. 1978). The bat once 
numbered 1 million, but major catastrophies, 
primarily flooding, killed many in wintering caves 
(Hall 1962, IBRT 1975). 

Humphrey (1978) recorded a 28% decline in 
total numbers from 1960 to 1975 (Table 1). 

Table 1. Population estimates and trends for the 
Indiana bat, by state 





1960 


1975 


Trend 


State 


population 


population 


percentage 


Missouri 


311,433 


285,983 


-8.2 


Kentucky 


209,796 


55,782 


-73.4 


Tennessee 




7,554 




Arkansas 





1,700 


— 


Indiana 


102,823 


104,824 


+1.9 


Illinois 


339 


194 


-42.8 


Virginia 




580 


— 


West Virginia 




1,757 


— 


Pennsylvania 


1,002 





— 


New York 


..... 


500 


— 


Vermont 


, 


. .not censused. . 




Totals 


625,393 


458,874 


-26.6 



The decline in Kentucky was due to flooding, 
disturbance, and man-caused alteration of cave 
climate. Humphrey (1976) believs the Indiana bat 
is headed for extirpation in Kentucky. Missouri 
reductions are a result of winter weather variation. 
Incidents of vandalism and the collapse of a mine 
contributed to the decline in Illinois (Mohr 1962, 
Humphrey 1978). The overall trend at present 
will lead to the species' extinction in 50 years, 
but most losses of winter habitat are reversible 
and this eventuality can be avoided (Humphrey 
1978). 

REPRODUCTION 

Copulation occurs in the fall with the females 
storing the sperm over the winter (Barbour and 
Davis 1969). The females form nursery colonies 
under the bark of trees in late spring (usually 
May) and give birth to one young in late June or 
early July (Humphrey et al. 1977). Only females 
and young occupy the nursery roost (Humphrey 
et al. 1977). The longevity record for males is 
13.5 years; for females, 14.8 years. The survival 
rate for females is high for the first 10 years, 
and for males, for the first 6 years only (Hum- 
phrey and Cope 1977). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The primary conservation effort to date has 
been to control human access to caves by the 
use of gates. The National Park Service, the U.S. 
Forest Service, and some State agencies have 
installed gates on several caves. The Recovery 
Team suggests the gating of several more caves 
and mines, which will give protection to 99% of 
the bats (IBRT 1975). In one instance (Colossal 
Cave, Kentucky), a gate modified cave micro- 
climate and made it unsuitable for bats (Hum- 
phrey 1978). Gates or fences have also increased 
the bats' susceptibility to predation at the en- 
trances (Tuttle 1977). Other conservation efforts 
include a moratorium on issuance of bat bands by 
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and restrictions 
on use of pesticides such as DDT. The National 
Speleological Society has appointed a Bat Con- 
servation Task Force and has taken some specific 
measures to protect bats. 

The original Recovery Team (since disbanded) 
outlined a Recovery Plan (IBRT 1975) listing 
three objectives critical to preservation of the 
species: (1) protecting winter habitat by securing 
caves and mines and restricting entry; (2) initi- 
ating a public information and education pro- 



gram; and (3) monitoring population levels and 
habitat quality. A new Recovery Team is being 
formed (J. M. Engel personal communication). 

Other management needs include protection 
of the summer riparian environment (Martin 
1973, Humphrey 1978). 

The majority of the species winters in public- 
ly owned caves, but many private caves are also 
used (R. K. LaVal personal communication). 
Public aquisition of certain of the latter, including 
four in Missouri and one in West Virginia, is being 
sought at present (R. LaVal personal communica- 
tion, J. Rawson personal communication). 

Table 2 lists pertinent information on pub- 
licly owned wintering caves. 



Dr. Tom Kunz (Recovery Team) 

Department of Biology 

Boston University 

2 Cummington 

Boston, Massachusetts 02215 

Dr. Don Wilson (Recovery Team) 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
National Museum of Natural History 
Washington, D.C. 20560 

Dr. Merlin Tuttle (Recovery Team) 
Vertebrate Division 
Milwaukee Public Museum 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 



AUTHORITIES 

J. T. Brady (Recovery Team) 

Biologist 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

210 N. 12th Street, Room 853 

St. Louis, MO 63101 

J. B. Cope 

Joseph Moore Museum 
Earlham College 
Richmond, IN 47374 

J. M. Engel 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Federal Building, Fort Snelling 
Twin Cities, MN 55111 

S. R. Humphrey 
Florida State Museum 
Museum Road 
Gainesville, FL 32611 

R. K. LaVal (Recovery Team Leader) 
Missouri Department of Conservation 
Fish and Wildlife Research Center 
1110 College Avenue Columbia, 
Columbia, MO 65201 

R. Z. Mumford 

Dept. of Forestry and Conservation 

Purdue University 

Lafayette, IN 47904 



A. Richter 

Joseph Moore Museum 
Earlham College 
Richmond, IN 47374 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 



Table 2. Ownership of caves, Critical Habitat, and 

recent (1975) population estimates for Indiana bat 

caves (Humphrey 1978, Richter et al. 1978). 

[F=Federal, P=Private, S=State, CH=Critical Habitat.] 



State 


County 


Cave 


Owner- 
ship 


Population 
estimate 


Alabama 


? 


Santa 


F 






? 


Several caves F 


700 






in Sylamore 










Forestry Dist. 






Madison 


Denney 


? 


1,000 


Illinois 


LaSaUe 


Blackball 
Mine 


(CH), S 


192 




? 


No. Ill 


S 


50,000 




? 


No. 175 


S 


1,250 




? 


No. 376 


S 


100,000 




Crawford 


Wyandotte 


(CH), S 


1,460 




Crawford 


Saltpeter 


S 


95 




Greene 


Ray's 


(CH),P 


2,700 


Kentucky Carter 


Bat 


(CH), S 


40,000 




Edmonson 


Coach 


(CH), P 


4,500 




Edmonson 


Dixon 


F 


3,600 




Edmonson 


Long's 


F 


7,600 




Edmonson 


Colossal 


F 


14 




Edmonson 


Wilson 


F 







Edmonson 


Bat 


F 


68 




? 


Carter 


S 




Missouri 


Iron 


PUot Knob 


(CH), P 






Shannon 


No. 047 


(CH),) 


46,000 




Washington No. 029 


(CH), S 


81,800 




Crawford 


No. 021 


(CH). F 


12,850 




Franklin 


No. 009 


(CH), S 


21,000 




Franklin 


No. 017 


S 






Camden 


No. 053 


S 





Tennessee Blount White Oak (CH), F 
Blowhole 


6,050 


? Nicajack F 




Anderson Norris Dam F 




West 

Virginia Pendelton Hellhole (CH), P 


1,500 


Tucker Big Springs F 
(Blowing Cave) 


150 


Tucker Cave Hollow F 


23 



lucifugus, in Indiana and north-central Ken- 
tucky. Am. Soc. Mammal. Spec. Publ. 4:1-81. 

1977. Survival rates of the endangered 



Per 42 FR 40687, 11 August 1977. 
Tuttie, personal communication, 1978. 



UTERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Barbour, R. W., and W. H. Davis. 1969. Bats of 
America. Univ. Press, Kentucky, Lexington. 
286 pp. 

Cope, J. B., and S. R. Humphrey. 1977. Spring 
and autumn swarming behavior in the Indiana 
hdLt,Myotis sodalis. J. Mammal. 58:93-95. 

DeBlase, A. F., S. R. Humphrey, and K. S. Drury. 
1965. Cave flooding and mortality in bats in 
Wind Cave, Kentucky. J. Mammal. 46:96. 

Engel,J.M. 1976. The Indiana bat, Afyofw sodalis, 
a bibliography. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Spec. 
Sci. Rep. 196. 11 pp. 

Griffin, D. G. 1953. Deluge underground. Bull. 
Natl. Speleol. Soc. 15:34-37. 

Hall, J. S. 1962. A life history and taxonomic 
study of the Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis. 
Reading Pub. Mus. and Art Gallery Sci. Publ. 
12:3-68. 

1972. The status oi Myotis sodalis, the 

West Virginia Dep. Natur. Resour. Elkins. 
5 pp. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mam- 
mals of North America. Vol. 1. Ronald Press, 
New York. 546 pp. 

Humphrey, S. R. 1975. Cover photo. Bioscience 
25(9). 

1977. Keep 'em flying. Animal Kingdom 

89(5). 

1978. Status, winter habitat, and manage- 
ment of the endangered Indiana bat, 
Myotis sodalis. Q. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 
41(2):65-76. 

Humphrey, S. R., and J. B. Cope. 1976. Popula- 
tion ecology of the little brown bat, Myotis 



Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis. J. Mammal. 58: 
32-36. 

Humphrey, S. R., J. B. Cope, A. R. Richter, and 
P. P. Humphrey. 1974. Summer ecology of 
the endangered Indiana bat. Fifth Am. Symp. 
Bat Res., Texas Tech. Univ., Lubbock. 

Humphrey, S. R., A. R. Richter, and J. B. Cope. 
1977. Summer habitat and ecology of the en- 
dangered Indiana bat, Myotis sodalis. J. Mam- 
mal. 58:334-346. 

Humphrey, S. R., and S. J. Scudder. 1979. Indi- 
ana bat. Pages 3-4 in J. N. Layne, ed. Rare 
and endangered biota of Florida, Vol. 1, 
Mammals. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gaines- 
ville. 

IBRT (Indiana Bat Recovery Team). 1975. Reco- 
very plan for the Indiana bat. Draft. U.S. Dep. 
Interior, Fish Wildl. Serv. 34 pp. 

LaVal, R. K., R. L. Clawson, W. Caire. L. R. Win- 
gate, and M. L. LaVal. 1976. An evaluation of 
the status of Myotine bats in the propsed 
Meromec Park and Union Lake project areas, 
Missouri. School of Forestry, Fisheries, and 
Wildlife, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia. 136 pp. 

LaVal, R. K., R. L. Clawson, M. L. LaVal, and W. 
Caire. 1977. Foraging behavior and nocturnal 
activity patterns of Missouri bats, with em- 
phasis on the endangered species Myotis grises- 
cens and Myotis sodalis. J. Mammal. 58:592- 
599. 

Martin, R. L. 1973. The current status of bat pro- 
tection in the United States of America. 
Period. Biol. 75:153-54. 

Mohr, C. E. 1972. The status of threatened spe- 
cies of cave-dwelling bats. Bull. Natl. Speleol. 
Soc. 34:33-37. 

Mumford, R. E. 1974. The status of the Indiana 
bat and the eastern wood rat on the Wayne- 
Hoosier National Forest, Indiana. Purdue 
Univ. Dep. Forestry and Conserv. Spec. Study. 

Richter, A. R., D. A. Seerley, J. B. Cope, and J. 
H. Keith. 1978. A newly discovered concen- 
tration of hibernating Indiana bat, Myotis so- 
dalis, in southern Indiana. J. Mammal. 59: 191. 

Tuttie, M. D. 1977. Gating as a means of protec- 
ting cave dwelling bats. Pages 77-82 in Na- 
tional Cave Management Symposium Proc. 
1976. Speleobooks, Albuquerque. 106 pp. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.24 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE ATLANTIC SALT MARSH SNAKE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.24 
March 1980 



SELFCl KD VKR TEBRAl i: ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS T OF 1 HE UNITED STATES- 

THE ATLANTIC SALT MARSH SNAKE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Ser\'ices 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




ATLANTIC SALT MARSH SNAKE 
Nerodia fasciata taeniata Cope 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS ReptUia 

ORDER Squamata 

FAMILY Colubridae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES salt water snake 

eastern Florida water snake 
east coast striped water snake 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 3 January 1978, 11 October 1978, 

21 May 1979 



LEGAL STATUS 
Federal: Threatened 



States: 



(42 FR 
29 November 1977) 

Endangered: Florida 



60743-60745, 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

This species has a Umited geographical range 
and is restricted to habitat that is subject to pro- 
gressive disturbances. Development on coastal 
barrier islands threatens the snake's remaining 
habitat. Draining and diking operations promote 
hybridization and genetic swamping by an adja- 
cent freshwater race, the Florida water snake 
Nerodia fasciata pictiventris (Kochman and 
Christman 1979a; 42 FR 60743-60745; 29 
November 1977). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The Atlantic salt marsh snake is a small water 
snake approximately 70cm long. Its dorsal pat- 
tern is variable, combining elements of blotching 
and longitudinal striping. It has a median pair of 
dark brown stripes on pale olive ground color, 
often fragmented posteriorly into longitudinal 



series of blotches. Its sides have a row of dark 
blotches that may merge to form short stripes in 
the neck region. The belly is reddish-brown to 
black with a median row of yellowish spots. 

Color photograph is in Dodd (1978); black 
and white photographs in Carr and Goin (1942), 
Wright and Wright (1957) and Kochman and 
Christman (1979a). 

RANGE 

This species is endemic to the following 
localities on the Atlantic coast of Florida: 
Volusia County - vicinity of National Gardens, 

Daytona Beach, and New Smyrna Beach 
Brevard County — Merritt Island National 

Wildlife Refuge at Playalinda Beach (R. 

Demmer personal communication) and vici- 
nity of Micco (Kochman and Christman 

1979a) 
Indian River County - Gifford (H. Kochman 

unpublished data) and vicinity of Vero Beach 

(Kochman and Christman 1979a). 

Snakes exhibiting various degrees of intermed- 
iacy between the Atlantic salt marsh snake, the 
Florida water snake, and the mangrove water 
snake (Nerodia fasciata compressicauda) occur at 
various localities throughout the known range of 
N.f. taeniata (Neill 1958,Kockman 1977). 

There is no evidence to suggest that the range 
of this species has changed significantly (42 FR 
60743-60745; 29 November 1977). 

RANGE MAP 

Dots on the following map represent specific 
localities or general areas from which one or more 
specimens have been taken (adapted from Koch- 
man and Christman 1979a). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida: Brevard, Indian River, Volusia. 

HABITAT 

The Atlantic salt marsh snake inhabits coastal 
salt marshes and mangrove swaimps. It has been 
specifically reported along shallow tidal creeks 
and pools in association with glasswort {Salicornia 
perennis) (Carr and Goin 1942), blackrush {/un- 
cus roemerianus) (Niell 1958), and black man- 
grove (Avicennia germinans) (H. Kale personal 
communication, H. Kochman unpublished data). 
It occurs in saline environments ranging from 
brackish to full strength seawater. 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The species is ecologically and behaviorally 
similar to the Gulf salt marsh snake (N. f. clarki). 
It forages in shallow water during low tidal stages 
(Carr and Goin 1942, Neill 1958, Kochman and 
Christman 1979a), apparently feeding upon dense 
congregations of small fishes that become entrap- 
ped during the falling tide (Neill 1958). A similar 
feeding strategy has also been reported for the 
Gulf salt marsh snake (Pettus 1956). 

Although primarily regarded as nocturnal 
(Carr and Goin 1942, Kochman and Christman 
1979a), Atlantic salt marsh snakes may be strong- 
ly influenced by ddal rhythms and have been 
reported to forage in daylight during favorable 
tides (Neill 1958). They are also known to enter 
minnow traps in shallow water (H. Kale personal 
communication) . 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Little specific information is available. One 
specimen reportedly withdrew into a fiddler crab 
(Uca) burrow when approached during daylight 
(Carr and Goin 1942). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not known. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not knowTi. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Coastal races of N. fasciata are reproductively 
compatible with adjacent freshwater populations 
and require ecological isolation to maintain 
genetic integrity (Pettus 1956, 1963; Conant 
1975, Kochman 1977). The Atlantic salt marsh 
snake appears to hybridize freely with the Florida 
water snake in ecotonal areas of distributional 
overlap (Kochman 1977). It can remain genetical- 
ly distinct only if hybridization is limited to 
narrow zones of ecological transition between 
freshwater and saline habitats. Alteration of 
coastal wetlands through drainage and diking 
enhances hybridization and promotes genetic 
introgression, i.e. swamping, by the Florida water 
snake (Kochman and Christman 1979a; 42 FR 
60743-60745; 29 November 1977). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

No population estimates are available. Ap- 
proximately 50 specimens are known to science 
(H. Kochman unpublished data). 




Map indicating the range of the Atlantic salt marsh snake along the eastern coast of Florida. Dots 
represent sites where specimens have been collected. 



REPRODUCTION 

Very little information is available. One cap- 
tive female gave birth to nine young (eight alive 
and one stillborn) in late August (H. Kochman 
unpublished data). Their reproductive biology is 
probably similar to the Gulf salt marsh snake: 
2 to 14 live young bom during midsummer 
(Kochman and Christman 1979a, 1979b), with an 
average litter size of 6 to 7 (H. Kochman unpub- 
lished data). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Portions of their known range include State 
and Federal lands along the Atlantic coast of 
Florida: Tomoka State Park (Volusia County), 
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (Volusia 
and Brevard Counties), Cape Kennedy Air Force 
Station (Brevard County), Patrick Air Force Base 
(Brevard County), and the Pelican Island 
National Wildlife Refuge (Indian River County). 

In a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- 
vice, Office of Endangered Species (December 
1976), H. Kochman emphasized that habitat alter- 
ation and subsequent hybridization pose the 
chief threats to the Atlantic salt marsh snake. In 
view ofM /a5aa to 's high variability along Florida's 
Atlantic coast, it was concluded that conservation 
measures must be oriented toward safeguarding 
habitats and populations rather than a specific 
phenotype. 

The designation of Critical Habitat in coastal 
areas of Volusia, Brevard and Indian River coun- 
ties has been recommended by representatives of 
various Federal, State and private organizations 
(42 FR 60743-60745; 29 November 1977). 

No formal advisory committee or recovery 
team has been established. 

AUTHORITIES 

Archie F. Can- 
Department of Zoology 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, FL 32611 

Richard Demmer 

District V Naturalist 

Division of Recreation and Parks 

Florida Department of Natural Resources 

Route l,Box 107AA 

Clermont, FL 32711 

Howard I. Kochman 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N. E. 16di Avenue, Room 250 
GainesvUle, FL 32612 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The distribution and status of the Atlantic 
salt marsh snake remain essentially unknown. 
Further study may extend its knovsm home range 
northward and southward along the Atlantic 
coast of Florida. Potentially suitable habitat 
should be surveyed for undiscovered populations, 
followed by designation of Critical Habitat in ap- 
propriate areas. A special interagency advisory 
committee with recovery team functions should 
be established to evaluate alternatives for effec- 
tive conservation and management. 

Water snakes from scattered localities along 
the Gulf coast may exhibit a pattern of striping 
and spotting similar to the Atlantic salt marsh 
snake (Conant 1975). In many instances, this is 
the result of hybridization between the longi- 
tudinally striped Gulf salt marsh snake and ad- 
jacent cross-banded races (Pettus 1956, 1963). It 
has been suggested that the Atlantic salt marsh 
snake may likewise be the product of hybridi- 
zation dating back to Pleistocene contact of 
striped and banded populations (Kochman 1977, 
Kochman and Christman 1979a). Dunson (in 
preparation) does not consider the Atlantic salt 
marsh snake sufficiently distinct from the man- 
grove water snake to warrant subspecific status. 

UTERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Carr, A. F., and C. J. Coin. 1942. Rehabilitation 

of Matrix sipedon taeniata Cope. Proc. New 
England Zool. Club 21:47-54. 

Conant, R. 1975. A field guide to reptiles and am- 
phibians of eastern and central North America. 
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston 429 pp. 

Dodd, C. K., Jr. 1978. Amphibians & reptiles, the 
declining species. Water Spectrum 10(1):24- 
32. 

Dunson, W. A. Occurrence of partially striped 
forms of the mangrove snake Nerodia fasciata 
compressicauda Kennicott and comments on 
the status of N. f. taeniata Cope. Unpubl. MS. 

Kochman, H. I. 1977. Differentiation and hybri- 
dization in the Matrix fasciata complex (Rep- 
tilia:Serpentes): A nonmorphological ap- 
proach. M.S. Thesis, University of Florida, 
Gainesville. 105 pp. 

Kochman, H. I., and S. P. Christman. 1979a. At- 
lantic salt marsh snake. Pages 27-28 in R. W. 
McDiarmid, ed. Rare and endangered biota of 
Florida, Vol. 3, amphibians and reptiles. Univ. 
Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 



. 1979b. Gulf salt marsh snake. Pages 62- 

63 in R. W. McDiarmid, ed. Rare and endan- 
gered biota of Florida, Vol. 3, amphibians and 
reptiles. Univ. Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

Neill, W. T. 1958. The occurrence of amphibians 
and reptiles in saltwater areas, and a bibliog- 
raphy. Bull. Mar. Sci. Gulf and Caribb. 8(1): 
1-97. 

Pettus, D. 1956. Ecological barriers to gene ex- 
change in the common water snake {Matrix 
sipedon). Ph. D. Dissert. Univ. of Texas, Aus- 
tin. 87 pp. 

. 1963. Salinity and subspeciation in Nat- 

trix sipedon. Copeia 1963(3) :499-504. 

Wright, A. H., and A. A. Wright, 1957. Handbook 
of snakes of the United States and Canada. 
Vol. 1. Comstock PubUshing Associates, Ith- 
aca. 564 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.25 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE DUSKY SEASIDE SPARROW 





Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.'38 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.25 
March 1980 



SELtXIKD VI:R I EBRA 1 1: ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF I HE SEAC:OAS 1 OF 1 HE UNITED STA TES- 

THE DUSKY SEASIDE SPARROW 



A Cooperative P^ffort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




DUSKY SEASIDE SPARROW 

Ammospiza maritima nigrescens Ridgway 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passeriformes 

FAMILY FringUIidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES black and white shore finch, 

black shore finch. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined. 

Updates 10 October 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001; 11 March 
1967). 

States: Endangered: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The dusky seaside sparrow is distributed in an 
extremely limited area in northern Brevard 
County, Florida. It is adapted to narrow, un- 
stable zones of vegetation within salt marshes. 
Diking of the marshes for mosquito control has 
altered the vegetation and the species has disap- 
peared on northern Merritt Island. Wildfires and 
marsh drainage for housing, roads and pasture 
have reduced available habitat in the St. Johns 
River Basin (Sharp 1968, 1970; Baker 1973, 
1976, in press; USDI 1973; DSSRT draft). Aerial 
spraying in coastal marshes with DDT and other 
insecticides to control mosquitoes from 1942 to 
1953 may have been responsible for a 70% reduc- 
tion in the population (Trost 1968). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The dusky seaside sparrow is about 15 cm 
long. Adults have black or blackish brown upper 
parts, edged with grayish olive, white venter with 
heavy black streaking, bright yellow on lores and 
at bend of wing. The wings and tail are fuscous to 
fuscous black, edged with light yellowish olive. 
The sexes are similar. 

Juvenal plumage is lighter in color with nar- 
rov/er tan streaking, and reduced yellow on lores 
and wings. 

Color plates appear in Howell (1932), Peter- 
son (1947), Sprunt (1954), and Trost (1968). 
A black and white photograph appears in Eber- 
hart(1968). 

RANGE 

The dusky seaside sparrow is a sedentary 
inhabitant of brackish marshes and savannahs in 
northern Brevard County, Florida. The 1978 
survey of singing males documented their pre- 
sence in the St. Johns River Basin at the following 
three locations: St. Johns National Wildlife 
Refuge, approximately 1 km south of the refuge, 
and between the north and south forks of the 
BeeHne Highway (Baker in press). The sub- 
species is isolated from other populations of sea- 
side sparrow by 120 km to the north, 200 km to 
the west, and 400 km to the south (Trost 1968). 

Dusky seaside sparrows were formerly abun- 
dant in Indian River salt marshes on Merritt Is- 
land, from Dummitt Creek south to Banana Creek 
(Trost 1968). Sharp (1968) determined the main- 
land distribution to be from Salt Lake south near- 
ly to Florida Highway 520 and between 1-95 and 
the St. Johns River. 

RANGE MAP 

Critical habitat and 1977 range are indicated 
on the following page. The dusky seaside sparrow 
apparently no longer occurs on Merritt Island (J. 
Baker, personal communication). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida: Brevard. 

HABITAT 

The species inhabits salt marshes with highly 
fluctuating water levels and salinities. It prefers 
moist zones dominated by cordgrass {Spartina 
bakerii), 3 to 5 m above mean sea level. The St. 
Johns River marshes present a savannah-like 



aspect, being dotted with small ponds, salt pans, 
cabbage palms (Sabal palmetto), and hammocks 
(Sharp 1968, 1970; Baker 1976;DSSRT draft). 

Sharp (1968, 1969a, 1970) believes zones of 
short and tall interdigitating plants form the pre- 
ferred microhabitat. The Merritt Island habitat 
was composed of a heterogeneous mosaic of the 
tall cordgrass and black rush (Jiincus roemerianus) 
with short saltgrass {Distichlis sptcata), saltwort 
{Batis maritima) and glasswort {Salicornia peren- 
nis). In the St. Johns River savannahs, fires and 
varying salinities and water levels produce the tall- 
short pattern with cordgrass. 

Black and white habitat photographs may be 
found in the following: diked salt marsh-Eberhart 
(1968); former Merritt Island habitat— Baynard 
(1914) and Nicholson (1928); St. Johns River sa- 
vannah—Sharp (1969b). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The subspecies is largely insectivorous. Six 
stomachs contained 37% grasshoppers and crick- 
ets and 25% spiders. Other items included miscel- 
laneous insects, seeds, and tubers (Howell 1932). 
Trost (1968) observed duskies feeding on small 
snails, a dragonfly larva, a butterfly, and possibly 
ants. 

They forage at or near the ground (Baker 
(1976, in press). Feeding has been observed on 
dikes and in tidal zone (Trost 1968). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

The dusky sparrow remains concealed in 
dense vegetation during the nonbreeding season 
(Trost 1968). Glasswort on Merritt Island (Bay- 
nard 1914) and cordgrass in the St. Johns flood- 
plain (Sharp 1968, Baker 1973) form the pre- 
ferred shelter. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The dusky seaside sparrow constructs a cupped 
nest from grasses. Nests are placed in tussocks 
2 to 35 cm above ground and may be covered 
with arched vegetation (Nicholson 1928). 

Nest sites include tussocks of glasswort, black 
rush, cordgrass, salt grass, and wire grass (Sporo- 
bolus virginicus) (Baynard 1914; Nicholson 1928, 
1929; Trost 1968). Baker (in press) reported a 
nest in a salt bush (Bacharis angusti folia). 

Baynard (1914) and Nicholson (1928) present 
black and white photographs of nests and nest 
sites on Merritt Island. 



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RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

During the breeding season males sing from 
prominent perches atop the glasswort, grasses, or 
rushes. A male occasionally will flutter slowly 
upward 7 to 12 m and then descend to its perch 
while singing. Males chase females in low erratic 
flights over the tops of vegetation (Nicholson 
1928,Trost 1968). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL * 
REQUIREMENTS 

Nesting is confined to a male's territory, 
which is defended by song and occasional chasing. 
Occupied nests were found within 12 m of one 
another in the 1930's, but territories appear to 
have increased to 100 m in diameter in recent 
years, due to thinning of marsh vegetation and re- 
duction in bird densities. Banding has shown that 
males defend the same territory year after year. 
Banded juveniles have returned a year later and 
established territories 300 m from where they 
were fledged. Birds may fly 200 m or more from 
nest sites to feeding areas (Trost 1968). 

Predation appears to occur mainly on eggs 
and young mostly by rats (Oryzomys palustris, 
Sigmodon hispidus), raccoons [Procyon lotor), and 
many snakes (Lampropeltis getulus, Agkistrodon 
piscivorous). Fish crows (Corvus ossifragus) and 
boat-tailed grackles [Casstdix mexicanus) may rob 
nests. Ants may force adults to abandon nests, 
especially during high water (Nicholson 1928; 
Trost 1968). Nesting red-winged blackbirds 
[Agelaius phoeniceus) constantly harass duskies 
which nest nearby (DSSRT draft). 

The dusky occupies a median position on the 
marsh moisture gradient between the 3 and 5 m 
contour lines. Above this elevation, the drier 
marsh has woody growth and is vulnerable to 
wildfire, and the eastern meadowlark [Sturnella 
magna) replaces the dusky. In lower areas with 
standing water and/or dense cordgrass, least 
bitterns (Ixobrychus exilis), king rails (Rallus 
elegans) and probably black rails [Laterallus 
jamaicensis) occur. The dusky prefers patches of 
cordgrass with heights of 0.5 to 1.5 m and a 
density of approximately 1,700 stems/m^ (Sharp 
1968, 1970). 

Natural fires seem to play a beneficial role in 
maintaining dusky habitat along the St. Johns 
River. Most lightning fires occur in the rainy 
season when the marsh is wet and humidity high; 
they move slowly and burn small, discontinuous 
areas, removing woody plants and allowing the 



tall and short cordgrass savannah required by the 
duskies to regenerate (Sharp 1968, Baker in 
press). Birds in the immediate vicinity are dis- 
placed, but presumably recolonize afterward. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Dusky sparrow populations were probably 
stable until the 1940's, when Nicholson estimated 
that aerial insecticide spraying from 1942 to 1953 
reduced numbers 70% by 1957 (Trost 1968). De- 
creases may have resulted from reproductive 
failure and disruption of the food chain. Sharp 
(1968) estimated that there were 2,000 pairs on 
Merritt Island prior to spraying, based on his ob- 
served densities and the reports of Baynard 
(1914) and Nicholson (1928). Impoundment of 
the island marshes in the mid-1950's and resulting 
changes in salt marsh vegetation reduced popula- 
tions to four localities having 70 pairs in Trost's 
1961-1962 study (Sharp 1968). Sharp (1970) 
found 33 or 34 males in his 1968 survey. Baker 
(in press) located two males at the north end of 
Merritt Island in 1977 and none in the 1978 sur- 
vey. 

Sharp (1970) found 372 singing males in the 
St. Johns River marshes in the spring of 1968 and 
estimated the probable total of the mainland 
population to be 894 pairs. The St. Johns Nation- 
al WUdlife Refuge surveys for 1970 and 1972- 
1978 documented 143, 110, 54, 37, 47, 11, 12, 
and 9 singing males, respectively. Winter wildfires 
apparently caused the most drastic reductions. 
Singing males in the entire St. Johns Basin num- 
bered 28 in 1977 and 24 in 1978; no females 
were seen in 1978, although some were seen in 
1977 (Baker, in press). 



REPRODUCTION 

Dusky sparrows breed from March to August, 
with two egg-laying peaks— one from late April to 
early May and the other from late June to early 
July, indicating production of two broods during 
an average season. Pair formation and copulation 
have not been observed (Trost 1968). One to five 
eggs have been found in nests; four is the most 
frequent clutch size (Baynard 1914, Nicholson 
1928). The female incubates the eggs for 12 to 13 
days and broods the young for 9 days more. Ju- 
veniles stay in the territory about 20 days more, 
after which the male may drive them away. Both 
parents feed the young (Trost 1968). 



The fledglings start to molt in late August and 
are almost identical to adults by November. The 
postnuptial molt of adults begins in August and 
concludes by October. The light edges of the con- 
tour feathers wear off during the winter and 
produce the dark nuptial plumage (Trost 1968). 

The average longevity is unknown, but an 
adult banded in 1972 was seen tv^dce in 1978 (Ba- 
ker in press). 

A color plate of a fledgling appears in Trost 
(1968), and black and white photographs of eggs 
and nestlings, in Baynard (1914) and Nicholson 
(1928). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The conflict between mosquito control and 
the dusky 's stringent habitat requirements has 
made conservation extremely difficult. Attempts 
to recover the dusky on Merritt Island have in- 
cluded lowering impoundment water levels, con- 
necting an impoundment to the Indian River by a 
culvert, and removal of a 3,000-m dike. The high 
water levels and consequent vegetation changes, 
such as shrub encroachment, have prevented these 
measures from succeeding so far (DSSRT draft, 
Baker, in press). 

Management of the mainland dusky popula- 
tion involves primarily land acquisition and con- 
trolled burning. On the St. Johns National Wild- 
life Refuge, destructive winter wildfires now are 
checked by firebreaks maintained by refuge per- 
sonnel. Experiments to control brush encroach- 
ment include small prescribed bums, summer 
burning, and herbicide use. A refuge addition of 
1,320 ha in the vicinity of the Beeline Highway is 
under negotiation (Baker, in press). 

In addition, the Recovery Team calls for the 
determination of habitat requirements, refining of 
habitat manipulation techniques, population 
monitoring by annual survey, and restoration of 
habitat such as that on Merritt Island (DSSRT 
draft). 

The 1978 survey documented 9 singing males 
on the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge and 15 
in the rest of the river basin. Most of those out- 
side the refuge inhabit the area of a proposed 
refuge addition between the forks of the Beeline 
Highway (Baker, in press). 

Critical Habitat is designated as the mainland 
area bounded by 1-95, the St. Johns River, and 
Florida Highways 45, 528, and 529, and as mos- 
quito-control impoundments T-IO-J and T-IO-K 
on Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge (41 FR 
53074, 3 December 1976; 42 FR 40685, 11 Au- 



gust 1977; 42 FR 47849, 22 September 1977). 

AUTHORITIES 

J. L. Baker (Recovery Team) 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge 

P.O. Box 6504 

Titusville, FL 32780 

H. W. Kale (Recovery Team) 
Ornithological Research Division 
Florida Audubon Society 
35 1st Court S.W. 
Vero Beach FL 32960 

B. F. Sharp 

U.S. Fish and WUdlife Service 

Lloyd 500 Building 

500 N.W. Multnomah Street 

Portland, OR 97232 

P. W. Sykes (Recovery Team) 
Fish and Wildlife Service 
P.O. Box 2077 
Del Ray Beach. FL 33440 

L. E. Williams (Recovery Team) 

Wildlife Research Office 

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 

Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The bird was named Ammodromus marttimus 
var. nigrescens by Ridgway in 1873. It was desig- 
nated Ammospiza nigrescens by Howell (1932), 
American Ornithologists' Union (1957), and Trost 
(1968). It was redesignated as a race of ^mmoipzza 
maritima (Eisenmann 1973). It is geographically 
isolated from, but morphologically similar to, 
other races of seaside sparrow (Trost 1968). It is 
unique in its extremely limited distribution (Chap- 
man 1912). 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologists' Union. 1957. Check-list 
of North American birds. 5th ed. Port City 
Press, Baltimore. 641 pp. 

Baker, J. L. 1973. Preliminary studies of the 
dusky seaside sparrow on the St. Johns Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge. Proc. Annu. Conf. 
Southeast Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 27:207- 
214. 



. 1979. Dusky seaside sparrow. Pages 16- 

19 in H. W. Kale, ed. Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 2, Birds. Univ. Presses 
of Florida, Gainesville. 

. In press. Status of dusky seaside spar- 

ro-w. In Rare and Endangered Wildlife Sym- 
posium. Georgia Dep. Natur. Resour. and 
Georgia Chapter Wildl. Soc. Aug. 3-4, 1978. 
Athens. 

Baynard, O. E. 1914. The dusky seaside sparrow 
{Passerherbulus nigrescens). Oologist 32(7): 
130-134. 

Beecher, W. J. 1955. Late -Pleistocene isolation of 
salt-marsh sparrows. Ecology 36:23-28. 

Chapman, F. M. 1912. Handbook of birds of east- 
ern North America (rev. ed.). D. Appleton 
and Co., New York. 

DSSRT (Dusky Seaside Sparrow Recovery Team). 
Dusky seaside sparrow recovery plan. U.S. 
Fish Wildl. Serv. 15 pp. 

Eberhart, J. 1968. The dwindling dusky. Sci. 
News. 93:501-501. 

Eisenmann, E. (Chairman). 1973. Thirty-second 
supplement to the American Ornithologist's 
Union check-list of North American birds. 
Auk 40:411-419. 

Howell, A. H. 1932. Florida bird life. Coward- 
McCann, Inc. New York. 579 pp. 

Maynard, C. J. 1875. A new species of finch from 
Florida. Am. Sportsman 5:248. 

Nicholson, D. J. 1928. Nesting habits of seaside 
sparrows in Florida. Wilson Bull. 40:225-237. 

. 1929. Breeding of the dusky seaside 

sparrow on the mainland of Florida. Auk 46: 
391. 

Peterson, R. T. 1947. A field guide to the birds, 
2nd ed. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 230 
pp. 

Sharp. B. E. 1968. Numbers, distribution, and 
management of the dusky seaside sparrow. 
M.S. Thesis. Univ. Wisconsin, Madison. 76 pp. 

. 1969a. Conservation of the dusky sea- 
side sparrow on Merritt Island, Florida. Biol. 
Conser. 1(2):175-176. 

. 1969b. Let's save the dusky seaside spar- 
row. Fla. Natur. (April 1969):68-70. 

-. 1970. A population estimate of the 



Sincock, J. L. 1958. Waterfowl ecology of the 
St. Johns River Valley as related to proposed 
conservation areas and changes in the hydro- 
logy from Lake Harney to Ft. Pierce, Florida. 
Florida Game Fresh Water Fish Comm, Fed, 
Aid Project W-19-R. 

Sprunt, A., Jr. 1954. Florida bird life. Coward- 
McCann, Inc. New York. 527 pp. 

Trost, C. H. 1968. Dusky seaside sparrow. Pages 
849-859 in O. L. Austin, Jr., ed. Life histories 
of North American cardinals, grosbeaks, bunt- 
ings, towhees, finches, sparrows, and allies. 
U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 237. Part 2. 

USDI (U.S. Department of the Interior). 1973. 
Threatened wildlife of the United States. 
Compiled by Office of Endangered Species 
and International Activities. Bur. Sport Fish 
Wildl. Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing 
Office, Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



dusky seaside sparrow. Wilson Bull. 8(2): 158- 
166. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.26 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

HAWAIIAN GOOSE (NENE) 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed lo: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.26 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
HAWAIIAN GOOSE (NENE) 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

SlideU, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and WUdhfe Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




HAWAIIAN GOOSE (Nene) 
Branta (Nesochen) sandvicensis (Vigors) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Anseriformes 

FAMILY Anatidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Nene; Lava Goose (Elder 1958) 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Update To be determined 



LEGAL STATUS 
FEDERAL 



Endangered (42 FR 36426, 14 July 
1977). Listed: Appendix I, 1973 
Convention on International Trade 
in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna 
and Flora. 



States: 



Endangered: Hawaii. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

This highly specialized goose is adapted to life 
in an environment that was originally predator- 
free and waterless in the Hawaiian lava flows. 
Their weak wings, exceptionally long flightless 
period during molt, and young that are unable to 
fly because of their exceptionally long develop- 
ment period made them vulnerabfe to introduced 
predators (Elder 1958;Elder and Woodside 1958). 

There is evidence that overgrazing by sheep 
and goats may have adverse effects on the nene 
range, and the introduced mongoose is definitely 
a predator on the young. The spread of the mon- 
goose corresponded to the period of nene decline. 
Mongooses and dogs are probably the most sig- 
nificant predators, and the tameness and 
curiosity of the nene makes them extremely vul- 
nerable to predation as well as to poaching (Elder 
1958; Elder and Woodside 1958). Zimmerman 
(1974) believes that the information necessary 
to identify and correct lethal dangers is still lack- 
ing. 

Hunting is believed to have contributed heavily 
to their original decline, especially since ignorance 
of the winter breeding season permitted hunting 
at the time when geese were either incubating, 
followed by broods, or molting and flightless 
(Henshaw 1902 in Elder and Woodside 1958). 
Hunting of this species was made illegal in 1911 
(Ripley 1965). 

A gradual increase in the nene population in 
recent years has resulted from introduction of 
artificaUy propagated stock on Hawaii and Maui, 
the creation of sanctuaries in cooperation with 
land owners, and control of predators at release 
and breeding sites (Hawaii Div. Fish and Game 
1972). However, it is not known if the present 
population can maintain itself or increase in the 
wild without additional introductions. The intro- 
duced population on Maui is clearly not main- 
taining itself. The future of the species in the wild 
will remain in doubt until it can be shown that re- 
production is high enough to offset losses from 
all sources (King in press). 



PRIORITY INDEX 

39 



DESCRIPTION 

The nene is a medium-sized goose, with a bill 
comparatively long, broad, and high near its base 
and depressed at the tip. The crown, face, area 
around eyes, throat, and a wide band on hind 
neck are deep black; sides of head and sides and 
front of neck are tawny buff; the feathers of the 
neck have dark bases forming deep furrows and 
producing a striped appearance; there is a blackish 
ring around the base of the neck, broadening on 
the back; the breast is pale brown; and the rest of 
the body plumage is grayish brown barred with 
whitish buff, the feathers having pale borders; 
the rump is black; coverts are white with gray 
bases; rectrices and primaries are black. The iris 
is brown. Bill and legs are black. The tarsus and 
toes are long and strong, with much reduced 
webbing. The female is smaller than the male, 
with shorter neck and slightly duller, darker plu- 
mage (Delacour 1954). 

Measurements. - male: wing 372 to 378 mm; 
the tail is 147 to 158 mm; culmen, 40 to 47 mm; 
tarsus, 81 to 90 mm. In the female: wing 350 to 
368 mm; tail 144 to 151 mm; culmen 40 to 42 
mm; and tarsus 73 to 78 mm (Delacour 1954). 

Reported weights of wild specimens were as 
follows: Males - summer, 2,074 g; winter (breed- 
ing season), 2,370 g. Females - summer 1,762 g, 
winter, 2,095 g (Kier et al. 1962). 

Immatures.- Duller and more mottled. 

Downy Chicks.- Grayish brown; forehead, 
sides of head, throat and center of underparts 
whitish buff; a dark spot on ear coverts and 
whitish spots on base of wing. 

Eggs.- Creamy white; five to eight in clutch; 
80 X 50 mm (Delacour 1954). The clutch size for 
captive birds at Pohakuloa and those recorded in 
the wild on Hawaii is three to five eggs. 

This species has become highly specialized 
anatomically for its original environment, with 
legs and feet best adapted to a strictly terrestrial 
environment and wings poorly developed for 
flight compared to other related geese. It is so 
different morphologically from Branta that it 
should be accorded a separate genus (MiUer 1937). 

RANGE 

The Hawaiian goose or nene is native to and 
resident on the Island of Hawaii; it has been intro- 
duced and is still surviving on Maui, Hawaiian Is- 
lands (Delacour 1954). It occurs at several local- 



ities on the slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai 
volcanoes, chiefly between the 1,600- and 2,400- 
m elevations. Its former range was reported to 
have been much more extensive , even reaching to 
the seashore, although records of earlier writers 
are dubious (Baldwin 1945; Elder 1958). Nene 
bones considered of Pleistocene or early recent 
age are found on all the main Hawaiian Islands; 
those of most recent age, probably dating to the 
Polynesian occupancy, are on Molokai (Storrs 
Olson pers. comm. 1977). 

At present, breeding is recorded primarily in 
three areas: Keauhou Sanctuary, on the east slope 
of Mauna Loa ; Kahuku Sanctuary , on the southern 
slope of Mauna Loa; and Keauhou 2 Sanctuary, 
on the southeast slope of Haulalai (Hawaii Div. 
Fish & Game 1972). 

The only known major seasonal movement of 
the populations is from the winter breeding areas 
on the higher mountain slopes to a summering 
area on the saddle between Mauna Loa and Mauna 
Kea. The summering flock makes daily flights 
from their nighttime range in the vicinity of Puu 
Oo Ranch southeast of Mauna Kea and north of 
the Saddle Road to the daytime range on lava 
flows on the slopes of Mauna Loa, at least 15 
miles away (Woodside 1956; Ripley 1965;Hawaii 
Div. Fish & Game 1972). 

RANGE MAP 

The following map is adapted from Elder and 
Woodside (1958); National Park Service, Hawaii 
17004, 1963; Zimmerman 1975. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Hawaii: Hawaii, Maui 

HABITAT 

Nene are usually seen on mountain slopes be- 
tween 1525 and 2440 m elevation. Nesting and 
feeding habitat is supplied by kipukas, or islands 
of vegetation on lava flows, ranging in size from 
less than 1 ha to several thousand hectares. 
Vegetation grows on decomposing lava in various 
stages of succession from lichens on bare rock to 
such pioneering plants as ohelo [Vaccinium sp.), 
kukainene [Coprosma emodioides), gosmore {Hy- 
pochaeris radicata), pukeawe {Styphelia tameia- 
meiae), and various grasses. Older kipukas with 
deeper soils are vegetated with aalii [Dodonaea 
viscosa), mamane (Sophora chrysophylla), ohia 
[Metrosideros collina), and koa [Acacia koa) in 



association with other shrubs and grasses. Rain- 
fall is one of the most important factors in de- 
composition of lava and the progress of ecological 
succession. Average annual rainfall from 1960 
through 1969 in the nene range on Mauna Loa at 
2,042 m was 154 cm (Hawaii Div. Fish and Game 
1972). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Nene are vegetarians. They consume a variety 
of available foods, but show a marked preference 
for gosmore [Hypochaeris radicata), eating the 
leaves, buds, and flowers. Ohelo {Vaccinium sp.) 
and kukainene [Coprosma emodioides) are the 
most important food berries in nene sanctuaries. 
The geese feed most heavily during morning and 
late afternoon. Goats and pigs are not numerous 
enough to be serious competitors to nene, even 
though they graze on the same plants. In some 
instances pigs may be beneficial by stimulating 
growth of gosmore and other succulents. At the 
present time, food resources are not considered a 
limiting factor to nene in the wild (Baldwin 1947; 
Hawau Div. Fish and Game 1972). 

Although nene do eat berries, their preference 
is for greens, especially the succulent leaves, stems 
and buds of pusdele [Sonchus oleraceus) and gos- 
more [Hypochaeris radicata). Also, the nene strips 
seeds from the heads of grasses and sedges. At 
more frequented altitudes, 1525 to 2440 m, there 
is no evidence of food shortage at any season. 
Grasses and greens are never scarce in that zone of 
high moisture and infrequent frosts (Elder 1958). 
In captivity, nene prefer green feed over com- 
mercial mixtures (Hawaii Div. Fish & Game 1972). 

Nene in the wild do not appear to be attracted 
to water. At waterholes, they seem to be con- 
cerned only with succulent green vegetation for 
food. Drinking water is obtained from fog and 
dew condensed on vegetation (Elder 1958; Hawaii 
Div. Fish & Game 1972). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Low bushes for concealing nests are the only 
known shelter requirements (Hawaii Div. Fish and 
Game 1972). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Most nests have been found under pukeawe 
bushes or scrub ohia trees, where the goose scoops 
out a shallow depression in the litter or duff. 




u 

C 

V 

C 



o 

o 



u 

•5 






OJ 



Leaves, twigs, and down are used to cover eggs 
when the incubating bird leaves to forage (Hawaii 
Div. Fish and Game 1972). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Nene are more jealous and quarrelsome than 
is common among geese. The gander defends his 
territory, mate, and brood savagely, but some- 
times exhibits the unusual behavior of attacking 
his own mate (Delacour 1954). 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The wild population may have totaled 25,000 
or more in the 18th century. Reduction began 
between 1778 and 1850, progressed rapidly until 
1900, and tapered off slowly between 1900 and 
1930. In 1953, the estimated population of wild 
birds was only 33 (Baldwin 1945). Smith (1952) 
estimated the total population in the wild at less 
than 30. Since 1940, coincident with conserva- 
tion efforts, the population has obviously increased 
if the earlier estimates were reasonably correct. 
Counts on the summer roosting area near Puu Oo 
Ranch north of the Saddle Road on the southeast 
slope of Mauna Kea have ranged from 42 in 1966 
to 114 in 1969. An increase during the 17 years 
of counting in that area (since 1955) was in- 
dicated, although inconsistent. About 90% of 
birds in the summer roosting area are unhanded 
and presumed to be wild rather than pen-reared 
(Hawaii Div. Fish and Game 1972). 

The number of individual birds observed with 
eggs or young in the three nene sanctuaries have 
been: 1966, 2; 1967, 32; 1968, 36; 1969, 12; 
1970, 16; 1971, 12. Of these parent birds, 40% 
were banded, indicating they were released pen- 
reared birds; and 60% were unhanded, indicating 
they were either wild or offspring of released 
birds. There is no indication of a new population 
developing from releases on the new sanctuary at 
Kipuka Ainahou, northeast of Mauna Loa be- 
tween Access Road and Saddle Road (Hawaii Div. 
Fish and Game 1972). 

Counts of introduced population on Maui re- 
corded 43, with 2 produced in the wild in August 
1973; 45 were seen in October 1974, with un- 
handed birds shovwng up increasingly. Nests or 
young were found in 1972 and 1974 (Monthly re- 



ports of Hawaii Div. Fish and Game). 

The actual number of nene in the wild is un- 
known!. The "educated guess" is at least 600 wild 
and released birds and their progeny on Hawaii 
and a third as many more (200) on Maui (Wood- 
side in Zimmerman 1974). 

REPRODUCTION 

Clutch size has been reported as 5 to 8 eggs 
(Delacour 1954), although 3 to 5 eggs per clutch 
were recorded for the wild population on Hawaii 
and the captive birds at Pohakuloa. The incuba- 
tion period is 28 to 31 days (Ripley 1965). 

The nesting season may run from October 
through March. February to late May is a flight- 
less period for young and a molting period for 
adults (Ripley 1965). Wild pigs, dogs, cats and 
mongooses may threaten nene eggs and goslings 
and even adult birds during the 4- to 6-week 
flightless period (N. Santos m Zimmerman 1975). 
Young grow slowly, requiring 10 to 12 weeks to 
reach the flying stage; this is nearly twice the time 
required by Canada geese. Adults are completely 
grounded for 4 to 6 weeks by the wing molt; 
thus, part or all of the nene family may be vulner- 
able to ground predators for 3 months or more 
each year (Elder and Woodside 1958). Breeding 
potential is low because they rarely reach sexual 
maturity or lay fertile eggs in captivity until 3 
years of age or more. Six pairs observed in the 
wild produced an average of only 2 young annually 
(Elder and Woodside 1958). 

In the captive flock at Shmbridge, England, 
the sex ratio is equal. Sixty-two percent laid eggs 
at the end of their second year. Ganders between 
their fourth and eighth years have fertilized the 
most eggs. Females laid the most fertile eggs in 
their fourth year. Clutch size at Shmbridge aver- 
aged 3.95 eggs, compared to 3.7 at Pohakuloa, 
Hawaii. In Hawaii, nene lay their first eggs in 
November; in England, about 9 February. Day 
length, rather than temperature, is thought to 
induce breeding. Long days inhibit breeding and 
induce molting (Kier et al. 1967). 

In the captive flock at Pohakuloa, inbreeding 
of original stock was determined to be the cause 
of low fertility; infusion of a new wild bird strain 
and selection of birds for productivity greatly in- 
creased fertility. Fertility increased with age of 
breeders to 75% at 15 years in the Shipman strain 
and to 100% at 8 years in the wild strain. Dates of 



first egg laying at Pohakuloa ranged from 21 Sep- 
tember (1969) to 5 December (1953), and was 
most frequent during the first 2 weeks in Novem- 
ber. Time of nesting in the wild is generally simi- 
lar to that at Pohakuloa. Nene in the wild have 
nested as early as October and as late as April, 
depending on weather conditions. 

Nest sites are usually located in kipukas, 
which tends to isolate nesting pairs. Nests are left 
uncovered until the last egg is laid, then thoroughly 
covered with down, leaves, and twigs before the 
female leaves. The male guards the nest from an 
elevated lookout point a short distance away and 
gives warning at the approach of danger. The fe- 
male leaves the nest when approached during the 
early stages of incubation, but sits tight during 
late stages. Males have never been found incubat- 
ing. Most pairs return to the same kipuka each 
year. 

Released birds will pair with wild mates as well 
as with other released birds, although of 56 pairs 
in the wild, only a few cases of captive reared 
birds mated with other released individuals were 
observed. No evidence has been seen of renesting 
if the nest is deserted; in contrast, renesting is 
common in captivity when the first clutch has 
hatched and young have been removed (Hawaii 
Div. Fish and Game 1972). 

In 1956-57, the breeding area at Keauhou on 
Mauna Loa had at least 6 adult pairs and 1 "un- 
employed" bird; 12 young were produced, for an 
average of 2 young per pair. The one unmated 
bird indicates either that reproduction was poor 
the preceding year or that most nonbreeders 
spend their time elsewhere (Elder and Woodside 
1958). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

In 1949, lUCN placed the Hawaiian Goose on 
its list of the 13 most threatened bird species in 
the world, stimulating the beginning of a restora- 
tion program with $6,000 appropriated by the 
Territory of Hawaii. Captive rearing was started at 
a former Civilian Conservation Corps Camp at 
Pohakuloa, on the saddle between Mauna Loa and 
Mauna Kea, with 4 birds from Herbert C. Ship- 
man's aviary in Hilo, 1 from the Honolulu Zoo, 
and 1 wild bird caught by a hunter's dog. In 
1950, 2 birds were reared at Pohakuloa. In 1951, 
3 were sent from Shipman's aviary to the wild- 
fowl Trust at Slimbridge, England, to start a rear- 
ing project there. In 1958, the U.S. Fish and Wild- 



life Service provided a grant of $15,000 per year, 
later increased to $25,000, for a nene restoration 
project. The nene was officially designated the 
territorial— now State— bird of Hawaii (Ripley 
1965). 

In early attempts at propagation, only 1 in 5 
eggs hatched at either Pohakuloa or Slimbridge. 
After about 10 years of frustratingly poor pro- 
duction, inbreeding was identified as the cause, so 
several wild birds were added to the captive flock. 
The result was to almost triple the yield of fertile 
eggs. Careful selection of goslings for quality 
eliminated a "hairy dowTi" mutant. Old and un- 
productive adults were also culled from stock 
(Zimmerman 1975). 

Through the 1973-74 breeding season, 1,306 
goslings were raised at Pohakuloa and about one- 
third as many at Slimbridge and other sites in 
Europe and North America. Most of these birds 
have been released to the wild— 934 on Hawaii 
and 391 on Maui. The non-Pohakuloa reared 
birds were released on Maui, all before 1971. 
Since 1971, only Pohakuloa-reared birds have 
been released on both islands. Production at 
Pohakuloa has been between 100 and 150 gosHngs 
per year at an average cost of $250.00 per gosling 
(D. Woodside in Zimmerman 1975). 

Birds are released into the wild in a flightless 
stage, mostly as young between 2 and 4 months 
old, but some as molting adults, into predator- 
proof enclosures of habitat having natural food 
available in addition to artificial food and water. 
From there, birds fly over the fence into the wild 
after their flight feathers grow. This is known as 
the "gentle release" method (Hawaii Div. Fish 
and Game 1972). The "nene park" method, pro- 
posed by Peter Scott, where young are hatched 
under incubating nene in large pens in natural 
habitat, was tried, but the Hawaii Div. of Fish and 
Game considered it too costly to build large en- 
closures and assure predator-proof conditions. 
Nene park methods would seem to avoid the pos- 
sibility of imprinting goslings to unnatural condi- 
tions of artificial brooders and pens, and has 
other possible advantages (Pratt 1972). No ade- 
quate testing to show the relative merits of the 
two methods has been done (Zimmerman 1975). 

Propagated stock has been liberated on the 
island of Hawaii in three areas known to be fre- 
quented by nene, starting on 17 March 1960. 
These areas were established as "sanctuaries" by 
cooperative agreement with the land owners. 



They are: Keauhou Sanctuary- 1,2 7 8 ha on the 
eastern flank of Mauna Loa; Keauhou 2 Sanctu- 
ary-514 ha on southeastern slope of Haulalai in 
North Kona; and Kahuku Sanctuary, on the 
southern flank of Mauna Loa. A nene park has 
been built in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on 
the Island of Hawaii with Pohakuloa stock. All 
released birds are marked with bright, color-coded 
plastic leg bands that identify where and when 
liberated (Hawaii Div. Fish and Game 1972). 
Roughly half of the 100 geese released each year 
survive their first year, and at least 25% survive at 
least 7 years. Data are still too sparse to construct 
complete life tables (D. Woodside in Zimmerman 
1975). Older birds, when liberated, appear to 
leave flocks of younger birds and range over a 
wider area. Data are insufficient to determine if 
age at the time of release affects adaptability or 
survival. Some released birds disperse to unknown 
areas, then reappear after 4 or 5 years (Hawaii 
Div. Fish and Game 1972). 

A total of 391 birds have been released in 
Haleakala Crater on Maui within National Park 
boundaries, some every year from 1962 through 
1970 except 1967. The first nests were found 
there in 1968. A total of 38 nests have been 
found and 1 1 young are known to have hatched. 
Five dead goslings were attributed to heavy rains. 
Mature young were found with parents in May 
1971. In January 1972, nene produced the pre- 
vious year were observed paired with Slimbridge- 
reared birds. The tendency of Maui nene is to re- 
turn to the same locality for nesting and some- 
times, to the same site. An exceptional case of 
dispersal was the one bird that flew back to 
Hawaii and appeared at Pohokuloa (Hawaii Div. 
of Fish and Game 1972). No thorough study of 
the Maui population has ever been conducted 
(Berger 1972). 

Predator control has involved the use of 
poison, injected into chunks of meat scattered in 
crevasses frequented by predators. This bait was 
placed throughout the sanctuaries for control of 
dogs, cats, pigs, and mongooses. Additional bait 
was placed in the vicinity of nene nests. Poisoning 
is believed to have been effective, at least against 
rats and dogs. Bait was placed so as to prevent its 
being eaten by Hawaiian hawks, which species 
was observed to harass nene on two occasions, 
but is not believed to be a serious predator because 
of its small number. Since the inception of the 
predator control program on sanctuaries, only 



two known incidents of predation have been ob- 
served: a partly consumed carcass of a gosling, 
presumed to have been the work of a rat, and 3 
adult nene killed by dogs (Hawaii Div. Fish and 
Game 1972). 

Among measures proposed for the manage- 
ment of nene are: preservation of the natural en- 
vironment, including the establishment of perman- 
ent refuges; control of predators and feral grazing 
and browsing animals in breeding areas; continua- 
tion of the captive and "nene park" propagation 
program, if necessary to reinforce propagation or 
extend the population to new range; conduct of 
field studies to follow up on the fate of released 
captive-reared birds and appraise total popula- 
tions (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1973; King 
in press); expansion of education program. More 
specific recommendations of the Hawaii Dept. of 
Land and Natural Resources (1976) were to con- 
tinue the propagation project in 1976 to furnish 
nene for release in South Kona; reduce propaga- 
tion effort to 24 breeders and produce only 1 
brood per pair; continue use of same propagation 
methods; discontinue plucking primaries because 
deformed primaries can result when this is done; 
expand the information and education program. 
At least five nene have been illegally killed within 
the last 2 yeais. In only one instance was the kill- 
ing believed to be malicous; the remainder ap- 
peared to have been through ignorance. 

In addition to 3 nene sanctuaries cooperatively 
managed on private lands, the Division of Fish 
and Game announced the establishment of a State 
sanctucuy, Kipuka Ainahou Nene Sanctuary con- 
sisting of 15,540 ha on the northeast slope of 
Mauna Loa between the Mauna Loa access road 
and Saddle Road, approved 13 March 1974. 

AUTHORITIES 

David H. Woodside 
Hawaii Division of Fish and Game 
1151 Punchbowl Street 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 

Eugene Kridler 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
835 Akumu Street 
Kailua, Hawaii 96734 

Paul H. Baldwin 
Department of Zoology 
Colorado State University 
Fort Collins, Colorado 80521 



William Elder 
108 Stephens Hall 
Columbia, Missouri 65201 

Ernest Kosaka 
Division of Fish and Game 
1179 Punchbowl Street 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Of the 2 to 36 individual nene observed in 
Hawaii sanctuaries with eggs or young each year 
from 1966 to 1971, 40% were banded, indicating 
they were released pen-reared birds, and 60% 
were unhanded, indicating they were either wild 
or the offspring of released birds. Since 90% of 
the birds observed on the summering grounds 
were unhanded, it appears that this group draws 
from a wider breeding population than that re- 
corded in the sanctuaries, where only 60% were 
unhanded. On the other hand, in 2 years with 
high counts in the breeding area (32 in 1967 and 
36 in 1968), 46 and 45 appeared in the summer- 
ing area in 1967 and 1968, respectively, showing 
only a small difference in the two annual counts. 
This would seem to indicate that most of the 
breeding population of the three sanctuaries 
moves to the Puu Oo summer area. On the other 
hand, with over 100 birds observed in the sum- 
mering area in 2 different years, it would appear 
that probably less than half of the total popula- 
tion is observed in either the breeding season or 
the summer counts in most years. In any case, 
with data so far presented for Hawaii and Maui, 
the "educated guess' of 600 for the two islands 
(Zimmerman 1974) appears far too optimistic 
and points up the need to establish much more 
detailed investigation of the population as a pri- 
mary objective of the nene restoration project in 
the future. 

It is hoped that a census technique, using 
transects and census blocks, will be developed by 
1980. If this approach proves valid in the sanctu- 
aries, a method for censusing the entire nene 
range will be devised. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Baldwin, P. H. 1945. The Hawaiian Goose, its 
distributiou and reduction in numbers. Con- 
dor 47:27-37. 



Baldwin, P. H. 1947. Food of the Hawaiian Goose. 
Condor 49:108-120. 

Berger, A. 1972. Hawaiian birdlife. Honolulu, 
Univ. of Hawaii Press, p. 75. 

Berger, A. 1972a. Hawaiian Birds. 1972. Wilson 
Bull. 84:212-222. 

Delacour, J. 1954. The waterfowl of the world. 
Vol. 1. London, Country Life Limited. 

Elder, W. H. 1958. Nene in Hawaii. Preliminary 
report on the Nene in Hawaii. Wildfowl Trust. 
Ninth Annual report. 112-117. 

Elder, W. and D. Woodside. 1958. Biology and 
management of the Hawaiian Goose. Trans. 
23rd N. Amer. Wildlife Conf. p. 206. 

Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Re- 
sources (contributed by Ronald L. Walker). 
1976. Nene restoration project, 1 July 1972- 
30 June 1975. Elepaio 36(9):104-108. 

Hawaii Division of Fish and Game. 1972. A re- 
port of the nene restoration program. Unpub- 
lished administrative report of Hawaii Div. 
Fish amd Game. 

Kier, J. 1975. Returning the Hawaiian Goose to 
the wild, pp. 115-123, in Breeding endangered 
species in captivity, R. D. Martin ed. London, 
New York, San Francisco, Academic Press. 

Kier, J., H. S. Roberts and R. Warren. 1967. The 
Hawaiian Goose in Captivity, unpub. ms. 

King, W. In press. (Revised) Red data book Vol. 
2 - Aves. Internationa] Union for the Conserv- 
ation of Nature and Natural Resources, Sur- 
vival Service, Morges, Switzerland. 

Miller, A. H. 1937. Structural modifications in 
the Hawaiian Goose [Nesochen sandvicensis). 
A study in adaptive evolution. Univ. Cali- 
fornia Press 42:1-80. 

Pratt, J. 1972. Research study proposal for inves- 
tigation of behavior of the Hawaiian Goose 
under the "Nene park" plan. Elepaio 33:33- 
34. 

Ripley, S. D. 1965. Saving the Nene, World's rarest 
goose. Nat. Geog. Nov. 1965:745-754. 

Schwartz, C. W. and E. Schwartz. 1948. An eco- 
logical survey of the game birds in the 
Hawiian Islands with recommendations for 
management. Board of Commissioners of 



Agric. and Forestry, Territory of Hawaii, pp. 
273-275. 

Scott, P. A. 1962. A project for a Nene park in 
Hawaii. Elepaio 22:80-81. 

Smith, J. D. 1952. The Hawaiian Goose (Nene) 
restoration program. J. Wildl. Mgmt. 16:1-9. 

State of Hawaii Department of Game and Natural 
Resources. 1976. Nene restoration project. 1 
July 1972-30 Jan. 1975. Elepaio 36:104-108. 



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened 
Wildlife of the United States. Resource Publi- 
cation 114, U.S. Department of Interior, 
G.P.O. 

Woodside, D. H. 1956. Wild Nene on Hawaii. 
Elepaio 16:67-68. 

Zimmerman, D. R. 1974. Return of the nene. 
Animal Kingdom. May, June, July 1974. 

Zimmerman, D. R. 1975. To save a bird in peril, 
Chap. 5. New York Coward, McCann & 
Geoghegan. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.27 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

COLUMBIAN WHITE TAILED DEER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubhc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of PLndangercd Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.27 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

COLUMBIAN WHITE TAILED DEER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-SIidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




COLUMBIAN WHITE-TAILED DEER 

Odocoileus virginianus leucurus [Douglas] 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Artiodactyla 

FAMILY Cervidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Pacific white-tailed deer, 

tideland deer, cotton-tail deer 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 8 Nov. 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal . . .Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967). 

States Endangered: Oregon, Washington. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The Columbian white-tailed deer was once 
abundant in the low and moist prairie habitat of 
the Willamette River Valley of Oregon and north- 
ward across the Columbia River into the river 
valleys of southern Washington (Cowan 1936, 
Gavin 1979). Supression of burning by Indians 
and conversion of land for agricultural uses have 
eliminated the native grass-herb association upon 
which the deer depended. Drainage of beaver 
ponds and their accompanying microenvironment 
may also have eliminated essential habitat (Gavin 
1978). These deer were also shot for food and 
sport until early in this century, by which time 
they were extirpated from most of their former 
range. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

This subspecies is a small-sized white-tailed 
deer, with a greyish-brown tail distinguishing it 
from the race of yellow-tailed deer (O. v. ochrou- 
rus) of eastern Washington (Cowan 1936). The 
skull is smaller in all measurements, and there is 
little possibility of confusion with neighboring 
subspecies when adult specimens are compared 
(Cowan 1936). The posterior margin of the palate 
is even with or extending little farther (2 mm) 
than the posterior end of the third upper molar. 
Antlers are exceptionally small for northern races 
of the white-tailed deer. 

RANGE 

It occurs in three widely separated groups of 
relict populations. The first is found primarily 
within the boundaries of the Columbian White- 
Tailed Deer National Wildlife Refuge, which con- 
sists of several islands and the adjacent mainland 
near the mouth of the Columbia River. These 
deer are also found on private land in the lower 
Columbia River area: Puget Island, Washington, 
Wallace Island, Oregon, and near Westport, Ore- 
gon. 

A search conducted by the Washington De- 
partment of Game did not locate any Columbian 
white-tailed deer between these populations and 
Portland, Oregon, to the east. Recently, Colum- 
bian white-tailed deer were found at a second 
Columbia River area near Camas and Washougel, 
Clark County, Washington (T. A. Gavin, pers. 
comm.). A third group of populations occur in 
the foothilUs near Roseburg, Oregon, some 320 
km (200 mi) to the south. 

RANGE MAP 

Location of known populations is indicated 
on the accompanying map (after Gavin in press). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Washington . . .Wahkiakum, Clark 

Oregon Clatsop, Columbia, Douglas, 

Multnomah 

HABITAT 

The Columbia River herd prefers low-lying 
islands and bottomlands. Much habitat has been 
converted to pasture and is enclosed within dikes 



or levees. Native trees and shrubs, occuring in 
patches, are composed mostly of Sitka spruce 
{Picea sitchensis), dogwood (Cornus stolonifera) , 
Cottonwood {Populus trichocarpa), red alder 
(Alnus rubra), and willow (Salix) (Gavin 1979). 
Common pasture grasses and forbs include 
Festuca, Dactylus, Trifolium, Ranunculus, and 
Lolium. Carex and /uncus are found in wet areas. 
Common shrubs are Rubus, Rosa, Sambucus, and 
Symphoricarpos (Gavin 1979). Forest cover in 
the refuge areas has been reduced from 70% in 
1939 to 17% in 1972 and the pasture lands are 
heavily used by the Columbian white-tailed deer 
(Suring 1974). The deer are less abundant on 
islands (e.g.. Price and Hunting Islands) that are 
primarily brushy and heavily wooded (Gavin 
1978). 

The Roseburg herd is found from river bot- 
toms into rolling hills covered by oak woodland. 
Major plants include Quercus garryana. Arbutus 
menziesii, Acer macrophyllum, Fraxinus latifolia, 
and the shrubs Rosa and Symphoricarpos. 
Annucd grasses are interspersed among trees 
(Gavin in press). Much habitat is privately owned 
and used for sheep ranching. 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The Columbian white-tailed deer is unusual in 
its tendency to feed almost exclusively on herba- 
ceous vegetation (grasses and forbs). Scheffer 
(1940) reported finding only grass in a sample of 
four stomachs, and Gavin (in press) found only 
herbaceous material in the contents of 33 stom- 
achs. Food plants include Ranunculus, Trifolium, 
Alopecurus, and Phalris. There is some browsing 
in the spring on twigs of Cornus, Rubus, Sambu- 
cus, Lonicera, Symphoricarpos, and Fraxinus. Of 
all the feeding deer observed by Suring (1974) 
99% were grazing. These deer appear to prefer 
feeding on pasture where grasses and forbs are 
kept short and in a palatable stage of growth by 
cattle grazing (Gavin in press). However, they 
avoid such areas when cattle are actually present 
(Suring 1974). Suring (1974) suggests there is 
more feeding during the night than during day- 
light hours, and that the percentage of time spent 
feeding varies seasonally, with the greatest per- 
centage of active time (90%) in summer devoted 
to feeding. 




MILES 



The locations of known populations of Columbian white-tailed deer. 



The University of Washington is conducting a 
detailed study of the food habits of this deer, 
including food availability and plant community 
characteristics on the refuge. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Resting deer seek cover in woodlands or 
brushy areas adjacent to feeding pastures (Suring 
1974). The physiognomy of cover seems more 
important than the particular species composi- 
tion. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Scheffer (1940) reports that these deer are 
seen to emerge from v^^illow thickets about day- 
break to begin feeding activities. They are also 
reported to bed down in mint or hay fields 
(Scheffer 1940). Fawns are sometimes discovered 
resting in high grass of unmowed pastures in mid- 
summer (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1977). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

A relatively solitary animal, the average group 
size is two to three individuals (Suring 1974). 
The largest aggregations seen by Suring (1974) 
occurred in winter and usually did not exceed 10 
animals. Intraspecific interactions are relatively 
infrequent in this deer, and then they are of low 
intensity (only 17% of all male-male conflicts 
result in physical contact, as opposed to 42% in 
Michigan whitetails) (Suring 1974). Most of the 
high-intensity threat actions observed were during 
the rut. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Juxtaposition of grazing and cover areas 
seems to be critical for this deer. Large expanses 
of grazing land, providing ample forage, are 
unused unless there is cover nearby. Tenasillahee 
Island supports a low density of whitetails, pri- 
marily because the available cover is concentrated 
around the perimeter of the island (Gavin in 
press). Diking of Columbia River islands is essen- 
tial to prevent mass mortality, especially to 
fawns, during high water (Scheffer 1940, Gavin 
1978) and to provide grazing habitat. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The entire lower Columbia River population 
was estimated to number 300 to 400 individuals, 
with the refuge population exhibiting a very 
stable trend from 1972 to 1977 (Gavin 1979). 
The refuge mainland population ranged from a 
total of 164 to 215 deer during those years, or 
3.67 to 4.82 deer per ha (Gavin 1979). Densities 
on adjacent islands, both refuge-owned and pri- 
vate, were much lower (e.g., about 1 deer per 100 
ha on Puget Island, a private island). The sex 
ratio of yearling and adult deer on the refuge was 
quite stable from 1972 to 1977 at about three fe- 
males per male (Suring 1974, Gavin 1979). Mean 
home range size was 103.6 ha (N=18) and 108.6 
ha (N=7) for adult females and adult males, re- 
spectively (Gavin 1979). 

All sources agreed that this population has 
probably been at carrying capacity for some time. 
Stability of population size has been enforced by 
low fawn recruitment and moderate adult mortal- 
ity. Fawn mortality is very high (69% to 80%) 
during the summer, and adult mortality is often 
associated with bacterial infections and parasites 
(Gavin 1979). 

Population density varies greatly among parts 
of the refuge, with some refuge islands notably 
underpopulated (e.g., Tenasillahee Island). Small 
populations of whitetails are in danger of extinc- 
tion by chance catastrophic events, such as 
flooding of the Columbia River. Little informa- 
tion is available for the Roseburg herd, since most 
of the habitat is on private land and research was 
only recently begun on these deer. Rough esti- 
mates indicated there might be 1,900 whitetails 
in Douglas County (Gavin in press). There is no 
indication that recent hunting has been detrimen- 
tal to the deer. On the other hand, sheep ranchers' 
clearing of brushy cover used by deer is contin- 
uing at a high rate, and this could be very dam- 
aging. 

REPRODUCTION 

Rutting begins during the first week of No- 
vember and reaches its peak later in the month 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1977). Circum- 
stantial evidence indicates that some deer are re- 
productively active through March (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1977). No specific information is 



available on gestation period, but researchers have 
assumed it is similar to that of the eastern white- 
tail (210 days). In November of 1972, 1974, and 
1975, the fawn/doe ratio was 35, 60, and 37 per 
100, respectively Many does are observed without 
fawns, and there are few reports of twins, both of 
which further indicate a low survival rate for 
fawns in the Columbia River herd, presumably 
due to poor conditions of individuals in a popula- 
tion at or near carrying capacity (Suring 1974). 
Most births occur around the second week of 
June. Female fawns are not known to breed their 
first year. There is no information available on 
the population dynamics of the Roseburg herd. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Habitat within the Columbian White-Tailed 
Deer National Wildlife Refuge is currently pro- 
tected, and efforts should be directed toward its 
improvement. Originally an animal of wet prairies, 
riparian habitat, and river bottoms, the deer on 
the refuge feed on grazed and mowed pasture. 
Maintaining pasture land in favorable condition 
for deer is a primary task of refuge personnel. 
Habitat management on Tenasillahee Island to 
produce more dispersed cover would increase the 
carrying capacity of this part of the refuge (Gavin 
in press). Reducing the time spent by cattle in 
favorable areas might increase their utilization by 
deer (Suring 1974). But Gavin (pers. comm.) and 
Suring and Vohs (1979) pointed out that cattle 
grazing is a benefit in maintaining herbaceous 
vegetation on the pastures in a short, actively 
growing state. Timing of mowing should be tied 
to the reproductive cycle, so as to avoid fawn 
mortality (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1977). 
Although the present density of deer appears to 
have no adverse effect on the habitat (T. A. Gavin 
pers. comm.), as Suring (1974) concludes, 'a 
healthy population (one able to weather times of 
stress) is to be desired, not one of maximum den- 
sity.' Surplus animals should be used to reestab- 
lish the species in other areas of its former range 
that can be identified as favorable habitat (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 1977). 

These deer are responsible for some agricul- 
tural damage (Scheffer 1940, U.S. Fish and Wild- 
life Service 1977). Their current protected status 
engenders reluctance on the part of local manage- 
ment and agricultural agencies to establish satel- 
lite herds, due to the difficulty in controlling 



damage to crops and orchards (U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1977). The policy concerning 
management of surplus animals should be reeval- 
uated for species demonstrated to have a high 
intrinsic rate of increase. Loss of habitat, rather 
than mortality, seems to be the primary reason 
for the decline of such species. For example, it 
has been demonstrated that reestablished herds of 
Tule elk can grow rapidly (McCullough 1969). 
Since conservation of the Columbian white-tailed 
deer required maintenance of a minimum of five 
viable subpopulations (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser- 
vice 1977), that goal should not be subverted by 
resistance stemming from technical restrictions 
placed on control of new populations. 

The Roseburg herd poses special management 
problems, initially because so few data are avail- 
able on its population size and dynamics. Studies 
are urgently needed to determine these data prior 
to developing a management program. Habitat 
preservation is needed for this herd. Urbanization 
and clearing are ongoing problems. The primary 
range of this herd is closed to hunting. Deer dam- 
age to ornamentals and gardens is an increasingly 
serious problem. 

There have been repeated allegations that the 
white-tailed deer of the Roseburg herd interbreed 
occasionally with the sympatric black-tailed deer 
(Gavin in press, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
1977). But in this area deer can usually be easily 
assigned to one species or the other by field 
observations (Gavin, personal communication). 
Evidence indicates that hybridization between 
these two species is possible in captive animals 
(Gavin in press) and probably occurs in the wild. 

The Washington Department of Game is con- 
ducting a study of the Columbia River islands as 
potential release sites for this species. A recovery 
team has been established and has drafted a 
recovery plan. 

AUTHORITIES 

Thomas A. Gavin 

Department of Ecology, Fisheries and Wildlife 

Oklahoma State University 

Stillwater, Oklahoma 74074 

E. Charles Meslow 
Oregon Cooperative Research Unit 
Oregon State University 
CorvaHis, Oregon 97331 



Winston Smith 

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife 
Oregon State University 
Corvallis, Oregon 97331 

Fred Martinsen 

Columbia White-Tailed Deer Recovery 

Team (Leader) 
Washington Department of Game 
600 North Capitol Way 
Olympia, Washington 98501 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Most of our information about this deer is 
from studies made on the Columbia River herd. 
Since the Roseburg herd occupies different habi- 
tat, generalization about the biology and manage- 
ment of this deer should be extrapolated to the 
Roseburg herd with caution. 

LITERATURE CITED /SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bailey, V. 1936. The mammals and life zones of 
Oregon. North Am. Fauna 55:1-416. 

Columbia White-Tailed Deer Recovery Team. 
1977. Columbian white-tailed deer ref overy 
plan. Draft Rep. 

Cowen, I. McTaggert. 1936. Distribution and 
variation in deer (genus Odocoileus) of the 
Pacific coastal region of North America. Calif. 
Fish and Game 22:155-246. 

Dalquist, W. W. 1948. Mammals of Washington. 
Univ. Kans. Pubis. Mus. Nat. Hist. 2:1 -444. 



Gavin, T. A. 1978. Status of Columbian white- 
tailed deer [Odocoileus Virginianus leucurus): 
some quantitative uses of biogeographic data, 
pp. 185-202 in Threatened Deer. lUCN, 
Merges, Switzerland. 434 pp. 



. 1979. Population ecology of the Colum- 
bian white-tailed deer. Ph.D. dissertation. 
Oregon State Univ. Corvallis, Oregon 149 pp. 



In press. The Columbian white-tailed 
in Halls, L. K. (ed). The Ecology and 



deer. 



Management of White-Tailed Deer. The Stack- 
pole Co., Harrisburg, Pa. 

McCullough, D. R. 1969. The tule elk. Its history, 
behavior, and ecology. Univ Calif. Publ. Zool. 
88:1-209. 

Scheffer, V. B. 1940. A newly located herd of 
Pacific white-tailed deer. J. Mamm. 21: 
271-282. 

Suring, L. H. 1974. Habitat use and activity 
patterns of the Columbian white-tailed deer 
along the lower Columbia River. Unpubl. 
M. S. thesis, Oregon State Univ. 

Suring, L. H. and P. A. Vohs, Jr. 1979. Habitat 
use by Columbian white-tailed deer. J. Wildl. 
Manage. 43:610-619. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED /UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

1300 Blue Spruce Drive 

Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.28 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the F.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal F,cosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Scr\ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.28 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Lziboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




SALT MARSH HARVEST MOUSE 

Reithrodontomys raviventris Dixon 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Rodentia 

FAMILY Cricetidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Red-bellied harvest mouse, 

Petaluma marsh harvest mouse 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Endangered (35 FR 16047, 13 Oct 
1970). 

States Endangered: California 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Distribution of the salt-marsh harvest mouse 
is Hmited to native salt marsh habitat bordering 
bays, estuaries, and rivers of the San Francisco 
Bay region. Destruction of salt marsh habitat by 
land filling and diking has greatly reduced and 
fragmented the habitat of this species (Leach 
1976,Shellhammer 1977). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

This species is distinguished from the western 
harvest mouse {Reithrodontomys megaiotis) by 
darker coloration on the back (especially in the 
southern subspecies), many hairs being tipped 
with black, especially mid-dorsally. Underparts 
are white to fulvous; hairs at the anterior base of 



the ear often form an ochraceous tuft. Hind feet 
and tail are usually very dark. The tip of the tail is 
blunt as opposed to pointed in R. megalotis, and 
the thickness of the tail is greater (2.1 mm) 20 
mm distal from the base (Fisler 1965:14). The 
skull is longer than in R. megalotis (Dixon 1908, 
1909; Howell 1914; Hall and Kelson 1959). 

RANGE 

R. raviventris is restricted to salt and brackish 
marshes bordering south San Francisco, San 
Pablo, and Suisun Bays. It is found on both sides 
of the Golden Gate and the Sacramento River. 
Two subspecies have been described, which differ 
in some aspects of morphology, coloration, and 
behavior (Fisler 1965). The easternmost occur- 
rence of the species is in the vicinity of Antioch, 
eastern Contra Costa County, and the extreme 
western occurrence is in Sacramento County. A 
marginal record from Grand Island, 2 miles north 
of Knight's Landing, Solano County (Hall and 
Kelson 1959) is actually a capture of/?, megalotis 
(Fisler 1965). 

RANGE MAP 

Distribution is shown on the accompanying 
map (Fisler 1965, Shellhammer, 1977). To make 
the locations of populations visible on the map, 
the width of the coastal strip occupied by the 
mice has been exaggerated. Often the distribution 
is limited to a linear strip of marsh within a few 
hundred feet of the coast. 



STATES/COUNTIES 



California 



HABITAT 



Sonoma, Solano, Marin, Contra 
Costa, San Mateo, Alameda, Santa 
Clara, Sacramento, Napa. 



This mouse is restricted to salt and brackish 
marshes where plants provide a dense mat of 
cover, ideally 0.2 to 1.0 m high, and a network of 
spaces on the ground (Hooper 1944, Wondolleck 
et al. 1976). Pickleweed {Salicornia) is the most 
important indicator species; other plants typical 
of R. raviventris habitat are Atriplex semibaccata, 
A. patula, Grindelia cunifolia, Spartina, and 
Distichlis. 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The salt marsh harvest mouse's diet is domi- 
nated by green vegetation. It can eat salt grass 
(Distichlis) and pickleweed (Salicornia), as well 
as some seeds. Seasonal shifts in diet are influ- 
enced by available food plants: much more green 
vegetation is eaten in winter (Fisler 1965). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

It is restricted to areas with considerable 
cover, mostly in the form of halophytic vegeta- 
tion, and does not venture into open areas, even a 
few feet from vegetation (Fisler 1965, Zetterquist 
1977). Since most of its habitat is within the 
range of the extreme high winter tides, high 
ground from which to escape the rising water is a 
necessity. The lower high tides of summer are 
avoided by climbing into the higher vegetation of 
the marsh or by swimming to floating objects 
(Fisler 1965). Fills and habitat alteration along 
the upper edge of marshes that have no cover are 
unsuitable as refugia. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The subspecies R. r. halicoetes builds a nest of 
dry grasses or sedges, usually located on the 
ground or in a hummock of vegetation. Nests are 
often used by several individuals, and are aban- 
doned when fouled (Fisler 1965). Reithrodonto- 
mys r. raviventris is not known to build nests, but 
merely huddles in an accumulation of vegetation 
or nesting material (Fisler 1965). It is also reported 
to use abandoned nests of other species as tempo- 
rary shelters, including those of song sparrows 
Qohnston 1956). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. Its secretive habits render field 
observation difficult. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMNTS 

Fisler (1965) stressed the behavioral adapta- 
tions in R. raviventris that restrict it to areas of 
high cover: a placid temperament and loss of the 
frenetic escape behavior typical of R. megalotis. 
R. raviventris is strongly dependent on the 
presence of densely vegetated salt marsh habitat 
for survival. 




°l 




CHV^ l<==:^x 






o 

"o 
a 

n 


i 




1 


1 

miles 


10 

i 



Range of the salt marsh harvest mouse. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

It occurs throughout the salt marshes of the 
San Francisco Bay area, except for very small 
marshes and those extensively modified by 
human activity (Fisler 1968). The southern sub- 
species (R. r. raviventris) seems the most immedi- 
ately threatened, for its range includes marshes 
surrounded by heavily populated areas. It has 
already been eliminated from the Corte Madera 
marshes in Marin County (Fisler, 1965). 

Density estimates are unavailable for this spe- 
cies, partly because of the rapidly changing pat- 
tern of marsh occupation by harvest mouse popu- 
lations. The few remaining large marshes support 
moderately high populations (Schaub 1971), 
especially in San Pablo and Suisun Bays. The rate 
of population turnover is high; few mice reach the 
age of 12 months, and most survive less than 6 
months (Fisler 1971, Wondolleck et al. 1976). 

The main influence on the decreasing num- 
bers of these mice is habitat destruction rather 
than any direct removal or direct mortality result- 
ing from human activities. Seasonal changes in 
population distribution occur in these mice. Dur- 
ing the winter months there is a movement 
toward the upper edge of the marsh to escape the 
highest tides, whereas the population spreads 
throughout the marsh during the summer. In 
some high tides, the populations move to higher 
ground. 

REPRODUCTION 

Some males are reproductively active during 
most of the year, with the low point in the winter 
months. The season for pregnancy and lactation 
in females is March through November (Fisler 
1965). Females may produce only one litter per 
year in the field (Fisler 1965). Average litter size 
is 3.7 in R. r. raviventris and 4.2 in R. r. halico- 
etes (Fisler 1965). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

This small, secretive mouse is little noticed by 
humans. It poses no economic problems. Habitat 
protection is the critical factor in its management. 
The dense cover available in the preferred salt 
marsh habitat would seem to effectively protect 
the species from predation by human commensals 
during most of the yearly cycle. Occasionally, 



mice forced onto levees during high tides may be 
captured by feral cats and birds of prey. Increas- 
ing pressure for land in the San Francisco Bay 
area has resulted in outright destruction of much 
of the original range of this species. Its continued 
survival depends directly on the persistence of the 
remaining salt-marsh habitat. 

AUTHORITIES 

George F. Fisler 

Department of Biology 

California State University, Northridge 

Northridge, California 91330 

Howard S. Shellhammer 
Department of Biological Sciences 
San Jose State University 
San Jose, California 95192 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The two subspecies of this mouse appear to 
have evolved different physiological and genetic 
traits and they may be considered incipient spe- 
cies (Fisler 1965, Shellhammer 1967, 1977). 
While some populations of the northern subspe- 
cies (R, r. halicoetes) appear to occupy secure 
habitat, others are restricted to small areas. The 
remaining populations of the southern subspecies 
are all restricted to small refugia of native salt 
marsh and need careful management. 

Habitat occupied by the salt marsh harvest 
mouse is much diminished and fragmented from 
its original condtion. Remaining populations are 
isolated genetically, living on natural islands in a 
sea of human-altered land. Under such circum- 
stances, populations can be predicted to become 
extinct (McArthur and Wilson 1967). Since these 
mice avoid areas without cover, a single levee or 
wide space may effectively isolate two adjoining 
marshes, reducing the effective genetic pool. At- 
tention should be given to the maintenance of 
larger refugia of continuous salt-marsh habitat, 
rather than equal areas of habitat dissected by 
access roads, walkways, or barren ground. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Dixon, J. 1908. A new harvest mouse from the 
salt marshes of San Francisco Bay, California. 
Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 21:197-198. 



. 1909. A new harvest mouse from Peta- 

luma, California. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 
5:271-273. 

Fisler, G. F. 1963. Effects of salt water on food 
and water consumption and weight of harvest 
mice. Ecology 44:604-606. 

-. 1965. Adaptations and speciation in har- 



vest mice of the marshes of San Francisco 
Bay. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 77:1-108. 

1968. Adaptations in movement patterns 
._ • . _r._i» u 1 t„ D..1I c„ 



of two species of salt-marsh rodents. Bull. So. 
Calif. Acad. Sci. 67:96-103. 

. 1969. Mammalian organizational systems. 



Contrib. Sci., Los Angeles County Mus. 167: 
1-32. 

1971. Age structure and sex ratio in 



populations of Reithrodontomys . ] . Mammal. 
52; 653-662. 

Grinnell, J. 1933. Review of the recent mammal 
fauna of California. Univ. Calif. Publ. Zool. 
40:71-234. 

Hadaway, H. C, and J. R. Newman. 1971. Differ- 
ential responses of five species of salt marsh 
mammals to innundation. J. Mammal. j2: 
818-820. 

Haines, H. 1964. Salt tolerance and water require- 
ments in the salt-marsh harvest mouse. 
Physiol. Zool. 37:266-272, 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mammals 
of North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press Co., 
New York. 1,083 pp. 

Hooper, E. T. 1944. San Francisco Bay as a factor 
influencing speciation in rodents. Misc. Publ. 
Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan 59: 1-89. 

Howell, A. H. 1914. Revision of the American 
harvest mice (Genus Reithrodontomys). No. 
Am. Fauna 36:1-97. 



Leach, H. R. 1976. Salt marsh harvest mouse 
[Reithrodontomys raviventris) . Pages 4-5 in 
At the crossroads: a report on California's en- 
dangered and rare fish and wildlife. Calif. 
Dep. Fish Game Biannual Rep. 103 pp. 

Johnston, R. F. 1956. Population structure in salt 
marsh song sparrows. Part I. Environment and 
annual cycle. Condor 58:24-44. 

1957. Adaptation of salt marsh mam- 



mals to high tides. J. Mammal. 38:529-531, 

MacArthur, R. H., and E. O. Wilson. 1967. The 
theory of island biogeography. Princeton 
Univ. Press, Princeton. 203 pp. 

Rice, V. C. 1974. The population ecology of the 
salt marsh harvest mouse at Triangular Marsh. 
M.A. Thesis, San Jose State Univ., San Jose, 
Cahf. 128 pp. 

Schaub, D. B. 1971. Salt marsh harvest mouse 
survey, 1971. Calif. Dep. Fish Game, Spec. 
Wildl. Invest. Final Rep. 11 pp. 

Shellhammer, H. S. 1967. Cytotaxonomic studies 
of the harvest mice of the San Francisco Bay 
region. J. Mammal. 48:549-556. 

Wondolleck, J. T., W. Zolan, and G. L. Stevens. 
1976. A population study of the harvest mice 
[Reithrodontomys raviventris Dixon) in the 
Palo Alto Baylands salt marsh. Wasmann J. 
Biol. 34:52-64. 

Zetterquist, D. K. 1977. The salt marsh harvest 
mouse [Reithrodontomys reviventris) in mar- 
ginal habitats. Wasmann J. Biol. 35:68-76. 

PREPARED/UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
1300 Blue Spruce Drive 
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.29 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

PUERTO RICAN PARROT 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



prefacp: 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as ainendcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of F.nginccrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report shiiuld be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.29 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 



PUERTO RICAN PARROT 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Shdell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PUERTO RICAN PARROT 

Amazona vittata (Boddaert) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Psittaciformes 

FAMILY Psittacidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Puerto Rican Amazon (Forshaw 

1973); Cotorra de Puerto Rico (Leopold 
1963); Cotorra Puertorriquena (Rules and 



regulations concerning wildlife and hunt- 
ing in Commonwealth of Puerto Rico). 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Update To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (42 FR 36426, 14 July 
1977). Listed Appendix I, Convention 
on International Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (42 
FR 10478, 22 February 1977). 



States: Protected against hunting, killing, or 
capture permanently by Rules and 
Regulations concerning the Wildlife and 
Hunting in the Commonwealth of 
Puerto Rico, 1972, Article 8a. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Deforestation, widespread hunting, and taking 
of parrots for pets almost certainly brought about 
the original decline of this species. Now that the 
population is so small, all adverse pressures are 
very serious. Severe hurricanes in 1928 and 1932 
decimated the population, probably by destruc- 
tion of fruit (Noel Snyder pers. comm.). Inter- 
actions between parrots and red-tailed hawks, 
broad-winged hawks, and sharp-shinned hawks 
have been seen (Cameron Kepler in Forshaw 
1973). The pearly-eyed thrasher {Margarops fus- 
cata), which competes with parrots for nesting 
sites and also preys on eggs and chicks, has be- 
come much more abundant and widespread in re- 
cent years (Nathan Leopold 1968 pers. comm.; 
Cameron Kepler in Forshaw 1973). Pearly-eyed 
thrashers and red-tailed hawks are believed to be 
the most serious predators; rats and screech owls 
are not considered serious (Noel Snyder pers. 
comm.). 

A critical shortage of nesting holes in hollow 
trees combined with fierce competition from the 
exploding population of pearly-eyed thrashers 
continue to threaten parrots. lUegcil hunting and 
nest robberies by humans are still threats (Noel 
Snyder pers. comm.). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

65' 

DESCRIPTION 

The adult parrot is about 29 cm long, with 
predominantly green plumage, paler and more 

yellowish on underparts; feathers are edged with 
dusky black, p2U"ticularly on head and neck ; lores 
and frontal band are red; there is a distinct white 
eye ring; under tail coverts are yellowish-green; 
feathers of abdomen are sometimes slightly tinged 
with dull red; primary-coverts and primaries axe 
dark blue; outer webs of outermost secondaries 
are blue narrowly edged with dull green; under 
wing-coverts are green; undersides of flight fea- 
thers are bluish-green; tail is green narrowly tipped 



with yellowish-green, bases of lateral feathers are 
marked with red on inner webs and outermost 
feathers are edged with blue; bill is yellowish horn; 
iris is brown; legs are yellowish brown. Immatures 
^u■e similar to adults (Forshaw 1973). 

The extinct subspecies A. v. gracilipes of 
nearby Culebralsland was very similar, but smaller 
and with smaller, more slender feet (Forshaw 
1973). 

Measurements. A. v. vittata: (8 males) wing 
182-193 mm (av. 188.5 mm); taU 90-103 (96.9); 
exposed cuhnen 27-30 (28.5);tarsus 21-24 (22.1); 
(5 females) wing 178-196 (av. 185.6 mm); tail 93- 
104 (98.2); exposed cuhnen 27-28 (27.2); tarsus 
22-24 (23.0). A. v. gracilipes: (2 males) wing 169- 
173 (av. 171.0 mm); taU 93-95 (94.0); exposed 
culmen 26 (26.0); tarsus 20-21 (20.5); (1 female) 
wing 175 mm; tail 100; exposed culmen 23; tar- 
sus 20 (Forshaw 1973). 

RANGE 

The present range is confined to Puerto Rico; 
it formerly included nearby Culebra, Vieques and 
Mona Islands. This parrot was last recorded on 
Culebra Island in 1899; it disappeared from other 
offshore islands of Puerto Rico earlier. 

It has not been recorded from the mangrove 
swamp at the mouth of the Mameyes River since 
Wetmore (1927) found it there. It was known to 
be in Guanjataca Forest at medium altitudes up 
to 1910, in Rio Abaja Forest also at medium 
elevations up to 1920's, and in Carite Forest at 
high elevations up until the 1930's. It is now 
virtually confined to Luguillo National Forest, 
which comprises 11,200 ha of relatively high- 
elevation tropical rainforest in extreme eastern 
Puerto Rico (Noel Snyder pers. comm.). 

RANGE MAP 

The range of the parrot has included most 
areas of Luguillo Forest above 400 m elevation. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. 

HABITAT 

Mature wet forests with high rainfall between 
about 400 and 800 m elevation are required by 
this species. It is now confined in breeding areas 
having the largest number of old Colorado trees, 




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which supply nesting cavities. It formerly fre- 
quented more diversified habitat, particularly at 
lower elevations (Noel Snyder pers. comm.). 
Dwarf forest at higher elevations and second 
growth lowland forest are not used by parrots 
(Cameron Kepler in lit. 8 Feb. 1971). 

Parrots occupy the Tabonuco, Sierra Palm, 
and Colorado forest types of Wadsworth (1952). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Rodriguez-Vidal (1959) lists more than 50 
species of fruiting plants used by parrots. Most 
commonly used was sierra palm {Prestoea mon- 
tana [Euterpe geobosa] ) with a long fruiting pe- 
riod from November tojune (chiefly Feb. through 
March). Other important food plants were bejuco 
de rana vine {Marcgravia sintenisii), camasey de 
paloma [Miconia sintenisii), tabonuco {Dacryodes 
excelsa), cabeilo {Casearia guianensis), guara 
[Cupania triquetra) and hueso bianco (Mayepea 
domingensis) trees. Kepler (1970) has seen par- 
rots extracting nectar from fleshy bracts below 
flower clusters on marcgravia vines and noted 
that, in some areas parrots feed more heavily on 
Clusia krugiana than any other tree. 

Rodriguez-Vidal (1959) also stressed the im- 
portance of the tabonuco tree in providing fruit 
during August to November because parrot food 
is scarce during that period of heavy rains. How- 
ever the largest flocks he counted (200) were 
feeding on sierra palm, bejuco de rana and cama- 
sey de paloma (with no mention of tabonuco); on 
8 November 1953 and 31 October 1954, both at 
Valle Hicaco on El Yunque. He never observed 
parrots feeding on the ground. They fed chiefly 
on pericarps of wild fruits but silso on flowers 
and tender shoots. If fruit is in clusters, parrots 
cut off the entire small supporting branch, held it 
in one foot, and picked off ripe fruit, letting un- 
ripe fruit fall to ground. They fed in groups and 
if frightened while eating would fly off, some 
carrying one piece or clusters of fruit in their bills. 
He did not see any parrots fighting over food. 
Parrots move about widely to feed especially be- 
tween September and December when tabonuco 
is in fruit. They are highly regular in their daily 
flights of from 1 to 5 km to and from food sources 
and night roosts (Kepler 1973). Kepler (1970) 
points out the possibility that an adequate supply 
of their essential foods is not found within the 



Forest Reserve, accounting for reported flights 
from the forest during the summer months. They 
forage in semi-social groups. The normal foraging 
range of a nesting pair is about 1.6 km, but some- 
times 8 km or farther. There is no evidence of a 
shortage of food. With failure of the sierra palm 
crop in 1974, parrots shifted to other foods (Noel 
Snyder pers. comm.). 



SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Cavities for nesting are the only shelter re- 
quired. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The nest is a hollow in a tree. In Luquillo 
Forest Reserve nearly all nests found have been in 
cavities in large Colorado trees {Cyrilla racemiflora) 
formed by rotting of wood of trunk after branches 
have been lost to wind or other accidents. Parrots 
prepare nests by clearing out the interior of the 
cavity, but do not add lining material. Most sites 
chosen have been more than 5 m from the ground. 
Cavities have been random in compass orientation, 
with minimum observed entrance diameters of 
10 cm and minimum observed internal diameters 
of about 23 cm. Cavity depths have ranged to 
240 cm with the deepest cavities apparently pre- 
ferred. All recent nests have been about 500 m 
elevation. 

Historically, parrots nested in holes in cliffs as 
well as hollow trees, but recently located nests 
have all been in rotted out cavities in large color- 
ado trees. Most such cavities are unsuitable for 
nesting because they are too wet or too small. 
Suitable nest sites are scarce and limiting to breed- 
ing of parrots in their traditional areas, which 
they seem to be reluctant to leave for other areas 
where suitable nest sites exist (Noel Snyder pers. 
comm.). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Kepler (1973) says there are distinct take-off 
calls, flight calls, and series of contact calls, in- 
cluding duetting between pair members. The lat- 
ter probably serve as "station identification" 
(Helen Snyder pers. papers 9 May 1975). 

Calls are pair specific. Pairs are very territorial 
and aggressively defend their territory. There is 
evidence that pairs identify one another by calls, 



and don't pay much attention to nonterritorial 
pairs (Noel Snyder pers. comm.). 

OTHER CRITICAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Wetmore (1927) points out that in 1836, 
Moritz reported great flocks of parrots in Puerto 
Rico, and in 1864 Taylor found them to be 
common. It seems that until the turn of the cen- 
tury they were plentiful, particularly in the in- 
terior, but in 1911-12, Wetmore located popula- 
tions only in the karst of western Puerto Rico, 
in the lowlands near the mouth of the Mameyes 
River, and in the Luquillo Forest of eastern 
Puerto Rico (Forshaw 1973). Counts in Luquillo 
National Forest Reserve from August 1953 to 
March 1956 never exceeded approximately 200 
individuals (Rodriguez-Vidal 1959). By December 
1966, the highest count achieved by Victor 
Marquez in a several month effort was 70 indivi- 
duals (pers. comm.), and by 1968 the highest 
count achieved by Kepler was only 24. The wild 
population dropped to a low point of only 13 or 
14 in 1974, but has been showing some signs of 
recovery since that time. By summer 1979, there 
were 26 to 28 birds in the wild, including 4 breed- 
ing pairs. 

REPRODUCTION 

With but one exception— a 1974 cavity in a 
laurel sabino (Magnolia splendens)~dll recent 
nests of the parrots have been in cavities in palo 
colorados. The predominant use of palo colorados 
is probably a reflection of the greater abundance of 
natural cavities in this species. Nevertheless, good 
nesting cavities are not abundant in general. Sys- 
tematic climbing and checking of over 1200 trees 
within the parrot nesting areas from 1973-1976 
reve8ded a dearth of good cavities, and several 
pairs of recent years have failed to lay eggs be- 
cause of apparent failures to locate good sites, a 
problem that has been alleviated in the last 4 
years by provision of artificial nest sites (Snyder 
arid Wiley pers. comm.). 

Incubation is approximately 26 days; clutch 
size 2 to 4 (average 3), and nestling period 8 to 11 
weeks (average 9 weeks). Only femjiles incubate 
and males provide all food to females during the 
incubation period. Both adults provide food for 



young. Sexual maturity is reached at 3 to 4 years 
of age. 

Before 1973, when intensive nest manage- 
ment efforts were begun, nesting success for all 
nests found at the egg stage was between 1 1% and 
26%. Since 1973, success has increased to 71%, 
primarily due to efforts to alleviate nest predation 
by pearly-eyed thrashers and to maintain the 
quality of nest sites. Sources of nesting failure in 
addition to nest-site disintegration and predation 
by thrashers have been parasitism of nestlings by 
bot flies and predation on adults and nestlings by 
red-tailed hawks {Buteo jamaicensis), but neither 
of these factors appears to have been a major 
cause of the historical decline of the species. Nest- 
robbing by man accounted for a large fraction of 
the nestlings that survived other pressures up until 
the late 1960's, but has not been a major problem 
since that time. 

Numbers of young fledged in the wild in re- 
cent years have run: 1973,3; 1974,3; 1975,6; 
1976,8; 1977,3 ;1978,9;and numbers of egg-laying 
pairs have run: 1973,3; 1974,2; 1975,5; 1976,4; 
1977,3; 1978,4. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

A program of study conducted by the Fishery 
and Wildhfe Section of the Puerto Rico Dept. of 
Agriculture and Commerce financed by the 
Pitman-Robertson Federal Aid to Wildlife Pro- 
gram from 18 August 1953 to 30 June 1956, with 
Jose A. Rodriguez-Vidal as chief investigator, was 
followed by a project developed in 1968 by the 
U.S. Fish and WildUfe Service, U.S. Forest Ser- 
vice, World Wildlife Fund, and the Commonwealth 
of Puerto Rico. The latter project is still continu- 
ing with primary funding from the U.S. Forest 
Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
Studies from 1968 to 1971 were under the direc- 
tion of Cameron Kepler; from 1972 to 1976 were 
under the direction of Noel Snyder; and from 
1977 to the present are under James Wiley. 

Management efforts began in 1956 with rat- 
poisoning with warfarin in the parrot nesting 
areas. Rat control has been continued in most 
years of study since that date. However, recent 
evidence strongly suggests that rats are only a 
secondary threat to nests (Snyder pers. comm.), 
and in recent years management emphasis has 
shifted from rat control to efforts to reduce the 
impacts of thrashers and to provide and enhance 
the quality of nest sites. 



In the years just prior to 1973, thrashers were 
apparently responsible for the majority of parrot 
nest failures, although this species was not present 
in Luquillo Forest in any abundance before 1950 
and thus was not involved in the early decline of 
the parrots there. Starting in 1973, intensive 
guarding of parrot nests has prevented any further 
cases of nest failure from this cause. In 1973, 
1974, and 1975, thrashers were eliminated by 
shooting whenever they threatened parrot nests, 
and in addition some nests were protected by 
artificial incubation of eggs and later replacement 
of young into nests. Parrots were maintained in 
these nests by dummy eggs made from plaster. At 
least 2, very likely 4, and possibly as many as 6 
parrot nests were saved from thrasher predation 
during these years by these efforts. 

Studies of nest-site preferences of thrashers 
conducted in 1974, 1975, and 1976 demonstrated 
a reluctance of this species to enter deep structures 
with bottoms not visible from entrances. Parrots, 
in contrast, appear to prefer such structures, and 
in 1976 efforts to convert parrot nests into such 
structures were begun. All parrot nests were 
deepened and provided with baffles - changes 
which the parrots accepted without obvious dif- 
ficulties. Thrashers have been provided with 
alternative nest sites close to each parrot nest and 
once established in these alternative sites, have 
greatly reduced the frequency with which thrash- 
ers have attempted to enter parrot nests by their 
intraspecific territorial behavior. Since 1977 there 
have been no significant thrasher threats to any 
parrot nests, and it has not been necessary to 
eliminate any thrashers. 

The provision of artificially created nest sites 
has also met with considerable success, and all 
currently active parrot pairs are using such sites. 

As a hedge against loss of the wild population 
and to provide a source of birds for future release 
into the wild, a number of parrots have been taken 
into captivity in recent years, primarily as eggs. 
The current (1979) captive population stands at 
15 individuals. As yet, no successful reproduction 
has taken place in the captive flock, although 
several females have laid infertile eggs and one 
pair laid fertile eggs that did not hatch in 1978. 
By chance, the captives taken consist largely of 
females so their number of potential egg-laying 
pairs has remained low. Success in breeding the 
closely related Hispaniolan Parrot {Amazona 



ventralis) at Patuxent and at other facilities pro- 
vides optimism that the captive program may 
soon begin to produce young. 

Other management efforts of recent years 
have been directed at reducing the impact of bot 
fly parasitism of young parrots. Experiments 
are currently underway with methods of prevent- 
ing this parasitism. Nestlings of the past few 
years have been closely monitored for parasitism 
and treated when such parasitism has occurred. 

AUTHORITIES 

James Wiley 

Box 21 

Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721 

Noel Snyder 

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 

Laurel, MD 20810 

Cameron Kepler 
RR Maalaea Road 
Kula, Hawaii 96790 

Frank H. Wadsworth 
Institute of Tropical Forestry 
University of Puerto Rico 
Box AQ 
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico 00928 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

It appears that we now have the technology 
for ensuring satisfactory reproduction of Puerto 
Rican Parrots in the wild by appropriate effort 
in nest site enhancement, brood care, and pearly- 
eyed thrasher management. Future parrot man- 
agement should concentrate on providing and 
maintaining suitable nest sites combined with 
continued routine censusing of the species. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Danforth, S. J. 1935. Supplementary account of 
the birds of the Virgin Islands, including 
Culebra and adjacent islands, pertaining to 
Puerto Rico, with notes on their food habits. 
J. Agric. Univ. Puerto Rico 19(4):430-472. 

Forshaw, J. M. 1973. Parrots of the World. New 
York, Doubleday & Company, p. 522. 

Kepler, C. B. 1970. The Puerto Rican Parrot in 
Chapter E-14: Preliminary comparison of bird 
species diversity and density in Luquillo and 



Guanica Forests, H. J. Odum ed. A Tropical 
Rain Forest, Oak Ridge, Tenn. U.S. Atomic 
Energy Commission Div. of Tech. Info. 

Leopold, N. J. 1963. Checklist of birds of Puerto 
Rico and the Virgin Islands. Bull. 168, Uni- 
versity of Puerto Rico Agric. Exp. Sta. 119 pp. 

Rodriguez-Vidal, J. A. 1959. Puerto Rican Parrot 
{Amazona vitata vitata) study. Monog. Dept. 
Agric. and Commerce, Puerto Rico, No. 1:1-. 
15. 

Wadsworth, F. H. 1952. Forest Management in 
the Luquillo Mountains. Caribbean Forests, 
Ann. Rep. Vol. 14 ( 1&2) p. 40. 

Wetmore, A. 1916. The birds of Vieques Island, 
Puerto Rico. Auk 33:403-419. 

Wetmore, A. 1927. The birds of Puerto Rico and 
the Virgin Island-Psittaciformes to Passeri- 
formes. Scient. Surv. Puerto Rico and Virgin 
Islands, New York Acad. Sci. 9(4):409-598. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.30 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

KEMP'S (ATLANTIC) RIDLEY SEA TURTLE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoasl of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I'.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and W'ildlifc Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal P^cosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\ ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704r)8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.30 
March 1980 



SELECTKD VER 1 EBRAIK ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS I OF 1 HE UNITED STATES- 
KEMP'S (ATLANTIC) RIDLEY SEA TURTLE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal FJcosystenis Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




KEMP'S (ATLANTIC) RIDLEY SEA TURTLE 

Lepidochelys kempii Carman 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Testudinata 

FAMILY Cheloniidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Mexican ridley, 

Atlantic ridley, Tortuga lora. 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined. 

Updates. .22 September 1976, 25 February 1977. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 18310, 2 De- 
cember 1970) 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Mary- 

land, New Jersey, South Carolina, 
Texas. 



CREDIT: P. C. H. PRITCHARD 

Protected: Alabama, North Carolina. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Overuse by man is the primary factor respon- 
sible for the present small numbers of sea turtles. 
Diurnal nesting on a single beach in Mexico makes 
this turtle particularly susceptible to predation by 
man and wild animals. Commercial harvesting of 
eggs and skin has played a significant role in the 
decline (lUCN 1968). Harvesting has recently 
(1966) been prohibited by the Mexican goven- 
ment, but no upward trend in population num- 
bers has been observed (Pritchard and Marquez M. 
1973). Predation by wild animals is acute, espe- 
cially on hatchlings. Crabs, fish, reptiles, birds, 
and mammals are predators; adult predation is 
limited to sharks (Rebel 1974). 

Because of aggregate nesting on a single beach, 
Rancho Nuevo in TamauHpas State, Mexico, any 
habitat modification there could result in loss of 
the entire breeding population. 

Sea turtles are caught incidental to commer- 
cial fishing activities. Some turtles drown in 



trawls, some are eaten by fishermen, sold in local 
markets, or mutilated as a result of entanglement 
in the trawls (U.S. Department of Commerce 
1976). According to Pritchard (1976), ridleys are 
caught north and south of the Rio Grande off the 
States of Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, as well as 
in Tabasco, Veracruz, and off the Campeche Bank 
in Mexico. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The ridley is a small sea turtle with an unusu- 
ally broad (compared with other sea turtles), 
heart-shaped, keeled carapace that is serrated be- 
hind the bridge. It has a triangular head and a 
somewhat hooked beak with large crushing sur- 
faces. The plastron has several small pores on each 
side, leading to Rathke's glands (secretory struc- 
tures). 

Hatchlings are black on both sides. As the tur- 
tle matures, the bridge and hingeless plastron 
change to white, then yellow; and the carapace 
changes to gray and then olive green. The head 
and paddle-like limbs are gray. 

Adults weigh between 35 and 42 kg, and have 
a carapace length of 56 tp 70 cm. 

Close examination of the carapace reveals five 
pairs of pleural shields with the nuchal shield 
touching the first costals. There are 12 to 14 mar- 
ginals on each side of the carapace and pores in 
the four bridge shields. 

Black-and-white photographs appear in Carr 
(1952, 1967), Ernst and Barbour (1972), Bustard 
(1973), Rebel (1974) and Pritchard (1976). 

RANGE 

Adults are restricted to the Gulf of Mexico. 
Immatures may be observed along the Atlantic 
coast as far north as Massachusetts and are sighted 
infrequently along European shores. 

The former range was probably equivalent to 
the present range (lUCN 1968, Witham 1976). 

RANGE MAP 

On the following pages distribution is shown 
by shading, and U.S. nesting sites by dots. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile. 
Delaware: Sussex; 



Florida: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, 
Citrus, Collier, Dade, Dixie, Duval, 
Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, Hernando, 
Hillsborough, Indian River, Jefferson, 
Lee, Levy, Manatee, Martin, Monroe, 
Nassau, Okaloosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, 
Pinellas, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa 
Rosa, Sarasota. Volusia, WakuUa, Wal- 
ton. 

Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, Li- 
berty, Mcintosh. 

Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafourche, 
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, 
Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Worchester. 

Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, Middlesex, 
Nantucket, Norfolk, Plymouth. 

: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

: Atlantic, Cape May, Monmouth, 
Ocean. 

Nassau, Suffolk. 

Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, Dare, 
Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender. 

Newport, Washington. 

Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, 
GeorgetowTi, Horry. 

Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, 
Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, 
Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, 
Willacy. 

Accomack, Northampton. 



Georgia: 

Louisiana: 
(parishes) 

Maryland: 

Massa- 
chusetts: 

Mississippi 
New Jersey 

New York: 

North 
Carolina: 

Rhode 
Island: 
South 
Carolina: 

Texas: 



Virginia: 



HABITAT 

The ridley inhabits shallow coastal and es- 
tuarine waters; it is often associated with sub- 
tropical shorelines of red mangrove [Rhizophora 
mangle) (Witham 1976). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The ridley 's diet consists primarily of inverte- 
brates, mostly crabs {Arenaeus, Calappa, Callinec- 
tes, and Hepatus), but also shrimp, snails, sea ur- 
chins, sea stars, fish, and, occasionally, marine 
plants (Ernst and Barbour 1972, Pritchard and 
Marquez M. 1973, R. Marquez M. personal 
communication). 




WUT LOHCITUDC 



Distribution of Kemp's ridley sea turtle in the eastern United States. 




Distribution (shading) and nesting sites (dots) of the Kemp's ridley sea turtle in the western United States. 



SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

With the exception of occasional females 
known to nest on Padre Island, Texas (Werler 
1951), the entire population nests on about 24 
km of beach between Barra del Tordo and Ostio- 
nal in State of Tamaulipas, Mexico. They prefer 
sections of beach backed up by extensive swamps 
or large bodies of open water having seasonal, 
narrow ocean connections (Pritchard and Mar- 
quezM. 1973). 

A well-defined and elevated dune area is ne- 
cessary for successful nesting. Pritchard and Mar- 
quez M. (1973) suggest that this provides a land- 
mark for the turtle to dig a nest that will be above 
mean high tide. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not Known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Females land in large numbers only when 
strong or moderate north winds blow. Pritchard 
(1976) suggests that this may cover the turtle's 
tracks and/or dissipate nesting smell. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

In 1947, a Mexican, Sr. Herreva, filmed nest- 
ing. Estimates based on this film put the breeding 
population at 40,000 at that time. Despite the 
protection of the nesting beach since 1966, the 
breeding population now is reported to be be- 
tween 1,500 and 3,000 adults, with only about 
500 females nesting during the 1978 season 
(Anon. 1978). 

The 1947 film shows what is believed to be 
the entire breeding population swarming ashore at 
once. Such a massive landing is called an 'arriba- 
da.' R. Marquez M. (personal communication) has 
observed nesting since 1966 and reports that the 
number within arribadas is declining. In 1976, the 
largest was made up of approximately 150 fe- 
males, and there are usually between five and 
seven arribadas per season. 

Failure to rebuild population numbers in spite 
of beach protection may result from low survivor- 
ship (Pritchard 1976). 



REPRODUCTION 

Ridleys nest from April to June, during which 
time turtles appear off Tamaulipas. After strong 
winds, females swarm ashore to nest in daylight 
hours. A female nests a maximum of three times a 
season with an intemesting interval of 10 to 28 
days. Individuals often nest annually with an ave- 
rage clutch size of 110 eggs (Pritchard 1969a, 
Lund 1976). 

Copulation takes place offshore near the 
nesting beach, and some pairs remain embraced 
for hours. Black-and-white photographs of court- 
ship and mating activities appear in Bustard 
(1973). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Since 1966, the Mexican government has con- 
ducted a tagging program for adults at Rancho 
Nuevo and has protected the beach with military 
personnel. About 330 clutches of eggs have been 
relocated annually to fenced compounds (R. Mar- 
quez M. personal commnication). 

Pritchard (1976) argued for the perfection 
and deployment of a modified trawl net to pre- 
vent the incidental catch of sea turtles, and work 
on this project is well underway by the U.S. 
National Marine Fisheries Service. 

Lund (1974) reported on a private effort to 
stock Texas waters with eggs taken from the Ran- 
cho Nuevo beach in Mexico. In 1978, a multi- 
agency effort was initiated by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National 
Marine Fisheries Service, and Texas Parks and 
Wildlife Department in coordination with the 
Mexican government (Anon. 1978). This program 
incorporates a wide variety of techniques, in- 
cluding more intensive protection for the Rancho 
Nuevo beach, an attempt to establish a breeding 
population at Padre Island National Seashore by 
transplanting 2,000 eggs annually, and head- 
starting of 2,000 hatchlings from the Rancho 
Nuevo beach and the hatchlings from Padre Island 
at the NMFS laboratory in Galveston, Texas 
(Anon. 1978,Wauer 1978). 

Marquez M. (1976b) recommends formation 
of seven natural reserves for Mexican coasts, 
which include Playa de Rancho Nuevo, Tamauli- 
pas, the Kemp's ridley's nesting beach.. 

AUTHORITIES 

Archie Carr 

Department of Zoology 
University of Florida 
GainesvUlcFL 32611 



Henry Hildebrand 
Department of Zoology 
Texas A&M University 
Kingsville.TX 78363 

Frank Lund 

P.O. Box 541 

Jupiter Island, FL 33458 

Rene Marquez M. 
Apdo Postal 79-052 
Col. Doctares 
Mexico 7. D.F. 

Peter Pritchard 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawer 7 
Maitland.FL 32751 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Adams, D. E. 1966 More about the ridley opera- 
tion: Padre Island egg transporting. Int. Turt. 
and Tort. Soc. J. l(l):18-20, 40-43, 45. 

Anon. 1978. U.S. -Mexico restoration efforts may 
be only hope for Kemp's ridley. End. Sp. 
Tech. Bull, U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 3(10): 6-8. 

Brongersma, L. D. 1968. Miscellaneous note, on 
turtles. I. Kon. Ned. Akad. Wetensch. Proc. 
Serv. C. Biol. Med. Sci. 71:439-442. 

Bustard, R. 1973. Sea turtles: natural history and 
conservation. Taplinger Publ. Co., New York. 
220 pp. 

Carr, A. F. 1952. Handbook of turtles. Turtles of 
the United States, Canada, and Baja California. 
Comstock Publ. Assoc, Cornell Univ. Press, 
Ithaca, N.Y. 542 pp. 

. 1955. The riddle of the ridley. Anim. 

Kingd. 58(5): 146-156. 

. 1956. The windward road. Alfred Knopf. 

Inc.,New York. 258 pp. 

. 1961. The ridley mystery today. Anim. 

Kingd. 64:7-12. 

. 1967. So excellent a fishe. The Natural 



History Press, Garden City, N. Y. 248 pp. 

Chavez. H. 1969. Tagging and recapture of the 
lora turtle {Lepidochelys kempii). Int. Turt. 
and Tort. Soc. J. 3(4):14-19, 32-36. 

Chavez, H., M. Contreras G., and T. P. E. Hernan- 



dez D. 1968. On the coast of Tamaulipas, 
Parts I and II. Int. Turt. Tort. Soc. J. 2(4) :20- 
29, 37and2(5):19,27-34. 

Ernst, C. H., and R. W. Barbour. 1972. Turtles of 
the United States. Univ. of Kentucky Press, 
Lexington. 347 pp. 

lUCN. 1968. Red data book. Vol. 3, Amphibia 
and reptilia. Compiled by R. E. Honegger. 
lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Lund, F. 1974. A survey of marine turtle nesting 
in the United States. Unpubl. 39 pp. 

. 1979. Atlantic ridley. Pages 25-26 in R. 

W. McDairmid ed. Rare and endangered biota 
of Florida, Vol. 3, Amphibians and reptiles. 
Univ. Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

Marquez M., R. 1973. Instructivo para la protec- 
cion de las tortugas marina. Serie Dioulgacion. 
INP/SD 2:1-34. 

. 1976a. Estado actual de la pesquina de 

tortugas marina en Mexico, 1974. INP/SI 
1-27. 

. 1976b. Reservas naturales para la con- 

servacion de las tortugas marinas en Mexico. 
INP/SIi 83:1-22. 

Marquez M., R., A. Villanueva O., and C. Pena- 
flores S. 1976. Sinopsis de dates biologicos 
sobre la tortuga golfma. Lepidochelys oliva- 
cea (Eschscholtz, 1829). INP Sinop. Pesca 2: 
1-61. 

Montoya, A. E. 1969. Programas de investigacion 
y conservacion de las tortugas marinas en 
Mexico. Pages 34-53 in Marine turtles. lUCN. 
New Publ. Ser. Suppl. Paper. 20. 

Pritchard, P. C. H. 1969a. Studies of the systema- 
tics 3S\A reproductive cycles of the genus Lepi- 
dochelys. Ph. D. Dissert. Univ. of Florida, 
Gainesville. 226 pp. 

. 1969b. Summary of world sea turtle sur- 
vival situation. lUCN Bull. 2(1):90-91. 

. 1969c. The survival status of ridley sea 
turtles in American waters. Biol. Cons. 2(1): 
13-17. 

. 1976. Endangered species: Kemp's ridley 

turtle. Florida Nat. 49(3): 15-19. 

Pritchard, P. C. H., and R. Marquez M. 1973. 
Kemp's ridley turtle or Atlantic ridley Lepi- 
dochelys kempii. lUCN Monogr. 2. Marine 
turtle series. Morges, Switzerland. 

Rebel, t. P. 1974. Sea turtles and the turtle indus- 



try of the West Indies, Florida, and the Gulf 
of Mexico. Rev. ed. Univ. of Miami Press, 
Coral Gables. 250 pp. 

Svkreat, D. E. 1968. Capture of a tagged ridley tur- 
tie. Q. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 31(l):47-48. 

U.S. Department of Commerce. 1976. Proposed 
listing of the green sea turtle {Chelonia my- 
das), loggerhead [Caretta caretta), and pacific 
ridley sea turtle [Lepidochelys olivacea) as 
threatened species under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973. Natl. Oceanic Atm. Ad- 
min., Natl. Marine Fish. Serv., Washington, 
D.C. 

Walker, W. F. 1971. Swimming in sea turtles of 
the family Cheloniidae. Copeia 1971(2):229- 
233. 

Wauer, R. 1978. Headstart for endangered turtles. 
Natl. Parks Conserv. Mag. 52(11): 16-20. 

Werler, J. E. 1951. Miscellaneous notes on the 
eggs and young of Texas and Mexican reptiles. 
Zoologica36(3):37-48. 

Witham, R. 1976. Lepidochelys kempii account. 
In H. O. Hillestad, D. B. Means, and W. W. 
Baker, eds. Endangered and threatened verte- 
brates of the southeastern United States. Tall 
Timbers Res. Stn. Misc. Publ. 4. 

Zim, H. S., and H. M. Smith. 1953. Reptiles and 
amphibians. A guide to familiar American spe- 
cies. Simon and Schuster, New York. 147 pp. 

GATEKEEPER 

To be designated by the Office of Endangered 
Species. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
GainesvUle, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.31 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

BACHMAN'S WARBLER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-SHdell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.31 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 

BACHMAN S WARBLER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-SIidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




DWG. BY WALTER DAWN 



BACHMAN'S WARBLER 

Vermivora bachmanii Audubon 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Passeriformes 

FAMILY Parulidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES None 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined. 

Updates 5 April 1978; 10 October 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: 32 FR 4001; 11 March 
1967. 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Missis- 

sippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, 
Texas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Stevenson (1938), USDI (1973), Shuler 
(1977b, 1977c, personal communication) and 
Arthur Wayne's (approximately 1910) unpublish- 
ed statement, "I never expect to see another spec- 
imen as the great swamp in which I found it 
breeding has been deforested by a lumbering 
company," all suggest that the clearing of the 
southern swamp forests contributed to the de- 
cline of the Bachman's warbler. On the other 
hand, Stevenson (1972) and personal communica- 
tions from P. Hamel, R. Hooper, and D. Urbston 
insist that the reasons for the current status of 
this species are unknown. 

Other suggestions for the species' current 
status have included: (1) competition with other 
species on the breeding grounds (Hamel 1977a); 
(2) excessive collecting along migration route in 
Florida (USDI 1973); (3) climatic catastrophe 
such as storms (R. Hooper personal communica- 



tions); and (4) "genetic or evolutionary probl- 
blems" (Hamel 1977a: R. Hooper personal com- 
munications). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The Bachman's warbler is 10 to 11 cm long, 
with a small, sharp-pointed bill. Their color 
pattern is somewhat variable. Males usually have a 
bright yellow shoulder patch, forehead, eye ring, 
chin, and belly and a black throat patch with 
some black on crowm. Crown is otherwise gray 
and black olive. Wings and tail aie dusky with 
subterminal white patches on tail. Females 
usually lack black on throat (although some may 
be present); the breast is shaded with gray; white 
markings on tail are reduced, and underparts are 
often much less yellowish. 

Distinguishing field marks are the yellow un- 
derparts and the black crown and throat. Color il- 
lustrations appear in Howell (1932), the Decem- 
ber 1977 cover of Birding, £ind the inside back 
cover of South Carolina WUdlife 23(2), 1976. 

RANGE 

Bachman's warblers are known to have nested 
in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri, and South 
Carolina (Hooper and Hamel 1977). The last nest 
known in Alabama was discovered in 1937 
(Stevenson 1938). 

Their present range is unknown; the species 
may be extinct (Hamel 1977b). Shuler (1977a) 
reported sightings of individual males in South 
Carolina's I'On Swamp (Francis Marion National 
Forest) in 1974, 1975, and 1976, one in each 
year. Shuler et al. (1978) reported sightings of a 
male and a female in I'On Swamp in 1977, in- 
cluding reported verification by subsequent 
sightings by different individuals. Other recent 
reported sightings include Berkeley County, S. C. 
(1967), Louisiana (1973), Long County, Georgia 
(1975), Kentucky (1977), Maryland (1977), and 
Cameron Parish, Louisiana (1977). Hamel 
(1977b) considers all of these sightings as uncon- 
firmed and D. Urbston (personal communication) 
considers them all 'questionable.' 

The last sighting accepted by Hamel (1977b) 
as valid was in Charleston County, S. C. in 1962. 



If the Bachman's warbler still exists, most au- 
thorities agree that it is most likely in the I'On 
Swamp area in Charleston and Berkeley Counties, 
South Carolina. 

RANGE MAP 

Not provided. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

South Carolina: Berkeley (?), Charleston (?). 

HABITAT 

Nested in bottomland hardwood swamps. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Five stomach samples contained caterpillars 
and Hymenoptera (Meanley and Mitchell 1958). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Dense understory of shrubs and vines within 
hardwood swamps. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

They nest in low bushes or vines, 0.7 to 1 m 
off the ground (Wayne 1907), in nests con- 
structed of dried weed and grass stalks and dead 
leaves, lined with black threads of pendent lichens 
{Ramalina sp.) (Widmann 1897). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Formerly locally abundant (Widmann 1897; 
Embody 1907). Formerly abundant during migra- 
tion along the Suwannee River, Florida (Brewster 
1891). 

Present population, if any, unknowoi. 

REPRODUCTION 

Eggs are laid March through June with three 
to five eggs per set (Wayne 1907). 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Shuler (1977b, 1977c, personal communica- 
tion) suggests discontinuing of harvesting of bot- 
tomland hardwoods in the I 'On Swamp, Francis 
Marion National Forest, South Carolina. R. 
Hooper (personal communication) suggests in- 
creased cutting to open up the canopy and thus 
allow secondary growth of shrubs and vines. 

Extensive studies by U.S. Forest Service biol- 
ogists Urbston and Hooper and Clemson Universi- 
ty zoologist Hamel are underway to better define 
the status and requirements of the Bachman's 
warbler. 

AUTHORITIES 

Paul B. Hamel 
Department of Zoology 
Clemson University 
Clemson, SC 29631 

Robert G. Hooper 

U. S. Forest Service 

Southeastern Forest Experiment Station 

Forestry Sciences Laboratory 

2730 Savannah Highway 

Charleston, SC 29407 

Jay Shuler 
P.O. Box 288 
McCleUanville, SC 29458 

David F. Urbston 
USDA Forest Service 
Ouachita National Forest 
Hot Springs, AR 71901 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Barnes, I. R. 1954. A new look at Bachman's 
warblers. Atlantic Nat. 10: 18-30. 

Bent, A. C. 1953. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can wood warblers. U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 203. 
734 pp. 

Brewster, W. 1891. Notes on Bachman's warbler 
{Helminthophila bachmanii). Auk 8:149-157. 

Chamberlain, G. B. 1958. Bachman's warbler in 
South Carolina. Chat 22:73-74, 77. 



Embody, G. C. 1907. Bachman's warbler breeding 
in Logan County, Kentucky. Auk 24:41-42. 

Evenden, F., D. Marshall, and W. Zeedgk. 1977. 
Revised final report of the Bachman's warbler 
Panel. 30 pp. 

Hamel, P. B. 1977a. Problem analysis for research 
to determine the status of Bachman's warbler, 
and the evolutionary, ecological, and histori- 
cal factors associated with its decline. U.S. 
For. Serv. Southeast. For. Exper. Stn., 
Charleston, SC. Contract 18-409. 25 pp. 

. 1977b. Progress report, research to de- 
termine the status of Bachman's warbler, the 
ecological, evolutionary, and historical factors 
responsible for its decline. U.S. For. Serv. 
Southeast, For. Exper. Stn., Charleston, SC. 
Contract 18-409. 24 pp. 

Hamel, P. B., and R. G. Hooper. In press. The 
status of Bachman's warbler, a progress re- 
port. Proc. Endangered Species Symp., 
Athens, Ga. 

Hamel, P. B., R. G. Hooper, D. Urbston, and A. 
McDonald. 1977. Bachmem's warbler breeding 
habitat: A hypothesis. Presented before 95th 
Annu. Mtg. Am. Omithol. Union, Berkeley, 
Ca., 25 August 1977. 

Hamel, P. B., R. G. Hooper, and L. M. Wright. 
1976. Where is the Reverend Bachman's war- 
bler? S.C. WUdl., March-April 1976: 9-13. 

Holt, G. G. 1920. Bachman's warbler breeding in 
Alabama. Auk 37:103-104. 

Hooper, R. G., and P. B. Hamel. 1977. Nesting 
habitat of Bachman's warbler: A review. Wil- 
son Bull. 89(3):373-379. 

Howell, A. H. 1910. Notes on the birds of the 
sunken lands of southeastern Missouri. Auk 
27:381-384. 

Howell, A. H. 1932. Florida bird life. Coward- 
McCann, Inc., New York. 597 pp. 

Meanley, B. and R. T. Mitchell. 1958. Food hab- 
its of Bachman's warbler. Atlantic Nat. 
236-238. 

Shuler, T. 1977a. Three recent sight records of 
Bachman's warbler. Chat 41(1):11-12. 

. 1977b. Bachman's phantom warbler. 

Birding9(6): 245-250. 



. 1977c. Bachman's warbler habitat. Chat 

41(2):19-23. 

Shuler, T., P. Nugent, J. Trochet, and J. Vanos. 
1978. Bachman's warbler observations contin- 
ue in the I'On Swamp. Chat 42(2):23-24. 

Stevenson, H. M. 1938. Bachman's warbler in Ala- 
bama. Wilson Bull. 50:36-41. 

1972. A recent history of Bachman's 



warbler. Wilson Bull. 84:344-347. 

U. S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threat- 
ened Wildlife of the United States. Compiled 



by Office of Endangered Species and Inter- 
national Activities, Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl., 
Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Gov. Printing Office, 
Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 

Wayne, A. T. 1907. The nest and eggs of Bach- 
man's warbler, Helminthophila bachmanii 
(Aud.), taken near Charleston, South Caro- 
lina. Auk 24:43-48. 

Widman, O. 1897. The summer home of Bach- 
man's warbler no longer unknown. Auk 14: 
305-309. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.32 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate 
Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the 
United States- 

THE FLORIDA 
EVERGLADE KITE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.32 
March 1980 



SELECTKD VLR 1 EBRA 1 K ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS r OF I HE UNITED STATES- 

THE FLORIDA EVERGLADE KITE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




FLORIDA EVERGLADE KITE 

Rostrhamus sociabilis plumbeus Ridgway 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Falconiformes 

FAMILY Accipitridae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES. . . . Everglade kite, snail kite, Florida 

snail kite, snail hawk. 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 15 October 1976, 13 April 1977 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967). 

States: Endangered: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Reduction of suitable habitat due to drainage 
of marshes is the primary reason for the kite's en- 
dangered status. By 1967, only 3,981 km^ of the 
original 7,112 km^ of Everglades remained un- 
drained (Stieglitz and Thompson 1967, U.S. De- 
partment of the Interior 1973, Sykes 1979). 
Droughts and water management have also 
affected kite habitat by reducing populations of 
apple snails (Pomacea paludosa), the kite's only 
food source (U.S. Department of the Interior 
1973). 

The introduced water hyacinth [Eichornia 
crassipes) now covers the water surface in many 
areas, making it impossible for kites to locate 
apple snails (Sykes 1979). 

Excessive human disturbance and malicious 
killings have also contributed to population de- 
clines (Stieglitz and Thompson 1967, Sykes 
1979). 

Potential factors of unknovwi importance in- 
clude parasites transmitted by snails, weather pat- 
tern changes, and inbreeding due to reduced 
population size (Stieghtz and Thompson 1967). 

Pesticide concentrations in snails, kites, and 
kite eggs are very low and probably do not pre- 
sent a threat (Steiglitz and Thompson 1967). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The kite is a medium-sized hawk, 41 to 46 cm 
long, with a wingspan of 114 cm. Its beak is slen- 
der and strongly hooked. Adult males are slate 
gray with black head and wing tips, and a white 
patch at the base of the tail. Legs are orange-red. 
Females and immatures are buffy, heavily streaked 
vsath dark lines, with a white rump and yellow 
legs. 

RANGE 

The species ranges wddely in the Neotropics, 
with three recognized subspecies. The Florida 
race is restricted to peninsular Florida and Cuba. 

It formerly ranged over much of Florida, 
wherever suitable habitat occurred, including the 
following counties: Brevard, Broward, Collier, 
Dade, Flagler, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian 
River, Jefferson, Lake, Monroe, Okeechobee, Or- 
ange, Osceola, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Seminole, 
Sumter, Volusia, and Wakulla (Sykes 1979). 



It is now restricted to the headwaters of the 
St. Johns River, the southwest side of Lake Okee- 
chobee, a portion of Everglades National Park, a 
portion of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Re- 
fuge, and small areas in Broward, Dade, and Palm 
Beach Counties (Sykes 1979). 

RANGE MAP 

Present distribution is adapted from Sykes 
(1979). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida Broward, Dade, Glades, Indian River, 
Palm Beach, St. Lucie. 

HABITAT 

The species is typically found in fresh- 
water marshes with a distant horizon. Favorable 
areas consist of shallow open water vegetated 
with sawgrass [Cladium jamaicensis) and spike- 
rushes {Eleocharis sp.). Flats, often interspersed 
with tree islands or small groups of shrubs and 
trees including dahoon holly (Ilex cassine), coastal 
plain willow [Saltx caroliniana), wax myrtle [My- 
rica cerifera), and buttonbush [Cephalanthus occi- 
dentalis). Other common aquatics include water- 
lily [Nymphaea odorata), big floating heart [Nym- 
phoides aquatica), maidencane {Pantcum hemito- 
mon), bulltongue [Sagittaria lancifolia), pickerel- 
weed [Pontederia lanceolata), cattail [Typha do- 
mingensis), waterlettuce [Pistia stratiotes), and 
water hyacinth (Stieglitz and Thompson 1979). 

Water levels may fluctuate so long as the sur- 
face does not completely dry (Sykes 1979). Habi- 
tat photographs appear in Stieglitz and Thompson 
(1967), Snyder and Snyder (1969), and Sykes 
(1979). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Snail kites feed only on the freshwater apple 
snail. They fly 1.5 to 9 m above the surface, de- 
scending when a snail is sighted. Snails are grasped 
with a single talon and are usually transferred to 
the beak in flight. They also sometimes hunt from 
perches. Snails are extracted and the shells dis- 
carded. 

Captives will survive on horse meat and will 
take other species of snails. Their dependence up- 
on apple snails in nature probably results from 
this snail's occurrence near the water's surface, 
unlike other large snails (Snyder and Snyder 1969). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 




NORTHWESTERN PART OF 

FLORIDA 



Z 3 



e 9 10 



la 13 1* 15 16 n 18 19 » ai 22 23 2« !^ 



The present distribution of the Everglades kite in Florida is depicted by shading. 



NESTING OR BEDDING 

Kites normally nest in loose aggregations, 
with 150 m or less between nests (Howell 1932, 
Bent 1937, Stieglitz and Thompson 1967). They 
often nest among or near other colonial nesters 
such as herons and egrets (Ardeidae) and An- 
hingas (Anhtnga anhinga). 

Nests are usually 1 to 3 m above the water in 
low trees or shrubs, although occasionally sawgrass 
or cattails are used for support (Howell 1932, 
Stieghtz and Thompson 1967, Sykes 1976). In 
the Loxahatchee marshes, nests are built in small 
cypress trees {Taxodium sp.) 2 to 3 m above the 
surface. 

The nest is loose and bulky, 30 to 38 cm in 
diameter, and 20 to 30 cm deep. It is built of 
twigs and Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) 
and lined with green grasses and vines (Bent 
1937). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

An important part of the courtship display 
consists of the male carrying a small twig in his 
beak while flying and making a series of swooping 
dives wdth the wings folded (Stieglitz and Thomp- 
son 1967). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Adequate water levels are essential, as snail 
populations are drastically reduced when the 
marsh dries. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Snail kite numbers have dropped drastically. 
Bent (1937) stated that kites were common in 
1909, but that population levels had declined 
sharply by 1937, due to the draining of the Ever- 
glades. Estimates for 1973 were slightly over 100 
individuals (Sykes 1979). 

The total population of Florida Everglade 
kites has probably averaged close to 100 birds for 
the past 4 to 5 years, with 80% of the reproduc- 
tion occurring on the southwest side of Lake 
Okeechobee (T. Martin personal communication). 
Seventeen young were fledged from 7 of 9 
nests in 1968 (U.S. Department of the Interior 
1973). 

REPRODUCTION 

The breeding season is variable and probably 
correlated vwth snail availability, rainfall, and/or 
temperature; generally, from February to June 



(Howell 1932, Bent 1937). Average clutch size is 
two to four. Eggs are oval or elliptical and smooth, 
colored dull white with brown mottling (Bent 
1937); average size is 44.2 by 36.2 mm (Bent 
1937). 

The male builds the nest, and both sexes incu- 
bate eggs and assist in rearing young (Bent 1937). 

Courtship displays consist of soaring about 
150 m above the marsh, folding the wings for sud- 
den short dips, stretching the legs while diving as 
if to grapple, somersaulting while diving, and 
stick-carrying (Stieghtz and Thompson 1967). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

In a 2-year habitat management study by 
Martin and Doebel (1973), water levels were raised 
on a 142-ha site in the Loxahatchee National 
Wildlife Refuge; plant density was controlled and 
snails were stocked. The first two techniques were 
successful, but stocking of snails had little effect 
on population level. Other methods will be imple- 
mented in a projected second experiment. Arti- 
ficial nesting platforms have been successfully 
used to support nests that would otherwise be 
subject to damage from high winds or heavy 
rains (Sykes and Chandler 1974). 

Kite response to management efforts was 
rapid and extremely favorable. Martin and Doe- 
bel (1973) concluded that continued research in- 
to life history of both snail and kite is critical to 
management success. They believe the kite can re- 
main a part of our natural fauna only through 
sound management practices and maintenance of 
natural habitats. The American Ornithologists' 
Union (1975) states that the only solution for 
saving the kite is a very expensive land-aquisition 
program. Sykes (1979) makes several recommen- 
dations for preservation of the Everglade kite. 
These include purchasing and managing suitable 
kite habitat, providing protection during the 
hunting season, establishing a 0.4 km buffer zone 
closed to entry around nesting areas, maintaining 
adequate surface water in the kite areas, and re- 
searching both kite and apple snail biology. 

Critical habitat has been designated (42 FR 
47841, 22 September 1977) as parts of Dade, 
Broward, and Palm Beach counties and the west- 
em shore of Lake Okeechobee in Glades County. 



AUTHORITIES 

Thomas Martin 

Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge 

Route l,Box 278 

Delray Beach, FL 33444 



4 



Alexander Sprunt, IV 

Natl. Audubon Society 

115 Indian Mound Trail 

Tavemier, FL 33070 

PaulW. Sykes.Jr. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

P.O.Box 2077 

Delray Beach, FL 33444 

PREPARERS COMMENTS 

None. 



Sykes, P. W., Jr., and R. Chandler. 1974. Use of 
artificial nest structures by Everglade kites. 
Wilson Bull. 86:282-284. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threat- 
ened wildlife of the United States. Compiled 
by Office of Endangered Species and Inter- 
national Activities, Bur. Sport Fish. Wild!. 
Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 
Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 



LITERATURE CITED/ SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Amadon, D. 1975. Variation in the Everglade kite. 
Auk 92:380-382. 

American Ornithologists' Union. 1975. Report of 
the committee on conservation. Auk 92 (4, 
Suppl.):lB-16B. 

Bent, A. C. 1937. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can birds of prey. Part I. U.S. Natl. Mus. Bull. 
267.409 pp. 

Howell, A. H. 1932. Florida bird life. Coward- 
McCann, Inc. New York. 527 pp. 

Martin, T. W., and J. H. Doebel. 1973. Manage- 
ment techniques for the Everglade Kite, pre- 
liminary report. Proc. S.E. Assoc. Game Fish 
Comm. Annu. Conf. 27:225-236. 

Peterson, R. T. 1947. A field guide to the birds. 
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 230 pp. 

Snyder, N. F. R., and H. R. Snyder. 1969. A com- 
parative study of mollusk predation by limp- 
kins, Everglade kites, and boat-tailed grackles. 
Living Bird 8:177-223. 

Sprunt, A.,Jr. 1945. The phantom of the marshes. 
Audubon Mag. 47:15-72. 

. 1954. Florida bird Ufe. Coward-McCann, 

Inc., and Natl. Audubon Soc, New York. 527 
pp. 

Stieglitz, W. O., and R. L. Thompson. 1967. 
Status and life history of the Everglade kite in 
the United States. Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl. 
Spec. Sci. Rep. Wildl. 198. 21 pp. 

Syke%, P. W., Jr. 1979. Florida Everglade kite. 
Pages 4-7 in H. W. Kale ed. Rare and endan- 
gered biota of Florida, Vol. 2, Birds. Univ. 
Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.33 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

PUERTO RICAN WHIP POOR WILL 



>'4X 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensiti\c Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.33 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
PUERTO RICAN WHIP POOR WILL 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastsd Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PUERTO RICAN WHIP-POOR-WILL 

Caprimulgus noctitherus (Wetmore) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

ORDER Caprimulgiformes 

FAMILY Caprimulgidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Pajaro Bobo (Reynard 1962); 

Guabairo Pequeno de Puerto Rico (Biaggi 
1979 and Leopold 1963); Guabairo Chico 
and Guaraiba (Bond 1936 and Wetmore 
1916); Puerto Rican Nightjar (Leopold 
1963). 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (42 FR 36428, 14 July 

1977). Protected by Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act of July 2, 1918 (40 
Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703-711) as 



amended Dec. 3, 1969. Public Law 
91-135. 

Puerto Rico: Listed as "very endangered." 
Commonwealth "Wildlife Law" 
protects ail nongame bird species 
including Puerto Rican Whip-poor- 
WUl. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Wetmore (1927), Wadsworth (1949), and 
Wolcott (1953) assumed that the exotic mongoose 
[Herpestes jarvanicus), introduced in 1877, had 
stripped the whip-poor-will population from 
much its former more extensive range. Some of 
this former range still has habitat that appears 
suitable for whip-poor-wills, but also has rainfall 
and standing water sufficient to support mon- 
gooses. 

At present, lowland semiarid scrubby forest 
habitat is being reduced by expanding human 
population and developing industries. A rapidly 
expanding petrochemical industry is adjacent to 
the Guayanilla whip-poor-will population, only 8 



km east of the Guanica Forest which harbors the 
largest number of the remaining birds. The Com- 
monwealth Forest system is not immune to in- 
dustrial pressure and over 400 hectares were des- 
troyed between 1968 and 1973 (Kepler and 
Kepler 1973). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

33 

DESCRIPTION 

The Puerto Rican whip-poor-will is a small 
ground-inhabiting nocturnal bird with fluffy, 
mottled brown, black, and gray plumage, a very 
short bill, and very wide mouth with long bristles. 
There is a white band across the throat and white 
spots at the ends of the taU feathers. It is similar 
to the North American whip-poor-will {Caprimul- 
gus vociferus) but smaller, with much shorter 
wings, and plumage tending more toward brown 
and less toward gray throughout. Buff breast spots 
are more prominent; posterior underparts are 
deep cinnamon buff rather than pale buff. White 
or buff tips on three outer tail feathers are greatly 
restricted. The type specimen has the following 
measurements: wing 135 mm; tail 112 mm; bill 
11 mm; tarsus 16.3 mm; middle toe without claw 
16 mm (Wetmore 1919 and Wetmore in Reynard 
1962; J. W. Aldrich personal observations 1977). 
Downy young are entirely reddish buff or cinna- 
mon. Toes and legs are flesh gray. The iris is dark 
brown. Eyes open on the day of hatching (Kepler 
and Kepler 1973). 

Authorities differ as to whether noctitherus is 
a distinct species or a subspecies of the North 
American whip-poor-will (C. v. vociferous). Wet- 
more (1919, 1922, 1927), Vincent (1966), Mayr 
and Short (1920), Fish and Wildlife (1973), Kep- 
ler and Kepler (1973), and Storrs Olson (pers. 
comm. 1977) prefer to consider it a distinct spe- 
cies, whereas Peters (1940), Bond (1945), and 
Greenway (1958) consider it a subspecies of C. v. 
vociferous. Vocalizations of nocfzi/ierMX, described 
by Reynard (1962), are completely different in 
structure from vociferous and may serve to main- 
tain reproductive isolation between two closely 
related species (Kepler and Kepler 1973). Storrs 
Olson (pers. comm. 1977) is impressed by the 
much smaller bones of noctitherus. The question 
of correct classification has no completely satis- 



factory answer, but the preponderance of current 
thinking seems to favor classification as two dis- 
tinct species. 

RANGE 

This species is confined to the island of Puerto 
Rico. It was formerly found in the moist limestone 
forest of the northwest coast. Specimens were 
taken in Bayamon in 1888 (Cory 1889, Wetmore 
in Reynard 1962, Peters 1940). Bones found in 
cave deposits near Morovis are estimated to be 
less than 2,000 years old (Wetmore 1919, 1922, 
1927). A bird presumed to be this species was 
sighted at Rio Piedras (Wetmore 1916, 1919, 
1927). AU three of those localities were in the 
moist northwestern section of the island. More 
recent records are all from the dry limestone for- 
est of the southwest coast, including two popula- 
tions at Guanica and the hills above Guayanilla 
and one in Susua Commonwealth Forest. It prob- 
ably once ranged over most of the coastal plain 
on both sides of the island, but now is probably 
confined to an area of about 3,200 hectares, or 
approximately 3% of its probable former range, 
the limestone regions, and only 0.7% of the total 
land surface of the island (Kepler and Kepler 
1973). 

Distribution of the Puerto Rican whip-poor- 
will has remained stable since 1969 (American 
Ornithologists' Union 1976). 

MAP 

Past and present distribution (after Kepler 
and Kepler 1973) is shown on the following page. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Commonwealth of Puerto Rico: 

HABITAT 

Habitat formerly included the moist limestone 
forest that covered most of the northwestern 
third of the island north of the Cordillera Central 
described by Little and Wardsworth (1964) and 
Kepler and Kepler (1973). Probably once occupied 
the dry limestone forest on southwestern part of 
the island as well, since they have been heard by 
residents there at least since 1900 (Reynard 1962). 
At present, they are known tp occur only in the 
dry limestone forests of the southwestern area. 
















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The species frequents the drier, more open sec- 
tions of the Susua Forest and has not been found 
in the riparian forests or the denser scrub at eleva- 
tions above 350 m (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 
The Guanica forest, where whip-poor-wills occur 
most commonly, has an annual rainfall of 750 
mm, contrasting with an annual water loss through 
evaporation and plant transpiration of 2,000 
mm. The porous limestone permits no standing or 
running fresh water anywhere. Elevations range 
from sea level to 230 m. Semideciduous vegeta- 
tion consists of hardwood trees on top of Ume- 
stone hills, normally above 75 m. Below this, par- 
ticularly on the southern slopes, forest changes 
to mixed cactus and semideciduous growth. The 
canopy is 4 or 5 m high, with some trees 6-7 m. 
Important species include Pisonia alba, Swietenia 
mahogoni. Acacia famesiana and Bursera sima- 
ruba. There is no well-marked stratification or 
epiphytic flora. Whip-poor-will population cen- 
tered on higher slopes of central hills coincident 
with semideciduous forest. They are largely ab- 
sent from south-facing slopes below 75 m domin- 
ated by cactus, open patches of grassland and 
scrub, and thickets of Agave (Kepler and Kepler 

1973). 

Susua Commonwealth Forest is xeric scrub on 

steep rounded hills of decomposed serpentine 
soils. It receives 1500 mm of rain per year. The 
elevation is 100 to 430 m. Two permanent streams 
support a lush riparian plant life less than 100 m 
in width. Scrub 4-5 m high predominates 50 or 
more meters from streams and extends to hill 
tops, where it becomes much denser. The Puerto 
Rican whip-poor-wiU occurs here in small num- 
bers but not in riparian habitat. Greatest numbers 
occur in open scrub forest with horizontal visibil- 
ity from 5 to 7 m. None are found in denser sec- 
tions where visibility dropped to 3 m. Susua For- 
est is considered suboptimal habitat for whip- 
poor-wills based on only one pair in 14.1 hectares 
as compared with one pair in no more than 6.9 
hectares in Guanica Forest (Kepler and Kepler 
1973). 

FOOD AND FORAGING 

The whip-poor-wUl captures flying insect prey 
by flying from perches well above the 
ground. It has favorite perches used regularly for 
feeding in the evening and ventures from 
forest canopy protection after dark to more 



isolated trees for feeding perches (reported by 
Cotte in Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

It requires the shelter of low scrubby forest 
and undergrowth for daytime concealment and 
nesting (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

The species nests on leaf litter of the forest 
floor without additional nest material. 

It roosts on the ground or on branches of 
trees beneath cover of leafy canopy (Kepler and 
Kepler 1973). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Vocalizations are thought to proclaim terri- 
tory possession and determine spacing of breeding 
pairs (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Predation by introduced mongoose and 
domestic cats and dogs should be controlled ; also 
overbrowsing of habitat by domestic livestock, 
particularly goats, should be prevented. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Subfossil bones were found in a cave near 
Morovis (Wetmore 1919, 1922; Storrs Olson pers. 
comm. 1977). Cory (1889) reported receipt of a 
specimen later used as the type specimen. Wet- 
more (1919, 1922, 1927; Wetmore in Reynard 
1962) during 10 months field work in Puerto 
Rico in 1911 and 1912 saw only one bird that he 
thought might belong to this species. It was 
thought to be extinct (Bond 1940; Greenway 
1958) until rediscovered in 1961 near Guanica by 
Reynard (1962) who collected one male and heard 
six others nearby. Leopold (1963) estimated the 
Guanica population as about 25 pairs. Bond (1962) 
reported "numerous individuals heard on semi- 
arid hills near the coast." J. B. McCandless esti- 
mated that as many as 100 birds remained within 
the Guanica Forest (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 
During the period 1969-1971, total Guanica pop- 
ulation was estimated at about 400 breeding pairs, 
based on a density of one pair per 6.9 hectares to 
one pair per 4.9 hectares (Kepler and Kepler 



1973). Comparison with estimated densities of the 
European whip-poor-will suggests that the Guanica 
birds may be at maximum possible densities with- 
in their limited range. 

In the Susua Commonwealth Forest 10 km to 
north of Guanica, and the hills behind Guayanilla 
8 km to the east, the total population is estimated 
at about 80 pairs or one pair per 14.1 hectares, 
more than twice the area needed in Guanica Forest, 
indicating that Susua forest is suboptimal for 
whip-poor-wills (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

The total of all known populations is estimated 
at 450 to 500 breeding pairs, over 80% of which 
are in Guanica Commonwealth Forest. 

The Puerto Rican whip-poor-will population 
has remained stable since 1969 when the first ac- 
curate data were obtained (American Ornitho- 
logistists' Union 1976). 

REPRODUCTION 

Calling is at its peak in February in Guanica 
Forest, suggesting that territorial encounters are 
frequent and vigorous at that time, with possible 
emigration of young or subordinate birds from 
the central population (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

In a nest found 18 June 1969, 2 chicks were 
estimated to be 14 or 15 days old. A nest with 2 
eggs 1 May 1971, hatched on 4 and 5 May. A nest 
with 1 egg, 1 July and 2 eggs 3 July, took 19 days 
for incubation (McCandless report to Kepler and 
Kepler 1973). Nesting occurs mid-April through 
early July. May and June probably are peak nest- 
ing months, but calling is maintained from Febru- 
ary to May with low numbers calling in July in 
Guanica Forest. There may be two broods per 
year, although this has not been verified. 

No nests are built; eggs are laid directly on 
leaf litter under scrub vegetation with canopy 4 
to 6 m high (never in open areas). 

Young wander a short distance (20 cm) from 
the nest on the third day after hatching and ir- 
regularly farther thereafter. They are able to fly 
on the 14th day. 

Based on 3 nests, the clutch size is 2 eggs laid 
on successive days. Eggs are buffy brown with 
numerous brownish purple spots over the entire 
surface, and are only moderately cryptic against 
the substrate (Kepler and Kepler 1973) of dry 
leaf litter. Protective coloration of the incubating 
bird provides safety from predators. The in- 
cubating bird remains on eggs even when closely 



approached. When driven from nest or chicks, 
adults engage in distraction display by flapping 
wings, spreading tail and opening mouth while 
on the ground (Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Although Susua and Guanica Commonwealth 
Forests are nominally protected, the tremendous 
industrial expansion to the east and possibly real 
estate development to the west threatens them 
both. These forests must be given additional 
recognition and protection from human use and 
domestic predatory and herbivorous animals, par- 
ticularly goats, to assure the continued existence 
of the Puerto Rican whip-poor-will (Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1973; Kepler and Kepler 1973). 

A recent favorable action has been the ruling 
by the Environmental Quality Board that any 
new industrial growth east of Guanica cannot be 
accompanied by increased air pollution. Emissions 
from existing oil refineries would have to decrease 
to accomodate new growth. Also, an attempt to 
use Guanica as a sanitary landfill site has been 
temporarily shelved. 

The most recent serious threat is a proposed 
condominium complex on Punta Ballena, a pri- 
vately owned tract 3.2 km south of the center of 
Guanica Forest. Several thousand people would 
be housed within easy walking distance of the 
whip-poor-wills, necessitating road and commer- 
cial development with the expected onslaught of 
people, cats, rats, and mongooses and the danger 
of fire (American Ornithologists' Union 1976). 

The proposed sanitary landfill at Guanica 
Forest and highway development along its 
southern boundary remain threats (H. Rafael 
pers. comm. 1977). 

AUTHORITIES 

Cameron B. Kepler and Angela K. Kepler 
R. R. Maalaea Rd. 
Kula, Hawaii 96709 

Ricardo Cottee 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Atlanta, Georgia 

Warren King 
Smithsonian Institution 
Washington, B.C. 

Dr. James B. McCandless 
P.O. Box 1060 
Mayaquez, P.R. 00709 



George B. Reynard 
105 Midway 
Riverton, N.J. 08077 

James Wiley 

Box 21 

Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721 

Noel Snyder 

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 

Laurel, Md. 20810 

PREPARER'S COMMENT 

Obviously, the preservation of habitat is the 
key to survival of the Puerto Rican whip-poor- 
wUl. Vigorous action to preserve the approxi- 
mately 3,200 hectares of occupied habitat, and 
particularly the 2,300 hectares of optimal habitat 
in Guanica Forest, and prevention of human in- 
terference there is the only way to save the spe- 
cies from extinction. 

LITERATURE CITED/ SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

American Ornithologists' Uniqp. 1976. Report of 
the Committee on Conservation. Auk 93(4th 
Suppl.): 1DD-19DD. 

Biaggi, V. 1970. Las aves de Puerto Rico. Editorial 
Universitaria. Universidad de Puerto Rico. pp. 
230-231. 

Bond, J. 1936. Birds of the West Indies. Acad. 
Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 

Bond, J. 1940, 1945, 1962. Checklist of birds of 
the West Indies. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia. 

Cory,C. B. \889.Antrostomusvociferus in Puerto 
Rico. Auk 6:276. 

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened Wild- 
life of the United States, 1973 Ed. U.S. Gov't. 
Print. Off. 

Greenway, J. C, Jr. 1958. Extinct and vanishing 
birds of the world. Amer. Comm. Internat'l. 
WildUfe Prot. Spec. Publ. 13, New York. 

Kepler, C. B. and A. K. Kepler. 1973. The distri- 
bution and ecology of the Puerto Rican whip- 
poor-will, an endangered species. Living Bird, 
Eleventh Annual Report Cornell Lab. Omith. 



Leopold, N. F. 1963. Checklist of birds of Puerto 
Rico and the Virgin Islands. Bull. 168 Univ. 
Puerto Rico Agric. Exp. Sta., Rio Piedras. 

Little, E. L. and F. H. Wadsworth. 1964. Com- 
mon trees of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Is- 
lands. U.S. Dept. of Agric. Handbook 249: 
1-548. 

Mayr, E. and L. Short. 1970. Species taxa of North 
American birds, a contribution to compjira- 
tive systematics. Publ. Nuttall Omith. Club 9. 

McCandless, J. B. 1958. A field guide to the birds 
of Puerto Rico. Inter-American University 
Press, San German, Puerto Rico. 

Peters, J. 1940. Check -list of the birds of the world. 
Vol. 4:200. Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge. 

Reynard, G. B. 1962. The rediscovery of the 
Puerto Rican Whip-poor-will. Living Bird, 1: 
51-60. 

Vincent, J. 1966. Puerto Rico Whip-poor-wiU. In: 
Red data book. Vol. 2:Aves I.U.C.N. Survival 
Service Comm., Morges, Switzerland. 

Wadsworth, F. H. 1949. The development of the 
forest land resources of the LuquiUo Moun- 
tains, Puerto Rico. Ph.D. Thesis University 
of Michigan. 

Wetmore, A. 1916. Birds of Puerto Rico. Bull. 
U.S. Dept. Agr. 326. 

Wetmore, A. 1919. Description of a Whip-poor- 
wdll from Puerto Rico. Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 
32:235-237. 

Wetmore, A. 1922. Bird Remains from the caves 
of Puerto Rico. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. Bull. 
46:297-333. 

Wetmore, A. 1927. The birds of Puerto Rico and 
the Virgin Islands. New York Acad. Sci. Vol. 
9,pt.4. 

Wolcott, G. N. 1953. The food of the mongoose 
(Herpestes javanicus auropunctatus Hodgson) 
in St. Croix and Puerto Rico. Jouml. Agric. 
Univ. Puerto Rico 36:241-247. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.34 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

ALEUTIAN CANADA GOOSE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and consersation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\'ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Eouisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.34 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
ALEUTIAN CANADA GOOSE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endjingered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Shdell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




ALEUTIAN CANADA GOOSE 

Branta canadensis leucopareia (Brandt) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

ORDER Anseriformes 

FAMILY Anatidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Hutchins' Goose; Turner 

1886; Cackling Goose; Lesser Canada 
Goose; Legch; Luch or lugach or Lagix; 
land goose; Shijukara gan. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Update To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (42 FR 36427, 14 July 
1977). Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 
July 3, 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 



703-711) as amended Dec. 3, 1969. 
Public Law 91-135. 

States: Endangered: Alaska. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The rapid population decline during the last 
50 years and reduction of known breeding range 
to one small island is due primarily to introduc- 
tion of arctic or blue foxes {Alopex lagopus) on 
the Aleutian Islands, although excessive hunting 
along the migration route and wintering grounds 
has probably contributed to the decline (Grinnell 
et al. 1918, Murie 1959, Jones 1963). Blue foxes 
have been introduced on almost every island in the 
Aleutian chain from Yunaska westward, excluding 
Attu which had an ancestral population of foxes 
Qones 1963), primarily in the 1920's when fox fur 
commanded high prices. Large fox populations 
were produced rapidly and maintained. Buldir Is- 
land, the most isolated and inaccessible of the 



chain, is one of the few where foxes were not in- 
troduced and the only one known to have breed- 
ing Canada geese at present (Jones 1963, Springer 
et al. 1978). Possibly islands of the northern Kuril 
group where geese formerly bred may also be fox- 
free (Snow 1897). 

Recovery of bands from Buldir Island geese 
(Springer et al. 1978) shows that hunting pressure 
in the interior valleys of California is a consider- 
able mortality factor. Avian cholera present in the 
San Joaquin Valley produced some Aleutian Can- 
ada goose mortality (D. W. Woolington et al. 
unpubl. ms.). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

24 

DESCRIPTION 

The Aleutian Canada goose is a small goose, 
slightly larger than the mallard, with grayish 
brown body and black tail, neck, bill, feet and 
legs; white cheeks; a ring at the base of the black 
neck; and black belly, rump, and tail coverts. It 
is smaller and paler than B. c. occidentalis and 
about the same size and color as B. c. tavemeri, 
except that adults almost always have a relatively 
wide white collar which tavemeri usually lacks, 
and the bUl is more tapered and pointed at the 
tip when viewed from above. Legs are relatively 
long. It is slightly larger than B. c. minima, with 
longer legs and a more tapered or pointed bill. 
The white collar is usually absent in minima (Del- 
acour 1951, 1954; J. W. Aldrich ms.; Palmer 
1976). Nelson (1883) commented on the con- 
spicuous wide white collars of Aleutian Island 
Canada geese. 

Size.- Male: Wing 356 to 425 mm (av. 386.4 
mm);tail llOto 137mm(av. 125.8 mm);exposed 
culmen 31 to 38 mm (av. 34.4 mm); tarsus 67 to 
88 mm (av. 80.5 mm); middle toe without claw 
58 to 69 mm (av. 63.2 mm). 

Size.- Female: wing 358 to 390 mm (av. 
372.6 mm); tail 110 to 130 mm (av. 122.8 mm); 
exposed culmen 30 to 35 mm (av. 32.7 mm); tar- 
sus 69 to 80 mm (av. 74.2 mm); middle toe with- 
out claw 53 to 66 mm (av. 59.4 mm) Q. W. 
Aldrich ms.). 

Shape of bill.- The more tapered bill of B. c. 
leucopareia is shown by the ratio of width of bill 
at base to width at tip (base of nail). Based on 



averages of those measurements, bills of leu- 
copareia are 7% more tapered than tavemeri and 
9% more tapered than minima. The more pointed 
appearance of leucopareia bills is due to greater 
length of the nail in proportion to its width. Based 
on ratio of nail length to width leucopareia bills 
are 8% more pointed than tavemeri and 16% 
more pointed than minima (J. W. Aldrich ms.). 

Weight.- A female specimen from Amchitka 
Island, 10 May 1959, 1927 g (Kenyon 1961); a 
female specimen from Amchitka Island, 10 June 
1952, 1954 g (Krog 1953). Avg. Qohnson et al.): 
males - 1946 g (Buldir I.), 2110 g (California); 
females - 1703 g (Buldir I.), 1863 g (California). 

Juvenile plumage is somewhat paler ventraUy, 
with more blended overall coloring. The white 
neck ring is indistinct or absent (J. W. Aldrich 
ms.. Palmer 1976, D. H. Johnson et al. unpubl. 
ms.). Downy young are brownish olive above, 
whitish yellow below. 

RANGE 

B. c. leucoparei formerly bred in the Com- 
mander and northern Kuril Islands, U.S.S.R., and 
the western Aleutian Islands from Attu east to 
Atka and Islands of Four Mountains (Nelson 
1883, Turner 1886, Stejneger 1885 and 1887, 
Snow 1897, Clark 1910, Bent 1925, Jochelson 
1933, Murie 1959, Delacour 1954, Johansen 
1961); possibly also in Pribilof Islands (Delacour 
1954), but not according to Nelson (1883). It 
now breeds only on Buldir Island in Aleutian Is- 
lands, as far as is known Qones 1963, Murie 
1959, Springer et al. 1978). The last breeding re- 
cord for other Aleutian Islands was on Agattu in 
1937 (Murie 1959). The species has apparently 
been extirpated on the Commander Island since 
1914 Qohansen 1961). 

This species formerly wintered in Japan (Aus- 
tin and Kuroda 1953), and is reported also to 
have wintered from British Columbia south to 
California (Delacour 1951) and northwestern 
Mexico (Hansen and Nelson 1964). The popula- 
tion in Japan was reduced to one bird in the fall 
of 1978 (Y. Yokota pers. comm.). At present, it 
winters chiefly in the Sacramento and San Joaquin 
Valleys, Monro Bay, on the southeast Farallon 
Island of California, in the lower Colorado River 
Valley of Arizona and Mexico (Wollington et al. 
unpubl. ms.); and in northwestern Mexico near 
Obregon, Sonora Q. W. Aldrich ms.). There are 



no definite winter records north of California 
(Springer et al. 1978). 

In fall migration, the geese leave the Aleutian 
Islands breeding area as early as late August 
(Woolington and D. R. Yparraguirre unpubl. ms.) 
and early September (Byrd and Springer 1976), 
and move eastvi^ard along the Aleutian chain to 
possible staging areas on Unimak Island. They 
arrive on the northwestern California coast and 
in the Sacramento Valley between October and 
early November. They are not found north of 
there, suggesting that they fly directly overwater 
from the western Aleutians to the coast of north- 
western California. From there, they move south- 
ward through the interior valleys of California to 
their wintering grounds (Springer et al. 1978, D. 
W. Woolington et al. unpubl. ms.). 

The migrants move from their San Joaquin 
Valley wintering area to a staging area near Cres- 
cent City in northwestern California between 
middle of February and early March. They leave 
that staging area for the Aleutian Islands breeding 
grounds during the latter part of April, presum- 
ably flying directly northwestward over the Pacific 
Ocean, although several reports of unhanded 
specimens presumed to be Aleutian Canada geese 
have been received from the mouth of the Colum- 
bia River (Byrd and Springer 1976, Springer et al. 
1978). 

Confusion in taxonomy of Aleutian and Com- 
mander Islands populations of Branta canadensis 
has led to misconceptions, including the reported 
nesting of three subspecies, hutchinsii, minima, 
and asiatica in those islands (Bent 1912, 1925; 
Murie 1959; J. W. Aldrich 1946). ActuaUy, only 
one subspecies, leucopareia, nests in the Aleutian 
Islands (Delacour 1954), and B. c. asiatica of the 
Commander Islands is now thought to be the same 
as leucopareia (]. W. Aldrich ms.; Austin and 
Kuroda 1953; Palmer 1976). 

RANGE MAP 

Past and present breeding areas and present 
wintering area from Byrd and Springer (1976) 
and Springer et al. (1978) are shown on the fol- 
lowing range map. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alaska (localities): Attu I., Agattu I., Semichi 

Ids., Buldir I., Kiska I., 
Amchitka I., Tanaga I., 



Kanaga I., Adak I., Atka I., 
probably taverneri on un- 
derlined areas, Unimak I. 
and possibly on Izembek 
Bay, head of Morzhovoi 
Bay, Nelson Lagoon, Port 
MoUer. 

California (counties) : Del Norte, Humboldt, 

Mendocino, Glenn, Colusa, 
Sutter, Yolo, Solano, Sac- 
ramento, Contra Costa, 
San Joaquin, Stanislaus, 
Merced, San Luis Obispo, 
Imperial, and San Fran- 
cisco (southeast Farallon 
Island). 

Arizona: Mohave. 



Sonora. 

Hokkaido and Honshu I. 



Mexico: 
Japan: 

HABITAT 

Nesting habitat was reported along the banks 
of small streams that enter the sea through gaps 
in high bluffs and on grassy hillsides on Agattu 
(Clark 1910), and in marshes and lagoons with 
rank aquatic vegetation on the Semichi Islands 
(Turner 1886). Nesting on rugged sea cliffs cut by 
watercourses where grasses and sedges grow in 
rank profusion was reported (not interior flatlands 
with ponds) on Buldir (Murie 1959, Jones 1963, 
G. V. Byrd and D. W. Woolington unpubl. ms.). 
Nesting habitat in the Aleutian Islands is charac- 
terized by polar maritime climate with high hum- 
idity, fog, rain, and small diurnal annual range of 
temperature Qones 1963). Molting habitat is in 
the uplands. Night roosting habitat is shallow 
pools on mountainsides on Attu (Turner 1886); 
islands, ponds, and flooded fields in migration 
and wintering areas (D. W. Woolington et al. un- 
publ. ms.). Fall, winter, and spring habitats in 
California are fields from which lima bean, black- 
eyed bean, rice and com have been harvested; 
green barley and wheat fields; and flood-irrigated 
and nonirrigated land (D. W. Woolington et al. 
and Springer 1977 unpubl. ms.). 

FOOD AND FORAGING 

The birds fatten in the fall on Vaccinium ber- 
ries on Attu (Turner 1886) and on crowberries 
(Empetrum migrum) at Buldir (G. V. Byrd and 



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(from Byrd and Springer 1976) 



CALIFORNIA 



mPCMAk 



Wintering areas of the Aleutian Canada goose. 



D. W. Woolington unpubl. ms.). The main food 
during the breeding season on Buldir Island is 
sedge (Carex sp.) and red fescue [Festuca rubra) 
(Byrd and Springer 1976). 

At the northwestern California spring migra- 
tion staging area, geese feed on fescue [Festuca 
dertonensis), velvet grass (Holcus sp.), plantain 
(Plantago major) and other plants (Byrd and 
Springer 1976). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Flightless young and molting birds are hidden 
by over 1-m-taIl rye grass {Elymus arenarius) and 
umbelliferous plants [Heracleum lanatum and 
Angelica lucida) on Buldir Island (Byrd and 
Springer 1976). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

On Agattu, nests were composed of dead 
grass and a few feathers carelessly arranged (Tur- 
ner 1886), plus large masses of light drab or dark 
gray down mixed with whitish down, numerous 
breast feathers and bits of straw (Bent 1925). On 
Buldir Island, the geese place nests on steep slopes 
under tall vegetation, mostly ryegrass (Byrd and 
Springer 1976, G. V. Byrd and D. W. Woolington 
unpubl. ms.). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

None Recorded. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None known other than protection from pre- 
dation by introduced Arctic Foxes on breeding 
grounds and excessive hunting and disease on 
migration and wintering areas. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Aleutian Canada geese formerly reared young 
in considerable numbers on the western Aleutian 
Islands and were domesticated by the natives 
(Nelson 1883; Turner 1886). They were the most 
abundant birds on Agattu, breeding by the thou- 
sands (Clark 1910); they were also common mi- 
grants throughout the Aleutian Islands area, nest- 
ing on many of the islands. Populations appeared 
greatly reduced by the 1936, 1937, and 1938 ob- 
servations, as the species had disappeared from 
most of the islands and only a few pairs remained 



anywhere (Murie 1959). On Amchitka, the 7 seen 
on 27 June and 2 on 5 July 1961 were the last 
observed on any Aleutian Island prior to their re- 
discovery on Buldir Qones 1963). The last birds 
were recorded on the Commander Islands in 1914 
Qohansen 1961). 

In 1977 an estimated 170 breeding pairs (340 
birds) and an undetermined number of non- 
breeders were located on Buldir Island (G. V. 
Byrd and D. W. Woolington unpubl. ms.). 

A flock believed to be almost all Aleutian 
Canada geese at Crescent City in northwestern 
California peaked at 790 in mid-April 1975, at 
about 900 in late March 1976, and at 1150 in 
the spring of 1977 (Byrd and Springer 1976, 
Springer et al. 1978). This indicates a total popula- 
tion more than double the number of breeding 
birds on Buldir. It also indicates an increase from 
1976 to 1977. The fall population in 1977 was 
1600 (D. W. Woolington et al. unpubl. ms.). 

REPRODUCTION 

Turner (1886) said clutches of eggs of Aleutian 
Island geese vary from 7 to 13; Byrd and Springer 
(1976) noted that Buldir Island geese averaged 
about six eggs, laid in late May or early June. In- 
cubation was 27-28 days, with over 80% of the 
nests hatching young. Glaucous-winged gulls eat 
some eggs and bald eagles take a few birds, but pre- 
dation apparently is not severe (Byrd and Springer 
1976). Turner (1886) noted that parent birds 
complete their molt by 20 August, at which time 
young are able to fly. G. V. Byrd and D. W. Wool- 
ington (unpubl. ms.) made similar observations on 
Buldir. Turner (1886) noted that a heavy snowfall 
in the latter part of June on Agattu and Semichi 
covered the ground to 3 ft (0.91 m), and incubat- 
ing geese were found dead after the snow melted. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The Recovery Team prepared a plan with 4 
objectives: 1) prepare habitat for goose reintro- 
duction by removing fox; 2) produce adequate 
release stock of geese in captivity; 3) acclimatize 
and release birds and monitor results; 4) study 
and protect the wild birds (Byrd and Springer 
1976). 

Control of foxes, begun by Robert D. Jones, 
Jr. in the late 1940's, resulted in their complete 
elimination from Amchitka. To safeguard reintro- 
duced geese, 3 areas were selected for fox removal, 



widely separated to reduce the danger of local 
disasters such as earthquakes and tidal waves; 
these are Agattu (22,000 ha) with nearby Nizki/ 
Alaid Islands (1300 ha), Amchitka Island (30,000 
ha) and Kanaga Island (37,000 ha), all of which 
formerly had goose populations. Originally, foxes 
were eliminated by poison, but poisoning is now 
banned by law. Fifty-four foxes were taken on 
Agattu and 130 on Nizki/Alaid in 1974 and 1975. 
It was estimated that one or more foxes were left 
on Agattu in 1978 (D. W. Woolington and D. R. 
Yparraguirre unpubl. ms.) and none on Nizki/ 
Alaid in 1976 (Springer et al. 1978). Fox control 
on Kanaga Island in 1977 removed 142 animals, 
leaving an estimated 700 plus Q. L. Martin pers. 
comm.). 

Captive propagation began in 1963 with cap- 
ture of 18 goslings on Buldir Island for transfer to 
breeding pens at Patuxent Wildlife Research Cen- 
ter, Laurel, Md., in 1966. Additional goslings 
were taken for that project in 1972 (21) and 
1975 (20). Altogether over 451 goslings have 
been produced from 1966 through 1978 (R. C. 
Erickson pers. comm.). 

To facilitate acclimatization and develop a 
tradition for homing to Aleutian Islands, a facility 
was developed on Amchitka Island in 1976 where 
goslings will be held to maturity before being re- 
leased, and a second propagation facility was 
estabhshed on Amchitka. Twenty geese raised 
from Buldir goslings at Northern Prairie Research 
Center, together with 75 birds from Patuxent, 
were sent to Amchitka in fall 1977 to initiate that 
operation. In 1977 and 1978, 150 goslings were 
raised at Amchitka. 

First releast of 75 one- two- and three-year- 
old geese was on fox-free Amchitka in the spring 
of 1971, but all birds disappeared soon afterwards, 
some because of predation by bald eagles. The se- 
cond release was on Agattu in the summer of 
1974, when the island was admost fox-free and 
fox control was continuing. Four pairs of geese 
nested and 2 pairs raised 5 young. Other released 
geese remained near the release site all summer. 
Nine molting geese were brought to Agattu from 
Buldir to serve as guides for captive-reared birds 
in the fall migration. The geese departed Agattu 
on 4 September, headed east. In the winter and 
spring of 1974-75, three of the released birds, 
identified by white bands, were reported on the 
northwest coast of California. Released birds did 
not return to Agattu in 1975 nor were they found 



on Buldir with the wild birds (Byrd and Springer 
1976, Springer et al. 1978). 

In the spring and fall 1976, a release of 30 
pen-reared birds and 3 wild guide birds was again 
made on Amchitka. Most of the birds disappeared 
from unknown causes, but at least 5 were killed 
by eagles. Eight birds were recaptured and held at 
Amchitka Q. L. Martin pers. comm.). A fourth re- 
lease of 117 pen-reared birds and 22 wild guide 
birds was made on Agattu in 1978; it is too early 
to determine the success of this effort (P. F. 
Springer pers. comm.). 

Monitoring of geese banded on Buldir and 
Agattu has now established fairly well their migra- 
tion routes, their principal wintering areas in Cali- 
fornia, and their staging area for spring migration. 
Further plans for monitoring include careful 
counts at Castle Rock spring staging area in north- 
western California and several likely spots to the 
north for migrants. Some captive-reared and wild 
geese are equipped with colored neck collars for 
easier location. 

Based on times and places of band recoveries 
and sightings in 1975, the California Depairtment 
of Fish and Game closed the northwest coastaJ 
counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino, 
to hunting for the entire 1976 season, and also 
closed part of the Sacramento Valley in Glenn and 
Colusa counties from the opening of the season in 
mid-October to mid-December, and part of the 
San Joaquin Valley in San Joaquin, Stanislaus, 
and Merced counties from mid-December to the 
close of the season in mid-January. Subsequently, 
on the basis of additional recoveries, the closed 
area of the Sacramento Valley was extended to 
include parts of Butte and Sutter counties and the 
San Joaquin Valley closure now starts during the 
last week in November. Because of lack of re- 
coveries or sightings of banded wild birds in Men- 
docino County, this county was reopened to 
Canada goose hunting in 1977. It seems probable 
that the increased goose population in California 
since 1975 is due to the restrictions on hunting. 



AUTHORITIES 

Dennis W. Woolington 
Paul F. Springer 
Wildlife Research Station 
Humboldt State University 
Areata, California 95521 



G. Vernon Byrd 
Aleutian Islands N.W.R. 
Box 5251 
Adak, Alaska 98791 

Hawaiian Islands N.W.R. 

Box 87 

Kilauea, Kannai, Hawaii 96754 

Ray C. Erickson 

Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 

Laurel, Maryland 20811 

Robert D. Jones, Jr. 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
1011 E. Tudor Rd. 
Anchorage, Alaska 99507 

Daniel R. Yparraguirre 

California Department of Fish and Game 

2166 Carriro Brazos 

Pleasanton, California 94566 

Karl W. Kenyon 

11964 Lakeside Place 

N.E. Seattle, Washington 98125 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Good progress has been made in management 
of the Aleutian Canada Goose. If the recovery 
plan is carried out, particularly with respect to 
fox control and reintroduction of geese in Aleutian 
Islands and hunting control in migration and win- 
tering areas, the prospects look very good for re- 
covery — John W. Aldrich. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Aldrich, J. W. 1946. Speciation in the white- 
checked geese. Wilson BuU. 58:94-103. 

Austin, O. L., Jr. and N. Kuroda. 1953. Birds of 
Japan. Bull. Mus.Comp.Zool. Harvard 109(4). 

Bent, A. C. 1912. Notes on birds observed during 
a brief visit to the Aleutian Islands and Bering 
Sea in 1911. Smithsonian Misc. Colls. 56(32): 
1-29. 

Bent, A. C. 1925. Life histories of North Ameri- 
can Wild Fowl. Part II. U.S. Nat. Mus. Bull. 
130. 



Byrd, G. V., and D. W. Woolington. Breeding 
biology, habitat utilization and population 
structure of Aleutian Canada geese on Buldir 
Island. Unpublished manuscript. Aleutian Is- 
lands National Wildlife Refuge. 110 p. 

Byrd, G. V. and P. F. Springer. 1976. Recovery 
program for the endangered Aleutian Canada 
goose. Cal-Neva Wildlife Transactions 1976: 
65-73. 

Clark, A. H. 1910. The birds collected and ob- 
served during the cruise of the United States 
Fisheries steamer "Albatross" in the North 
Pacific Ocean, and in the Bering, Okhotsk, 
Japan, and Eastern Seas, from April to Decem- 
ber 1906. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 38:25-74. 

Delacour, J. 1951. Preliminary note on the tax- 
onomy of Canada Geese, Branta canadensis. 
Amer. Mus. Novits. 1537:1-10. 

Delacour, J. 1954. The Waterfowl of the world. 
Vol. 1. London, Country Life Limited. 

Grinnell, J., H. C. Bryant, and T. I. Storer. 1918. 
The game birds of California. University of 
California Press, Berkeley. 642 pp. 

Hansen, H. A., and H. K. Nelson. 1964. Honkers 
large and small. P. 109-124 in J. P. Linduska, 
ed. Waterfowl Tommorrow. U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service. 770 pp. 

Jochelson, W. 1933. History, ethnology, and 
anthropology of the Aleut. Carnegie Inst. 
Wash. Publ. 432. 91 pp. 

Johansen, H. 1961. Revised list of the birds of the 
Commander Islands. Auk 78:44-56. 

Johnson, D. H., D. E. Timm, and P. F. Springer. 
Morphological characteristics of Canada geese 
in the Pacific Flyway. Paper to be presented 
at Symposium on Biology and Management of 
Pacific Flyway Geese, Portland, Or., Feb. 16, 
1979.24 pp. 

Jones, R. D., Jr. 1963. Buldir Island, site of a 
remnant breeding population of Aleutian 
Canada Geese. Ann. Rep. Wildfowl Trust 14: 
80-84. 

Kenyon, K. W. 1961. Birds of Amchitka Island 
Alaska, Auk 78:305-320. 

Krog, J. 1953. Notes on the birds of Amchitka 
Island, Alaska. Condor 55:299-304. 

Murie, O. J. 1959. Fauna of the Aleutian Islands 



and Alaska Peninsula. North Amer. Fauna. 
61:364 pp. 

Nelson, E. W. 1883. Birds of the Bering Sea and 
the Arctic Ocean. Cruise of the Revenue- 
Steamer Corvvin in Alaska and the N.W. Arc- 
tic Ocean in 1881. Washington, D.C. Govern- 
ment Printing Office. 

Palmer, R. S. ed. 1976. Handbook of North Am- 
erican Birds, Vol. 2. New Haven, Yale Univ. 
Press, p. 211. 

Snow, H. J. 1897. Notes in the Kuril Islands. 
Royal Geographical Society, London. 91 pp. 

Springer, P. F.,G. V. Byrd, and D. W. Woolington. 
1978. Reestablishing Aleutian Canada geese. 
P. 331-338 in S. A. Temple, ed. Endangered 
birds: management techniques for threatened 
species. University of Wisconsin Press, Madi- 
son. 446 pp. 

Stejneger, L. 1885. Results of ornithological ex- 
penditions in the Commander Islands and 
Kamtschatak. BuU. U.S. Nat. Mus. 29:1-382. 



Stejneger, L. 1887. Revised and annotated cata- 
logue of the birds inhabiting the Commander 
Islands. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 10:117-145. 

Turner, L. M. 1886. Contributions to the natural 
history of Alaska. Results of investigations 
made chiefly in the Yukon, District and the 
Aleutian Islands; conducted under the auspices 
of the Signal Service United States Army, ex- 
tending from May, 1874, to August, 1881. 
No. 11. Arctic Series of Publications in con- 
nection with the Signal Service, U.S. Army. 
Washington, Government Printing Office. 

Woolington, D. W., P. F. Springer, and D. R. 
Yparraguirre. Migration and wintering distri- 
bution of Aleutian Canada geese. Paper to be 
presented at Symposium on Biology and Man- 
agement of Pacific Flyway Geese, Portland, 
Or., Feb. 16, 1979. 11pp. 

Woolington, D. W., and D. R. Yparraguirre. Pro- 
gress report on restoration of Aleutian Canada 
geese on Agattu Island, 1978. Unpublished 
manuscript. Aleutian Islands National Wildlife 
Refuge. 74 pp. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.35 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

WEST INDIAN MANATEE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conser\'ation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the l",ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Eouisiana 704.58 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.35 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

WEST INDIAN MANATEE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




WEST INDIAN MANTAEE 

Trichechus manatus Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Sirenia 

FAMILY Trichechidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES sea cow; sea 

siren. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined. 

Updates 9 October 1976; 

8 March 1977; 1 June 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001; 11 March 
1967 and 35 FR 8491; 2 June 1970). 

States: Endangered: Georgia, South Carolina, 
Texas, Threatened; Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The manatee population has decHned severely 
from an estimated several thousand individuals in 
the 1700's and early 1800's to as few as 1,000 
today (Hartman 1974). 

Initial population decreases resulted from 
overharvesting for meat, oil, and leather. Today, 
little illegal hunting occurs, but heavy mortality 
results from accidental boat and barge strikes and 
entrapment in canal locks and flood control dams 
(Campbell and Powell 1976; Irvine et al. 1978). 
Some malicious killing by vandals occurs, but is 
not considered a significant factor. 

Actual physical habitat loss may be of con- 
siderable importance; residential, commercial, and 
recreational development is rampant in Florida. 
Heavy boat traffic in some areas is a serious threat 
to manatees and their habitat. 

Recent data (Campbell and Irvine 1978) in- 
dicate that manatees may be diverted from their 
southward fall movements to industrial warm- 
water effluents located north of their historic 



winter range. During exceptionally cold weather, 
water temperatures suitable for the animals may 
not be maintained. During the prolonged and ex- 
ceptionally cold winter of 1976-77, 34 manatees 
died in northern and central Florida in areas 
north of their historic winter range; many of 
them had been associated with power plant ef- 
fluents (Campbell and Irvine 1978). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The manatee is a large gray or brown fusiform 
aquatic mammal that lacks a dorsal fin. It is nearly 
hairless except for stiff whiskers covering the 
muzzle and widely scattered, fine hairs on the 
back. The forelimbs are modified into flippers, 
and the paddle-shaped tail is flattened hori- 
zontally. Hind limbs are absent. The sexes are dis- 
tinguished by the position of the genital opening; 
the distance from the anus is greatest in males. 
Within its range, the manatee is the only large 
aquatic mammal exhibiting these characteristics. 

Manatees are usually 3 m long, with a maxi- 
mum length of 4.6 m reported (Hartman 1979b). 
Adult weights range between 360 and 540 kg, 
with a maximum of approximately 1,000 kg 
(Hartman 1979b). 

Illustrations of manatees have been published 
in many popular and scientific articles: Simpson 
(1930), Ledbetter (1960), Walker, et al. (1964), 
Hartman (1969),Stephens(1972),Okeefe (1973), 
Vietmeyer (1974), Campbell and Powell (1976), 
Hartman (1979a), and Reynolds (1979). 

RANGE 

During the wdnter months, U.S. populations 
appear to be restricted to peninsular Florida, 
south of Crystal River on the Gulf coast and 
Titusville on the Atlantic coast. In the St. Johns 
River, the animals occur from Jacksonville south 
to at least Lake Monroe (Layne 1965; Hartman 
1974). 

During the winter, manatees in northern and 
central Florida congregate around natural and in- 
dustrial warm-water sources (see Hartman 1974 
for a list of sites). Winter distribution has expanded 
northward during the last few decades from 27° 
52' to 39° 21' on the east coast and from 26° 45' 



to 27° 45' on the west coast. The expansion is 
probably due to the proliferation of industrial 
and power-generating plant warm-water dis- 
charges (Moore 1951b, 1953; Layne 1965; 
Hartman 1974). 

During the summer, manatees that congre- 
gate at winter warm water refugia appear to 
disperse, moving north along the Atlantic and 
Gulf coasts, occasionally as far as the Carolinas 
and extreme western Florida. Rarely, sightings 
are reported in Louisiana and Mississippi and 
historic records document sightings as far north 
as New Jersey (Hartman 1974, Campbell and 
Powell 1976). Sightings north of Georgia are 
unusual and may represent vagrant individuals. 
Historic information suggests that the northern 
Gulf of Mexico coast may once have been more 
frequented by manatees during the summer than 
it is now (Lowery, 1974). It is unlikely that 
manatees could survive there in the winter due to 
the low water temperatures. 

Occasional sightings in extreme southern 
Texas may represent remanents of a population on 
the northern Mexico Gulf coast (Husar 1977). 

Trichechus manatus occurs around many of 
the Caribbean islands: Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, 
Jamaica, Cuba, and Andros (Husar 1977). Recent 
sightings have been reported for Grand Bahama 
Island (Odell et al. 1968). 

In Central and South America, the West Indian 
manatee occurs from at least central Mexico 
south along the coast to the region of Alagoas 
State, Brazil (Bertram and Bertram 1973, White- 
head 1977). It also penetrates the Orinoco River 
in Venezuela to Apure Falls (Mondolfi, 1974) and 
up the Amazon River an undetermined distance 
(Bertram and Bertram 1973). 

RANGE MAP 

The range maps (following) show the present 
distribution, historic range, peripheral sightings, 
and critical habitat of the West Indian manatee in 
the United States. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile. 

Florida: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, Cit- 
rus, Clay, Collier, Dade, De Soto, 
Dixie, Dural, Escambia, Flagler, 
Franklin, Gilchrist, Glades, Gulf, 




Distribution of T. manatus in the southeastern United States (shaded area: summer 
distribution; dots: peripheral sightings; arrows; northern limits of historic range) 




Estimated distribution of Trichechus manatus in Florida. 




NORTHWESTERN PART OF 

FLORIDA 

S««( SC»ie *S MAIN U«P 



15 16 ■ 17 19 \9 



21 22 23 a* 2S 



Critical habitat of Trichechus manatus in the United States. 



Georgia: 
Louisiana: 



Missis- 
sippi: 
North 
Carolina: 



Hendry, Hernando, Highlands, HUls- 
Borough. Indian River, Jefferson, 
Lake, Lafayette, Lee, Levy, Manatee, 
Marion, Martin, Monrow, Okaloosa, 
Okeechobee, Orange, Osceola, Palm 
Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk, Putnam, 
St. Johns, St. Lucie, Santa Rosa, Sara- 
sota, Seminole, Suwannee, Taylor, 
Volusia, Wakulla, Walton. 
Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, 
Liiaerty, Mcintosh. 

(Parishes): Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, 
Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, 
St. Mary, Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

Beaufort, Bertie, Brunswick, Camden, 
Carteret, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, 
Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, 
Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Tyr- 
rell, Washington. 

Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colle- 
ton, Georgetown, Horry. 

Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, 
Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Ken- 
edy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Wil- 
lacy. 



HABITAT 

Manatees inhabit both fresh and salt water of 
sufficient depth (1 meter or more) throughout 
their range. They may be encountered in water- 
ways with access to coastal habitats, including 
canals, sluggish rivers, estuaries, and saltwater 
bays. They also have been seen as far as 6 km off 
the coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico (Hart- 
man 1974). Between October and AprU in Florida, 
manatees concentrate near warm water (Hartman 
1974, 1979), but during other months they appear 
to choose areas with adequate food near sources 
of fresh water (Huser 1977, Hartman 1979a). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Manatees consume almost any vegetation 
available. Comprehensive lists of plant species 
recorded in their diet have been published by 
Hartman (1971) and Campbell and Irvine (1977). 



South 
Carolina: 

Texas: 



Emergent and floating plants, and even vegetation 
along the shore are acceptable but they prefer 
submergents, emergents, and floating vegetation 
in that order (Hartman 1979a). A partial list of 
plants known to be eaten by manatees illustrates 
the variety of their diet: 

Floating fern (Ceratophyllum pteridoides) 
Pondweed (Diplanthera wrightii) 
Water-hyacinth (Eichhomia crassipes) 
Waterweed (Elodea) 
Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) 
Water milfoil (Myriophyllum) 
Widgeon grass (Ruppia maritima) 
Manatee-grass (Syringodium filiforme) 
Turtle grass (Thallasia testudinum) 
Eelgrass (Vallisneria neotropicalis) 
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) 
Various types of algae 

While generally considered completely herb- 
iverous, there are instances of wild manatees 
feeding on fish (Powell 1978) and captive mana- 
tees will take fish if available (Jenkins 1979). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

During hurricanes, manatees may seek shelter 
in protected bays and canals (Hartman 1971). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not applicable. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not appHcable. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Manatees are adapted to both fresh- and salt- 
water habitats. Dependance on freshwater for 
drinking has been suggested by Hartman (1974, 
1979a). Saltwater populations often congregate 
around sources of freshwater, such as offshore 
springs, river mouths, and marina water hoses. 

Numerous accounts of manatee deaths fol- 
lowing cold weather in Florida suggest that winter 
temperatures at the margin of their range may be 
a limiting factor for U.S. populations (Bangs 1895; 
Cahn 1940; Hamilton 1941; Kromholz 1943; 
Moore 1951b, 1956; Layne 1965). Water temper- 
ature below approximately 20° C stimulates move- 
ment into warm water refugia (Hartman 1974, 



1979a; Powell 1978; Powell and Waldron 1978). MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Hartman (1974, 1979a) estimated the U.S. 
population at 750 to 850 animals with possible 
extremes of 600 and 1,000. More recent surveys 
(Irvine and Campbell 1978) suggest a minimum 
population between 750 and 900 animals, while 
Brownell et al. (1978) estimated a U.S. popula- 
tion of 1,000 or more. 

No accurate historical population estimates 
cure available, but numbers today are believed to 
be reduced compared to historical levels (Hart- 
man 1971). Concern for reduced population 
levels was expressed as early as 1880 by LeBaron 
and 1885 by Canova. All populations throughout 
the species' range are believed to be critically re- 
duced (Bertram and Bertram 1973). 

United States populations appear to be in- 
creasing in some areas, decreasing in other areas, 
and remaining stable in some regions (Hartman 
1974). Husar (1977) suggested that numbers were 
increasing, but Brownell et alj (1978), based on 
mortality figures, thought it more likely that an 
overall decline was occuring. 

REPRODUCTION 

Mating generally involves the pursuit of an 
estrous female by a group of courting males 
(Hartman 1979a). Gestation, as estimated from a 
captive conception and birth, is 365 days (Dek- 
ker 1977). The manatee is basically uniparous, 
with the possibility that twinning may occasionally 
occur (Hartman 1979a). Hartman (1979a) believed 
that there was no specific breeding season, but 
recovery of dead calves suggests that most of 
them are bom in the spring and early summer 
(Hartman 1979a, Irvine et al. 1978). Calves are 
bom and nursed in the water and are believed to 
remain with the female for up to 2 years. Re- 
productive maturity may be reached at 7 to 10 
years (Odell et al. 1978). 

The most commonly observed social unit is 
the cow and her calf, but larger social groups of 
unknown composition are observed, especially 
around limited resources such as warm water 
refugia (Hartman, 1979a). 

Natural longevity is unknown, although an 
individual has been kept in captivity in Florida 
for over 29 years (Brownell et al. 1978). 



In addition to the Endangered Species Act, 
manatees are protected in the United States by 
the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (PL 
92-522; 80 stat 1027) and by various State laws, 
such as the Florida Manatee Sanctuary Act. 
Manatees are also protected in every country 
throughout their range, although enforcement 
efforts are ineffective in most areas. 

The most immediate conservation need in the 
United States is for management (Wray 1976). 
Especially critical is the reduction of mortality 
caused by boat strikes and entrapment in water 
control structures (Hartman 1974, Campbell and 
Powell 1976, Brownell et al. 1978). 

The State of Florida has designated Blue 
Spring State Park as a manatee sanctuary and 
Brevard County, Florida, has declared itself a 
manatee sanctuary. De facto sanctuaries exist in 
the Everglades National Park, various National 
Wildlife Refuges throughout Florida, and several 
Florida State Parks. Critical Habitat was designated 
in 1976 (41 FR 41916, 24 September 1976) (see 
range maps). 



AUTHORITIES 

Edward Asper 
Seaworld of Florida 
7007 Seaworld Drive 
Orlando, FL 32809 

Robert L. Brownell, Jr. (Recovery Team) 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
Museum of Natural History 
Washington, D.C. 29560 

John C. Oberheu (Recovery Team Leader) 
Jacksonville Area Office 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
900 San Marco Blvd. 
Jacksonville, FL 32207 

Daniel K. Odell 

School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences 

University of Miami 

4600 Rickenbacker Causeway 

Miami, FL 33149 

Galen B. Rathbun 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Ave., Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Patrick M. Rose 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawer 7 
Maitland, FL 32751 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Liturature reviews and bibliographies on Tri- 
chechus manatus are numerous. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Allsopp, W. H. L. 1969. Aquatic weed control by 
manatees: its prospects and problems. In L. E. 
Obeng, ed. Man-made lakes. Ghana Univ. 
Press, Accra. 

Bangs, O. 1895. The present standing of the Flo- 
rida manatee, Trichechus [manatus?^ latiros- 
tris (Harlan), in the Indian River waters. Am. 
Nat. 29:783-787. 

Bertram, G. C. L., and G. K. R. Bertram. 1973. 
The modem sirenia: their distribution and 
status. Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 5:297-338. 

Brownell, R. L., Jr., Kr. Ralls, and R. R. Reeves, 
eds. 1978. Report of the West Indian Manatee 
Workshop, Oriando, Florida, 27-29 March 
1978. Nad. Fish and Wildl. Lab, U.S. Fish and 
Wildl. Serv. Rept. 37 pp. 

Cahn, A. R. 1940. Manatees and the Florida 
freeze. J. Mammal. 21:222-223. 

Campbell, H. W. 1976. The Florida manatee and 
related species. Plaster Jacket 25:10 pp. 

Campbell, H. W. 1977. Mammalia; Sirenia; 
Trichechidae (Manatees). In: Endangered and 
Threatened Plants and Animals of North Car- 
olina. N.C. State Museum of Natural History. 
444 pp. 

Campbell, H. S., and J. A. Powell. 1976. Endan- 
gered species: the Florida manatee. Florida 
Nat. AprU:15-20. 

Campbell, H. W., and A. B. Irvine. 1977. Feeding 
ecology of the West Indian manatee. Aqua- 
culture 12:249-51. 

. 1979. Manatee mortality during the unu- 
sually cold winter of 1976-1977. Proc. West 
Indian Manatee Workshop, 27-29 March 1978, 
Orlando, Florida. 12 pp. 

Canova, A. 1885. Life and adventures in south 



Florida. Tribune Printing Co., Tampa. 145 pp. 

Gold, J. P. 1979. The Sirenia: Dugong, manatee, 
Steller's sea cow, and relatives. Natl. Mus. of 
Natur. Hist., Smithsonian Inst. 11 pp. 

Dekker, D. 1977. Zeekoegeboorte. Artis 23(4): 
111-119. 

Hamilton, W. J. 1941. Notes on some mammals 
of Lee County, Florida. Am. Midi. Nat. 25: 
686-691. 

Hartman, D. S. 1969. Florida's manatees, mer- 
maids in peril. Natl. Geogr. Mag. 136(3): 
342-353. 

. 1971. Behavior and ecology of the Flo- 
rida manatee, Trichechus manatus latirostris 
(Harlan), at Crystal River, Citrus County. Ph. 
D. Dissert. Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y. 285 pp. 

-. 1974. Distribution, status and conserva- 



tion of the manatee in the United States. U.S. 
Fish Wildl. Ser. Unpubl. Rep. 247 pp. 

Hartman, D. S. 1979a. Ecology and Behavior of 
the Manatee {Trichechus manatus) in Florida. 
Am. Soc. of Mammal. Spec. Publ. 5. 153 pp. 

. 1979b. West Indian manatee. Pages 27- 

39 in J. N. Layne, ed. Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 1, Mammals. Univ. 
Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

Husar, S. L. 1975. An annotated bibliography of 
the recent Sirenia {Trichechus, Dugong, Hy- 
drodamalis). National Fish and Wildlife Lab., 
U.S. Fish and WUdlife Service Rept. 148 pp. 

. 1977. The West Indian manatee {Tri- 

checus manatus). U.S. Fish and Wildl. Ser. 
WUdhfe Res. Rept. 7, 22 pp. 

. 1978. Trichechus manatus. Mammalian 



Species 93:1-5. 

Irvine, A. B., and H. W. Campbell. 1978. Aerial 
census of the West Indian manatee, Triche- 
chus manatus, in the southeastern United 
States. J. Mammal. 59(3):613-617. 

Irvine, A. B., D. K. Odell, and H. W. Campbell. 
1978. Manatee mortality in the southeastern 
United States: 1974-1977. Proc. West Indian 
Manatee Workshop, 27-29 March 1978, Or- 
lando, Florida. 

Jenkins, R. L. 1979. Captive husbandry of mana- 
tees at Marineland of Florida. In R. L. 



Brownell, K. Ralls, and R. R. Reeves, eds, 
Proc. West Indian Manatee Workshop, 27-29 
March 1978, Orlando, Florida. 

Kromholz, L. A. 1943. Notes on manatees in Flo- 
rida waters. J. Mammal. 24:272-273. 

Layne, J. N. 1965. Observations on marine mam- 
mals in Florida waters. Bull. Florida St. Mus. 
Biol. Sci. 9:131-181. 

LeBaron, J. F. 1880. The manatee or sea cow. 
Forest and Stream 13:1005-1006. 

Ledbetter, C. S. 1960. Amazing mammals of Blue 
Springs Run. Florida WUdl. 14(2):22-24. 

Lowery, G. H. 1974. Mammals of Louisiana and 
its adjacent waters. Louisiana St. Univ. Press, 
Baton Rouge. 565 pp. 

MacDonald, K., L. J. Seeley, and E. C. Amoroso. 

1978. Biological Synopsis of the manatee. In- 
ternational Development Research Centre, Ot- 
tawa, Canada. 1 12 pp. 

Marsh, H., P. W. Channells, and J. Morrissey. 

1979. A bibliography of the recent Sirenia. 
James Cook Univ., Australia. 163 pp. 

Mondolfi, E. 1974. Taxonomy, distribution, and 
status of the manatee in Venezuela. Sci. Cien. 
Nat. La SaUe 34(97) :5-23. 

Moore, J. C. 1951a. The status of the manatee in 
the Everglades National Park, with notes on 
its natural history. J. Mammal 32(l):22-36. 

. 1951b. The range of the Florida mana- 
tee. Q.J. Florida Acad. Sci. 14(1):1-19. 

. 1953. Distribution of marine mammals 



Powell, J. A., Jr. 1978. Evidence of camivory in 
manatees {Trichechus manatus). J. Mammal. 
59:442. 

1978a. Status of the manatee population 



in Florida waters. Amer. Midi. Nat. 49(1): 
117-158. 

1956. Observations of manatees in aggre- 



gations. Am. Mus. Novitates. 1811:1-24 

Odell, D. K., D. J. Forrester, and E. D. Asper. 
1978. A preliminary analysis of organ weights 
and sexual maturity in the West Indian mana- 
tee {Trichechus manatus). Proc. West Indian 
Manatee Workshop, 27-29 March 1978, 
Orlando, Florida. 

OdeU, D. K., J. E. Reynolds, and G. Waugh. 1978. 
New records of the West Indian manatee {Tri- 
chechus manatus) from the Bahama Islands. 
Biol. Conserv. 14:289-293. 

O'Keefe, M. T. 1973. Blue Springs-haven for the 
manatees. Florida Sportsman 5(1):10-14. 



in Crystal River, Citrus County, Florida. Proc. 
West Indian Manatee Workshop, 27-29 March, 
1978, Orlando, Florida. 7 pp. 

Powell, J. A., and J. C. Waldron. 1978b. Status of 
the manatee population in Blue Spring, Volu- 
sia County, Florida. Proc. West Indian Mana- 
tee Workshop, 27-29 March 1978, Orlando, 
Florida. 10 pp. 

Reynolds, John E. III. 1979. The semi-social 
manatee. Nat. Hist. 88(2):44-53. 

Simpson, G. G. 1930. Sea sirens, the strange 
mammals responsible for the ancient ideas of 
mermaids. Nat. Hist. 30:41-47. 

Stephens, W. M. 1972. Florida mermaids. Natl. 
Parks. Conserv. Mag. 46(3):28-31. 

United Nations Food and Agriculture Organiza- 
tion Working Party on Marine Mammals. 
1978. Mammals in the seas. Report of the 
FAO Advisory Committee on Marine Re- 
sources Research. FAO, U.N., Rome. 264 pp. 

U.S. Fish and Wildhfe Service. 1979. Administra- 
tion of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 
1972. April 1, 1978 to March 31, 1979. Dept. 
of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 86 
pp. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1979. West Indian 
manatee recovery plan. Tech. draft. U.S. Fish 
and WUdlife Service. 33 pp. 

Vietmayer, N. 1974. The endangered but useful 
manatee. Smithsonian Mag. 5(9):60-64. 

Walker, E. P. et al. 1964. Mammals of the world. 
Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore. 1,500 pp. 

Whitehead, P. J. P. 1977. The former southern 
distribution of New World manatees {Triche- 
chus spp.). Bio. J. Linn. Soc. 9:165-189. 

Whitfield, W. K. and S. L. Farrington. 1975. An 
armotated bibliography of Sirenia. Fla. Marine 
Res. Publ. 7:1-44. 

Wray, P. 1976. The North American manatee. 
Endangr. Species Productions, Inc. Ayer, 
Maine. 26 pp. 

Wray, P. 1978. The West Indian manatee {Triche- 
chus manatus) in Florida. U.S. Dept. Com- 
merce, NTIS, PB-285-410, 89 pp. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.36 
March 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

ISLAND NIGHT LIZARD 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lu: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sen, ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.58 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.36 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

ISLAND NIGHT LIZARD 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W.Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




ISLAND NIGHT LIZARD 

Xantusia riversiana 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Squamata 

FAMILY Xantusiidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES None 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates 15 October 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal Threatened (42 FR 40682, 11 Aug 

1977). 
States Not nominated 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

This lizard is known only from three major 
California islands: Santa Barbara, San Nicolas, 
and San Clemente. Island habitats and animal 
populations have been severely modified as a 
result of the introduction of new species, espe- 
cially feral cats, goats, pigs, and rabbits. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Xantusia riversiana was once assigned to a 
separate genus, Klauberina (Savage 1957). This 
lizard is 5.8 to 8.0cm in snout-to-vent length, 
with soft granular sccdes and folds of skin on the 



neck and along the sides of the body. The back is 
mottled with pale ash gray or beige and yellow 
brown, darkened in varying amounts with black. 
Occasional individuals have a pale gray dorso- 
lateral stripe on each side, edged with brown and 
black; a brown vertebral stripe may also be 
present. It is pale gray below, sometimes with a 
bluish cast suffused on the belly and often on the 
tail with yellow. Underside of feet may be yellow- 
ish (Stebbins 1966). A photograph is in the 
Endangered Species Technical Bulletin (1977, 
Vol. 2, No. 9). 

RANGE 

Island night lizards occur on Santa Barbara, 
San Nicolas, and San Clemente Islands, in the 
California Channel Islands group (Stebbins 1966, 
Savage 1967). A small population has recently 
been discovered on Sutil Island (J. M. Erode pers 
comm). Stebbins (1954) indicated that X. river- 
siana occurred on Santa Catalina Island, but this 
record needs confirmation. 

RANGE MAP 

Arrows on the accompanying map indicate 
islands where X. riversiana occurs. 

STATES /COUNTIES 

California: Los Angelos, Ventura. 

HABITAT 

The species inhabits grassland brushy areas, 
clumps of cactus (Opuntia), cliffs, and rocky 
beaches (Stebbins 1954, 1966). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

X. riversiana is an omnivorous, opportunistic 
feeder, eating a large variety of anthropods — 
spiders, marine isopods, scorpians, centipedes, 
mites, aphids, wasps, flies, moths, silverfish, etc 
(Stebbins 1954). Brattstrom (1952) notes that 
ants and beetles are the most important food 
items for this species; 31% of the animals he 
examined from San Clemente Island had also 
ingested plant matter consisting of flowers, leaves, 
stems, and seeds {Mesembryanthemum, etc). 
These lizards are thought of as active mostly at 



night, but they have been seen foraging in the 
daytime (Stebbins 1954). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

X. riversiana seeks shelter under rocks, drift- 
wood, and fallen branches (Stebbins 1966). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

No information is available concerning 
nesting. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

No data are available on absolute densities. 
Bezy (1976) indicated that X. riversiana was 
widespread on San Clemente Island, restricted but 
locally common on San Nicolas Island, and 
restricted by limited habitat but moderately 
abundant on Santa Barbara Island. He notes seri- 
ous threats to X. riversiana or to its habitat on all 
islands due to populations of introduced animals 
(See Management and Conservation). 

REPRODUCTION 

X. riversiana is viviparous. Spermiogenesis 
begins in March and concludes in June; females 
ovulate from late May to early June (Goldberg 
and Bezy 1974). Breeding probably occurs from 
May through June. Goldberg and Bezy (1974) 
report a range of 3 to 9 young per breeding 
female per year, with a mean of 3.76 for San 
Clemente Island females. They estimate that 
about half of the female population is reproduc- 
tively active in a given year. Young are born in 
September, following a 14-week gestation period. 
Goldberg and Bezy (1974) estimate that sexual 
maturity is attained in the spring of the third or 
fourth year. They consider X. riversiana to be a 
K-selected species, being relatively late-maturing, 
long-lived, with single broods, large adult body 



x: 



<b' 



Sonto 



I 




»c «e >e ■•Lfi 



Distribution of the island night hzard Xantusia riversiana. 



size, and large clutches, and demonstrating a low 
reproductive potential. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The greatest threats to this lizard are preda- 
tion and habitat destruction from introduction 
of exotic species into these fragile island eco- 
systems. Bezy (1976) notes that feral goats could 
have a serious impact on this partially herbivorous 
lizard and its habitat. He also notes that feral pigs 
and cats undoubtedly feed on the lizard to some 
extent. 

There is evidence of predation by feral house- 
cats on X. riversiana on San Clemente Island, but 
the magnitude of this loss has not been determined. 
A feral-cat removal program is being planned for 
San Nicolas Island (Steele 1979). The Cahfomia 
Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Navy 
are currently considering a removal program for 
some feral animals on San Clemente Island. The 
Navy has a program for the control of feral goats, 
but it is currently inactive (Federal Register 42, 
No. 155). 

The alligator lizard [Gerrhonotus multicarin- 
atus) has been accidentally introduced on San 
Nicolas Island. Bezy (1976) feels that this lizard 
may be a competitor with X. riversiana. G. multi- 
carinatus and X. riversiana have exclusive distribu- 
tions on the California Channel Islands (Savage 
1967), which suggests that alligator lizards may 
displace the smaller-sized island night lizard. 

AUTHORITIES 

Robert L. Bezy 
Section of Herpetology 
Natural History Museum 
Los Angelos, California 90007 

John M. Brode 

California Department of Fish and Game 

1701 Nimbus Road 

Rancho Cordova, California 95670 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Bezy (1972, 1976) indicated that there is 
moderate morphological differentiation between 
the three island populations of X. riversiana. 
Variation within the species needs further study. 

The impact of predation by feral animals on 



San Clemente and San Nicolas Island populations 
of X. riversiana, and the potential competitive 
impact by Gerrhonotus multicarinatus on San 
Nicolas Island populations are both in need of 
immediate investigation. Control of these intro- 
duced animals may be critical to the survival of 
the endemic island night lizard. Remaining habi- 
tat on San Nicolas and Santa Barbara Islands 
should be protected from further decimation. 

LITERATURE CITED/ SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bezy, R. L. 1972. Karyotypic variation and 
evolution of the lizards in the family 
Xantusidae. Los Angelos Nat. Hist. Mus., 
Contri. Sci., 227: 1-29. 



-. 1976. Letter in response to federal pro- 
posal of threatened or endangered status 
for Klauberina riversiana. (42 FR 155: 
40682-40683. 



Brattstrom, B. H. 1952. The food habits of 
the night lizard, genus Xantusia. Copeia 
1952(2):168-172. 

Goldberg, S. R. and R. L. Bezy. 1974. Repro- 
duction in the island night lizard, Xantu- 
sia riversiana. Herpetologica 30:350-360. 

Savage, J. M. 1957. Studies on the lizard family 
Xantusiidae. III. A new genus for Xantu- 
sia riversiana Cope, 1883. Zoologica 42: 
82-86. 



-. 1967. Evolution of the insular herpeto- 
fauna. Pages 219-227 in Philbrick, R. N. 
(ed.) Proceedings of the Symposium on 
the Biology of the California Islands. 363 
pp. 



Schwenkmeyer, R. C. 1949. Food habits of 
the island night lizard, Xantusia riversiana 
reticulata, from San Clemente Island. Nat. 
Hist. Misc. 38:1-3. 

Stebbins, R. C. 1954. Amphibians and reptiles 
of western North America. McGraw-Hill, 
New York. 537 pp. 



•. 1966. A field guide to the western rep- 
tiles and amphibians. Houghton Mifflin, 



Boston. 279 pp. 

Steele, J. 1979. San Nicolas Island — home of 
Indian artifacts, unusual wildlife and 
guided missiles. Outdoor Calif. 40(5): 
29-30. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED BY /UPDATED BY 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
1300 Blue Spruce Drive 
Fort Collins, Colorado 80524 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.37 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE DELMARVA PENINSULA FOX SttUIRREL 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubHc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVV'IS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to; 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
SHdell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.37 
March 1980 



SLLhXI KD V1:R 1 LBRAl i: KNDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF 1 HE UNFFED STATES- 

THE DELMARVA PENINSULA FOX SQUIRREL 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell. Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




DELMARVA PENINSULA FOX SQUIRREL 

Sciurvs niger cinereus Linnaeus 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Rodentia 

FAMILY Sciuridae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Bryant's fox squirrel, 

peninsula fox squirrel, stump-eared squirrel. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 30 September 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001; 11 Mar. 
1967). 

States: Endangered: Maryland. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Primary factors for current status are destruc- 
tion of habitat from timber cutting, agricultural 
clearing, construction, development (Flyger 1964; 
lUCN 1972; Taylor and Flyger 1973; USFWS 
1973; DFSRT draft); and competition with the 
gray squirrel [Sciurus carolinensis) in areas of sub- 
optimal habitat. Minor mortality results from 
hunt kills and road kills (Delmarva Fox Squirrel 
Recovery Team [DFSRT] draft). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel is a fairly 
large squirrel (larger than gray squirrel) with pelage 
a uniform light grizzled-grayish with steel-blue 
cast dorsally and white ventrally. The feet are 
white and the tail has a pronounced black 



stripe on outer edge. Melanistic forms occur with 
black both dorsally and ventrally. Pictures are in 
Taylor (no date) and DFSRT (draft). 

RANGE 

The squirrel is presently restricted to local dis- 
junct populations in portions of four eastern shore 
counties of Maryland (Allen 1942;Masueti 1950; 
Paradiso 1969; J. Taylor personal communication). 
There is an introduced population on Chincoteague 
National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia (lUCN 1972; 
USFWS 1973). 

The species' former distribution included 
southeastern Pennsylvania, eastern shore of Mary- 
land and Delaware (Delmarva Peninsula), the 
eastern shore of Virginia into Northampton Coun- 
ty, and possibly southern New Jersey (Abbot 
1830, Rhoads 1903, Poole 1932, 1944, Hall and 
Kelson 1959). 

RANGE MAP 

Diagonal hatching on the following map de- 
picts present range; shading indicates former 
range (Taylor and Flyger 1973, DFSRT draft). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Maryland: Dorchester, Kent, Queen Annes 



Virginia: 



Talbot. 
Accomack. 



HABITAT 

The squirrel prefers mature mixed timber 
with a minimum of undergrowth (Taylor and 
Flyger 1973; Taylor 1976). It is thought to be 
closely associated with stands of loblolly pine 
[Pinus taeda) (lUCN 1972). However, others argue 
that this may not be correct, because its former 
distribution was north of the distribution of lob- 
lolly pine (Taylor and Flyger 1973, Taylor 1976). 

It is often found in savanna areas, oak open- 
ings and in narrow tree zones along rivers and 
streams. It does occur sparingly in areas with dense 
undergrowth, but is then forced to compete with 
the gray squirrel. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

A variety of large trees provide adequate mast 
in fall. Trees utilized include oak, hickory, wal- 
nut, and loblolly pine. In spring the squirrel con- 
sumes buds and flowers of trees, fungi, insects, 
fruits, seeds, and occasionally bird eggs and young 
(Smith and Folmer 1972; DFSRT draft; Taylor no 
date). 



They will consume a large vjuriety of agricul- 
tural products such as corn, soybeans, or other 
crops in fields and orchards. They are more ter- 
restrial than the gray squirrel and will venture 
farther into open fields. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

See nesting or bedding. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Tree dens and leaf nests are built with local 
materials. They appear to use den nests in the win- 
ter and leaf nests in the summer (G. \. Taylor per- 
sonal communication). Paradiso (1969) states 
that nests are placed near the tips of branches in 
old pines, from 9 to 15 m above the ground. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

In north central populations of Sciurus niger, 
home ranges average about 4 ha. The seasonal 
average for home range is approximately 16 
ha (Allen 1943). They are not disturbed by hu- 
man activity any more than gray squirrels, pro- 
vided habitat is satisfactory (DFSRT draft). 

This species encounters potential competition 
in areas of local sympatry with the gray squirrel 
in suboptimal habitat. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

There are no estimates of the total number of 
individuals. They are considered abundant only at 
Eastern Neck Island National Wildlife Refuge, 
Kent County, Maryland (DFSRT draft). Radio- 
collaring projects are underway to provide infor- 
mation on numbers. 



REPRODUCTION 

Fox squirrels are polygamous and after mat- 
ing, the female raises the young alone. The breed- 
ing season is extended, with peaks in February 
and March, and in July and August (DFSRT 
draft). Gestation period is 45 days (Asdell 1964). 
Litter size is 2 to 4 with an average of 3 (lUCN 
1972); 1 to 2 litters are produced per year. 
The amount of food available seems to govern the 
size as well as the number of litters (DFSRT 
draft). Young are born naked. Eyes open at 5 
weeks and young are weaned at 9 to 12 weeks. 



PENNSYLVANIA 



EASTERN NECK' 
NWR 





BLACKWfiTER<^\ 
NWR V^ 



LE COMPTE WMA 



CHINCOTEAGUE 
NWR 



VIRGINIA 



KM 



70 



PRESENT 
RANGE 



HISTORICAL 
RANGE 



This map depicts the historical and present range of the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel. 



Females may breed at 10 to 11 months. Young 
can be disturbed and handled with minimal 
adverse effects. Females will not abandon young 
if disturbed but may move them to a different 
location (DFSRT draft). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The establishment of Blackwater National 
Wildlife Refuge (1933) in Maryland has helped 
protect some habitat (lUCN 1972). LeCompte 
Wildlife Management Area, Maryland, was desig- 
nated as a refuge for this species in 1970. Mary- 
land closed the hunting season on this species in 
1971. The species was successfully introduced at 
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia, 
in 1968. 

Several hundred nest boxes have been placed in 
selected habitats and many used in Chinco- 
teague National Wildlife Refuge. Several thou- 
sand nest boxes have been built, and some put out 
in Maryland. Studies with gray squirrels have 
indicated that provision of nest boxes nearly 
doubled the population (Barkalow and Soots 
1965; Burger 1969). 

Management proposals by the State of Virgin- 
ia include establishing a nest box program and sur- 
veying for additional sites of suitable habitat for 
reestablishment (Taylor and Fisher 1978). The 
State of Maryland's proposals include, in addi- 
tion, the use of abundance and life history studies 
(G.J. Taylor personal communication). 

A recovery team has been formed and a final 
draft recovery plan will be formulated by late 
1978. The primary objective of the recovery plan 
is the restoration of the Delmarva fox squirrel to 
a secure status throughout its former range 
(DFSRT draft). The plan includes three primary ac- 
tions: (1) preservation and management of essen- 
tial denning and feeding habitat; (2) release of 
Delmarva fox squirrels into suitable habitat; (3) 
protection of populations through law enforce- 
ment, reduction of squirrel competition and pre- 
dation; and (4) promotion of public support. 
Tentative plans also include aquisition of private 
lands on which this species occurs. Designation of 
Critical Habitat will be proposed by 30 June 1979. 

The following is a list of public lands on 
which the squirrel occurs and related population 
estimates (F = Federal, S = State, NWR = Na- 
tional Wildlife Refuge). 



State 


County 


Location/ 
Ownershp 


Pop. 


Source 


Md. 


Dor- 
chester 


Blackwater 
NWR(F) 


450 


W.H. Julian 
pers. com. 




Kent 


Ejistern 
Neck 
NWR (F) 


250 


P. Feiger 
pers. com. 




Dor- 
chester 


LeCompte 
Wildl. Man. 
Area (S) 


no 
estimate 


Va. 


Acco- 
mack 


Chinco- 
teague 
NWR (F) 


80-100 


DFSRT 

pers.com. 



AUTHORITIES 

Vagn Flyger (Recovery Team) 
1222 H.J. Paterson Hall 
University of Maryland 
College Park, MD 20742 

Bernard F. Halla (Recovery Team) 

Nongame Wildlife Program, 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources 

Wildlife Administration 

Tawes State Office Building 

Annapolis, MD 21401 

William H. Julian (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge 
Rt. l,Box 121 
Cambridge, MD 21613 

Gary J. Taylor (Recovery Team) 
Nongame and Endangered Species Program 

Manager 
Maryland Department of Natural Resources 
Wildlife Administration 
Tawes State Office Building 
Annapolis, MD 21401 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Known in literature as Sciurus niger bryanti, 
S. n. neglectus, and S. n. cinereus. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Abbott, C. C. 1890. The geological survey of New 
Jersey, 1890. Vol. 2, Part 2:500. John Mur- 
phy Co., Trenton. 



Allen, CM. 1942. Extinct and vanishing mammals 
of the western hemisphere. Am. Comm. Int. 
WUdl. Port. Spec. Publ. 11:45-46. 

Allen, D. C. 1943. Michigan fox squirrel manage- 
ment. Mich. Dep. Conserv. Game Div. Publ. 
100. Lansing. 

Asdell, S. A. 1964. Patterns of mammalian repro- 
duction. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca. 670 pp. 

Bakken, A. 1952. Interrelationships of Sciurus 
caroliinensis (Gmelin) and Sciurus niger (Lin- 
naeus) in mixed popula. Ph.D. Dissert. Univ. 
Wisconsin. 188 pp. 

Barkalow, F. S., Jr. and R. F. Soots, Jr. 1965. An 
analysis of the effect of artificial nest boxes 
on a gray squirrel population. Trans. N. Am. 
Wildl. Natur. Resour. Conf. 30:349-360. 

Burger, G. V. 1969. Response of gray squirrels to 
nest boxes at Remington Farms, Maryland. J. 
Wildl. Manage. 33:796-801. 

DFSRT (Delmarva Fox Squirrel Recovery Team). 
Draft. Delmarva fox squirrel recovery plan. 
U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv. 39 pp. 

Dozier, H. L., and H. E. Hall. 1944. Observations 
on the Bryant's fox squirrel, Sciurus niger 
bryantii, (Bailey). Md Conserv. 21:1-12. 

Flyger, V. 1964. Urban sprawl endangers native 
Maryland mammals. Md. Conserv. 41:6-7. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. Mammals of 
North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press, New 
York. 1,083 pp. 

lUCN. 1972. Red data book. Vol. I, Mammalia. 
Compiled by H. A. Goodwin and C. W. Hollo- 
way. lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Lustig, L. W., and V. Flyger. 1976. Observations 
and suggested management practices for the 
endangerd Delmarva fox squirrel. Proc. Annu. 
Conf. Southeast. Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 29: 
433-440. 

Mansueti, R. 1950. Extinct and vanishing mam- 
mals of Maryland and the District of Colum- 
bia. Md Natur. 20:1-48. 

Moore, J. C. 1946. Mammals from Welaka, Put- 
nam County, Florida. J. Mammal. 27:490-59. 



. 1957. The natural history of the fox 

squirrel Sciurus niger shermani. Bull. Am. 
Mus. Natur. Hist. 113:1-70. 



Paradiso, J. L. 1969. Mammals of Maryland. N. 
Am. Fauna 66:1-93. 

Poole, E. L. 1932. A survey of the mammals of 
Berks County, Pennsylvania. Reading Pub. 
Mus. Art Gall. Bull. 13. 

• 1944. The technical names of the north- 



eastern fox squirrels. J. Mammal. 25:315-317. 

Rhoads, S. N. 1903. The mammals of Pennsyl- 
vania and New Jersey. Philadelphia. 



Smith, C, D. Follmer. 1972. Food preferences of 
squirrels. Ecology 53:82-91. 

Taylor, G. J. 1974. Present status and habitat sur- 
vey of the Delmarva fox squirrel {Sciurus 
niger cinereus) with a discussion of reasons 
for its decline. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast. 
Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 27:278-189. 

. 1976. Range determination and habitat 

description of the Delmarva fox squirrels in 
Maryland. M.S. Thesis. Univ. of Maryland, 
College Park. 



. No date. Maryland's Delmarva fox squir- 
rel. Maryland Dep. Natur. Resour. Fact Sheet. 
2 pp. 

Taylor, G. J., and V. Flyger. 1973. Distribution 
of the Delmarva fox squirrel (Sciurus niger 
cinereus) in Maryland. Chesapeake Sci. 14: 
59-60. 

Taylor, W. H., and E. Fisher. 1978. Delmarva fox 
squirrel investigations. Performance report 
from July 1977 to June 1978. Proj. No. E-2. 
Commonwealth of Virginia, Comm. Game 
Fish, Richmond. 3 pp. 

USFWS. 1973. Threatened wildlife of the United 
States. Compiled by Office of Endangered 
Species and International Activities, Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. Resour. Publ. 114. U. S. 
Gov. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.38 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE HOUSTON TOAD 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or ihrcalencd vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
.\,'\SA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.'>8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.38 
March 1980 



SELKCl KI) Vl.Rl KBRAl i: ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF rHE SEACOAS 1 OF 1 HE UNFFED SFA FES- 

THE HOUSTON TOAD 



A Cooperative Effort 
by tin- 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 
the Office of Endangered Species 
and the 
National C:()astal Ecosystems Feam, 
Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald \V. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

I ish anti Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




HOUSTON TOAD 

Bufo houstonensis Sanders 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Amphibia 

ORDER Anura 

FAMILY Bufonidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES Wottring's toad 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 1 January 1978, 31 March 1978, 

22 May 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (35 FR 16047, 13 Octo- 
ber 1970) 

States: Endangered: Texas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Populations are extremely small and their 
known distribution is restricted to two or three 
disjunct localities. Early field studies indicated 
Houston toads preferred temporary rain pools for 
breeding sites, whereas other native toads 
generally used more permanent bodies of water. 
Man's alteration of natural watersheds has re- 
duced the availability of temporary pools, forcing 
Houston toads to breed in larger ponds, lakes, and 
creeks where they have hybridized with the Gulf 
Coast toad {B. valliceps) and the Woodhouse's 
toad (J5. woodhousei) (Brown 1971). The prob- 
lem is compounded because population levels are 
so low that the probability of a female Houston 
toad finding a conspecific mate in a mixed chorus 
of toad species is slim (Brown 1971). 



The Houston toad is generally considered a 
post-Pleistocene relict of the more northerly dis- 
tributed American toad (B. americanus) (Blair 
1958, 1965) and may be ill-adapted to southern 
environments (Brown 1971). If true, this may ex- 
plain the species' apparent failure to adapt to 
habitat alterations. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

A small toad, the Houston toad is similar to 
the American toad, but with heavier cranial crests, 
especially behind the eyes. Males have a 49- to 
66-mm snout-to-vent length; females meaure 57 
to 80 mm. The dorsum is light brown to cream 
with a variable number of dark brown to black 
spots, each with one or more warts. The venter is 
cream, usually heavily mottled. A hght mid-dorsjd 
stripe is usually present. Tadpoles are virtually 
indistinguishable from American toad larvae 
(Altig 1970). The mating call consists of a long 
(7- to 22-sec), high-pitched (1,646- to 2,300-Hz) 
trill with 14 to 16 pulses per second (Brown 
1973). 

Photographs appear in Sanders (1953), Blair 
(1959, 1972), Kennedy (1962), Brown (1971), 
Thomas (1975), Thomas and Potter (1975), Eh- 
renfield (1976), and Hardy (1977). Audio- 
spectrograms of the mating call are given in 
Brown (1971, 1973). 

RANGE 

The species' historical range included the fol- 
lowing localities: northwest and southeast Hous- 
ton, Harris County; Lake Woodrow, Burleson 
County; 6 miles south of Liberty, Liberty Coun- 
ty; Austin County; and 6 and 12.6 miles east of 
Columbus, Colorado County (Sanders 1953). 
Brown (1971) also reported populations 2 miles 
west of Fresno in Fort Bend County and in the 
vicinity of Bastrop and Buescher State Parks in 
Bastrop County. 

The species has not been found in Liberty, 
Austin, Colorado, or Fort Bend counties since 
originally reported. It is now known to exist only 
in the vicinity of Bastrop and Buescher State 
Parks, Bastrop County; Lake Woodrow, Burleson 
County; and possibly southeast Houston, Harris 
County. 



RANGE MAP 

Historic localities are designated on the follow- 
ing map by triangles; present known localities are 
indicated by dots. Critical Habitat as designated 
in 43 FR 4022, 31 January 1978, is shown on a 
separate map. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Texas: Austin,' Bastrop, Burleson, Colora- 

do,* Fort Bend,' Harris, Liberty.' 

HABITAT 

Houston toads are restricted to areas charac- 
terized by sandy soils. Localities in Bastrop and 
Burleson Counties are heavily wooded with lob- 
lolly pine {Pinus taeda) and/or mixed deciduous 
forest, interspersed with open grassy areas. The 
southeast Houston locality is residential with 
open, grassy fields. 

Breeding habitats include roadside ditches, 
temporary ponds in residential areas and pastures, 
and other seasonally flooded low spots. Houston 
toads also breed in Lake Woodrow and nearby 
permanent ponds. 

FOODS AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Bragg (1960) reported captives feeding on va- 
rious insects and smaller toads. Thomas (unpub- 
lished data) examined 17 specimens and found 
unidentified red ants in one and beetle remains in 
another. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Apparently requires sandy loamy soils for 
burrowing. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The species breeds in temporary rain pools, 
flooded fields, and permanent ponds. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Males call from small mounds of soil or grass 
surrounded by water, or from shallow water. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 



' Believed extirpated in these counties. 




V 

H 



^ 



c 
o 

u 



•a 



-a 

o 
+-> 

c 
o 

CO 

3 
O 

X 

V 

J3 



C 

o 



3 
J2 



O 

c 

n) 

+-» 
C 
u 

(» 

u 

Si 

a. 

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c 



o 




Critical habitat of the Houston toad, as designated in 43 FR 4022, 31 January 1978, is depicted 
by shading in this map. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Populations of Houston toads in Harris County 
have decreased markedly since the late 1940's, but 
the rate has not been documented. John Wottring, 
the naturalist responsible for recognition of the 
Houston toad as a distinct species, reported collect- 
ing 66 from a single chorus in 1949, and "quite a 
lot" in 1953 (from his field notes). Brown (1967, 
1971) found only three during the breeding sea- 
sons in 1965, 1966, and 1967. Extensive surveys 
in 1974, 1975, and 1976 revealed the presence of 
two Houston toads in southeastern Houston (R. 
Thomas unpublished data). Surveys in 1978 failed 
to locate any Houston toads in Harris County 
(Jameson and Handerstein unpublished). 

Populations in Bastrop and Burleson Counties 
have apparently remained stable during the past 
10 years, estimated at a maximum of 300 indivi- 
duals (Brown 1975). 

Thomas and Potter (1975) estimate the total 
population to be near 1,500 individuals. Mark-re- 
capture studies have not been attempted. 

REPRODUCTION 

Breeding is initiated by heavy rains from Feb- 
ruary to June and lasts only a few nights (Kenne- 
dy 1962). One female laid 728 eggs (Kennedy 
1962). Hybridization with Woodhouse's toads 
(fertile hybrids) and Gulf Coast toads (infertile 
hybrids) has been documented (Brown 1971). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

A Recovery Team was appointed in January 
1978 to develop a plan for removal of this species 
from endangered status. Critical Habitat has been 
designated (43 FR 4022, 31 January 1978). Areas 
of land, water, and airspace in two counties were 
designated: (1) Bastrop County, from the junc- 
tion of line corresponding to 30°12'00"N and 
Texas State Highway 95 east along a line corres- 
ponding to 30°12'00"N, to where it intersects a 
line corresponding to 97°17'30"W, to where it 
intersects the Colorado River, west and northwest 
along the north bank of the Colorado River to 
the due southward extension of Texas State High- 
way 95, and north along the extension and Texas 
State Highway 95 to where it intersects a line 
corresponding to 3O°12'00"N; (2) Burleson Coun- 
ty: a circular area with a 1.6-km radius, the center 
being the north entrance to Lake Woodrow from 
Texas FM 2000. 

About 285 ha at Buescher State Science Park 
are reportedly being maintained in a condition 
as favorable for Houston toads as possible (F. Pot- 
ter personal communication). 



The endangered Houston toad has received 
considerable publicity and most local land owners 
are aware of the problem. 

Houston toads were reared at the Houston 
Zoo in 1978 and 1979. The first project involved 
collecting eggs in the wild and then releasing over 
1,000 tadpoles back into the wild. In 1979, eggs 
from Houston toads were spawned at the zoo and 
at the time this report was prepared (May 1979), 
tadpoles were being raised for subsequent release. 

AUTHORITIES 

Lauren E. Brown (Recovery Team) 
Department of Biological Sciences 
Illinois State University 
Normal, IL 61761 

William L. McClure (Recovery Team) 
Houston Urban Project 
P.O.Box 187 
Houston, TX 77001 

Floyd E. Potter (Recovery Team) 
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 
4200 Smith School Road 
Austin, TX 78744 

Norman J. Scott, Jr. (Recovery Team) 
US FWS 

Natl. Fish & Wildl. Lab. 
Albuquerque, NM 

Robert A. Thomas (Recovery Team) 
Louisiana Nature Center 
4100 One Shell Square 
New Orleans, LA 70139 

Okla W. Thornton 
5525 4th Street No. 99 
Lubbock, TX 79416 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

There is an obvious paucity of base-line eco- 
logical information about the Houston toad. Pro- 
per management of the species will require such 
data. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Altig, R. 1970. A key to the tadpoles of the Con- 
tinental United States and Canada. Herpetolo- 
gica26(2):180-207. 

Blair, W. F. 1956. Call difference as an isolation 
mechanism in southwestern toads (genus 
Bufo). Texas J. Sci. 8:87-106. 

. 1958. Distributional patterns of verte- 
brates in the southern United States in rela- 



tion to past and present environments. Pages 
433-468 in Hubbs, C. L., ed. Zoogeography. 
Am. Assoc. Adv. Sci. Publ. 51. 

. 1959. Genetic conpatibility and species 



groups in U.S. toads (Bufo). Texas J. Sci. 
427-453, 

1963. Intragroup genetic compatibility 



in the Bufo americanus species group of toads. 
Texas J. Sci. 15:15-34. 

. 1965. Amphibian speciation. Pages 543- 

556 in Wright, H. E. and D. G. Frey, eds. The 
Quartemary of the United States. Princeton 
Univ. Press, Princeton. 

. ed. 1972. Evolution in the genus Bufo. 



Univ. Texas Press, Austin. 

Bragg, A. N. 1960. Feeding in the Houston toad. 
Southwest Natur. 5:160. 

Brown, L. E. 1967. The significance of natural 
hybridization in certain aspects of the specia- 
tion of some North American toads (genus 
Bufo). Ph. D. Dissert. Univ. Texas, Austin. 

. 1971. Natural hybridization and trend 

toward extinction in some relict Texas toad 
populations. Southwest Natur. 16:185-199. 

. 1973. Bufo houstonensis Sanders. Cat. 

Am. Amphib. Rep. 133.1-1-133.2.' 

. 1975. The status of the near-extinct 

Houston toad (Bufo houstonensis) with 
recommendations for its conservation. Herp. 
Rev. 6:37-38. 

Ehrenfeld, D. W. 1976. The conservation of non- 
resources. Am. Sci. 64:648-656. 

Guttman, S. 1. 1969. Blood protein variation in 
the Bufo americanus species group of toads. 
Copeia 1969:243-249. 

Hardy, M. 1977. Froggie goes to court. Texas 
Monthly 5:76. 

Kennedy, J. P. 1962. Spawning season and experi- 
mental hybridization of the Houston toad, 
Bufo houstonensis. Wer^etolo^ca. 17:239-245. 

Sanders, O. 1953. A new species of toad with a 
discussion of the bufonid skull. Herpetologica 
9:25-47. 

Thomas, R. A. 1975. Investigation on the status 
of the Houston toad, Bufo houstonensis 
Sanders. Unpubl. Final Rep. to the U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. Contract 14-16-0002-3557. 

Contains complete bibliography for the species through 
1973. 



• 1975. (Cover photo: Bufo houstonensis). 

Herp. Rev. 6(2). 

Thomas, R. A., and F. E. Potter, Jr. 1975. Species 
status account: Bufo houstonensis Sanders. 
Texas Parks Wildl. Dep. Job Perform. Rep. 
70:1-11. 

GATEKEEPER 

To be designated by Office of Endangered 
Species. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

Louisiana Nature Center 
4100 One Shell Square 
New Orleans, LA 70129 

and 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.39 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR 







Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps ol Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared t)r as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed Id: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed t(;: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leani 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Shdell, Louisiana 704.^)8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.39 
March 1980 



SLLKCIKU VI:RI EBRAl i: KNDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS 1 OF I HE UNFIED STATES- 

THE AMERICAN ALLIGATOR 



A Cooperative Effort 
by tin- 
National Fish and WildHfc Laboratory, 
the Office of Endangered Species 
and the 
National Coastal Ecosystems 1 eani, 
Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell. Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fisii and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Intenor 








CREDIT: LUTH ER C. GOLDMAN 



AMERICAN ALLIGATOR 

Alligator mississippiensis (Daudin) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Crocodylia 

FAMILY Alligatoridae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES alligator, gator 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 21 August 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (40 FR 44418, 26 Septem- 
ber 1975), wherever found in wild ex- 
cept where threatened (42 FR 2076, 
10 January 1977; 44 FR 37132, 25 
June 1979; 44 FR 49084, 12 October 
1979) or protected by Similarity of Ap- 
pearance (40 FR 44418, 26 September 
1975; 44 FR 37132, 25 June 1979; 44 
FR 59084, 12 October 1979). 



Threatened (42 FR 2076, 10 January 
1977; 44 FR 37132, 25 June 1979; 
44 FR 59084, 12 October 1979) in 
Florida and along the southern Coastal 
Plain within the following boundaries: 
from Winyah Bay near Georgetown, 
S.C, west of U.S. Highway 17 to 
Georgetown; thence west and south on 
U.S. Alternate Highway 17 to junction 
with U.S. Interstate Highway 95 near 
Watersboro, S.C; thence south on U.S. 
Interstate Highway 95 (including in- 
complete portions) to junction with 
U.S. Highway 82; thence southwest on 
U.S. Highway 82 to junction with U.S. 
Highway 84 at Waycross, Ga., thence 
west on U.S. Highway 84 to the Ala- 
bama-Georgia border; thence south 
along this border to the Florida border 
and following Florida border west and 
south to its termination at the Gulf of 
Mexico; then from the Mississippi-Lou- 
isiana border at the Gulf of Mexico 
north along this border to its junction 
with U.S. Interstate Highway 12; 



thence west on U.S. Interstate Highway 
12 (including incomplete portions) to 
Baton Rouge, La.; thence north and 
west along corporate limits of Baton 
Rouge to U.S. Highway 190; thence 
west on U.S. Highway 190 to junction 
with Louisiana State Highway 12 at 
Ragley, La., thence west on Louisiana 
State Highway 12 to the Beauregard- 
Calcasieu Parish border; thence north 
and west along this border to the Texas- 
Louisiana State border; thence south 
on this border to Texas State Highway 
12; thence west on Texas State High- 
way 12 to Vidor, Tex., thence west on 
U.S. Highway 90 in the Houston, Tex., 
corporate limits; thence north, west, 
and south along Houston corporate 
limits to junction on the west with U.S. 
Highway 59; thence south and west on 
U.S. Highway 59 to Victoria, Tex., 
thence south on U.S. Highway 77 to 
corporate limits of Corpus Christi, 
Tex.; thence southeast along the south- 
em Corpus Christi corporate limits to 
Laguna Madre; thence south along the 
west shore of Laguna Madre to the 
Nueces-Kleberg county line; thence 
east along the Nueces-Kleberg county 
line to the Gulf of Mexico. 

Threatened (Similarity of Appearance 
to Endangered and Threatened popula- 
tions) (40 FR 37132, 25 June 1979) in 
the wild in Cameron, Vermilion, Cal- 
casieu, Ibemia, St. Mary, St. Charles, 
Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Bernard, 
Jefferson, St. Tammany, and Plaque- 
mine Parishes in Louisiana. 

States: Endangered: Delaware, Georgia, Mas- 

sachusetts, Mississippi, North Caro- 
lina, Texas. 

Threatened: Florida. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Although the range of the American alligator 
is but slightly reduced from historic boundaries, 
population levels over much of the present range 
are reduced due to loss of habitat and overharvest. 
The low point in population decline was reached 
in the late 1950's to mid-1960's, and in 1967 the 
species was listed by the United States as endan- 
gered. 



Man and his associated technology are the 
major threats. Alligators were killed for food by 
the early settlers, to a lesser extent for leather, in 
many cases out of fear, and because of livestock 
depredation. It was not until 1855, however, that 
any attempt was made to take large numbers for 
their leather. This activity was interrupted to 
some extent by the Civil War, although limited 
commercial use by the Confederacy for leather 
and grease continued during the war (Audubon 
1931). By 1870, alligator leather again became 
fashionable, and alligators were killed in the 
southeast from 1870 until the mid-1960's. Smith 
(1893) stated that at least 2,500,000 were killed 
in Florida from 1800 to 1891. Early estimates in- 
dicate that the number surviving in Florida and 
Louisiana in 1902 was less than 20% of what it 
had been 20 years earlier (Stevenson 1904). 

From the late 1940's through the mid-1960's, 
the remaining wetland areas were opened up. 
Improved marsh transportation such as airboats 
and marsh buggies placed unreasonable pressure 
on remaining alligator populations. Chabreck 
(1967) estimated that between the late 1940's 
and late 1950's, populations in Louisiana de- 
clined by 90%. 

Outright destruction of wetlands has had 
serious effects upon alligators throughout their 
range. Millions of hectares of wetlands that at 
one time were prime alligator habitat have been 
drained throughout the southeast. Areas in south 
Florida that harbored impressive numbers of 
alligators as late as 1954 are now dewatered and 
in agricultural production (Florida Game and 
Fresh Water Fish Commission, unpubl. data). 
Other areas have experienced dramatic changes in 
annual water-level fluctuations, which have 
affected populations. Hines et al. (1968) docu- 
mented severe nest losses in the Everglades due to 
flooding. Man's drainage and diking activities have 
increased the frequency and magnitude of water- 
level fluctuations in the Everglades, resulting in 
frequent nest destruction, undoubtedly an 
important factor limiting reproduction in that 
part of Florida. 

State and Federad protection has reversed the 
population decline, and alligators are now stabili- 
zed or increasing in numbers in most of their 
range. 

The chief threat to the American alligator is 
now probably the rapid urbanization underway 
throughout its range and the increasing conver- 
sion of habitat to recreational use and develop- 
ment. The alligator is a large predatory species, 
and, in close contact with human populations. 



may constitute an apparent threat as both a 
competitor to and predator on man, Thus, even 
a few homes on a lake or river can generate con- 
siderable pressure for a reduction in the local 
alligator population, especially the larger indi- 
viduals. Growing human intolerance could result 
in serious and possibly insurmountable obstacles 
to maintaining the species over much of its 
present range. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The alligator is a lizard-Hke reptile that 
reaches lengths of more than 4 m and weights 
up to 150 kg. Adults are generally dark gray or 
black, but the young are brightly patterned with 
black and yellow. The body is covered with rough 
scales dorsally and smooth scales ventrally. The 
tail is strongly compressed laterally and crested 
with high, pointed scales. 

The only native species with which the alliga- 
tor might be confused is the American crocodile. 
The alligator has a broad, rounded snout, whereas 
the crocodile's snout is sharply tapered forward 
of the eyes. The fourth tooth in the crocodile's 
lower jaw is exposed when the mouth is closed; 
in the alligator, this tooth is covered by the upper 
lip. Crocodiles are generally lighter colored as 
adults than alligators, being light gray or olive as 
compared to the alligator's dark gray or black. 
Young crocodiles are olive with black bars and 
markings, rather than black and yellow. Most 
standard field guides and reptile books illustrate 
the differences between these species (e.g., Dit- 
mars 1953, Carr and Coin 1955, Pope 1955, 
Bothwell 1962, Neill 1971,Conant 1975, Perrero 
1975). All these works, as well as a wide range of 
texts, magazines, and general outdoor publica- 
tions provide color and black-and-white photo- 
graphs. 

RANGE 

Alligators range throughout wetland habitats 
in the coastal region of southeastern United States 
from central North Carolina to Texas and north 
along the Mississippi River drainage into extreme 
southeastern Oklahoma and southern Arkansas 
(Joanen 1974). 

The present range approximates the historical 
range. There is evidence that the species once 
ranged north of central North Carolina into the 
Dismal Swamp region of southeastern Virginia 



and northeastern North Carolina (Neill 1971). 
The southern extent of its historic range in Texas 
and possibly northeastern Mexico is unknown; 
however, records exist from the Rio Grande, indi- 
cating the possiblity that it once ranged into the 
extensive aquatic habitats of northeastern Tamau- 
lipas, Mexico. 

RANGE MAP 

Range is delineated by shading on the follow- 
ing map (T. Joanen personal communication). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama: Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bullock, 
Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Coffee, Co- 
necuh, Covington, Crenshaw, Dale, 
Dallas, Escambia, Geneva. Greene, 
Hale, Henry, Houston, Lowndes, 
Macon, Marengo, Mobile, Monroe, 
Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, 
Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Washing- 
ton, Wilcox. 

Arkansas: Hempstead, Lafayette, Miller. 

Florida: All. 

Georgia: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, 
Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, 
Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, 
Bullock, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, 
Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chatta- 
hoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Col- 
quitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, 
Dodge, Dooly, Early, Echols, Effing- 
ham, Emanuel, Evans, Glynn, Grady, 
Hancock, Harris, Heard, Houston, Ir- 
win, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, 
Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, 
Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Ma- 
rion, Mcintosh, Meriwether, Miller, 
Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, 
Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Putnam, Quit- 
man, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, 
Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, 
Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Ter- 
rell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, 
Troup, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, 
Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, 
Wilcox, Wilkinson, Worth. 

Louisiana: All. 

Mississippi: Adams, Amite, Attala, Carroll, Clai- 
borne, Clarke, Clay, Coahoma, Copiah, 
Covington, Forrest, George, Greene, 
Grenada, Hancock, Harrison, Hinds, 




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Holmes, Humphreys, Issaguena, Jack- 
son, Jefferson, Jones, Lafayette, 
Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Leake, 
Leflore, Lincoln, Lowndes, Madison, 
Marion, Monroe, Montgomery, Ne- 
shoba, Newton, Noxubee, Panola, 
Pearl River, Perry, Pike, Quitman, 
Scott, Sharkey, Simpson, Smith, 
Stone, Tallahatchie, Walthall, Warren, 
Washington, Wayne, Wilkinson, Yazoo. 

North 

Carolina: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, 
Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Dare, 
Duplin, Hyde, Jones, New Hanover, 
Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Robe- 
son, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, 
Washington. 

Oklahoma: McCurtain. 

South 

Carolina: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, 
Beaufort, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charles- 
ton, Chesterfield, Clarendon, Colleton, 
Darlington, Dillon, Dorchester, Flo- 
rence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, 
Jasper, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, 
Marion, Marlboro, Orangeburg, Rich- 
land, Sumter, Williamsburg. 

Texas: Anderson, Angelina, Aransas, Archer, 

Atascosa, Austin, Beek, Bexar, Brazo- 
ria, Brazos, Burleson, Calhoun, Came- 
ron, Cass, Chambers, Collin, Colorado, 
Dimmit, Ellis, Fort Bend, Freestone, 
Frio, Galveston, Goliad, Grimes, Har- 
din, Harris, Harrison, Henderson, 
Houston, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, 
Jim Wells, Johnson, Karnes, Kimble, 
Kleberg, Lamar, La Salle, Lavaca, 
Leon, Liberty, Live Oak, Madison, 
Marion, Matagorda, McMullen, Mont- 
gomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navar- 
ro, Newton, Nueces, Orange, Polk, Re- 
fugio, Robertson, Sabine, San Augus- 
tine, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Shelby, 
Smith, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria, 
Walker, Waller, Webb. 

HABITAT 

Alligators inhabit, or inhabited, practically all 
fresh and brackish water habitats in their range 
except as excluded by man. Large marsh-bordered 
lakes, fresh and brackish marshes, and savannas 
appear to provide optimal habitat and support the 
densest populations (Reese 1915, Mcllhenny 
1935,Fogarty 1974). 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The food of alligators consists of virtually any 
animal small enough to be captured and swal- 
lowed (Kellogg 1929, Mcllhenny 1935). Available 
data indicate some variation between size classes 
(Kellogg 1929) and between habitat types (Cha- 
breck 1971). Small alligators feed extensively on 
invertebrates, including crayfish, aquatic and ter- 
restrial insects, and mollusks (Fogarty and Albury 
1967, Neill 1971, Valentine et al. 1972), while 
larger individuals take vertebrate prey, including 
wading birds, snakes, turtles, small mammals, and 
fish. Very large alligators may attack and eat large 
animals such as deer, cattle, and even man (Neill 
1971, Hines and Keenlyne 1977). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Adults often dig dens or 'gator holes' at the 
edges of rivers or lakes and in marsh habitats. An 
underground tunnel with an underwater entrance 
will lead into an underground cave a short dis- 
tance back from the water (Kellogg 1929; 
Mcllhenny 1935; Craighead 1969; Joanen and 
McNease 1971, 1972; Neill 1971). 

NESTING AND BEDDING 

Alligators build mound nests of heaped-up ve- 
getation in clearings in marshes or along the edges 
of lakes or rivers. Mounds are generally about 2 m 
in diameter and 0.5 to 1 m high (Mcllhenny 1935, 
Joanen 1969, Joanen and McNease 1972, Neill 
1971). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Joanen (1974) provided estimates of alligator 
populations in all areas throughout the range. The 
total estimated population for the species was 
738,384. In addition, the estimated available 
habitat was given as 116,550 km^ for an average 
of six alligators per km^ of suitable habitat. 

Trends in alligator populations have been 
monitored by the Cooperative AHigator Survey, a 
yearly night survey over standardized survey 
routes throughout the range (Chabreck 1974). 
These data indicate a generally increasing trend. 
Joanen (1974) also presents data that support this 



observation. Outside of Florida, 168 counties had 
increasing populations, 157 had stable popula- 
tions, and 25 had decreasing populations. 

Joanen's (1974) data are summarized by States 
below. 

Alabama: Some 12,715 alligators were reported 
from 28 counties. Only two counties report 
decreasing populations, while 15 report increasing 
and 11, stable populations. There is a trend for 
increasing populations over much of the southern 
half of Alabama, with relatively greater abun- 
dance in the region east and north of Mobile Bay. 

Arkansas: Most of the previous range is apparent- 
ly now uninhabited; 1,900 alligators were present 
in three counties in the southwestern comer of 
the State. These individuals are presumed to have 
been transplanted into the area from Louisiana 
over the past few years. 

Florida: Alligators are reported in every respond- 
ing county. Over 407,500 alligators were esti- 
mated for the State. No population trend esti- 
mates were given. In general, peninsular Florida, 
roughly south of the Suwannee Strait, supports 
moderate to large alligator populations that are 
either increasing or remaining stable in areas of 
increasing urbanization except in intensive de- 
velopment centers. The panhandle supports 
generally lower populations, with local pockets 
of abundance. 

Georgia: 95 counties, essentially all counties with- 
in the historical range of the species in the State, 
report alhgator populations; 45 counties report 
populations increasing and 32 report stable 
populations. 

Available National Wildlife Refuge, State, and 
other data show that there are alligator popula- 
tions in the coastal counties and the Okefenokee 
Swamp area that are subjectively as large as, or 
larger than, those in southeastern South Carolina 
and northern Florida. As to the remainder of the 
State's populations, it can only be said that they 
are generally widespread and may be locally 
abundant, although less so than in the south- 
eastern sector. 

Louisiana: A total of 200,682 alligators distribu- 
ted over 63 parishes v^th 40 reporting increasing 
populations, and 22 stable. The extensive coastal 
marshes of southern Louisiana probably support 
the largest alligator populations anywhere in the 
species' range, although some other local popula- 
tions, e.g., Okenfenokee Swamp in Georgia, may 
have an equal density. The situation in the north- 
em, non-marsh, parishes is less clear, but numbers 



there are clearly low and apparently similar to 
other areas of the species' range. 

Mississippi: Only 4,740 alligators were found in 
55 counties — 13 with increasing populations and 
38 stable. Coastal counties generally support the 
highest populations. 

North Carolina: Reports 1,300 alligators on about 
2,590 km^ of habitat. Highest populations are in 
central and southern coastal counties. No alliga- 
tors are reported between Albemarle Sound and 
the Dismal Swamp, Virginia, an area within the 
recent historical range of the species. Only 4 of 
21 reporting counties show an increase in popula- 
tion. 

Oklahoma: Estimates 10 alligators in one south- 
eastern county. Supplemental data from field 
biologists and State agencies suggests that consid- 
erable unoccupied habitat exists in the southeast 
corner of the State. 

South Carolina: Reports 48,700 alligators on 
9,479 km^ of habitat. Ten of the 28 responding 
units report increases, while the others have stable 
populations. As in North Carolina, populations in 
the southeastern coastal counties are the largest, 
and are generally increasing. Reports of increases 
in some inland and northern counties suggest that 
the species has responded well to protection 
throughout the State. 

Texas: Has 26,784 alhgators in 74 counties. 
Populations are reported increasing in 35 
and stable in 22. Several reporting units appear to 
represent introduced alligators outside of the 
historic range of the species. Large, increasing 
populations are recorded for counties adjacent to 
the coastal Louisiana parishes, and south along 
the Gulf coast to Matagorda Bay. Interior coun- 
ties appear to support small scattered populations 
which are generally increasing or stable. 

REPRODUCTION 

Alligators and other crocodilians exhibit the 
most elaborate social behavior of any reptile, 
most of which is related to reproduction (Mcll- 
henny 1935, Carr 1967, Joanen and McNease 
1971, Campbell 1972, Kushlan 1973, Carr 1976, 
Pooley and Gans 1976). 

Reproductive behavior begins with bellowing 
by males and females, usually in March or April, 
depending on local climate. The bellow has been 
reported to serve as a territorial signal and as a 
component of male -female interaction, but data 



are not available to fully document its function 
(Campbell 1973, Herzog 1974, Garrick and Lang 
1977). 

Copulation takes place in the water (Mcllhenny 
1935, Joanen 1969). Nests are built and eggs 
layed in May to June depending on local climate, 
and eggs hatch in August to September (Kellog 
1929, Mcllhenny 1935, Joanen 1969, Neill 1971). 
Clutch size varies from 20 to 60 eggs. 

At least some females are protective of the 
nest and remain nearby during the incubation 
period. Eggs hatch in about 9 weeks. The 23cm 
hatchlings are very vocal with a high-pitched 
"umph, umph" which may stimulate the female 
to help open the nest. The young often stay to- 
gether in a "pod" for the rest of the summer 
(Mcllhenny 1935, Campbell 1973, McNease and 
Joanen 1974). Tagged young have been recaptured 
near the nest site as long as 3 years after hatching 
(Mcllhenny 1935, Joanen 1969, Campbell 1973, 
McNease and Joanen 1974,Metzen 1979). 

Survival rate is unknown except in local situa- 
tions, but is expected to be low in mature popula- 
tions and higher in depleted populations. Variation 
in water level appears to be the major limiting 
factor on nesting success (Hineset al. 1968, Joanen 
1969, Nichols etal. 1976). 

Growth rates of the young vary widely but 
may approach 0.3m per year with optimal habitat 
and food availability (Mcllhenny 1935, Jo; nen 
and McNease 1975). Subadults often stay togeth- 
er in loose groups until they are about Im long; 
those over 1.5 m long often make extensive pre- 
sumed dispersal movements (Chabreck 1965, 
McNease and Joanen 1974). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Laws protecting alligators were, with some 
exceptions, ineffective until amendment of the 
Lacy Act in 1969 enabled the federal government 
to control interstate shipment of alligator hides. 
By the late 1960's, populations began to increase 
in the Louisiana coastal marshes due to better law 
enforcement and excellent landowner coopera- 
tion. However, populations in other States did 
not begin to increase on a wide scale until inter- 
state control of marketing of illegal hides was 
achieved (Chabreck 1971b). With effective control 
of poaching since 1969, alligator populations have 
made substantial recoveries in most areas of the 
species' range. 

The rapid resurgence suggests that the species 
is highly responsive to conservation efforts and 
amenable to standard management programs. 



Managed harvests are now being made in three 
Louisiana parishes — Calcasieu, Cameron, and 
Vermillion — which are listed as threatened (Simi- 
larity of Appearance) on the Endangered Species 
List of the U.S. Department of Interior. A sport 
hunting program is being developed in the same 
area. A control program for nuisance alligators in 
Florida derives much of its overhead from com- 
mercial use of the skins. 

The U.S. Fish and WildHfe Service's Recovery 
Plan for the species is in draft form and a com- 
plex set of regulatory and management recom- 
mendations for dealing with regional and local 
problems and opportunities will soon be proposed. 

AUTHORITIES 

Frosty Anderson (Recovery Team) 
National Audubon Society 
Miles Wildlife Sanctuary 
Sharon, CT 06069 

Howard W. Campbell (Recovery Team) 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

Robert Chabreck (Recovery Team) 
School of Forestry and Wildlife Management 
Louisiana State University 
Baton Rouge, LA 70803 

Tommy Hines (Recovery Team) 
Florida Game and Fresh Water 

Fish Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

Ted Joanen (Recovery Team Leader) 
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge 
Route l,Box 20-B 
Grand Chenier, LA 70643 

Larry McNease 
Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge 
Route 1, Box 20-B 
Grand Chenier, LA 70643 

Thomas Murphy 

Biologist 

Coco Sabo Plantation 

Greenpond, SC 29446 

Ronald R. Odom (Recovery Team) 
Georgia Game and Fish Division 
Endangered Species Program 
Route 2 
Social Circle, GA 30279 



A. William Palmisano (Recovery Team 

Consultant) 
Natl. Fish and Wildlife Lab 
Alaska Field Station 
4454 Business Park Blvd. 
Anchorage, AL 99503 

Jake Valentine (Recovery Team) 

Wildlife Biologist 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Box 4753, Univ. of Southwestern Louisiana 

Lafayette, LA 70501 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 



LITERATURE CITED /SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Audubon, J.J. 1931. Observations of the natural 
history of the alligator. Louisiana Conserv. 
Rev. 2(3):3-8. 

Bothwell, D. 1962. The great outdoors book of 
alligators and other crocodilia. Great Out- 
doors Publ. Co. St. Petersburg. 88 pp. 

Brazaitis, P. 1973. The identification of living 
crocodilians. Zoologica 58:(3-4):59-101. 

Campbell, H. W. 1972. Ecological or phylogenetic 
interpretations of crocodilian nesting habits. 
Nature 238:404-405. 

. 1973. Observations on the acoustic 



behavior of crocodilians. Zoologica 1973 
(Spring): 1-10. 

Carr, A.F. 1967. Alligators, dragons in distress. 
Natl. Geogr. Mag. 131:133-148 

^.1976. Excerpts from the life an alli- 
gator: a reappraisal of "the alligator's life 
history." Foreword to Mcllhenny, E. A. 1935. 
The alligator's life history. Facsimile reprint, 
1976. Soc. Study Amphib. Reptiles Misc. 
Publ. 

Carr, A. F. and C. J. Goins. 1955. Guide to the 
reptiles, amphibians, and fresh-water fishes 
of Florida. Univ. Florida Press, Gainesville 
341 pp. 

Chabreck, R. H. 1965. The movement of alliga- 
tors in Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. South- 
east Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 19:102-110. 



. 1967. The American alligator:past 

present and future. Proc. Annu. Conf. South- 
east Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 21:554-558. 

. 1972. The food and feeding habits of 

alligators from fresh and saline environments 
in Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast 
Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 25:117-124. 

. 1971b. The management of the Amer- 
ican alligator. Proc. 1st Working Meeting of 
the Crocodile Specialists. lUCN Suppl. Paper 
32:137-144. 

1974. Cooperative surveys of the Amer- 



ican alligator in the southeastern United 
States, Mimeo report. 

Conant, R. 1975. A field guide to reptiles and 
amphibians of eastern and central North 
America. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 429 
pp. 

Craighead, F. C. 1968. The role of the alligator in 
shaping plant communities and maintaining 
wildlife in the southern Everglades. Fla. Natur. 
41:2-7,69-74. 

Ditmars, R. L. 1953. The reptiles of North 
America. Doubleday & Co., Inc., New York. 
476 pp. 

Fogarty, M. J. 1974. The ecology of the Ever- 
glades Alligator, in P. J. Gleason. ed.. Envi- 
ronments of South Florida: Past and Present. 
Mem. Miami Geol. Survey 2. 482 pp. 

Fogarty, M. J. and J. D. Albury. 1967. Late 
summer foods of young alligators in Florida. 
Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game 
Fish Comm. 21:220-222. 

Garrick, L. D. and J. W. Lang. 1977. Social signals 
and behaviors ofadult alligators and crocodiles. 
Am. Zool. 17:225-239. 

GUes, L.W. and V. L. Childs. 1949. Alligator 
management on the Sabine National Wildlife 
Refuge.J.Wildl. Manage. 13(1): 16-28. 

Herzog, H. A., Jr. 1974. The vocal communication 
system and related behaviors of the American 
alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) and other 
crocodilians. M. S. Thesis, Univ. Tennessee, 
Knoxville. 87 pp. 

Hines, T. C, M. J. Fogarty, and L. C. Chappell. 
1968. Alligator research in Florida: a progress 
report. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc 
Game Fish Comm. 22:166-180. 



Hines, T. C. and K. D. Keenlyne. 1977. Two 
incidents of alligator attacks on humans in 
Florida. Copeia. 1977(4):735-738. 

Joanen, T. 1969. Nesting ecology of alligators in 
Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast 
Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 23:141-151. 

,,1974. Population status and distribution 



of alligators in the southeastern United States. 
Southeastern Regional End. Sp. Workshop, 
Wildl. Soc. Tallahassee, Fla. Sept. 1974. 
Unpaged. 

Joanen, T. and L. McNease. 1971. A telemetric 
study of nesting female alligators on Rocke- 
feller Pvcfuge, Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. 
Southeast Assoc. Game Fish Comm. 24: 
175-193. 

%1972. A telemetric study of adult male 



alligators on Rockefeller Refuge, Louisiana. 
Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Assoc. Game 
Fish Comm. 26:252-275. 

.1976. Notes on the reproductive biology 



and captive propagation of the American 
alligator. Proc. Annu. Proc. Southeast Game 
Fish Comm. 29:407-415. 

Kellogg, R. 1929. The habits and economic 
importance of alligators. U.S. Dept. Agric. 
Tech. Bull. 147:36 pp. 

Kushlan, J. A. 1973. Observations on maternal 
behavior in the American alligator. Alliga- 
tor mississippiensis . Herpetologica 29(3): 
256-257. 

•1974. Observations on the role of the 

American alligator {Alligator mississippiensis 
in the southern Florida wetlands. Copeia 
1974(4):993-996. 

Mcllhenny, E. A. 1935. The alligator's life history. 
Christopher Publ. House, Boston. 1 16 pp. 

McNease, L. and T. Joanen. 1974. A study of 
immature alligators on Rockefeller Refuge, 
Louisiana. Proc. Annu. Conf. Southeast Game 
Fish Comm. 28:482-500. 

Metzen, W. D. 1979. Nesting ecology of alligators 
on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge. 
Proc. Annu. Conf. Game Fish Comm. 31. 

Neill, W. T. 1971. The last of the ruling reptiles: 
alligators, crocodiles, and their kin. Columbia 
Univ. Press, Columbia. 486 pp. 

Nichols, J. O., L. Viehman, R. H. Chabreck, and 
B. Fenderson. 1976. Simulation of a commer- 
cially harvested alligator population in Louis- 



iana. Louisiana Agric. Exp. Stn. Bull 691. 59 
pp. 

O'Neil, T. 1949. The muskrat in Louisiana coastal 
marshes. Louisiana Wildl. Fish Comm., New 
Orleans. 159 pp. 

Perrero, L. 1975. Alligators and crocodiles of 
the world. Windward Publ. Co., Miami. 64 pp. 

Pooley, A. C. and C. Cans. 1976. The Nile croco- 
dile. Sci. Am. 234(4):114-124. 

Pope, C. H. 1955. The reptile world. Alfred A. 
Knopf, New York. 325 pp. 

Reese, A. M. 1915. The alligator and its allies. 
G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 368 pp. 

Smith, H. M. 1893. Notes on the alligator indus- 
try. Bull. U.S. Fish Comm. 11:343-345. 

Stevenson, C. H. 1904. Utilization of the skins of 
aquatic animals. U.S. Comm. Fish Rep. 1902: 
281-532. 

Valentine,J. M.,Jr.,J.R. Walther,K. M. 

McCartney, and L. M. Ivy. 1972. Alligator 
diets on the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, 
Louisiana. J. Wildl. Manage. 36(3):809-815. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.40 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

BROWN PELICAN 

Eastern and California Subspecies 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREPACK 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, us amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps ol Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Kndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions .ind deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he direi led lo: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Senicc 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be direcii'd to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems leam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\ ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.^)8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.40 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
BROWN PELICAN 
Eastern and California Subspecies 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




BROWN PELICAN 

(Eastern subspecies— Pelc caims 

occidcntalis carolinensis Gmelin) 

(California s\ihspec\es—Pclcc anus 

occidcntalis californicus Rigdway) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Pelecaniformes 

FAMILY Pelecanidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES 

Eastern subspecies Eastern brown pelican 

California subspecies . . . California brown pelican 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (35 FR 16047, 13 October 
1970:35 FR 18319, 2 December 1970). 

States: Endangered: Georgia, Mississippi, 
South Carolina, California. 
Threatened: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Both the eastern and California subspecies 
have been greatly reduced in numbers. The main 
reason for their decline is accumulation of chlorin- 
ated hydrocarbon residues, which have been 
shown to cause eggshell thinning and subsequent 
crushing of eggs under the weight of parent birds 
(Heath et al. 1969, Peakall 1970, Wiemer and 
Porter 1970). The principal residues involved are 
DDT compounds (DDE, DDD, and DDT), poly- 
chlorinated biphenyls (PCB's),dieldrin,andendrin 
(Schreiber and Risebrough 1972, BIus et al. 
1974a). The correlation between eggshell thinning 
and DDE concentrations is highly significant 
(Schreiber and Risebrough 1972, Blus et al. 1975). 
Blus et al. (1974b) demonstrated that the success 
of 93 brown pelican nests was related to low levels 
of DDE and dieldrin. 

Other factors affecting pelican populations 
are availability of food supply and human distur- 
bance of nesting colonies. Parent pelicans flushed 
from nests exert forces large enough to break 
eggs. Normally, one of the parents remains on the 



nest throughout incubation. Desertion of the nest 
can resuh in losses to predation as well as tem- 
perature stresses on the eggs and young (Schreiber 
and Risebrough 1972, Schreiber 1979). 

Mercury may also interfere with reproduction; 
mercury has been found in some pelican eggs at 
levels known to have adverse effects on other spe- 
cies (Blus et al. 1974a). 

Eastern subspecies 

Along the Atlantic Coast, eggshell thinning is 
more acute at the northern end of the pelican's 
range (Blus et al. 1970). From 1969 to 1974, Blus 
et al. (1974a) noted that 17% eggshell thinning in 
North Carohna populations was associated with 
subnormal reproductive success. By 1975, egg- 
shell thinning had decreased to 10% (L. J. Blus 
personal communication). The present Florida 
population is stable, eggshell thickness has been 
reduced about 9%, and about 3% of all eggs on 
the west coast of Florida have been thin-shelled 
and crushed. The effects of these factors on pop- 
ulation levels may not be apparent, for in 1975 
and 1976, eggs in Florida had little or no thinning 
or crushing (R. W. Schreiber personal communica- 
tion). 

In Louisiana and Texas, where the pelican 
populations have declined rapidly and dramat- 
ically, the levels of pollution are higher (Schrei- 
ber and Risebrough 1972). In Louisiana, eggs 
from transplanted Florida birds showed a steady 
decline in shell thickness from 1970 to 1973. 
Levels of DDE were generally lower than those 
associated with subnormal reproductive success 
in South Carolina, but dieldrin levels were slightly 
higher. Half the eggs examined contained levels of 
dieldrin considered potentially detrimental to re- 
productive success (Blus et al. 1975). 

Forty percent of a small population trans- 
planted to Louisiana from Florida died of endrin 
poisoning in the spring and summer of 1975 
(Winn 1975). 

Freezes, hurricanes, and beach erosion may 
have affected population numbers (Schreiber and 
Risebrough 1972). Blus et al. (1974a) believe that 
in South Carolina, storms and other naturad fac- 
tors have minimal effects on pelican populations 
because, while they may temporarily disrupt nest- 
ing activities, the birds are persistent renesters in 
that area. 

Human disturbance that causes the parent 
birds to desert the nests can result in serious losses 
to predation by fish crows (Corvus ossifragus), as 
well as in temperature stress on eggs and young 



(Schreiber and Risebrough 1972, Schreiber 1979). 

In Florida, a significant number of pelicans 
(500 or more) are killed each year after being 
caught on fishhooks or entangled in monofila- 
ment fishlines. Some are also maliciously killed or 
maimed by people (Schreiber 1979). 

The decline of the pelicans in South Carolina 
in the 1950's coincided with a decline in Atlantic 
menhaden [Brevoortia spp.). There is some evi- 
dence that food shortages occur, especially in 
Florida, and the red tide (Gymnodimium) has 
probably affected pelican food supplies on the 
west coast of Florida at times (Williams et al. 
1976). 

California subspecies 

Pelican losses in California resulting from 
paratyphoid infections have probably had little 
effect on the total population (Bond 1942). The 
complete failure of reproductive efforts on the 
California Channel Islands in 1968, reported by 
Schreiber and DeLong (1969), probably resulted 
from chlorinated-hydrocarbon pollution. Levels 
of residues as high as 84.4 ppm were found in the 
muscles of birds from Monterey Bay in December 
of 1966 (Risebrough et al. 1971). Reproduction 
on Anacapa Island, California, and Los Coronados 
and San Martin Islands in Baja California, was al- 
most entirely unsuccessful from 1969 to 1972. 
Success varied on San Benito Island in Baja Cali- 
fornia (400 miles south of the U.S. border) and 
on remote islands in the Gulf of California. Far- 
ther south, reproductive success Wcis more satis- 
factory. The U.S. Fish and Wildhfe Service (1973) 
attributed the poor reproductive success to egg- 
shell thinning brought about by contamination 
with DDE. 

In 1974, eggshell thinning was much less evi- 
dent than in previous years on the Pacific Coast, 
and many more young were produced in some of 
the colonies where egg collapse had been severe. 
More adults bred in 1974, as well. However, col- 
lapsed eggs and lowered productivity continued 
to be evident. Production on San Martin Island 
failed completely in 1974, presumably because 
of human disturbance. 

In the Gulf of California, where production 
had been comparatively good, it was very poor in 
1974. The cause appeared to be poor food condi- 
tions, although the presence of DDE in the food 
chain may have contributed. A decrease in the 
availability of anchovies brought about by over- 
fishing is thought to have affected brown pelican 
reproduction (Keith 1978). Recent studies indi- 



cate that minor restrictions in food supply ser- 
iously impair reproduction and that the presence 
of DDE intensifies the effects of food deprivation 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver WildHfe 
Research Center ms. 1974; Keith 1978). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Eastern subspecies: None assigned. 
California subspecies: 13. 

DESCRIPTION 
Eastern subspecies 

P. o. carolinensis is a large bird, with a total 
length of 114 to 137 cm and a wingspan of 2 m. 
It has a long bill and a large gular pouch, which is 
colored greenish during the breeding season. 
Adults have a black belly with gray wings and 
back. The head is yellow from early autumn until 
late spring, when it turns white. The neck is white 
in the fall and winter, but becomes chestnut 
brown during the breeding season. 

Immatures are brown with white bellies for 
the first 3 to 5 years (Schreiber 1979). Photo- 
graphs may be found in Bent (1922), Peterson 
(1947), and Palmer (1962), among others. 

California subspecies 

P. o. californicus is distinguished from the 
eastern subspecies by its larger size and darker 
coloration. The brown color of the back of the 
neck is almost black, and the gular pouch is 
reddish instead of greenish during the breeding 
season (Baird et al. 1884, U.S. Fish and WOdlife 
Service 1973, Bent 1922, Wetmore 1945). The 
young have white down when first hatched. 

The eggs of both subspecies are lusterless 
white, becoming dirty during incubation. The 
measurements of the eastern birds' eggs average 
73 to 46 mm and those of the California birds, 
78.5 by 50.6 mm. Pelicans typically fly by alter- 
nate flapping and soaring. The California birds 
can be seen to take advantage of updrafts produced 
when winds axe deflected by the coastal bluffs, 
soaring considerable distances without flapping 
and thus reducing the energy required for flight 
(Woodward 1921). 

RANGE 

Eastern subspecies 

On the eastern seaboard, the pelican ranges 
from North Carolina to Florida, around the Gulf 



Coast to Texas and Mexico, and southward to 
Venezuela. It also inhabits the West Indies and 
many islands in the Caribbean. Casual or sporadic 
sightings have been reported from Nova Scotia, 
Michigan, Wyoming, Colorado, and Bermuda 
(Bent 1922). 

Breeding colony sites are listed in Schreiber 
and Risebrough (1972), Blus et al. (1974a) and 
WilHamset al. (1976). 

Pelicans are usually resident near their breed- 
ing grounds, although young birds tend to wander. 
Schreiber (1976a) color-marked individuals and 
observed that the majority of fledglings moved 
south away from the colony during the first 
months out of the nest. Some individuals wander 
extensively. 

The Florida population has been found to be 
divided into east- and west-coast groups that do 
not appear to mix. Birds in South Carolina and 
on the east coast of Florida move south in the 
fall, but remain on the east coast and in the upper 
Florida Keys. Pelicans hatched at Tampa Bay also 
move southward in the fall, being common at 
Flamingo, upper Florida Bay, and the lower Keys. 

The former range is the same as the present 
one, except that the pelican was once a common 
breeder on the coast of Louisiana; it has been un- 
known there since 1966 except for a small group 
transplanted from Florida. The Texas and northern 
Mexico populations have been much reduced 
(U.S. Dept. of the Interior 1973, Schreiber 1979). 
Brown pelicans breed only on coastal islands and 
in Florida; fewer than 50 islands are currently in 
use (Schreiber 1979). 

On the 45 sites occupied since 1950, 26 
(58%) are in State ownership; 9 (20%) are Fed- 
erally owned; 5 (11%) are in miscellaneous or un- 
certain ownership. Only the Federally owned sites 
are considered secure (Williams et al. 1976). 

California subspecies 

At present, this species breeds locally on is- 
lands along the Pacific coast from Anacapa Island, 
Ventura County, California to Los Coronados, 
San Martin, and San Benito Islands off the coast 
of Baja California; on islands in the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia, and south to Tres Marias Islands off 
Nayarit. Historical nesting sites are Santa Cruz 
and San Miguel Islands, Santa Barbara County, 
and Bird Rock, Point Lobos, Monterey County, 
California. Postbreeding movement of birds 
northward along Pacific Coast in late summer and 
fall is common (Wetmore 1945; A.O.U. 1957; 
Anderson and Anderson 1976; Fish and Wildlife 



Service 1973; Jehl 1973;Wmiams 1931). Between 
breeding seasons, the range extends northward 
along the coast to southern British Columbia 
(Burrard Inlet) and inland to Central British 
Columbia (Chilcotin District) and southward 
along the Pacific Coast of Mexico an unknown 
distance, but at least to Colima (Bond 1942). The 
main northward movements are in July. 

Rarely, pelicans wander inland in California 
(Stanislaus County, 19 Sept. 1913) (Wetmore 
1945; Bent 1922), but usually stay very closely 
restricted to the seashore. Sightings in the interior 
are rare (Mailliard 1913); Grinnell and Miller 
1944; Wetmore 1945). Of 71 recoveries of peli- 
cans banded as young on Anacapa Island, taken 
mostly along the coast from Marin County, Cali- 
fornia south to Nayarit, Mexico, 4 were recovered 
inland at: Potrero, San Diego Co. (40 km inland) 
San Gabriel, Los Angeles Co. (34 km inland) 
Santa Maria, Santa Barbara Co. (18 km inland) 
amd Petrolia, Humboldt Co. (9 km inland) (Bond 
1942, 1948). Of 31 band recoveries or sightings 
of brown pelicans marked as nestlings in the Gulf 
of California area and recorded north of the nest- 
ing area, 7 (33%) were from inland areas in the 
Southwest Desert; all were first-year recoveries. 
Record numbers of brown pelicans were reported 
during July 1972 in the Tucson-Phoenix, Arizona 
vicinity and the Salton Sea in California in July 
and August 1972. Anderson et al. (1972a, 1977) 
suggested that such dispersal results from dom- 
inant south winds, often with heavy thunder- 
storms that ground the birds, rather than being 
the result of searching for food. 

RANGE MAPS 

The distribution of the eastern brown pelican 
is indicated by shading, and its breeding colonies 
are represented by dots on the following maps. 

The breeding rjinge of the California subspecies 
is shown on the range map for this group. 



STATES/COUNTIES 

Eastern subspecies 

Alabama: Baldwin, Mobile. 

Florida: Bay, Brevard, Broward, Charlotte, 

Citrus, Collier, Dade, Dixie Duval, 
Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gulf, 
Hernando, Hillsborough, Indian 
River, Jefferson, Lee, Levy, Mana- 
tee, Martin, Monroe, Nassau, Oka- 
loosa, Palm Beach, Pasco, Pinellas, 
Santa Rosa, Sarasota, Seminole, St. 



Johns, St. Lucie, Taylor, Volusia, 
Wakulla, Walton. 

Georgia: Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Glynn, 

Liberty, Mcintosh. 

Louisiana: Cameron, Jefferson, LaFourclie, 
Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Mary, 
Terrebonne, Vermilion. 

Mississippi: Hancock, Harrison, Jackson. 

N. Carolina: Brunswick, Carteret, Currituck, 
Dare, Hyde, New Hanover, Onslow, 
Pamlico, Pender. 

S. Carolina: Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton, 
Georgetown, Horry. 

Texas: Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cam- 

eron, Chambers, Galveston, Jeffer- 
son, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, 
Nueces, San Patricio, Willacy. 

California subspecies 

California: Del Norte, Humboldt, Los Angeles, 
Marin, Montery, Orange, San Diego, 
San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, 
Santa Cruz, Stanislaus, Ventura. 

HABITAT 

Eastern subspecies 

Pelicans usually feed in shallow estuarine 
waters, although they are sometimes seen 30 to 
60 km offshore (Schreiber 1979). Groups are 
often observed flying over the surf on both the 
Atlantic and Gulf shores of Florida, occasionally 
feeding beyond the breakers. Schreiber (1979) 
states that sandspits and offshore sandbars are 
used for loafing in the daytime and roosting at 
night. 

Brown pelicans, especially juvenile birds, 
frequent fishing piers where scraps are available 
(Schreiber 1979). 

Habitat photographs are found in Bent (1922). 

California subspecies 

The primary habitat is the ocean littoral just 
outside the surf line. This pelican rarely strays 
either inland or far offshore. It is confined to the 
semiarid western coast, bathed by the relatively 
cool waters of the California current, which pro- 
bably limits its range southward (Murphy 1936, 
Anderson and Anderson 1976). 

The preferred nesting habitat is on offshore 
islands, although some individuals nest in man- 
grove growing in estuarine locations along the 
Sinaloa coast. 




NORTHWESTEfiN PART OF 
FLORIDA 



15 16 17 18 19 20 II 



23 2* 25 



Brown pelican colony sites in Florida. 




c 

m 
o 

bO 

C 

U 



o 

c 

u 



a. 
u 

-a 



D 






c 



XI . 

-^ to 

O --H 
CA 

^ o 



o 
.2 > 

'rt -4-J 

o 

H o 



Point Lobos 



San Miguel Island 
Santa C ruz Island 
Santa Barbara Island 
San Nicolas Island 
Santa Catalina Island 

Los Coronados Islands 
(Border Island) 

San Martin Island 



San Benito Island 




Tres Marias 
Islands 



NftpARrr 



Breeding range of the California brown pelican. 
8 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The mode of prey capture and the type of 
food are the same for both subspecies. The birds 
fly low over the water, spot a potential prey fish, 
and dive to capture it. The fish is then transferred 
to the gular pouch. The particular species of 
fishes mjiking up most of the diet of the eastern 
subspecies are menhaden {Brevoortia), mullet 
[Mugil), sardines [Sardinella), and pinfish {Lago- 
don) (Bent 1922, Schreiber 1979). 

The California subspecies feeds mostly on 
anchovies and other members of the family En- 
graulididea; Scombridae; and Pacific sardines 
(Sardinox sagax) when available. The Pacific 
sardines and another former food fish, the Pacific 
mackerel [Scomber japonicus) are now essentially 
gone from CaUfomia waters, but northern ancho- 
vies appear to have replaced them, and most 
biologists beheve that the long-term decline of 
pelicans on the west coast is unrelated to changes 
in food supply (Anderson and Anderson 1976). 
Keith (1978), however, believes that former sar- 
dine fishermen in the Gulf of California have 
switched to anchovy fishing to the probable detri- 
ment of pelican food supply. Bostic and Banks 
(1966) found stingrays (Dasyatidae) and tongue- 
fish [Cunoglossidae) in the pouch of a dead peli- 
can near San Felipe in the Gulf of California. A 
stingray spine embedded in the bird's throat pro- 
bably caused its death. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

None noted. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Pelicans prefer to nest on offshore island sites 
that are protected from flooding, human distur- 
bance, and terrestrial predators such as raccoons 
{Procyon lotor) (Blus et al. 1974a, Schreiber per- 
sonal communication). Although there are dis- 
tinct similarities, there are also conspicuous dif- 
ferences in the types of nest sites selected by the 
two subspecies. 

Eastern subspecies 

Eastern brown pelicans build nests on the 
ground, on mud lumps, or in trees (Bent 1922). 
In Florida, they nest primarily in mangrove trees 
[Avicennia germinans and Rhizophora mangle) 
from 1 to 10 m above the high-tide mark (Schrei- 
ber 1979). 

Ground nests vary greatly in size and struc- 
ture from practically nothing to large, well-built 



nests of sticks, reeds, straw, palmetto leaves, and 
grasses. Remains of old nests are often used, and 
fresh material may be stolen from newly con- 
structed nests when the owner is gone. Nest dia- 
meter on Pehcan Island, Florida, ranges from 46 
to 61 cm, and height ranges from 10 to 13 cm. 
Arboreal nests are more firmly built of similar 
materials, on substantial stick platforms securely 
interwoven with the branches of the supporting 
tree (Bent 1922). 

Pelicans are colonial nesters, and generally 
select small coastal islands in salt or brackish 
water and lying landward of barrier islands or 
reefs where they are protected from the surf and 
ocean storms (Williams et al. 1976). 

California subspecies 

The California brown pelican prefers to nest 
on steep, rocky slopes of islands, building its nests 
of sticks, grasses, and rubbish. In some areas, 
nests are reused year after year, accumulating 
filth and reaching heights as great as 1 m. On 12 
April 1888, A. W. Anthony (m Bent 1922) found 
nests in groups of 20 to 30 on San Martin Island, 
located about 0.4 km from the beach and about 
76 m above the sea. Most of the nests were built 
on the tops of low bushes, but many were on bare 
ground or blocks of lava. Sticks, twigs, kelp, sea- 
grass, and even a few bird bones were used as 
building material. On 16 April 1939, Bond (1942) 
found several nests on Anacapa Island in island 
oak [Quercus tomentella) and toyon [Photinia 
arbutifolia), at heights 3.2 to 4.8 m above the 
ground— an unusual nesting situation for the spe- 
cies. 

Williams (1927) found nests on top of mats of 
poison oak at Point Lobos. Nests on mangroves 
over water on the Sinaloa coast are reported in a 
manuscript of the Denver Wildlife Research Cen- 
ter, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1974). 

RITUAL BEHAVIOR 

S. C. Arthur {in Bent 1922) describes court- 
ship behavior of a male P. o. occidentalis as a 
slow circling of the motionless female with pon- 
derous elephantine tread, while he lifted his 
wings slightly and tilted his head far back. It is 
presumed that the courtship behavior of P. o. 
califomicus is similar. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None other than noted elsewhere. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Eastern subspecies 

The Florida population is stable with an adult 
breeding population of 6,705 to 7,690 pairs in 
1968-1970 (Williams and Martin 1968, 1970) and 
6,000 to 8,000 pairs for the last 6 years. The esti- 
mated total population in Florida is less than 
30,000 birds (Schriber 1979). 

Blus et al. (1974a) state that the South Caro- 
lina population declined from 5,000 to 1,000 
pairs by the late 1960's. 

Schreiber and Risebrough (1972) give a de- 
tailed breakdown of the status of the brown peli- 
can population in each State. In North Carolina, 
the population on Shell Castle Island (northern- 
most breeding colony on the Atlantic coast) has 
fluctuated between 1 1 and 100 from 1960 through 
1967. Fewer than 30 young were believed fledged 
in 1970. In South Carolina, colonies are found on 
the Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge and at Deveaux 
Bank south of Charleston. At Cape Romain Re- 
fuge, populations have fluctuated drastically from 
year to year. The Deveaux Bank colony has un- 
dergone a 90% reduction in the last 10 years, due 
perhaps to much of the bank's washing away. 
Brown pelicans have probably never nested in 
Georgia. There has been no nesting in Alabama 
since 1900, and in 1956-57, the local nonbreeding 
population declined sharply with no recovery as 
of 1972. In Louisiana, the once large population, 
estimated at between 75,000 and 85,000 (Arthur 
1931), had decreased to four individuals by 1960, 
according to Audubon Christmas Bird Count esti- 
mates. Although Florida pelicans were released in 
Louisiana from 1968 to the 1970's and some 
were reported nesting, no native pelicans have 
bred since 1966 (Schreiber 1979). In Texas, fewer 
than 10 pairs nested in 1969 and 1970. The total 
population in Louisiana and Texas is now esti- 
mated to be under 500 (Schreiber 1979). 

Population status is essentially unrecorded in 
eastern Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central Am- 
erica (Schreiber and Risebrough 1972). 

California subspecies 

About 1,000 to 1,500 adults were breeding in 
California in 1972; the California population has 
been declining 14% to 18% per year. The minimum 
population in Mexico and California was estimated 
at 100,000 (Fish and WHdHfe Service 1973). 
Anderson et al. (1972b) estimated 21,000 resi- 



dents on the California coast and somewhere near 
62,000 breeding in the Gulf of California. 

On Santa Barbara Island, California, between 
300 and 400 birds were breeding July 1912. On 
Anacapa Islands, California, there were a large 
number of birds which apparently were not 
breeding on 5 July 1912 (Wright and Snyder 
1913). There had been at least 500 nests there in 
June 1910 (Willett 1912, 1933). WUlett (1910) 
counted 5 nests containing young on Prince Islet 
off San Miguel Island on 15 June 1910. 

Wright (1909) and Stephens (1921) found 
large colonies with hundreds of nests on Los 
Coronados, Baja California, in early 1900's. In the 
early 1940's there were still several thousand pairs 
nesting there, according to Lewis Walker (in 
Schreiber and DeLong 1969). In 1958, pehcans 
were present in large numbers on Los Coronados 
and nesting was observed by Monte Kirven (m 
Schreiber and DeLong 1969). During the 1968 
breeding season, on four occasions between April 
and June, only a few birds were present and none 
were nesting there (Schreiber and DeLong 1969). 
There was no nesting in 1963 (Keith et al. 1970). 

For Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, San Miguel, 
and San Nicolos, records are scanty but indicate 
that in the early 1900's irregular nesting (not 
every year) occurred on all of them (WUlett 1912; 
Howell 1917). No active nests were found on 
those islands at any time in 1968 (Schreiber and 
DeLong 1969). 

Historically, Santa Barbara Island has been 
second only to Anacapa as the most important 
pelican rookery on the Channel Islands. In 1912 
several hundred birds bred there (Howell 1917). 
On 19 Aug. 1967, there were 400 to 500 on Sur- 
tU Rock just off Santa Barbara, where they nested 
that year. In 1968, 4 adults and 33 immatures 
were present on 4 April and 11 on 12 May but 
there was no nesting; nor was late nesting reported 
by the National Park Service. On Anacapa, breed- 
ing was first reported on all three islets in 1899 
(Schreiber and DeLong 1969). In 1939, Bond 
(1942) reported about 2,000 pairs nesting on the 
West islet, Anacapa, which would indicate at least 
as many, if not more, birds present on that islet 
than found by previous observers. The largest 
number recorded for East Islet, in the Anacapa 
group is about 500 nests, found 5 June 1910 by 
Willett (1912). Pelicans nested on West Anacapa 
at least up until 1968, but not on East or Middle 
Anacapa (Bond 1942; Banks 1966; and Schreiber 
and DeLong 1969). On 20 March 1969, R. W. 



10 



Risebrough (Report to Patuxent Wildlife Research 
Center, 24 April 1969) counted 298 nests con- 
taining fresh plant material on Anacapa Island, 
but only 12 contained intact eggs. 

The Monterey Bay and Peninsula area is very 
important for this species, as large numbers occur 
there following dieir northward postbreeding 
dispersal (Alan Baldridge in lit. 1968). Birds ar- 
rive there in mid-June and remain into December, 
with a peak of 2,243 on 23 Aug. 1968, over 
1,000 present from August to October, and 2,300 
counted on 15 Sep. 1968. Williams (1927) re- 
corded the first known breeding site. He found 
20 to 30 nests on 25 May 1927, 8 with eggs on 
16 June 1977, and 55 with eggs on 29 May 1929 
(WUliams 1927, 1931). In 1966, H. L. Cogswell 
{in Alan Baldridge in litt (1968) recorded at least 
three nests with birds at Point Lobos, which seems 
to have been the last recorded breeding there. 

Between 1 and 8 May 1969, there were nest- 
ing colonies in the Gulf of California at Puerto 
Refugio, Isla Lorenzo Norte, Isla Salsipuedes and 
Isla Poijo; numerous adults, nests, and intact eggs 
were found at all these colonies. Eggshells appeared 
sound, but there was evidence of abnormal repro- 
duction including having many empty nests, col- 
lapsed and dehydrated eggs, and many nests hav- 
ing only 1 or 2 eggs instead of the usual 3 (Keith 
etal. 1970). 

In 1974, about 95% of Pacific coast breeding 
sites were visited and found to have present about 
25,000 breeding pairs and an estimated total 
population of about 70,000 (U.S. Fish and Wild- 
life Service, Denver Wildlife Research Center ms. 
1974). 

Pelican populations off the southern Cali- 
fornia coast appear to have oscillated historically 
in response to environmental changes, including 
changes in abundance of principal food fishes. 
Also the oceanic environment in diat area is a 
constant state of flux. However, the overall trend 
toward population decline since the mid-1950's, 
with the normal oscillating pattern superimposed, 
has almost certainly been due to environmental 
pollution (Anderson and Anderson 1976). 

REPRODUCTION 

Eastern subspecies 

The breeding season depends on location. 
Bent (1922) states that nesting begins on the 
Florida east coast in November and December, 
west coast in April, Louisiana coast in February, 
and South Carolina coast in May. However, L. J. 
Blus (personal communication) obsei^ved nesting 



in South Carolina in March and April. Anderson 
and Hickey (1970) list breeding dates for the 
brown pelican throughout its range. 

Williams and Joanen (1974) report that peli- 
cans first nest successfully when 3 years old. All 
courtship activities are confined to the nest site. 
The male brings nesting materials to the female 
and she builds the nest. Normal clutch size is two 
or three eggs (Bent 1922, Schreiber 1979). Eggs 
are snowy white with blood stains when first laid, 
but turn dull and dirty during incubation (L. J. 
Blus personal communication). Eggs have a granu- 
lar surface texture and average about 73 x 46.5 
mm (Bent 1922). Both parents share in incuba- 
tion and chick raising duties (Schreiber 1979). 

Henny (1972) estimated that 1.2 to 1.5 fledg- 
lings per nesting effort are necessary to maintain a 
stable population. Schreiber and Risebrough 
(1972) state that this species is long-lived. One 
brown pelican banded in September 1933 was re- 
captured in November 1964 (Kennard 1975). 

California subspecies 

Like its eastern relative, P. o. californicus is a 
colonial nester. It first breeds at about 2 years of 
age. The timing of nesting varies considerably 
from year to year and between adjoining colonies 
during the same year. Clutch size is usually 3 eggs, 
less often 2. Incubation is by both sexes in turn, 
and requires about 4 weeks. Young are hatched 
over a span of days, and are fed by both parents 
by regurgitation. Age at first flight is 9 weeks 
(Palmer 1962). 

On 12 April 1888, most of the nests on San 
Martin Island, Baja California, contained young 
ranging in age from just hatched to full-fledged 
birds capable of flying (A. W. Anthony m Bent 
1922). Flightless young move about in flocks or 
"pods." They are pugnacious towards intruders, 
but vulnerable to attack by gulls (Wright 1919, 
A. B. Howell in Bent 1922). Egg dates for Los 
Coronados Islands are 29 March to 22 June (33 
records) and 4 April to 6 May (17 records) (Bent 
1922). On Anacapa Islaiid, Cahfornia, nest con- 
tents on 16 April 1939 ranged from fresh eggs to 
young about half grown with primaries just be- 
ginning to show (Bond 1942). A summary of re- 
production on the Anacapa Islands from several 
obsei^vers shows great variation in timing, with 
adults carrying nesting material on 17 March 
1911, while egg laying had begun 7 March 1916 
on East Island and egg laying completed with one 
nest hatched on West Island; by 5 June 1910 on 
East Island, fresh eggs to nearly full grown were 
found; in August 1898 on West Island nearly 



11 



grown young were still present (Bond 1942). 

Adult pelicans usually stayed on nests until 
approached within 5 or 6 m and returned by the 
time that observers were about 30 m away, but 
even so, ravens carried off at least 8 eggs when 
they were left exposed (Bond 1942). 

On 20 March 1969, R. W. Risebrough (Report 
to Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, 24 April 
1969) counted 298 nests containing fresh plant 
material, indicating occupancy, on Anacapa Is- 
lands, but only 12 contained intact eggs. Nine 
contained a single egg and 3 contained 2 eggs. 
Fifty-one nests contained a single broken egg. 
Eggshells were spongy in texture and slight pres- 
sure produced a change in shape. Shells appeared 
to have very little or no calcium carbonate, and it 
was apparent that the weight of incubating birds 
would cause breakage. One of the broken eggs 
had a DDE content of 68 ppm of the total con- 
tents or 522 ppm of yolk lipid. In a second colony 
on Anacapa on April 1969, there were 339 nests, 
with only 19 containing intact eggs and 1 out of 
3 nests having collapsed, dehydrated eggs (Monthly 
Report, Denver Wildlife Research Center April 
1969). On 26 and 27 July 1969, 635 nests were 
found on Anacapa. Two nests contained large 
chicks and 2 contained single incubated eggs. 
Thus, out of a minimum of 1272 nests built in 
1969, only 5 may have produced young (F. H. 
Sibley, Report to Patuxent Wildhfe Research Cen- 
ter, 28 July 1969). 

There were 552 nesting attempts in two 
colonies on Anacapa in 1970, with but one chick 
produced. Reproductive failure was attributed to 
thin eggshells that collapsed during incubation. 
Aberrant behavior associated with reproduction 
was also observed. A survey of all traditional nest- 
ing sites in California produced no evidence of 
nesting. To the best of our knowledge, then, only 
one young pelican was hatched in California in 
1970 (Cress 1970). 

A total of 1,962 eggshells taken after 1949 
for California oological collections were 26% be- 
low the normal weight of egg specimens taken 
before 1949, supporting the belief that shell thin- 
ning began after the wide-scale use of pesticides 
(Anderson and Hickey 1970). 

By use of stepwise regression, Blus et al. 
(1971) found that DDE was the only residue that 
accounted for a significant amount of pelican egg- 
shell thinning; accounted for a significant amount 
of pelican eggshell thinning; PCB's appeared to be 
of Uttle, if any, importance in this respect. 

On Border Island, Los Coronados, Baja Cali- 
fornia, only 19 intact eggs were found in 300 
nests in April 1969. On Martin Island, 150 miles 



south of the U.S. border, only 17 eggs were found 
in 100 nests (Monthly Report of Denver Wildlife 
Research Center, April 1969). 

Brown pelicans showed varying reproductive 
success in different parts of their range and from 

1969 to 1971, with the poorest off the California 
coast, improving slightly down the west coast of 
Baja California, and the best in the Gulf of Cali- 
fornia. About 4.4% of the population is suffering 
widespread excessively low recruitment. Of the 
relatively satisfactory Gulf of California popula- 
tion, it is estimated that 20% suffered eggshell 
thinning in excess of 1 l%o. Anacapa Islands, Los 
Coronados, and west coast Baja Cahfornia pop- 
ulations had the most eggshell thinning in 1968, 

1970 and 1971. Here again, DDE seems to be the 
major factor contributing to thin eggshells and re- 
sults in some reduction in reproduction. Other 
factors reducing reproduction related to human 
interference of several types. Various data suggest 
that the major source of DDE for brown pehcans 
is off Southern California (Anderson et al. 1975). 

An indication of improved production on the 
California Islands was noted in 1972, when 112 
nests were counted on Scorpion Rock off Santa 
Cruz Island, and 31 young had been produced 
there by 13 July. In the same year, 150 nests 
from which 26 young had been produced were 
found on Anacapa. Early nest failures were evi- 
dent from the many cracked eggshells (from 
Monthly Narrative Report of Activities of Denver 
Wildlife Research Center, August 1972 by David 
W. Anderson and L. Rodney DeWeese). 

In 1974, eggshell thinning was much less evi- 
dent on the Pacific coast; many more young were 
produced and more adults bred in some colonies. 
About 1,400 adult pelicans were present in July 
on Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, where they 
build about 400 nests and produced about 300 
young. However, collapsed eggs were found and 
30% of nests on the islands were empty and de- 
serted. Also, 15% of the adults were incubating 
addled eggs. About 0.75 young per nest were pro- 
duced, which is still too little; about 1.3 to 1.5 
young per adult pair are required to maintain the 
population. On the Coronados Islands, Baja Cali- 
fornia, the colony was much larger in 1974 than in 
any recent year but productivity averaged only 
0.70 young per nest and collapsed eggs and nest 
desertions were common (up to 30% in some 
areas). On Isla San Martin, pelicans built 112 
nests, all of which failed, probably due to human 
disturbance. At Isla San Benito, production was 



12 



excellent in 1974 with at least 1.5 young per nest, 
no nest desertion and no excessive losses of young. 
In the Gulf of Cahfomia only about 60% of 
adults came to colonies to breed in 1974. Adults 
that did come failed to establish nests and left. 
In some areas, nest desertion approached 100%. 
Ultimate production was about 0.80 young per 
nest, and less than one half of adults established 
nests. Unusually poor food conditions were 
thought responsible. In recent years, severe and 
widespread failures in Gulf of California produc- 
tion has occurred during periods of food scarcity. 
However, it is possible that the DDE known to be 
present has aggravated the situation. Experiments 
have shown that minor restrictions of food supply 
seriously impair reproduction and that presence 
of DDE in birds increases the effect of food de- 
privation on reproductive condition(U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Denver Wildlife Research Center 
1974;Keith 1978). 

An asynchronous nesting pattern on Anacapa 
and Santa Cruz Islands in 1975 made estimates of 
production difficult. Production was: Anacapa - 
212 nests, 182 young produced; Santa Cruz - 80 
nests, 74 young produced, or 0.88 young per nest 
for both islands. This compares with 0.73 in 1974, 
0.14 in 1973, 0.22 in 1972 and 0.007 in period 
1969-71 for the same colonies. Neither DDE con- 
centrations nor eggshell thickness differed signif- 
icantly between 1974 and 1975, although the 
concentration of the chief food fish (anchovies) 
dropped. Pelican productivity is still 10% to 50% 
below the level necessary to maintain long-term 
population stability (Anderson et al. 1975; An- 
derson and Anderson 1976; Anderson et al. 1977). 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

State, Federal, and private cooperative research 
has been directed toward analysis of brown peli- 
can eggshell conditions and the resulting repro- 
ductive failure. Waste discharge from pesticide 
manufacturing plants is being corrected. Popula- 
tion surveys have been conducted by the Fish and 
Wildlife Service. Continued research on the effects 
of environmental pollution and on life history and 
reproductive biology are recommended, but visits 
to nests should be kept to a minimum; strict reg- 
ulation of the use of persistent chemical pesticides 
and discharge of wastes from plants that manu- 
facture those products should be encouraged and 
all forms of pollution that degrade the pelican's 
environment should be eliminated. Sanctuary 



status should be recorded for all areas with 
nesting colonies (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
1973). 

Many eastern colonies are protected on Fed- 
eral and State refuges and in National Audubon 
Society sanctuaries. 

A recovery team for the eastern brown peli- 
can has been appointed by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service to draft a recovery plan for re- 
establishing this species throughout its former 
range (Williams et al. 1976). The recovery outline 
includes restoring the pelican in vacant breeding 
habitat by identifying historic distribution, iden- 
tifying or creating suitable breeding habitat and 
stocking selected sites. 

In order to restock historic or depleted 
colonies, stocking methods must be developed 
and sources of birds located. The success of new 
colonies should be monitored for survival, repro- 
duction, and limiting factors. Natural and restored 
colonies should be maintained at self-sustaining 
levels. Plans for monitoring populations and 
pertinent environmental factors vary from area 
to area and are outlined in Williams et al. (1976). 

AUTHORITIES 

Eastern subspecies 

Lawrence J. Blus (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildhfe Service 
Patuxent Wildlife Research Center 
Laurel, MD 20810 

Kirke A. King (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
P.O. Box 2506 
Victoria, TX 77901 

Larry L. McNease (Recovery Team) 
Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission 
Route l,Box 25 
Grand Chenier, LA 70643 

Burkett S. Neely (Recovery Team) 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Division of Wildlife Refuges 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Stephen A. Nesbitt (Recovery Team) 
Florida Game and Freshwater Fish 

Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

Ralph W. Schreiber (Recovery Team) 
Natural History Museum 
Los Angeles, CA 90007 



13 



Lovett E. Williams (Recovery Team Leader) 
Florida Game and Freshwater Fish 

Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
GainesvUle, FL 32601 

Cjilifomia subspecies 

Daniel W. Anderson 

U.S. Fish £ind Wildlife Service 

P.O. BoxC 

Davis, California 91616 

Alan Baldridge 
Hopkins Marine Station 
Pacific Grove, California 93950 

Monte N. Kirven 

Natural History Museum 

P.O. Box 1390 

San Diego, Cahfornia 12112 

Robert DeLong 
Department of Biology 
University of California, Santa Cruz 
Santa Cruz, California 95064 

Fred C. Sibley 

Peabody Museum 

Yale University 

New Haven, Connecticut 06520 

Ralph W. Schreiber 

Los Angeles County Museum 

Exposition Park 

Los Angeles, California 90007 

Robert W. Risebrough 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 

Franklin Gress 
University of California 
Berkeley, California 94720 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Eastern subspecies 

None. 

California subspecies 

The California brown pelican is probably the 
most obvious and clearcut example of the effect 
of pesticide chemicals in the environment on the 
reproduction of birds. It is also probably the most 
thoroughly studied and documented example of 
those effects. The brown pelican, like other spe- 
cies that are members of oceanic current ecosys- 
tems, normally fluctuate widely in abundance 



with the primary prey species (Anderson and 
Anderson 1976; Anderson et al. 1975). This is 
natural and the population dynamics of affected 
species is adapted to compensate for the periodic 
failures of food. However, the additional lowered 
reproduction caused by pesticide chemicals in the 
food, augmented by reduction in food from over- 
fishing (Keith 1978), could easily tip the balance 
of survival toward extinction. Although the 
amount of DDE, the most important of chemicals 
affecting California brown pelican reproduction, 
has been reduced somewhat and reproduction has 
improved, the number of fledged young per nest- 
ing pair is still too low to maintain the pelican 
population. If chemical level is not further 
improved, and if overfishing of anchovies does go 
too far, it would appear that this subspecies of 
brown pelican is doomed to extinction.— John W. 
Aldrich. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Addor, E. E.,J. K. Stoll and V. E. LaGarde. 1973. 
Eastern brown pelican. In A user-accessed 
computer information system for environ- 
mentally sensitive wildlife. U.S. Army Eng. 
Waterways Exp. Stn. Tech. Rep. M-74-6. 
Rep. M-74-6. 

Anderson, D. W., and J. J. Hickey. 1970. Oologi- 
cal data on egg and breeding characteristics 
of brown pehcans. Wilson Bull. 82:14-28. 

Anderson, D. W., J. O. Keith, K. A. King and L. 
R. DeWeese. 1972. Field ecology investiga- 
tions of effects of selected pesticides on wild- 
life populations. Post-breeding dispersal of 
brown pelicans and other waterbirds into the 
southwestern United States. U.S. Bureau of 
Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Denver Wildhfe 
Research Center Administrative Report, 4 
Dec. 1972. 



1972a. Post-breeding disperal of brown 



pelicans and other waterbirds into south- 
western United States. U.S. Bureau of Sport 
Fisheries and Wildlife, Denver Wildlife Re- 
search Center, Ann. Prog. Rep. No. 3, 4 Dec. 
1972. Prepared by D. W. Anderson and L. R. 
DeWeese. 

Anderson, D. W., J. O. Keith, R. E. White, K. A. 
King, and L. R. DeWeese. 1972. Brown Peli- 
C2ms— status of P. o. californicus. U.S. Bur. 
Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, Denver Wildlife 
Res. Center Ann. Progress Report No. 2, 030 
April 1972. Prepared by D. W. Anderson. 



14 



Anderson, D. W.,J. R. Jchl, Jr., R. W. Risebrough, 
L. A. Woods, Jr., L. R. DeWeese and W. G. 
Edgecomb. 1975. Brown Pelicans: improved 
reproduction off the southern California coast. 
Science 190 (4316):806-808. 

Anderson, D. W. and D. T. Anderson. 1976. Dis- 
tribution and status of Brown Pelicans in the 
California Current. Amer. Birds 30:3-12. 

Anderson, D. W., L. R. DeWeese, and D. V. Tiller. 
1977. Passive dispersal of California Brown 
Pelicans. Bird-Banding 48:228-238. 

A.O.U. 1957. Check-list of North American Birds, 
Fifth Edition. Amer. Omith. Union, Balti- 
more. 691 pp. 

Arthur, S. C. 1931. The birds of Louisiana. Bull. 
Louisiana Dept. Conserv. 20:1-598. 

Baird, S. P., T. M. Brewer, and R. Ridgway. 1884. 
Water Birds of North America 2:143. 

Banks, R. C. 1966. Terrestrial vertebrates of Ana- 
capa Island, California. Trans. San Diego Soc. 
Nat. Hist. 14:173-188. 

Bent, A. C. 1922. Life Histories of North Ameri- 
can petrels and pelicans and their allies. U.S. 
Nat.Mus. BuU. 121:301. 

Blus, L. J. 1970. Measurements of brown pelican 
egg shells from Florida and South Carolina. 
BioScience 20:867-869. 

Blus, L.J., A. A. Belisle, and R. M. Prouty. 1974a. 
Relation of the brown pelican to certain en- 
vironmental pollutants. Pestic. Monit, J. 7: 
181-194. 

Blus, L. J., R. G. Heath, C. D. Ash, A. A. BeUsle, 
and R. M. Prouty. 1971. Egg shell thinning in 
the brown pelican: implication of DDE. Bio- 
Science 21:1213-1215. 

Blus, L. J., T. Joanen, A. A. Belisle, and R. M. 
Prouty. 1975. The brown pelican and certain 
environmental pollutants in Louisiana. Bull. 
Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 5:231-236. 

Blus, L. J., B. S. Neeley, Jr., A. A. Belisle, and 
R. M. Prouty. 1974b. Orgcmochlorine residues 
in brown pelican eggs: relation to reproduc- 
tive success. Environ. Pollut. 7:81-91. 

Bond, R. M. 1942. Banding records of California 
Brown Pehcans. Condor 44:116-121. 

Bond, R. M. 1948. Returns of banded California 
Brown Pelicans. Condor 50:89. 

Bostic, D. L. and R. C. Banks. 1966. A record of 
stingray predation by Brown Pelican. Condor 
68:515-516. 



Gress, F. 1970. Reproductive status of the Cali- 
fornia Brown Pelican in 1970 with notes on 
breeding biology and Natural History. Wild- 
life Management Branch Administrative Re- 
port no. 70-6. Federal Aid Project W-54-R. 

Grinnell, J. and A. H. Miller. 1944. The distribu- 
tion of the Birds of California. Pac. Coast 
Avifauna No. 27:51-52. 

Heath, R. G., J. W. Spann, and J. F. Kreitzer. 

1969. Marked DDE impairment of mallard 
reproduction in controlled studies. Nature 
224:47-48. 

Henny, C. J. 1972. An analysis of the population 
dynamics of selected avian species— with spe- 
cial reference to change during the modem 
pesticide era. U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv.— Wildl. 
Res. Rep. 1.99 pp. 

Howell, A. B. 1917. Birds of the islands off the 
coast of southern California. Pac. Coast Avi- 
fauna 12:40-41. 

Jehl, J. R., Jr. 1973. Studies of a declining pop- 
ulation of Brown Pelicans. Condor 75:69-79. 

Keith, J. O. 1978. Synergistic effects of DDE and 
food stress on reproduction in Brown Pelicans 
and Ringdoves. Ph.D. thesis, Ohio State Uni- 
versity. 

Keith, J. O., L. A. Woods, Jr., and E. G. Hunt. 

1970. Reproductive failure in Brown Pelicans 
on the Pacific Coast. Trans. 35th N. A. Wild- 
life Conf. pp. 56-63. 

Kennard, J. 1975. Longevity records of North 
American birds. Bird-Banding 46:55-73. 

Mailliard, J. 1913. Dry season notes. Condor 15: 
228. 

Murphey, R. C. 1936. Oceanic birds of South 
America. 2:808-810. 

Palmer, R. S. ed. 1962. Handbook of North Am- 
erican birds. Vol. 1. Yale University Press, 
New Haven. 567 pp. 

Peakall, D. B. 1970. p, p-DDT; effect on calcium 
metabilism and concentrations of estradiol in 
the blood. Science 168:592-594. 

1971. Effects of poly chlorinated biphe- 



nyls (PCB's) on the egg shells of ring doves. 
Bull. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 6:100-101. 

Peterson, R. T. 1947. A field guide to the birds. 
Houghton Mifflin, Boston. 230 pp. 

Risebrough, R. W., F. C. Sibley, and M. N. 
Kirven. 1971. Reproductive faikire of the 



15 



Brown Pelican on Anacapa Island in 1969. 
Amer. Birds 25:8-9. 

Schreiber, R. W. 1976a. Movements of color- 
marked brown pelicans in Florida. Bird-Band- 
ing 47:101-111. 

. 1976b. Growth and development of 

nesting brown pelicans. Bird-Banding. 

• 1977. Maintenance activities and com- 



munication in the brown pelican. Am. Orni- 
thologists' Union Monogr. 22, 78 pp. 

1979. Eastern brown pelican. Pages 23- 



25 in H. W. Kale ed. Rare and endangered 
biota of Florida, Vol. 2, Birds Univ. Presses 
of Florida, Gainesville. 

Schrieber, R. W. and R. L. DeLong. 1969. Brown 
Pelican status in California. Audubon Field 
Notes 23:57-59. 

Schreiber, R. W. and R. W. Risebrough. 1972. 
Studies of the Brown Pelican, I. Status of 
Brown Pelican populations in the United 
States. Wilson Bull. 84:119-135. 

Schreiber, R. W., and E. A. Schreiber. 1973. Flo- 
rida's brown pelican population: Christmas 
bird count analysis. Am. Birds 27:711-715. 

Schreiber, R. W., G. E. Woolfenden, and W. E. 
Curtsinger. 1975. Prey capture by the brown 
pelican. Auk 92:649-654. 

Sefton, J. W. 1927. The Ancient Murrelet at San 
Diego, with a note on the Brown Pelican. 
Condor 29:163-164. 

Stephens, F. 1921. Early spring notes on birds of 
Coronado Islands, Mexico. Condor 23:96-97. 

U.S. Fish and WildHfe Service. 1973. Threatened 
Wildlife of the United States, 1973 edition. 
U.S. Dept. of Interior Resource Publ. 114. 
GPO Washington, D.C. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 197 3. Threatened 
wildlife of the United States. Compiled by Of- 
fice of Endangered Species and International 
Activities. Bull. Sport Fish. Wildl. Resour. 
Publ. 114. U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Wash- 
ington, D.C. 289 pp. 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Denver Wildhfe 
Research Center. 1974. Summary of Brown 
PeHcan research on the Pacific Coast of Mexico 



and the United States in 1974. Ms. Denver 
Wildlife Research Center, 22 November 1974. 

Wetmore, A. 1945. A review of the forms of the 
Brown Pelican. Auk 62:577-586. 

Wiemeyer, S. W., and R. D. Porter. 1970. DDE 
thins egg shells of captive American kestrels. 
Nature 227:737-738. 

Willett, G. 1910. A summer trip to the northern 
Santa Barbara Islands. Condor 12:170-174. 

Willett, G. 1912. Birds of the Pacific slope of 
southern California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 7: 
21. 

Willett, G. 1933. A revised Hst of the birds of 
southwestern California. Pac. Coast Avifauna 
21:18-19. 

WilHams, L. 1927. California Brown Pelicans nest- 
ing at Point Lobos, Monterey County, Cali- 
fornia. Condor 29:246-249. 

Williams, L. 1931. Further notes on California 
Brown PeHcans at Point Lobos, California. 
Condor 33:66-69. 

Williams, L. E., Jr., L. J. Blus, K. King, L. 
McNease, B. S. Neely, S. A. Nesbitt, and R.W. 
Schreiber. 1976. Recovery plan for the eastern 
brown pelican. Preliminary Draft. 

Williams, L. E., Jr., and T. Joanen. 1974. Age of 
first nesting of the brown pelican. Wilson 
Bull. 86:279-280. 

Williams, L. E., Jr., and L. Martin. 1968. Nesting 
status of the brown pelican in Florida in 1968. 
Quart. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 31:130-140. 

. 1970. Nesting populations of brown peli- 
cans in Florida. Proc. Annu. Conf. S.E. Assoc. 
Game and Fish Comm. 24:154-169. 

Winn, B. 1975. Pesticides decimate transplanted 
pelicans. Audubon 75:127-129. 

Woodward, C. H. 1921. The California Brown 
PeHcan as a navigator. Condor 23:137-138. 

Wright, H. 1909. An orithological trip to Los 
Coronados Islands, Mexico. Condor 11:96- 
100. 

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in the summer of 1912 among the Santa Bar- 
bara Islands. Condor 15:86-92. 



16 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.41 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE JAGUAR 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I'.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser\ ice 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Eouisiana 704.58 



FWS/OBS-80/01.41 
March 1980 



SELECl KD VERl KBRA 1 1: KNDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS I OF I HE UNITED STATES- 

THE JAGUAR 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (-oastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Doi^ald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Ser\ices 

Fish and W'ihllife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




JAGUAR 

Panthera onca Linnaeus 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivora 

FAMILY Felidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES spotted king cat, 

American tiger, "el tigre" 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates May 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (non-U. S. wild popula- 
tions) (35 FR 18320, 2 December 
1970); (44 FR 43705, 25 July 1979). 
Threatened (U.S. captive population) 
(42 FR 28956, 1 June 1977). 

States: Endangered Arizona, New Mexico (ex- 
tirpated), Texas. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Deliberate persecution, excessive and illegal 
hunting, overexploitation by fur industry, and 
predator control activities have extirpated jaguars 
from much of their original range and seriously 
reduced numbers in most of the rest (lUCN 1972, 
Culbertson and Schmidly 1974, Davis 1974). 
Timber and brush clearing have degraded and des- 
troyed habitat to the point where reestablishment 
of populations in the northern part of the range is 
doubtful (Davis 1974, Brovmlee 1978). Mining 
and oil exploration and development have made 
formerly remote Central and South American 
areas more accessible to human activity and sub- 
sequent illegal killings of jaguars (lUCN 1972). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

None designated. 



DESCRIPTION 

The jaguar is the largest (1.5 to 2.2 m) and 
most robust of the American cats. The tail is 
short and somewhat bristly. Females average 
smaller than males. The ground color varies from 
pale yellow to rusty red dorsally, paler on the 
sides, and white on the underparts and inner 
surfaces of the legs. Markings are irregular 
blotches and rosettes, the latter centered with 
black spots. Young are more heavily spotted and 
their coats are woolier. Both black and albino in- 
dividuals occur occasionally. 

Photographs appear in Davis (1974), Guggis- 
berg (1975), and Walker (1975). 

RANGE 

The jaguar was formerly distributed through- 
out the tropical lowlands of Mexico, Central 
America, and South America to about 40° S lati- 
tude (Calahane 1947, Hall and Kelson 1959, Gug- 
gisberg 1975). The former U.S. distribution in- 
cluded southern California (Merriam 1919, Strong 
1926, Seton 1937), New Mexico (Bailey 1931, 
Seton 1937, Hill 1942, Halloran 1946, Findley et 
al. 1975), southern Arizona (Musgrave 1921, 
Schufeldt 1921, Poole and Schantz 1942, Hock 
1955, Cockrum 1960), and possibly Louisiana 
(Nowak 1973, Lowery 1974), and Colorado 
(Seton 1920). 

Today, jaguars are essentially absent from 
most of Mexico, Argentina, and settled provinces 
in the remaining Central and South American 
countries (lUCN 1972). There is no evidence for 
its present occurrence in Louisiana (Lowery 1974) 
or New Mexico (M. C. Conway personal commu- 
nication); however, there may possibly be indivi- 
duals in the border areas of the latter (Findley et 
al. 1975). It is essentially absent from other areas 
north of the Mexican border except as occasional 
stray individuals in the border counties of Texas 
and Arizona (Cockrum 1960, Davis 1974, Findley 
et al. 1975, Guggisberg 1975, Lowman 1975). 

RANGE MAP 

Crosshatched areas on the following map in- 
dicate possible range in border areas of U.S. 
(Cockrum 1960, Davis 1974, Findley et al. 1975, 
Guggisberg 1975, Brownlee 1978). Dots refer to 
sightings and/or kills during the past century. 



STATES/COUNTIES 

Arizona: Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz. 

New 

Mexico: Dona Ana, Grant, Hidalgo, Luna. 

Texas: Brewster, Cameron, Dimmit, Hidalgo, 

Kinney, Maverick, Starr, Terrell, Val 
Verde, Webb, Zapata. 

HABITAT 

The jaguar appears to require areas with cover 
(Ewer 1973, Lowman 1975). It inhabits tropical 
and subtropical forests ranging from mangrove 
swamps to rain forests (Alston 1882, lUCN 
1972). At the southern extreme of the range, 
open savannas and deserts are used (lUCN 1972). 
Chaparral and timbered areas are preferred at the 
northern extreme of the range (Davis 1974). It 
appears to have a preference for areas near water 
(Davis 1974, Guggisberg 1975), but has been 
reported from deserts (Guggisberg 1975). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Principal foods are peccaries {Tayassu sp.) and 
capybaras {Hydro choerus sp.) (Guggisberg 1975). 
It will also take tapirs (Tapirus sp.), agoutis 
{Agouti sp., Dasyprocta sp.), otters {Lutra), deer, 
small crocodilians, turtles and their eggs, large 
ground-nesting birds, and occasionally livestock 
(Denis 1964, Ewer 1973, Davis 1974, Guggisberg 
1975, Lowman 1975). 

It stalks prey until close enough to pounce 
(Guggisberg 1975), then drags the kill to the 
nearest thicket to be eaten. Remains are not usu- 
ally covered (Hoffmeister 1971). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

The jaguar requires dens in rocky caves or 
dense thickets (Davis 1974). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The jaguar raises its young in dens (see Shel- 
ter) (Davis 1974, Guggisberg 1975). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The jaguar is solitary and somewhat territorial 
in its habits, except during the breeding season. 
Little is known about its territorial behavior be- 
yond the fact that it will mark trees (Guggisberg 
1975). 




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POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Once common throughout its range, the jaguar 
is now uncommon to rare. Fair numbers remain 
in eastern Campeche, Selva Lacandone, eastern 
Chiapas, and eastern Oaxaca in Mexico and west- 
em El Peten in Guatemala (lUCN 1972). It is 
scattered and considered a pest in Argentina 
(lUCN 1972). North of Mexico, it occurs ex- 
tremely rarely, in Texas, Arizona, and New 
Mexico (Hock 1955, Cockrum 1960, Culbertson 
and Schmidly 1974, Davis 1974). It is believed 
unlikely that the jaguar could reestablish in 
Texas, due to habitat loss (Brownlee 1978). No 
current population estimates are available. There 
are no viable breeding populations in the U.S. (W. 
C. Brownlee personal communication); the jaguar 
in the U.S. exists only as an occasional stray. 

REPRODUCTION 

The breeding season is year-round in tropical 
areas of the range (Cahalane 1946, Ewer 1975, 
Guggisberg 1975). In the more northern areas, 
breeding takes place in December and January 
wdth births in April and May (Davis 1974). Fe- 
males are polyestrous (Ewer 1968) and males 
fight for first breeding rights (Guggisberg 1975). 
Gestation lasts 93 to 113 days (Asdell 1964, 
Denis 1964, Davis 1974). Litter size ranges from 
one to four with an average of two (Cahalane 
1947, Denis 1964, Ewer 1973). The growth rate 
is not well known, but 8-week-old cubs will weigh 
from 2 to 3 kg (Hunt 1967). Young stay with the 
mother for about 2 years, at which time sexual 
maturity is reached (Denis 1964, Guggisberg 
1975), Both parents help rear young, but the bulk 
of the burden is on the female (Guggisberg 1975). 
The family unit is maintained until the young are 
at least a year old (Davis 1974). Record longevity 
for a captive is 20 years (Guggisberg 1975). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

No recovery team has been appointed for the 
jaguar. The species is protected in the U.S. and 
most of the Central and South American countries 
within its range, but laws are not adequately 
enforced (lUCN 1972). Colombia still allows 
hunting of all felid species. Protection in some 
Central and South American countries is provided 
in National Parks (lUCN 1972). Importation of 
skins to the U.S. is prohibited except by permit. 
However, illicit commerce to European and Asian 
markets is common (lUCN 1972). 



The lUCN is surveying the jaguar's status in 
Latin America; in a cooperative venture, the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Direccion 
General de la Fauna Silvestre of Mexico with sup- 
port from the National Wildlife Federation, the 
National Audubon Society, and the Texas and 
New Mexico Departments of Game and Fish, are 
surveying the population status in Mexico (USFWS 
1978). A feline status survey by the Texas Parks 
and Wildlife Department has found no evidence 
of recent occurrence of jaguars in that State 
(Brownlee 1978). 

Brush clearing in national wildlife refuges in 
the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas has been 
stopped to preserve rapidly disappearing brush 
habitat. 

AUTHORITIES 

W. C. Brovsmlee 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

4200 Smith School Road 

Austin, TX 78744 

E. Leddell Cockrum 
Department of Zoology 
University of Arizona 
Tucson, AZ 85719 

W. B.Davis 

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science 

Texas A&M University 

College Station, TX 77843 

Roy McBride 
Department of Biology 
Sul Ross University 
Box 725 
Alpine, TX 79830 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Literature is scarce on the habits and ecology 
of wild jaguar populations. More research is 
needed in this area. Status surveys are needed to 
assess population levels, in addition to protection 
of habitat. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Alston, E. R. 1882. Biologia Centrali-Americana. 
Mammalia. 219 pp. 

Anthony, H. E. 1928. Field book of North Ame- 
rican mammals. Putnam and Sons, New 
York. 674 pp. 



Asdell, S. A. 1964. Patterns of mammalian repro- 
duction, 2nd ed. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca. 
670 pp. 

Bailey, V. 1931. The mammals of New Mexico. 
N.Am. Fauna 53:283-285. 

. 1971. Mammals of the southwestern 

United States with special reference to New 
Mexico. Dover, New York. 412 pp. 

Brownlee, W. C. 1978. Feline status surveys. Job 
performance report. Project W-103-R-7. Tex. 
Parks Wildl. Dep., Austin. 4 pp. 

Cahalane, V. A. 1947. Mammals of North Ameri- 
ca. MacMillan Co., New York. 682 pp. 

Cockrum, E. L. 1960. The recent mammals of 
Arizona; their taxonomy and distribution. 
Univ. Ariz. Press, Tucson. 276 pp. 

Culbertson, K., and D. J. Schmidly. 1974. Sum- 
mary statements on the state of the rare, en- 
dangered, and peripheral mammals in Texas. 
Tex. Organization for Endangered Species, 
Temple. 4 pp. 

Davis, W. B. 1974. The mammals of Texas. Tex. 
Parks Wildl. Dep. Bull. 41: 1-294. 

Denis, A. 1964. Cats of the world. Houghton Mif- 
flin Co., Boston. 144 pp. 

Ewer, E. F. 1968. Ethology of mammals. Logos 
Press Ltd., London. 418 pp. 

• 1973. The carnivores. Cornell Univ. Press. 

Ithaca. 494 pp. 

Findley, J. S., A. H. Harris, D. E. Wilson, and C. 
Jones. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. Univ. 
New Mex. Press, Albuquerque. 360 pp. 

Guggisberg, C. A. W. 1975. Wildcats of the world. 
Taplinger PubL Co., New York. 382 pp. 

Hall, E. R., and K.R. Kelson. 1959. The mammals 
of North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press, New 
York. 1,083 pp. 

Halloran, A. F. 1946. Mammals of the Chiricahua 
Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona. J. 
Mammal. 27:154-161. 

Hill,J. E. 1942. Notes on mammals of northeastern 
New Mexico. J. MammaL 23:75-82. 

Hock, R. J. 1855. Southwestern exotic felids. 
Am. Midi. Natur. 53:324-328. 

Hoffmeister, D. F. 1971. Mammals of Grand Can- 
yon. Univ. Illinois Press, Chicago. 183 pp. 



Hunt, H. 1967. Growth rate of a new-born, hand- 
reared jaguar [Panthera onca) at Topeka Zoo. 
Int. Zoo. Yearb. 7:147-148. 

lUCN. 1972. Red data book. Vol. I. Mammalia. 
Compiled by H. A. Goodwin and C. W. Hollo- 
way. lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Layne, J. N. 1974. The land mammals of Florida. 
In Gleason, P. J., ed. Environments of south 
Florida, past and present. Mem. 2. Miami 
Geol. Soc. 452 pp. 

Leopold, A. S. 1959. Wildlife of Mexico: the 
game birds and mammals. Univ. California 
Press, Berkeley. 568 pp. 

Lowery, G. E. 1974. The mammals of Louisiana 
and its adjacent waters. Louisiana State Univ. 
Press, Baton Rouge. 565 pp. 

Lowman, G. E. 1975. A survey of endangered, 
threatened, rare, status undetermined, peri- 
pheral, and unique mammals of the south- 
eastern National Forests and Grasslands. 
USDA, For. Serv., Atlanta, Ga. 121 pp. 

McCarly, H. 1959. The mammals of eastern Texas. 
Tex.J.Sci. 2:385-426. 

Merriam, C. H. 1919. Is the jaguar entitled to a 
place in the California fauna? J. Mammal. 1: 
38-40. 

Musgrave, M. E. 1921. Predatory animals in Ari- 
zona. Am. Game Project. Assoc. Bull. 10: 
11-12. 

Nelson, E. W., and E. A. Goldman. 1929. Revi- 
sion of the jaguar. J. Mammal. 14:221-240. 

Nowak, R. M. 1973. A possible occurrence of the 
jaguar in Louisiana. Southwest Natur. 17: 
430-432. 

Poole, A. J., and V. S. Schantz. 1942. Catalog of 
the type specimens of mammals in the United 
States National Museum, including Biological 
Survey collection. Bull. U.S. Natl. Mus. 178: 
58. 

Schufeldt, R. W. 1921. The mountain lion, ocelot, 
lynx, and their kin. Am. Forest. 27:629-636. 

Seton, E. T. 1920. The jaguar in Colorado. J. 
Mammal. 1:241. 

. 1937. Lives of game animals. Literary 

Guild, New York. 

Stehlik,J. 1971. Breeding jaguars; PanM^ra onca; 
at Ostrava Zoo. Int. Zoo. Yearb. 11:116-118. 



Strong, W. D. 1926. Indian records of California 
carnivores. J. Mammal. 7:59-60. 

Taylor, W. P. 1947. Recent record of the jaguar in 
Texas. J. Mammal. 28:66. 

USFWS. 1973. Threatened wildlife of the United 
States. Compiled by Office of Endangered 
Species and International Activities. Bur. 
Sport Fish. Wildl. Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. 
Gov. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 
289 pp. 

USFWS. 1978. International activities. U.S. -Mexi- 
can Cooperation. Endangered Species Tech. 
Bull. lll(3):8-9. 

Walker, E. P. 1975. Mammals of the world. 2 vols. 
Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore. 1,500 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.42 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE GRAY BAT 




p'. 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and c()nscr\'ation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amciulcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should he directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Eouisiana 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.42 
March 1980 



SELECi i:d vkri ebrati: endangered species 

OF IHE SEACOAS T OE IHE UNITED STATES- 



THE GRAY BAT 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Ser\iccs 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




GRAY BAT 

My Otis grisescens (Howell) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Chiroptera 

FAMILY Vespertilionidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Gray myotis, cave bat, 

Howell's bat, Tennessee brown bat 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 8 August 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (41 FR 17740, 28 April 
1976). 

States: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, 

Illinois, Missouri, Tennessee, North 
Carolina. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The primary cause for the species current re- 
ductions from former population levels is human 
disturbance of caves in which the bats roost, rear 
young, or hibernate (Manvilie 1962; Barbour and 
Davis 1969; Tuttlel977, 1979). Gray bats are in- 
tolerant of human disturbance and Tuttle (1979) 
has shown a direct correlation between frequency 
of human disturbances and population reductions. 
Fully 95% of the entire species winters in just 
nine caves, and over 60% winters in a single cave 
in northern Alabama, making the species ex- 
tremely vulnerable to significant population 
reductions. Gray bats, with few exceptions, also 
spend the summers in caves (not the same ones 
used for hibernation) and are equally vulnerable 
in these (Tuttle 1979). Deliberate vandalism as 
well as frequent human invasion of caves where 
gray bats live has eliminated many colonies and 
drastically reduced most others (Tuttle 1979). 

Environmental disturbances such as deforesta- 
tion and chemical and pesticide contamination 



may also adversely affect gray bat populations. A 
very low reproductive rate makes recovery of de- 
pleted colonies questionable. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

Adults are medium sized. Forearms are 40 to 
47 mm long. Summer weights are 8 to 10 g, but 
go as high as 16 g just prior to migration. Fur is 
uniformly gray immediately following molting in 
late June or July, and bleaches to bright russet by 
the following May or June, especially in repro- 
ductive females. Russett colored animals are most 
conspicuous in crowded or southern roosts. The 
most useful field mark is the bat's unicolored dor- 
sad fur; all other southeastern bats have conspicu- 
ously bi- or tricolored dorsal fur (Barbour and 
Davis 1969). Illustrations appear in Barbour and 
Davis (1969) and Odum et al. (1977). 

RANGE 

The gray bat's range extends from eastern Ok- 
lahoma and Kansas eastward to southwestern Vir- 
ginia and western North Carolina; southern Illi- 
nois and Indiana southward to northern Florida 
(Hall and Kelson 1959, Hall and Wilson 1966, 
Tuttle 1966, Barbour and Davis 1969, Humphrey 
and Tuttle 1979). Bats wanter in caves, primarily 
in North Carolina, Alabama, Missouri, and Ten- 
nessee. 

RANGE MAP 

Cross-hatching on the following map shows 
the species' summer range. Dots indicate major 
winter caves (Hall and Kelson 1959, Barbour and 
Davis 1969, Tuttle and Robertson 1969, Tuttle 
1976b, Elder and Gunier 1978). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama: Blount, Bullock, Calhoun, Chambers, 
Cherokee, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, 
Colbert, Coosa, Cullman, Dale, De 
Kalb, Elmore, Etowah, Geneva, 
Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, 
Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, 
Macon, Madison, Montgomery, Mor- 
gan, Pike, Randolph, Russell, St. Clair, 
Shelby, Talladega, Tallapoosa. 

Arkansas: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Clay, 
Cleburne, Conway, Craighead, Craw- 
ford, Crittenden, Cross, Faulkner, 



Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Indepen- 
dence, Izard, Jackson, Johnson, Law- 
rence, Lee, Logan, Madison, Marion, 
Mississippi, Monroe, Newton, Poinsett, 
Pope, Prairie, Randolph, St. Francis, 
Searcy, Sharp, Stone, Van Buren, 
Washington, White, Woodruff. 

Florida: Baker, Bay, Calhoun, Columbia, Dixie, 
Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, 
Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, 
Leon, Liberty, Madison, Nassau, Su- 
wannee, Taylor, Wakulla, Walton, 
Washington. 

Georgia: Bartow, Carroll, Catoosa, Chattahoo- 
chee, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clay, 
Clayton, Cobb, Coweta, Dade, Daw- 
son, Decatur, De Kalb, Douglas, Early, 
Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Ful- 
ton, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Harris, 
Heard, Lumpkin, Meriwether, Miller, 
Murray, Muscogee, Paulding, Pickens, 
Polk, Quitman, Randolph, Seminole, 
Stewart, Towns, Troup, Union, 
Walker, White, Whitfield. 

Illinois: Adams, Alexander, Bond, Brown, Cal- 
houn, Cass, Clay, Clinton, Edwards, 
Fayette, Franklin, Gallatin, Greene, 
Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, 
Jersey, Johnson, Macoupin, Madison, 
Marion, Massac, Monroe, Montgome- 
ry, Morgan, Perry, Pike, Pope, Pulas- 
ki, Randolph, St. Clair, Saline, Sanga- 
mon, Scott, Union, Wabash, Washing- 
ton, Wayne, White, Williamson. 

Indiana: Crawford, Dubois, Floyd, Gibson, 
Harrison, Knox, Orange, Perry, Pike, 
Posey, Spencer, Vanderburgh, Warrick, 
Washington. 

Kansas: Barber, Bourbon, Chautauqua, Chero- 
kee, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Harper, 
Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Sum- 
ner, Wilson, 

Kentucky: Adair, Allen, Anderson, Ballard, Bar- 
ren, Rath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyle, 
Breathitt, Breckenridge, Bullitt, Butler, 
Caldwell, Calloway, Carhsle, Carter, 
Casey, Christian, Clark, Clay, Clinton, 
Crittenden, Cumberland, Daviess, Ed- 
monson, Elliott, Estill, Fayette, Flem- 
ing, Franklin, Fulton, Garrard, Grant, 
Graves, Grayson, Green, Hancock, 
Hardin, Harlan, Harrison, Hart, Hen- 





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derson, Henry, Hickman, Hopkins, 
Jackson, Jefferson, Jessamine, Knox, 
Larue, Laurel, Lee, Leslie, Letcher, 
Lincoln, Livingston, Logan, Lyon, 
McCracken, McCreary, McLean, Madi- 
son, Magoffin, Marion, Marshall, 
Meade, Menifee, Mercer, Metcalfe, 
Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Muh- 
lenberg, Nelson, Nicholas, Ohio, Old- 
ham, Owen, Owsley, Perry, Powell, 
Pulaski, Rockcastle, Rowan, Russell, 
Scott, Shelby, Simpson, Spencer, Tay- 
lor, Todd, Trigg, Union, Warren, 
Washington, Wayne, Webster, Whitley, 
Wolfe, Woodford. 

Mississippi: Tishomingo. 

Missouri: Audrain, Barry, Barton, Benton, Bol- 
linger, Boone, Butler, Callaway, Cam- 
den, Carter, Cedar, Christian, Cole, 
Cooper, Crawford, Dade, Dallas, Dent, 
Douglas, Franklin, Gasconade, Greene, 
Hickory, Howard, Howell, Iron, Jas- 
per, Jefferson, Laclede, Lawrence, 
Lincoln, McDonald, Madison, Maries, 
Marion, Miller, Moniteau, Monroe, 
Montgomery, Morgan, Newton, Ore- 
gon, Osage, Ozark, Perry, Pettis, 
Phelps, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Ralls, Ran- 
dolph, Reynolds, Ripley, St. Charles, 
St. Claire, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, 
St. Louis, St. Louis City, Saline, Shan- 
non, Stone, Taney, Texas, Warren, 
Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wright. 

North 

Carolina: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, 
Graham, Haywood, Jackson, Macon, 
Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Swain, 
Yancey. 

Oklahoma: Adair, Alfalfa, Cherokee, Craig, Creek, 
Delaware, Garfield, Grant, Haskel, 
Hughes, Kay, Kingfisher, LeFlore, 
Lincoln, Logan, Mcintosh, Major, 
Mayes, Muskogie, Noble, Nowata, Ok- 
fuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, 
Ottawa, Pawnee, Payne, Pittsburg, 
Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, 
Rogers, Wagoner, Woods. 

Tennessee: Anderson, Bedford, Benton, Bledsoe, 
Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, 
Carroll, Cheatham, Chester, Claiborne, 
Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Crockett, Cum- 
berland, Davidson, Decatur, DeKalb, 
Dickson, Dyer, Fayette, Fentress, 



Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, 
Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, 
Hancock, Hardeman, Hardin, Hawkins, 
Haywood, Henderson, Henry, Hick- 
man, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, 
Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lauderdale, 
Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Loudon, 
McMinn, McNairy, Macon, Madison, 
Marion, Marshall, Maury," Meigs, Mon- 
roe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, 
Obion, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Polk, 
Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Ru- 
therford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, 
Shelby, Smith, Stewart, Sumner, 
Tipton, Trousdale, Union, Van Buren, 
Warren, Wayne, Weakley, White, 
Williamson, Wilson. 



Virginia: Lee, Scott, Wise. 



HABITAT 

In summer, this migratory species inhabits 
areas in which open water and the banks of 
streams, lakes, or reservoirs are within manageable 
distances of roosting sites and suitable caves in 
which to rear young (LaVal et al. 1976, 1977; 
Tutde 1976a). In winter, it inhabits caves having 
suitable temperatures for its hibernation. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Major food items consist of aquatic and non- 
aquatic soft-bodied insects (R. LaVal personal 
communication), especially Mayflies (Ephemerop- 
tera) (Tuttle 1979). 

Gray bats fly directy from cave to feeding site 
with few stops. They feed by continuous pursuits, 
remaining in the air most of the time. Most forag- 
ing is done over lakes and rivers where aquatic in- 
sects are abundant (Tuttle 1976a, 1979). LaVal et 
al. (1976, 1977) found foraging taking place 
along the vegetated edges of bodies of water. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

In winter, the species requires deep, cold 
caves (preferrably 6° to 9° C) for hibernation. 
These caves average 10° below the mean annual 
surface temperature, and function as cold-air 
traps, having multiple entrances and good air 
flow (Tuttle and Stevenson 1979). The caves are 
already cold in September when the bats arrive 
(M. Tuttle personal communication). 



NESTING AND BEDDING 

In summer, females need warm caves (14° to 
27° C) for rearing young. Important characteristics 
of bat caves include small chambers (Dvvyer 
1963), high places in domed ceilings (Davis et al. 
1962), or domes or small pockets within these 
locations (Dwyer 1963, Dwyer and Hamilton- 
Smith 1965, Dwyer and Harris 1972), and depth 
of etching and porosity of the rock surface (Tut- 
tle 1975b). Males, nonreproductive females, 
postlactating females, and juveniles, also use 
caves in summer, but not the same ones used as 
maternity sites (Tuttle 1976b). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

The gray bat is perhaps the U.S. mammal 
most narrowly restricted to cave habitats (Hall 
and Wilson 1966; Barbour and Davis 1969; Tuttle 
1976a, 1979). For all practical purposes, it lives 
in caves the year round (Tuttle 1979). It is essen- 
tial that the bats choose roosts, generally caves, 
having temperatures appropriate to the desired 
metabolic processes: warm for digestion and 
growth in the summer, and cool for torpor in the 
fall and winter (Twente 1955). However, in the 
summer, gray bats will use man-made structures 
that simulate cave conditions (e.g., storm sewers 
in Kansas and Illinois [Hays and Bingham 1964, 
Elder and Gunicr 1978], and a bam in Missouri 
[Gunicrand Elder 1971]). 

A minimal colony size is needed to maintain 
an adequate roost environment; otherwise, the 
colony may fail (Tuttle 1975b, 1979). Because 
travel is such a high-energy activity, the bats need 
summer caves close to feeding areas— usually with- 
in 1 km and no more than 4 km from the nearest 
feeding areas. The distances from maternity sites 
to feeding areas are important in influencing post- 
flight growth and survival (Tuttle 1976a). 

POPULATION TRENDS 

The estimated total population of the gray 
bat is 1 million (Tuttle 1975a). Five major caves 
have not been used in the past 20 years (Tuttle 
1975a). Twenty-two summer localities in Tennes- 
see and Alabama were censused in 1970 and again 
in 1976. A 64% reduction in numbers was recorded 
for this period (Tuttle 1979). The decline is attri- 
buted mainly to a marked increase in human dis- 



turbance over that period (Tuttle 1979). In 1978 
R. LaVal (personal communication) censused 27 
Missouri caves that Myers (1964) had censused in 
1964. Adult females and young had declined ap- 
proximately 80%, and 16 caves occupied in 1964 
had been abandoned. Estimates for the entire 
State are not available, but the trend is downward 
(R. LaVal personal communication), and is likely 
to continue downward because of the bats' intole- 
rance to disturbance, their concentration in a few 
caves, and the possible effects of pesticide poison- 
ing (R. LaVal personal communication). 

REPRODUCTION 

Copulation occurs in the fall; females store 
sperm over the winter (Barbour and Davis 1969). 
Young are bom in late May to early June and fly 
by late June or mid-July (Tuttle 1976a). Sexual 
maturity is reached at 2 years (Tuttle 1976a), al- 
though LaVal et al. (1976) suggest that yearlings 
breed. The females bear one young, and generally, 
only females and young occupy the nursery cave 
(Tuttle 1976b). Longevity is high— to 17 years— 
but survival is only about 50% to maturity, so 
that it takes a female about 5 years to produce 
two surviving offspring (M. Tuttle personal com- 
munication). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Until recently, there has been no manage- 
ment or conservation effort. Most caves are in pri- 
vate ownership (Tuttle 1975a). Several caves have 
recently come under protection by Federal and 
private owners (Harvey 1975, Tuttle 1979), but 
improper gating of entrances, which results in de- 
creased air flow, has caused the loss of several im- 
portant colonies (Tuttle 1977, Tuttle and Steven- 
son 1978). Predation at cave entrances has in- 
creased with many types of gate. Bats slow down, 
circle, or climb through the gates, increasing their 
vulnerability to predators (Tuttle 1977). The U.S. 
Army Corps of Engineers Meramec Park Lake and 
Union Lake Projects in Missouri, which could 
ehminate 50% of the gray bats in that area and 
alter 60% of the foraging habitat, have been tem- 
porarily restrained (LaVal et al. 1976). A Recovery 
Team is being formed (M. Tuttle personal com- 
munication). 

Tuttle (1979) makes the following recom- 
mendations for conservation of this species: 
(1) purchase severaJ major caves, which are es- 
sential to the survival of the gray bat, and pro- 
tect them by proper gating; (2) educate spelunkers 
and persons interested in visiting bats in winter 



caves; (3) disclose the locations of unprotected 
bat caves only after providing information on the 
procedures necessary to avoid disturbing the bats. 



AUTHORITIES 

R. K. LaVal 

Missouri Department of Conservation 

1110 College Avenue 

Columbia, MO 65201 

M. D. Tuttle 

Milwaukee Public Museum 
800 West Wells Street 
Milwaukee, WI 53233 

Dr. Richard LaVal (Recovery Team Leader) 
2816 Mexico Gravel Road 
Columbia, Missouri 65201 

Dr. Merlin Tuttle (Recovery Team) 
Vertebrate Division 
Milwaukee Public Museum 
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53233 

Dr. Tom Kunz (Recover^' Team) 

Department of Biology 

Boston University 

2 Cummington 

Boston, Massachusetts 02215 

Dr. Don Wilson (Recovery Team) 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
National Museum of Natural History 
Washington, D.C. 20560 

Mr. John Brady (Recovery Team) 
St. Louis District 
Corps of Engineers 
210 North 12th Street 
St. Louis, Missouri 63101 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

None. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Barbour, R. W., and W. H. Davis. 1969. Bats of 

America. Univ. Press, Kentucky, Lexington. 

286 pp. 
Davis, R. B., C. F. Herreid, II, and H. L. Short. 

1962. Mexican free-tailed bats in Texas. Ecol. 

Mongr. 32:311-346. 



Dwyer, P. D. 1963. The breeding biology of 
Miniopterus schreibersi blepotis (Temminck) 
(Chirpotera) in north-eastern New South 
Wales. Australian J. Zool. 11:219-240. 

Dwyer, P. D., and E. Hamilton-Smith. 1965. 
Breeding caves and maternity colonies of the 
bent-winged bat in south-eastern Australia. 
HeHctite 4:3-21. 

Dwyer, P. D., and J. A. Harris. 1972. Behavioral 
acclimitization to temperature by pregnant 
{Miniopterus) (Chiroptera). Physiol. Zool. 45: 
14-21. 

Elder, W. H., and W.J. Gunier. 1978. Sex ratios 
and seasonal movements of gray bats {Myotis 
grisescens) in Southwestern Missouri and ad- 
jacent States. Am. Midi. Natur. 99(2):463- 
472. 

Gunier, W. J., and W. H. Elder. 1971. Experimen- 
tal homing of gray bats to a maternity colony 
in a Missouri barn. Am. Midi. Natur. 86:502- 
506. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mam- 
mals of North America. Vol. 1. Ronald Press, 
New York. 546 pp. 

Hall, J. S., and N. Wilson. 1966. Seasonal pop- 
ulations and movements of the gray bat in the 
Kentucky area. Am. Midi. Natur. 75:317-324. 

Harvey, M.J. 1975. Endangered Chiroptera of the 
southeastern United States. Proc. Annu. Conf. 
Southeast. Assoc. Game and Fish Comm. 29: 
429-433. 

Hays, H. A., and D. C. Bingham. 1964. A colony 
of gray bats in southeastern Kansas. J. Mam- 
mal. 45:150. 

Humphrey, S. R., and M. D. Tuttle. 1979. Gray 
bat. Pages 1-3 in J. N. Layne, ed. Rare and 
endangered biota of Florida, Vol. 1 , Mammals. 
Univ. Presses of Florida, Gainesville. 

LaVal, R. K., R. L. Clawson, W. Caire, L. R. Win- 
gate, and M. L. LaVal. 1976, An evaluation of 
the status of Myotine bats in the proposed 
Meramec and Union Lake project areas, Mis- 
souri. School of Forestry, Fish, and Wildl. 
Univ. Missouri, Columbia. 136 pp. 

LaVal, R. K., R. L. Clawson, M. L. LaVal, and W. 
Claire. 1977. Foraging behavior and nocturnal 
activity patterns of Missouri bats, with em- 
phasis on the endangered species Myotis gris- 
escens and Myotis sodalis. J. Mammal. 58: 
592-599. 



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1978. Osceola 
National Forest phosphate extraction and 
processing: impacts on Federally listed 
threatened or endangered and other species 
of concern. U.S. Dep. Inter., Fish Wildl. Serv., 
Office Biological Serv., Washington, D.C. 414 
pp. 

Odum, R. R., J. L. McCollum, M. A. Neville, and 
D. R. Ettman. 1977. Georgia's protected wild- 
life. Geogria Dep. Natur. Rcsour., Game Fish 
Div., End. Wildl. Progr. 84 pp. 

Tuttle, M. D. 1975a. Proposal for inclusion of the 
gray bat (Myotis grisescens) on the U.S. Rare 
and Endangered Species List. U.S. Dep. Inter., 
Fish and Wildl. Serv., Office Endangered 
Species. 

. 1975b. Population ecology of the gray 

bat (Myotis grisescens): Factors influencing 
early growth and development. Occas. Pap. 
Mus. Natur. Hist., Univ. Kansas, 36:1-24. 

1976a. Population ecology of the gray 



bat {Myotis grisescens): Factors influencing 
growth and survival of newly volant young. 
Ecology 57:587-595. 

. 1976b. Population ecology of the gray 

bat {Myotis grisescens): Philopatry, timing 
and patterns of movement, weight loss during 
migiation, and seasonal adaptive strategies. 
Occas. Pap. Mus. Natur. Hist., Univ. Kansas 
54:1-38. 

1977. Gating as a means of protecting 



cave dwelling bats. Pages 77-82 in Natl. Cave 
Manage. Symp. Proc, 1976. Speleobooks, Al- 
buquerque. 106 pp. 

. 1978. Myotis grisescens. In Endangered 

species of the Great Laices Region. U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. Region 3. 3 pp. 

-. 1979. Status, causes of decline, and 



management of endangered gray bats. J. 
Wildl. Manage. 43(1): 1-17. 

Tuttle, M. D., and P. B. Robertston. 1969. The 

gray bat, Myotis grisescens, east of the Appa- 
lachians. J. Mammal. 50:370. 

Tuttle, M. D., and D. E. Stevenson. 1978. An 
analysis of movement as a mortality factor in 
the gray bat, based on public recoveries of 
banded, bats. Am. Midi. Natur. 97:235-240. 

. 1978. Variation in the cave environment 

and its biological implications. Natl. Cave 
Manage. Symp. Proc. 1977. In press. 



Twente, J. W., Jr. 1955. Some aspects of habitat 
selection and other behavior of cavern-dwell- 
ing bats. Ecology 36:706-732. 

GATEKEEPER 

To be designated by the Office of Endangered 
Species. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.43 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE OKALOOSA DARTER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource manaj^ers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I-',ndangcred Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed lo: 

Office of F^ndangcrcd Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lu: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



FWS/OBS-80/01.43 
March 1980 



SELECTED VER 1 EBRA 1 E ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS I OF IHE UNITED STATES- 

THE OKALOOSA DARTER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfc Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National ('oastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidcll, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




OKALOOSA DARTER 

Etheostoma okloosae Fowler 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Osteichthyes 

ORDER Perciformes 

FAMILY Percidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 4 October 1976, 24 January 1977 

21 May 1979 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (38 FR 14678, 4 June 
1973) 

States: Endangered: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The Okaloosa darter's limited range makes it a 
vulnerable species. In 1964 a small number of 
brown darters {Etheostoma edwini), a very close- 
ly related allopatric species with similar habitat 
and ecological requirements, was found at three 
stations in Rocky and Swift Creeks, perhaps due 
to human introduction (Yerger 1979). By 1975, 
the number of Okaloosa darters markedly de- 
creased at three stations along Swift Creek, and 
the number of brown darters increased (Mettee 
1976). Brown darters are now known from 15 
sites within the range of the Okaloosa darter and 
appear to be replacing the latter species at several 
sites in Rocky and Swift Creeks (Mettee and 
Crittenden 1977). 

Other influencing factors affecting the Oka- 
loosa darter's status are temporary disruption of 
habitat due to road, bridge, and powerline con- 



struction, increased sedimentation, and possible 
construction of dams in the future (Yerger 1979). 
Mettee (1976) mentioned that there has been 
some interest in damming several of the streams 
occupied by this darter. 

There are presently 15 impoundments on the 
drainage system occupied by the Okaloosa darter. 
Two on Tom's Creek were made by beavers and 
the rest were made by man. Most of these have 
produced little effect on darter populations above 
and below impoundments, but darters are unable 
to use the reservoir portions. Two eutrophic im- 
poundments on the portion of Mill Creek flowing 
through the golf course at Eglin Air Force Base 
have adversely affected populations below the 
impoundments, presumably due to higher nutri- 
ent content, higher temperature, and increased 
turbidity (Crittenden 1974). 

Some types of habitat alteration such as road 
and powerline crossings may not permanently af- 
fect darter populations. Road construction ap- 
pears to be harmful for a time (due to excessive 
siltation), but once established, the bordering 
stream may support an abundant darter popula- 
tion due to increased sunlight, stimulating aquatic 
plant growth (Crittenden 1974). 

In one instance (Swift Creek at State Highway 
285) no specimens of Okaloosa darter were taken 
following road construction, while the brown 
darter was abundant; it is impossible to say 
whether habitat destruction or competition with 
the brown darter was responsible for the absence 
of Okaloosa darters at this site (Mettee et al. 
1976). Right of way clearing for powerlines may 
be detrimental if exposure of long sections of 
streams to sunlight raises the water temperature 
(Crittenden 1974). 

Presently, a new highway bypassing the cities 
of Niceville and Valparaiso is being constructed; it 
will bridge Tom's Creek and Turkey Creek. High- 
way 85 bridging Juniper (Ten Mile) Creek is being 
converted to four lanes. Okaloosa darter popula- 
tions are being monitored at these sites by Crit- 
tenden and Mettee (Mettee et al. 1976). 

PRIORITY INDEX: 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The Okaloosa darter is a slender, small (up to 
44 mm) perch-like fish with two dorsal fins, 
rounded caudal fins and a lateral line arched 
slightly upward with 32 to 37 (usually 34 to 35) 
lateral-line scales. There are longitudinal rows of 



dark dots along the sides of the body and a series 
of dark blotches immediately below the lateral 
line. The body is reddish-brown to yellow-brown 
becoming lighter on lower sides; the first dorsal 
fin has an orange-red stripe near the margin. It 
is distinguished from its nearest relative, the 
brown darter, by an absence of conspicuous red 
spots and a nearly complete lateral line. Photo- 
graphs appear in CoUette and Yerger (1962) and 
Mettee etal. (1976). 

RANGE 

Okaloosa darters are endemic to a series of 
five small creeks in Okaloosa and Walton Counties 
in west Florida that empty into Rocky and Boggy 
Bayous near the western end of Choctawhatchee 
Bay: Rocky Creek, Swift Creek, Turkey Creek, 
Tom's Creek, Mill's Creek and their various tribu- 
taries (Collette and Yerger 1962, Crittenden 
1974). 

There are 300 km of streams in which the 
Okaloosa darter is found with a watershed area of 
45,730 ha. Approximately 4,860 ha are in private 
ownership (including cities of Niceville and Val- 
paraiso); the remainder are located within Eglin 
Air Force Base (Crittenden 1974). 

The species' former distribution is the same as 
the present, but it apparently occurred at more 
sites on the five creeks (U.S. Department of the 
Interior 1973). 

RANGE MAP 

Distribution illustrated by shading. Detailed 
map in Draft Recovery Plan (ODRT 1977). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida: Okaloosa, Walton. 

HABITAT 

The Okaloosa darter inhabits small to medi- 
um-sized (1.5 to 12.2 m wide, 0.15 to 1.2 m deep) 
clear streams with moderate to swift currents. 
Substrate is a clean sand with mud or detritus in 
areas of reduced current. Waters are neutral to 
slightly acidic. Vegetation may be absent or in 
scattered patches or clumps. Bulrushes (Scirpus), 
bog-moss (Mayaca), golden club (Oronttum 
aquaticum), spatterdock (Nuphar luteum), green 
algae {Nitella), and pondweed (Potamogeton) are 
typical plants. Red algae (Batrachospermum) 
frequently forms thick concentrations (Collette 
and Yerger 1962). 







o 
o 

O 

V 






C 
u 



Okaloosa darters usually are found in water 
from 0.15 to 0.61 m deep (Collette and Yerger 
1962) associated with clumps of bulrushes and 
bur-reed {Sparganium americanum) where cover 
and protection are sought (Yerger 1979). They do 
not occur in impoundments (ODRT 1977). 

Habitat photographs may be found in Crit- 
tenden (1974) and Mettee et al. (1976). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Not known. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Green algae clumps are used as egg-attach- 
ment sites during spawning (Collette and Yerger 
1962). For water depth and flow requirements 
see Reproduction. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Nothing is known of territoriality or home 
range size in this species. Relationships with the 
brown darter are discussed under Reasons For 
Current Status. 

Cool, running water is one requirement, and 
eutrophication has an undesirable effect (Crit- 
tenden 1974). 

It is possible that severe rainfall with associ- 
ated flooding may affect the distribution in 
streams at least temporarily (R. W. Britte personal 
communication ) . 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Estimates of population size range from 1,500 
to 10,000 individuals with the true figure proba- 
bly falling somewhere in between (Yerger 1976). 
Mettee (1976) estimates between 1,500 and 
2,000 individuals. 

Population levels may have been only slightly 
reduced in the past 15 years except in areas (parts 
of Rocky and Swift Creeks) where the brown 
darter has been introduced. Here the numbers of 
Okaloosa darters have been reduced, probably 
due to competition with sibling species (Yerger 
1979). 



REPRODUCTION 

Spawning was observed in Tom's Creek on 25 
March 1961 in sv«ft water 0.30 to 0.46m deep 
over a sandy bottom at the edge of clumps of 
green algae. Several eggs were deposited individu- 
ally in the algae and one egg hatched on 27 March 
in the laboratory (Collette and Yerger 1962). 

On 25 March 1961, several mature adults 
were placed in aquaria with green algae; on 1 April 
1961, six eggs were discovered individually 
attached to the algae (Collette and Yerger 1962). 

Nothing is known of longevity or survival 
rates. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Yerger (1979) suggests that field studies be 
conducted to determine the species population 
status and details of interaction between the Oka- 
loosa and brown darters as well as to monitor the 
spread of the latter species. He also suggests 
potential methods for controlling or eliminating 
introduced brown darters by physical removal. He 
suggests that this be done while populations are 
small and either before spawning has begun or 
long after it is over. Okaloosa darters would be 
returned to the water after the operation is com- 
pleted. Removal should be conducted annually. 

Crittenden (1974) suggests that no new 
impoundments be constructed on any of the Oka- 
loosa darter drainages. If determined necessary, 
they should be small and at the extreme head 
waters of the tributaries. Measures should be 
taken to prevent excessive siltation. Suggestions 
include constructing roads at oblique angles to 
streams, maintaining water breaks, and seeding of 
road banks as soon as possible. The use of pesti- 
cides and fertilizers in this drainage area should be 
exercised with great caution. 

A Recovery Team has been formed and a 
draft Recovery Plan submitted to the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service for review. The draft plan 
calls for studies to determine the optimum habi- 
tat for Okaloosa darters, normal population levels 
and fluctuations, and potential hazards to the 
species' continued existence. The plan also out- 
lines actions that could be taken if the results of 
research indicate a potential extirpation. These 
actions include defining permissible and prohib- 
ited activities, land acquisition, creating more 
optimum habitat, transplanting, and reducing 
populations of competitors or predators (ODRP 
1977). 



AUTHORITIES 

Robert W. Britt (Recovery Team Leader) 
Chief, Natural Resources Division 
Directorate of Engineering 
Elgin Air Force Base, FL 32542 

Edward Crittenden (Recovery Team)' 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Great Smoky National Park 
Gatlinburg, TN 37738 

Maurice F. Mettee, Jr. (Recovery Team) 
Geological Survey of Alabama 
P.O. Drawer 
University, AL 35486 

Royal D. Suttkus 
Museum of Natural History 
Tulane University 
Belle Chasse, Louisiana 

Ralph W. Yerger (Recovery Team) 
Department of Biological Sciences 
Florida State University 
Tallahassee, FL 32306 

Norman Young (Recovery Team) 
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 

Commission 
P.O. Box 128 
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433 

PREPARERS COMMENTS 

Since all but 10% of the watershed area is 
under government ownership in the Eglin Air 
Force Base, control of many potentially detri- 
mental factors is facilitated. Development of the 
area is kept to a minimum. 



Mettee, M. F. Jr. 1970. A survey of the fishes of 
the Choctawhatchee Bay drainage in Alabama 
and Florida. M.S. Thesis. Univ of Alabama. 
93 pp. 

. 1976. Etheostoma okaloosae account. In 



H. O. Hillestad, D. B. Means, and W. H. Baker, 
eds. Endangered and threatened vertebrates of 
the southeastern United States. Tall Timbers 
Res. Stn.,Misc. Pub. 4. 

Mettee, M. F., Jr. and E. Crittenden. 1977. A 
study on the distribution o{ Etheostoma oka- 
loosa (Fowler) and Etheostoma edwini 
(Hubbs and Cannon) in swift and rocky 
creeks, Okaloosa and Walton Counties, Flor- 
ida, during 1975-1976. Report to U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. 130 pp. 

Mettee M. F., Jr., R. W. Yerger, and E. Crittenden. 
1976. A status report on the Okaloosa darter 
in northwest Florida. Proc. S.E. Fishes Counc. 
1:1-3. 

ODRT (Okaloosa Darter Recovery Team). 1977. 
Recovery plan for the Okaloosa darter. Draft. 
U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Office of Endangered 
Species 19 pp. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threatened 
wildlife of the United States. Compiled by the 
Office of Endangered Species and Interna- 
tional Activities, Bur. Sports Fish, Wildl. 
Resour. Publ. 1 14. U.S. Govt. Printing Office. 
Washington, D.C. 289 pp. 

Yerger, R. W. 1979. Okaloosa darter. Pages 2-4 in 
C. R. Gilbert, ed. Rare and endangered biota 
of Florida, Vol 4, Fishes. Univ. Presses of 
Florida, Gainesville. 



LITERATURE CITED /SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Collette, B. B. and R. W. Yerger. 1962. The 
American percid fishes of the subgenus 
Villora. Tulane Stud. Zool. 9(4):213-230. 

Crittenden, E. 1974. Status report on the Okaloosa 
darter, an endangered native fish. U.S. Fish 
Wildl. Serv. Div. Tech. Assist. Mimeo. Rep 
20 pp. 

Fowler, H. W. 1941. A collection of freshwater 
fishes obtained in Florida 1939-1940, by 
Francis Harper. Proc. Acad. Natur. Sci. Phila- 
delphia. 92:227-244. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.44 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE EASTERN COUGAR 










4^ ■ «. - > 



Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubhc with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This scries of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to; 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems learn 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
.NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.44 
March 1980 



SELECTKl) VI.R 1 EBRA 1 1: ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS 1 OE IHE UNITED STATES- 

THE EASTERN COUGAR 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Eish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National (Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performcil for 

Coastal l-cosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Eish and Wildlife Ser\ice 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: COLORADO DIVISION OF WILDLIFE 



EASTERN COUGAR 

Felts concolor cougar Kerr 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivore 

FAMILY Felidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES cougar, mountain lion, 

panther, puma, pjiinter 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be detennined 

Updates 31 August 1978. 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered; Eastern United States 
(38 FR 14678; 4 June 1978). 

States: Endangered: Georgia, Maryland, Mas- 

sachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, 
North Carolina, South Carolina, Ten- 
nessee, Vermont, Virginia. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Regarded as extirpated in the United States in 
1899 (USFWS 1973) due to large habitat losses 
and disruption, excessive hunting and persecution, 
and decline in deer population, its major food 
(Laycock 1969; lUCN 1972; USFWS 1973; 
Lowman 1975). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

A large (1.5-3.1 m), unspotted, long-tailed 
cat. Coloration is generally a uniform fulvous or 
tawny. Males are larger than females. Underparts, 
inner ears, lower cheeks, chin and lips are white. 
Tip of tail and base of whiskers are dark. Young 
are light-brown and irregularly spotted until 
about 6 months old (Dekay 1842; Young and 
Goldman 1946). 



Eastern cougars are similar in appearance to 
the southern and western subspecies {Felis 
concolor coryi and F. c. hippolestes, respectively). 
Photographs of Felis concolor subspp. are in 
Wright (1972). 

RANGE 

Former range was the entire eastern United 
States and Canada as far north as Maine, New 
Brunswick, southern Ontario and Quebec; south- 
ward through the Appalachian Mountains to 
northern Georgia and Alabama where it integra- 
ted with F. c. coryi (Young and Goldman 1946; 
Hall and Kelson 1959). 

Recently alleged sightings (by reliable observ- 
ers) and unconfirmed reports (tracks, hair, scat) 
are scattered throughout the cougar's former 
range. 

States from which recent sightings have been 
reported include Connecticut (Dowhan and Craig 
1976, L. Gray personal communication), Georgia 
(Odum et al. 1977, R. R. Odum personal commu- 
nication), Kentucky Q. Durrel personal commu- 
nication) Maine (Cram 1901, Wright 1972), Mary- 
land (Larson 1963, Wright 1972), Massachusetts 
(Mugford 1976), Missouri (Schwartz and Schwartz 
1959), North Carolina (Linzey and Linzey 1971, 
Lee 1977a, 1977b, Teulings and Cooper 1977), 
New Hampshire (Dearborn 1927, Wright 1972), 
New York (Reilly 1964, Manville 1951), Pennsyl- 
vania (Grimm and Whitehead 1950, 1952, Dout 
1969), South Carolina (Lowman 1975), Tennes- 
see (Kellog 1939), Vermont (Spargo 1950, Wright 
1972), Virginia (Russ 1973), West Virginia 
(Handly et al. 1961), and Wisconsin (Schorger 
1938). 

In Canada a population is reported to exist in 
New Brunswick (Wright 1953, Calahane 1964, 
Wright 1972). 

RANGE MAP 

No range map has been prepared because of 
the speculative nature of this subspecies' occur- 
rence in the United States. 



STATES/COUNTIES 

No states or counties are given because of the 
speculative nature of this subspecies' occurrence 
in the United States. 



HABITAT 

The cats show no preference for specific habi- 
tat type but appear to require large areas with 
adequate food supply and dense vegetation for 
refugia (Wright 1972). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The cats principal food is white-tailed deer 
{Odocoileus virginianus) (Wright 1972). They will 
feed on small mammals, insects, and reptiles. They 
are also known to take livestock (True 1891; 
Hamilton 1943). 

Prey is stalked until the cat is close enough to 
pounce and is grabbed by the throat or back of 
the neck (Hamilton 1943). Remains and unused 
portions of prey are covered (Young and Gold- 
man 1946). Western subspecies kill every 3 to 4 
days (Young and Goldman 1946). 
SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 
Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not known. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Populations in New Brunswick, Canada, are 
estimated from 25 to 100 (Cahalane 1964; Wright 
1972). Recent sightings in the United States may 
be of released and/or escaped captives of western 
subspecies. Wright (1971, 1972) suggests that the 
eastern cougar still exists in the United States and 
populations are widely scattered and at a fraction 
above the limit for sustaining the population. 

REPRODUCTION 

Little is known about reproduction of the 
eastern cougar. Available information is derived 
from other subspecies. Breeding season in the 
southern race {F. c. coryi) is believed to be year 
round with peaks in February (Schwartz 1952). 
Others believe cougars breed in spring or fall 
(True 1891). Females are polyestrous and ini- 
tiate the courtship and mating act (Davis 1974). 
Gestation period is 90 to 98 days (Young and 
Goldman 1946; Asdell 1964). Litter size varies 



from 1 to 6 with 2 to 3 being average (Young and 
Goldman 1946; Hall and Kelson 1959; Asdell 
1964). Cougars usually breed once every 2 years 
(Young and Goldman 1946; Asdell 1964). There 
are also cases where two litters were produced 
within a period of 12 to 15 months (Asdell 1964; 
Hornocker 1970). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

No recovery team or plan has been initiated 
for the eastern cougar. There is a Recovery Team 
and draft plan for the southern race, Florida 
panther {F. c. coryi). Several States are conduct- 
ing questionnaire type surveys and some actual 
field searches. Some States have created a central 
clearing house for sightings of eastern cougars. 

There have been sightings and unconfirmed 
reports of cougars from several publicly owned 
lands in the eastern United States. These include: 
Georgia, Savannah River Atomic Energy Plant; 
North C.trolina, Blue Ridge Parkway (also in Vir- 
ginia), Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and 
Uwharrie National Forest; and Virginia, George 
Washington National Forest, Jefferson National 
Forest, and Shennandoah National Park (Linzey 
and Linzey 1971; Russ 1973; Lowman 1975; 
Teulings and Cooper 1977). 

AUTHORITIES 

None. 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Most of the available literature on life history 
of this species is derived from findings of studies 
on western subspecies. The eastern cougar and 
Florida panther should be treated together in the 
Recovery Team and Plan concepts. 

There is a serious question as to whether the 
eastern cougar exists in the United States. More 
effort should be concentrated in the direction of 
securing documented evidence of this subspecies' 
existence or whether released and/or escaped cap- 
tive western subspecies are the animals allegedly 
being seen. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Asdell, S. A. 1964. Patterns of mammalian repro- 
duction. Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca. 679 pp. 

Cahalane, V. H. 1964. A preliminary study of the 
distribution and numbers of cougar, grizzly, 
and wolf in North America. New York Zool. 
Soc, New York. 12 pp. 



Cram, G. 1901. Panther in Maine. For. Str. 56: 
123. 

Davis, W. B. 1974. The mammals of Texas. Texas 
Parks Wildl. Bull. No. 41:1-294. 

Dearborn, N. 1927. An old account of the moun- 
tain lion in New Hampshire. J. Mammal. 8: 
311-312. 

Dekay, J. E. 1842. Zoology of New York, or the 
New York Fauna. Albany. 146 pp. 

Dout, J. K. 1969. Mountain lions in Pennsylvania. 
Am. Midi. Natur. 82:281-285. 

Dowhan, J. J., and R. J. Craig. 1976. Rare and 
endangered species of Connecticut and their 
habitat. State Geo. Natur. Hist. Surv. Conn., 
Dep. Environ. Protection Rep. 6. 137 pp. 

Grimm, W. C, and R. Whitehead. 1950. Mammal 
survey of southwest Pennsylvania. Pa. Game 
Comm., Harrisburg. 99 pp. 

, 1952. Mammal survey of northeast 

Pennsylvania. Pa. Game Comm., Harrisburg. 
82 pp. 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. The mam- 
mals of North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press, 
New York. 1,083 pp. 

Hamilton, W. J. 1943. The mammals of eastern 
United States; an account of recent land 
mammals occurring east of the Mississippi. 
Cornell Univ. Press, Ithaca. 432 pp. 

Handly, C. O., Jr., R. Stafford, and E. H. Geil. 
1961. A West Virginia puma. J. Mammal. 
42:277-278. 

Hornocker, M. G. 1969. Winter territoriality in 
mountain Hons. J. Wildl. Manage. 33:457-464. 

-. 1970. An analysis of mountain lion 



predation upon mule deer and elk in Idaho 
primitive areas. Wildl. Monogr. 21. 39 pp. 

lUCN. 1972. Red data book. Vol. I, Mammalia. 
Compiled by H. A. Goodwin and C. W. 
Holloway. lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Kellog, R. 1939. Annotated list of Tennessee 
mammals. Proc. U.S. Natl. Mus. 86:245-303. 

Larson, J. S. 1963. Panthers in Maryland. Md. 
Conserv.Vol.XLlII. 



Laycock, G. 1969. America's endangered wildlife. 
Norton, New York. 226 pp. 

Lee, D. S. 1977a. Felis concolor True. Pages 
354-355 in J. E. Cooper, S. S. Robinson, and 
J. B. Funderburg, eds. Endangered and 
threatened plants and animals of North 
Carolina. North Carolina State Mus. Natur. 
Hist., Raleigh. 444 pp. 

. 1977b. Unscrambling rumor: the status 

of the panther in North Carolina. Wildl. N. C. 
41:6-9. 

Linzey, A. V., and D. W. Linzey. 1971. Mammals 
of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 
Univ. Tennessee Press, Knoxville. 114 pp. 

Lowman, G. E. 1975. A survey of endangered, 
threatened, rare, status undetermined, peri- 
pheral, and unique mammals of the south- 
western national forests and grasslands. USDA 
For. Serv., Atlanta. 121 pp. 

Manville, R. 1951. Reports of cougars in New 
York.J. Mammal. 32:227. 

Mugford, P. S. 1976. Fish and wildlife in limited 
numbers in Massachusetts. Mass. Fish Wildl. 
10 pp. 

Odum, R. R., J. L. McCuUom, M. A. Neville, and 
D. R. Ettman. 1977. Georgia's protected 
wildlife. Georgia Dep. Natur. Resour. Atlanta. 

Reilly, E. M., Jr. 1964. New York's spooky big 
cats. Conservationist 19:227. 

Russ, W. R. 1973. The rare and endangered 
vertebrates of Virginia. M.S. Thesis. Virginia 
Polytechnic Inst, and State Univ., Blacksburg. 
338 pp. 

Schorger, A. W. 1938. A Wisconsin specimen of 
the cougar. J. Mammal. 19:252. 

Schwartz, A. 1952. The land mammals of south- 
em Florida and the upper Florida Keys. Ph. 
D. Dissert. Univ. Michigan, Ann Arbor. 180 
pp. 

Schwartz, C. W., and E. R. Schwartz. 1959. The 
wild mammals of Missouri. Univ. Missouri 
Press, Missouri Conserv. Comm. 341 pp. 

Sparto, J. 1950. The catamount in Vermont. 
Benningtion, Vt. 



Teulings, R. P., and J. E. Cooper. 1977. Cluster 
areas. Pages 409-433 in J. E. Cooper, S. S. 
Robinson, and J. B. Funderburg, eds. En- 
dangered and threatened plants and animals 
of North Carolina. North Carolina State Mus. 
Natur. Hist., Raleigh. 444 pp. 

True, F. W. 1891. The puma or American lion: 
Felis concolor of Linnaeus. Pages 591-608 in 
Ann. Rep. Natl. Mus. Year ending June 30, 
1889. 

USFWS. 1973. Threatened wildlife of the United 
States. Compiled by Office of Endangered 
Species and International Activities. Bur. 
Sport Fish Wildl. Resour. Publ. 114. U.S. 
Gov. Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 

Wright, B. S. 1953. Further notes on the panther 
in the northeast. Canadian Field Natur. 67: 
12-28. 



. 1961. The latest specimen of the eastern 

puma. J. Mammal. 42:278-279. 

1971. The recovery of the panther in 



eastern North America. Intl. Symp. Ecology, 
Behavior, Conserv. World Cats. Laguna Hills, 
California. 

1972. The eastern panther, a question of 



survival. Clarke, Irvin and Co., Toronto. 180 
pp. 

Young, S. P., and E. A. Goldman. 1946. The 
puma, mysterious American cat. Am. Wildl. 
Inst. 358 pp. 

GATEKEEPER 

To be designated by the Office of Endangered 
Species. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
GainesvUle, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.45 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE JA6UARUNDI 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
pubhc with information about Federally Hsted endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and c()nscr\ation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data are not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the F.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biohjgical Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
i\'y\SA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.45 
March 1980 



SELIXIKI) VKRl KBRA 1 K KNDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS T OE 1 HE UNEIED STATES- 

THE JA6UARUNDI 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. VVoodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal F,cosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wilillife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




JAGUARUNDI 

Felts yagouaroundi Geoffroy 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivora 

FAMILY Felidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES eyra, ottercat, ghost cat 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 31 July 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (F. y. cacomitli, F. y. 
fossata, F. y . panamensis, F.y. tolteca) 
(41 FR 24064; 14 June 1976). 

States: Endangered: Texas (F. y. cacomitli). 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Human persecution and habitat loss due to 
intense habitat alteration and destruction, partic- 
ularly brush-clearing operations (Culbertson and 
Schmidly 1974, Davis 1974). However, recent 
data may indicate a range extension in southern 
Texas (Goodwyn 1970, Brownlee 1978). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

A small, slender-bodied, weasel-like cat 0.8 to 
1.3m long, and weighing 5.6 to 7.6kg. It is some- 
what larger than a housecat, with a longer tail and 
unusually short legs. Primarily there are two color 
phases - gray and red - with black animals occuring 
in the southern part of its range. In the gray phase, 
upper parts are grizzled (salt and pepper) with 



underparts slightly paler, more black in winter. 
The red phase shows reddish upper parts inter- 
mixed with black; head and legs are more brownish 
while lips and throat are usually white. Fur in 
both phases is unspotted. Young are paler with no 
spots. Both phases may appear in the same litter. 
Photographs are in Goodwyn (1970). 

RANGE 

The United States distribution is restricted to 
extreme southern Texas and Arizona. Recent 
reports from Refugio and Hidalgo Counties, 
Texas, may indicate a possible range extension 
(Goodwyn 1970, Brownlee 1978). These sight- 
ings probably represent escaped and/or released 
captives (R. McBride personal communication). 
Two subspecies are recorded in the United States: 
F. y. cacomitli occurs from southern Texas to 
central Vera Cruz, Mexico, and F. y. tolteca 
occurs in southern Arizona, south in Mexico 
along the Pacific coast, and inland to the Mexi- 
can Plateau. The Mexican Plateau is thought to 
form a barrier between the two subspecies and 
may explain the lack of records in New Mexico 
(Hock 1955). In Central and South America it 
occurs transcontinentally as a poorly known 
assemblage of subspecies and closely related 
species. One was reported seen at Piatt National 
Park in Oklahoma (USFWS 1973). 



RANGE MAP 

Cross-hatched areas on the following map re- 
fer to presumed U.S. distribution and dots refer 
to sightings and/or kills (Brownlee 1978, Good- 
wyn 1970, R. McBride personal communication). 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Arizona Cochise, Pima, Santa Cruz. 

Texas Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy. 

HABITAT 

The jaguarundi inhabits thick, dense, thorny 
brushlands in the lower Rio Grande Valley (Davis 
1974). Thickets need not be continuous, but may 
be interspersed with clear areas, as found in Mexi- 
co (Goodwryn 1970). In South America and other 
southern portions of the range, the jaguarundi 
occurs in high mountain forests (Alston 1882), 
tropical forests, savannas (Bourliere 1964), and 
forest swamps (Denis 1964). It seems to prefer 
areas near water (Goodwyn 1970). The most 
common plants in the lower Rio Grande Valley 



where the jaguarundi is known to occur are black- 
bush acacia {Acacia rigidula), chillipiquin (Caosi- 
cum annum), lotebush [Condalia obstusifolia), 
Texas persimmon [Diospyrus texana), coyotillo 
{Karwinskia humboltiana), prairie baccharis [Bac- 
charis texana), allthorn goatbush {Castela texana), 
common lantana {Lantana horrida), berlandier 
wolfberry (Lycium berlandieri), javelinabrush 
{Microrhamuus ericoides), Texas prickly pear 
{Opuntia linheimeri), retama [Parkinsonia acule- 
ata), mesquite {Prosopis glandulosa), cedar elm 
{Ulmus crassifolia), and lime pricklyash {Zanth- 
oxylum fagara). From about 1689 to 1885, the 
lower Rio Grande Valley was covered with dense 
brush, with a relatively treeless plain to the north 
(Inglis 1964). The spread of mesquite north into 
this plain (Peacock 1968) may offer suitable habi- 
tat for the jaguarundi and a potential for range 
extension (Goodwyn 1970). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The jaguarundi stalks its prey and then 
pounces (Cutter 1957, Goodwyn 1970). It is an 
excellent tree climber and will forage in trees 
(Davis 1974). Primarily active at night, it will also 
forage during the day (Goodwyn 1970, Davis 
1974). It consumes mostly birds, but will also 
take small mammals and some fish (Cahalane 
1947, Ewer 1973, HuUey 1976). Goodwyn 
(1970) suggests that principal avifauna prey may 
be a dense-brush subtropical cohort (Wolfe 1956) 
consisting of Bronzed Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus), 
Chachalaca [Ortalis vetula). Green Jay [Cyano- 
corax yncas). Groove-billed Ani [Crotophaga sulcir- 
ostris), Kiskadee Flycatcher {Pitangus sulphuratus), 
Olive-backed Tropical Warbler {Parula pitiayuma). 
Red-bellied Pigeon [Columba flavirostris). White- 
fronted Dove {Leptoltila verreauxi), and White- 
winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Dense thickets are used for refugia (Davis 
1974). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Dense thickets, fallen logs, tree hollows, and 
thick, grassy clumps are used for den sites 
(Goodwyn 1970, Davis 1974). 




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RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The jaguarundi will mark territory by uri- 
nating and scratching with hind feet (Hulley 
1976). Thirteen distinct calls are recognized with 
the largest repertoire occurring during the mating 
season (Hulley 1976). Cutter (1957) found three 
calls in a captive kitten: chirp, purr, and cough. 
Goodwyn (1970) also found these three calls. 
Chirp was a high-pitched, bird-like sound, sono- 
graph in Goodwyn (1970). Purr sounds are similar 
to the domestic cat's purr, but of a higher tone 
and more erratic. The cough is a throaty sound as 
of air forced from the lungs. 

Jaguarundis are solitary except at mating 
(Denis 1964). Some captive animals show indica- 
tions of gregariousness within family groups (Hul- 
ley 1976). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Home range size is not known, but a captive 
female was tracked a distance of 3.2 km in one 
morning (Hulley 1976). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

No population estimates are available for 
most of the range. It is extremely rare in Arizona 
(Cockrum 1960). 

A questionnaire survey conducted by Texas 
Parks and Wildlife Department indicated that jag- 
uarundi may occur on three National Wildlife Re- 
fuges in Texas: 12 on Santa Ana NWR, 8 on La- 
guna Atascosa NWR, and 2 on Aransas NWR 
(Brownlee 1978). R. McBride (personal communi- 
cation) believes jaguarundis may occur on Laguna 
Atascosa, but not on the other two refuges. 

REPRODUCTION 

Mating is believed to take place in November 
and December (Denis 1964). Young are born in 
March or August and may weigh up to 22.7 g 
(Denis 1964, Caras 1967, Hulley 1976). The ges- 
tation period is given as 6 months (Walker 1975). 
There may be two litters per year with a range of 
one to four (average two) young per litter. Both 
gray and red phase may occur in the same litter 
(Denis 1964). There is an indication of gregarious- 
ness and tolerance of different generations by 
adults in captive situations (Hulley 1976), which 
may indicate a larger degree of socialism than 
once thought. Longevity records indicate a life 
span of 8 to 10 years (Rue 1967). 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The jaguarundi is protected in the U.S. and 
some Latin American countries. Brush is no 
longer cleared in the national wildlife refuges in 
the lower Rio Grande Valley (lUCN 1972) in 
order to maintain brush habitat in its natural 
form. Santa Ana and Laguna Atascosa National 
Wildlife Refuges are thought to contain habitat 
most similar to the original brush habitat of the 
lower Rio Grande Valley (Goodwyn 1970). 

No recovery team or plan is formalized at this 
time. 

AUTHORITIES 

William C. Brownilee 

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 

4200 Smith School Road 

Austin, TX 78744 

W. B. Davis 

Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Science 
Texas A&M University 
College Station, TX 77843 

Roy McBride 
Department of Biology 
Sul Ross University 
Box 725 
Alpine, TX 79830 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

It is difficult to describe current population 
numbers and distribution based on the question- 
naire survey methods used by the Texas Parks 
and Wildlife Department. Problems are encoun- 
tered with sightings of escaped and/or released 
captive individuals and sightings of the same in- 
dividual several times. These factors, as well as 
misidentification, lead to inaccurate distribution 
and population data. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Alston, E. R. 1882. Biologia Centralia-Americana. 
Mammalia. 219 pp. 

Bourliere, F. 1964. Mammals of the world, their 
life and habits. A. A. Knopf Co., New York. 
223 pp. 

Brownlee, W. C. 1978. Feline status survey. Per- 
formance Report, Proj. W-103-R-7. Texas 
Parks Wildl. Dept., Austin. 4 pp. 

Cahalane, V. H. 1947. Mammals of North Ameri- 
ca. MacMillan Co., New York. 682 pp. 



Caras, R. A. 1967. North American mammals; 
furbearing animals of the United States and 
Canada. Meredith Press, New York. 578 pp. 

Cockrum, E. L. 1960. The recent mammals of 

Arizona: their taxonomy and distribution. 

Univ. Arizona Press, Tucson. 276 pp. 
Culbertson, W. L. 1957. A young jaguarundi in 

captivity. J. Mammal. 38:515-516. 
Davis, W. B. 1957. The mammals of Texas. Texas 

Parks WUdl. Dep. Bull 41 : 1-294. 

Denis, A. 1964. Cats of the world. Houghton Mif- 
flin Co., Boston. 144 pp. 

DeVos, A., R. H. Manville, and R. G. Van Gelder. 
1956. Introduced mammals and their influ- 
ence on the native biota. Zoologica 41:163- 
194. 

Ewer, E. F. 1973. The carnivores. Cornell Univ. 
Press, Ithaca. 494 pp. 

Findley, J. S., A. H. Harris, D. E. Wilson, and C. 
Jones. 1975. Mammals of New Mexico. Univ. 
New Mexico Press, Albuquerque. 360 pp. 

Goldman, E. A. 1925. Two new ocelots from 
Mexico. J. Mammal. 6:122-124. 

Goodwyn, F. 1970. Behavior, hfe history, and 
present status of the jaguarundi. Felts yagoua- 
roundi (Lacepede), in south Texas. M. A. The- 
sis. Texas A&I University, Kingsville. 63 pf . 

Hall, E. R., and K. R. Kelson. 1959. Mammals of 
North America. 2 vols. Ronald Press, New 
York. 1,083 pp. 

Hock, R. J. 1955. Southwestern exotic felids. 
Am. Midi. Natur. 53:324-328. 

HuUey, J. T. 1976. Maintenance and breeding of 
captive jaguarundis {Felis yagouaroundi) at 
Chester Zoo and Toronto. Int. Zoo. Yearb. 
16:120-122. 

Inglis, J. M. 1964. A history of vegetation on the 
Rio Grande plain. Texas Parks Wildl. Dep. 
Bull. 45:1-122. 

lUCN. 1972. Red data book. Vol. I. Mammalia. 
Compiled by H. A. Goodwin and C. W. Hol- 
loway. lUCN, Morges, Switzerland. 

Layne, J. N. 1974. The land mammals of Florida. 
In Gleason, P. J., ed. Environments of south 
Florida, past and present. Mem. 2 Miami 
Geol. Soc. 452 pp. 

Little, E. L. 1938. A record of the jaguarundi in 
Arizona. J. Mammal. 19:500-501. 



Neil, W. T. 1961. On the trail of the jaguarundi. 
Fla. Wildl. 15:10-13. 

Peacock, J. T. 1968. Historical and present status 
of the southern grassland, with special refer- 
ence to the distribution of mesquite. Unpubl. 
MS. 29 pp. 

Rue, L. L. 1967. Pictorial guide to the mammals 
of North America. T. Y. Crowell Co., New 
York. 299 pp. 

Sanderson, I. T. 1959. The living mammals of the 
world. Hanover House, New York. 303 pp. 

USFWS. 1973. Threatened wildhfe of the United 
States. USDI, Bureau of Sport Fisheries and 
Wildlife, Washington, D.C. Resource Publ. 
114.289 pp. 

Walker, E. P. 1975. Mammals of the world. 2 vols. 
Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore. 1,500 pp. 

Wolfe, L. R. 1956. Checklist of birds of Texas. In- 
teUigence Printing Co., Lancaster. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.46 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE FLORIDA PANTHER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREPACK 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the I",ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Kndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sewice 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.46 
March 1980 



SELECl i:i) VKR 1 KBRA n: ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF IHE SEACOAS I OF IHE UNITED SIATES- 

THE FLORIDA PANTHER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fisii and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: R. CHRIS BEL.DEN 



FLORIDA PANTHER 

Felts concolor coryi Bangs 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Carnivora 

FAMILY Felidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES .... cougar, painter, 

mountain lion, puma 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 7 October 1976, 8 March 1977 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4001, 11 March 
1967) 

State: Endangered: Florida, Georgia, 

Mississippi 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

The primary cause for their present status is 
excessive hunting and habitat disruption (Laycock 
1969, Anon. 1973, Nowak and McBride 1973). 
Although legally protected since 1958, illegal kills, 
highway mortality, and habitat loss probably con- 
tinue to depress the population below potential 
carrying capacity (Layne and McCauley 1976). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The panther is a large (1.5 to 3.1m), long- 
tailed cat, usually rusty on the back, fulvous on 
the sides, and buff underneath. The sides of the 
nose, tip of the tail, and backs of the ears are dark 
brown or blackish. Young panthers, until 6 months 
old, arc buff colored with black spots (Audubon 
and Backman 1851, Merriam 1901, Hamilton 



1943, Hall and Kelson 1959, Hughes 1965). 
Photographs are in Allen (1950), Tinsley (1970), 
and Lowery (1974). 

RANGE 

The species formerly ranged throughout Flor- 
ida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and 
Arkansas (Hall and Kelson 1959). Its present dist- 
ribution is uncertain. Tinsley (1970) and Layne 
(1974) state that remaining major concentrations 
seem to be in Florida — in Big Cypress Swamp 
and the Everglades National Park — while the 
extent of the population throughout the remain- 
der of its range is unknown. 

Although it is questionable that the panther 
survives outside of Florida (Williams 1979), recent 
reports suggest that they do. R. Nowak (personal 
communication) in 1975 examined what may 
have been a Florida panther in Logan County, 
Arkansas. Lowman (1975) lists sightings near 
Valdosta, Georgia; Bankhead National Forest, 
Baldwin, and Clarke Counties in Alabama; the 
Pascagoula Swamp region of George and Jackson 
Counties, and Amite and Claiborne Counties in 
Mississippi; Catahoula, Concordia, East Baton 
Rouge, Madison, Natchitoches, St. Tammany, and 
Webster Parishes in Louisiana; the Ouachita River 
bottomlands, Ouachita Mountains, and the White 
River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas. Also, 
the Mississippi Game and Fish Commission (per- 
sonal communication) has a recent report of a 
sighting in Hancock County, Mississippi. 

RANGE MAP 

The estimated range in eastern United States 
is represented by shading, and confirmed reports 
are represented on the following map by stars 
(kills, live captures, plaster track casts, photo- 
graphs) (Goertz and Abegg 1966, Noble 1971, Sea- 
lander andGipson 1973, Lowery 1974,Belden and 
Williams 1976, R. C. Belden personal communica- 
tion, R. Nowak personal communication). 

The Florida map shows the locations of con- 
firmed reports by stars, and unconfirmed reports 
by dots (Belden and Wilhams 1976). 

STATES /COUNTIES 

Alabama Baldwin, Clarke, Greene, Mobile, 
Tuscaloosa, Winston. 

Arkansas Arkansas, Ashley, Carroll, Dallas, 
Drew, Franklin, Jefferson, Logan, 
Newton, Nevada, Pope, Saline, Scott, 
Stone, Washington, White. 



Florida Alachua, Baker, Brevard, Browerd, 
Citrus, Collier, Columbia, Dade, Dixie, 
Duval, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, 
Lake, Lafayette, Levy, Manatee, 
Marion, Martin, Okeechobee, Osceola, 
Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Santa Rosa, 
Sarasota, St. Lucie, Taylor, Union, 
Wakulla, Walton. 

Georgia Charlton, Clinch, Lowndes, Ware. 

Louisiana Caddo, Catahoula, Concordia, East 
(Parishes) Baton Rouge, Madison, Natchitoches, 
St, Tammany, Webster. 

Mississippi Amite, Claiborne, George, Hancock, 
Jackson. 

South 

Carolina Aiken, Barnwell. 

HABITAT 

The panther has been reported in every habi- 
tat type. No preference or nonpreference for a 
specific habitat type has been noted. A large area 
is required, with adequate food supply and dense 
vegetation for cover (Bangs 1899). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Its principal food is white-tailed deer (True 
1891). They also eat small mammals, insects, and 
reptiles (Hughes 1965, Smith 1968, Tinsley 1970) 
and livestock (True 1891, Hamilton 1943, Rodgers 
and Crowder 1974). 

They stalk their prey until close enough to 
pounce on it, grabbing the throat or back of the 
neck (Hamilton 1943, Lowery 1974). If prey can 
not be entirely consumed at one time, a panther 
will cover it with brush and leaves, and return as 
long as it is palatable (Goin 1948, Allen 1950, 
Young and Goldman 1964, Lowery 1974). The 
frequency of meals is not known, although hunters 
in western United States report that mountain 
lions (Felis concolor ssp.) kill every 3 to 4 days 
(Young and Goldman 1964). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not known. 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 




The range of the Florida panther is depicted by shading. Stars represent sites of kills, live captures, 
plaster track casts or photographs. 




NORTHWESIEBN PURT OF 

FLORIDA 

SAME SCALE as M«IH U«C 



9 10 11 12 13 It IS 16 IT IB 



20 31 



23 2t 25 



Confirmed reports of Florida panthers in Florida are indicated by stars on this map; unconfirmed 
reports of panthers are depicted by dots. 



4 



OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Because of its scarcity and secretive nature, 
almost nothing is known of the behavioral and 
environmental requirements of this species. It is 
believed to require large expanses of undisturbed 
habitat without human interference (Layne 1970). 

The panther's home range is unknowTi, but 
speculations vary from 150km^ (Layne 1971) to 
1,000 to 2,000km^ (Leposky 1975a). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Specific information on population trends are 
not available, but Sealander and Gipson (1973) 
and Layne and McCauley (1976) feel that the 
population has been on the increase in recent 
years. Current estimates of the population in 
Florida are between 30 and 300 (Wilhams (1979). 

REPRODUCTION 

Little is known about the reproduction of the 
Florida panther. Most of the information availa- 
ble is from the western subspecies. Panthers begin 
to breed at 2 to 3 years of age (Hall and Kelson 
1959, Young and Goldman 1964). Breeding is 
believed to occur year-round with births peaking 
in February (Schwartz 1952, Frye et al. no date). 
Other sources indicate that panthers breed in the 
spring or fall (Maynard 1883, True 1891). 

Davis (1966) states that females start the 
courtship and mating act. Males will fight for 
first breeding privileges. Copulation is followed 
by subsequent unions with other males (Lowery 
1974). The gestation period is 90 to 98 days 
(True 1891, Asdell 1964, Young and Goldman 
1964). Litter size varies from 1 to 6 (Hall and 
Kelson 1959) with 2 or 3 being typical (Asdell 
1964, Young and Goldman 1964). 

Panthers usually breed every 2 years (Asdell 
1964, Young and Goldman 1964, Rogers and 
Crowder 1974). There are a few reports of two 
litters being born within a 12- or 15-month 
period (Asdell 1964, Hornocker 1970). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The Florida Panther Recovery Team was 
organized in July 1976, with the main objective 
to develop a recovery plan "... that delineates 
and schedules those actions required for securing 
or restoring . . ." the Florida panther ". . . as a 
viable, self-sustaining member of its ecosystem." 
A rough draft has been developed which calls for 
four major efforts (R. C. Beldon personal com- 



munication): 

1. Find and delineate present populations. 

2. Develop a captive breeding program for possi- 
ble restocking in the future. 

3. Develop a public education program. 

4. Develop a program to evaluate present rules 
and regulations regarding panthers, and form- 
ulate new ones where necessary. 

The Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Com- 
mission (R. C. Belden personal communication), 
has outlined an investigation to locate and delin- 
eate the present population, and if found, to 
determine important habitat and management 
needs to assure continued survival. To locate and 
delineate the present population, a central "Flor- 
ida Panther Record Clearinghouse" will be set up 
to receive panther records. The public will be 
advised whom to contact and what to report. 
These records will then be analyzed and collated 
into a list of priority areas to be searched for 
panther sign. Intensive field searches will be con- 
ducted in areas with positive sign of a panther 
population. Efforts will be made to determine 
habitat utilization and population dynamics. All 
information will then be analyzed to determine 
panther habitat needs and to develop appropriate 
management strategies. 

AUTHORITIES 

Ken C. Alvarez (Recovery Team) 

Division of Recreation and Parks 

Florida Department of Natural Resources 

P.O. Box 398 

Osprey, FL 33559 

Robert E. Baudy (Recovery Team) 
Rare Feline Breeding Compound 
P.O.Box 132 
Center Hill, FL 33514 

Robert C. Belden (Recovery Team Leader) 
Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commis- 
sion 

4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

James N. Layne (Recovery Team) 
Archbold Biological Station 
Route 2, Box 180 
Lake Placid, FL 33852 

Brian Noles (Recovery Team) 
Appalachicola Ranger District 
P.O. Box 578 
Bristol, FL 32321 



Peter C. H. Pritchard (Recovery Team) 
Florida Audubon Society 
P.O. Drawer 7 
Maitland,FL 32751 

Lovett Williams 

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commis- 
sion 

4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Current status, life history, and ecology of the 
Florida panther are poorly known. Most biologi- 
cal data are limited to general accounts or brief 
notes from early Florida explorers and naturalists. 
The majority of publications since the turn of the 
century rehash the limited original data and in- 
formation extracted from general studies done on 
other subspecies. More research to determine sta- 
tus, distribution, and ecological requirements is 
needed for making sound conservation and man- 
agement decisions. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Addor, E. F., J. K. Stoll, and V. E. LaGarde. 
1974. A user-accessed computer information 
system for environmentally sensitive Wildlife. 
Vol. 2. U.S. Army Eng. Waterways Exp. Stn. 
Mob. Environ. Systems Lab. Vicksburg, I lis- 
sissippi. 

Allen, E. R. 1950. Notes on the Florida panther, 
Felis concolor coryi Bangs. J. Mammal. 31: 
279-280. 

Allen, E. R., and W. T. Neill. 1954. The raccoon 
preyed upon by panther and rattlesnake. Ev- 
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. 1970. An analysis of mountain Hon 

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1971. Mammals of Amelia Island. Pages 



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. 1974. The land mammals of south Flori- 



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Inc. New York. 358 pp. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.47 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE AMERICAN CROCODILE 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and c<)nscr\'ation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangered Species Act of 1973, as ainendcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps o( Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Kndangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal F-cosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.47 
March 1980 



stLECi i:d vi:ri ebra 1 i: endangered species 

OF THE SEACOAS 1 OF IHE UNITED STATES- 

THE AMERICAN CROCODILE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. VV'oodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Ser\iccs 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 



M^:."^^^ 



« • '■A 




"^^^ 



^■l^^-'^P-^ 




CREDIT: J. ROSS WILCOX 



AMERICAN CROCODILE 

(Crocodylus acutus Cuvier) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Reptilia 

ORDER Crocodylia 

FAMILY Crocodylidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Florida crocodile 

DATES 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 20 September 1976; 8 March 1977 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal! Endangered (Florida populations only) 
(40 FR 44149, 25 September 1975). 

States: Endangered: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Loss of habitat due to urbanization of south 
Florida; habitat loss is not all physical alteration, 
but includes reduction in suitability of remaining 
habitats through increased human recreational 
and other uses (Ogden 1979). 

Excessive mortality occurs through malicious 
and ill-advised killing by humans and through 
accidental deaths in commercial fishing nets and 
on highways (Lang 1975). 

Heavy predation on hatchlings in Florida Bay, 
primarily by raccoons, is believed to be hampering 
recruitment (Lang 1975). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The crocodile is a large, lizard-shaped reptile. 
Its back is covered with regular series of keeled, 
bony scales and the belly with smooth white 
scales. It is dorsally greenish or gray-brown with 
irregular black mottling. Young are more con- 
trastingly colored than adults. Hatchlings are 
about 23 cm in length; adults may grow to 4.5 m 
or larger. 

The characteristics that distinguished the 
crocodile from the alligator are the crocodile's 
generally more slender build and its snout, which 
tapers noticeably forward of the eyes, while the 
alligator's snout is untapered and rounded at the 
end. The fourth tooth in the crocodile's lower jaw 
is exposed when the mouth is closed; this tooth is 
concealed in the alligator. Coloration of the alliga- 
tor is dark gray or black with yellow markings. 

Illustrations of the crocodile appear in 
Ditmars (1953), Carr and Coin (1955), Pope 
(1955), Bothwell (1963), Neill (1971), Conant 
(1975), Lang (1975), and Perrero (1975), among 
other technical, semitechnical. and popular works. 

RANGE 

In the United States, the American crocodile 
is known to breed currently only in southern 
parts of the Everglades National Park, chiefly Flo- 
rida Bay, and outside the park on adjacent Key 
Largo and Turkey Point. Another population is 
reported in the Lower Florida Keys on Big Pine, 
Little Pine, and Howe Keys, with breeding 
rumored on Little Pine Key (Powell 1973, Ogden 
1979). 

Individuals are still occasionally reported north 
of Key Largo into Biscayne Bay on the east coast 
of Florida, and as far north as Marco Island and 
Charlotte Harbor on the west coast. Breeding in 
these areas has not been documented. 

Historically, the crocodile ranged north at 
least to Lake Worth, Palm Beach County, on the 
east coast (Dimock and Dimock 1908). Breeding 
is suspected but undocumented for these northern 
populations. On the west coast of Florida, no his- 
toric records exist for sightings outside the areas 
that still occasionally report crocodiles, although 
a record does exist for Mobile Bay, Alabama 
(Loding 1922). 

The largest segment of the known population 
in Florida is found in the Everglades National 
Park. The lower Keys population, if a viable 
breeding unit, lives primarily in the National Key 
Deer Refuge. Crocodiles occasionally use the 
cooling canals of the Florida Power and Light 



Corporation's Turkey Point power plant. Individ- 
uals are also occasionally seen in Homestead Bay- 
front Park. 

RANGE MAP 

Shading indicates the known range in Florida. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida Collier ( ?) , Dade , Monroe. 

HABITAT 

Primarily coastal, crocodiles use mangrove 
swamps, salt and brackish bays, and brackish 
creeks. They also enter coastal canals and borrow 
pits. Nesting occurs primarily in hardwood thick- 
ets at the heads of small sand beaches and on marl 
banks along narrow coastal creeks (Ogden 1979). 

Present data indicate that hatchlings cannot 
tolerate seawater salinities, but must have brackish 
or freshwater for the early development period 
(Neill 1971, T. Ellis and W. E. Evans personal 
communication), but this has been questioned 
(Lang 1975). Adults are able to withstand full 
seawater salinity and may wander widely in 
coastal areas (Neill 1971). 

Critical habitat for the American crocodile in 
Florida has been designated (41 FR 41915, 24 
September 1976). All land and water (excluding 
man-made structures or settlements not necessary 
to the normal needs or survival of the species) 
within the followdng boundaries are included: be- 
ginning at the easternmost tip of Turkey Point, 
Dade County, on the coast of Biscayne Bay; 
thence southeastward along a straight line to 
Christmas Point at the southernmost tip of Elliott 
Key; thence southwestward along a line following 
the shores of the Atlantic Ocean side of Old 
Rhodes Key, Palo Alto Key, Angelfish Key, Key 
Largo, Plantation Key, Windley Key, Upper Mate- 
cumbe Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, and Long 
Key, to the westernmost tip of Long Key; thence 
northwestward along a straight line to the western- 
most tip of Middle Cape; thence northward along 
the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the north of 
the mouth of Little Sable Creek; thence eastward 
along a straight line to the northernmost point of 
Nine Mile Pond; thence northeastward along a 
straight line to the point of beginning. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

No detailed information on foraging behavior 
is known, but the food of adults is believed to 
consist primarily of fish (Fernandez 1971, Ogden 



_1 2 3 * 5 6 7 

A'. J '^ xy.A\ 



17 ^18 19 



31 a 33 2* 2S 




NOBIHWESItCfJ PART OF 

FLORIDA 

5»»E se»i.£ as ifiis "i- 



Shading on the map depicts the present range of the American crocodile in Florida. 



23 24 2', 



ALABAMA. 




NORTHWESTERN PART OF 

FLORIDA 



2 3 



13 14 15 



Shading on this map indicates critical habitats of the American crocodile in Florida (41 FR 41915, 
24 Sept. 1976). 



1979). Young feed chiefly on aquatic inverte- 
brates (Martin de Lucenay 1942, Alvarez del Toro 
1974, Ogden 1979). In general, crocodilians feed 
on any prey items that can be caught and over- 
powered (Cott 1961,Neill 1971). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nesting site preferences appear to be hardwood 
thickets at the edge of small sand beaches or the 
banks of narrow coastal creeks (Ogden 1979). 
Loose soil that can be scraped into mounds ap- 
pears to be a general requirement, although the 
Florida Bay population appears variable in this re- 
gard (Campbell 1972, Ogden 1979). Fifty meters 
between nests may be required for successful 
nestin ; (Alvarez del Toro 1974). 

Dens consisting of burrows dug into creek 
banks are often constructed, but the relation of 
these dens to nesting areas or hibernation/estiva- 
tion needs is unknown (Alvarez del Toro 1974, 
Ogden 1979). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Crocodihans exhibit the most elaborate nest- 
protection behavior of any reptile, including assis- 
tance to the young during the hatching process 
and posthatching protection of young (Alvarez 
del Toro 1969, 1974; Neill 1971;Kushlan 1973; 
Ogden and Singletary 1973; Pooley and Gans 
1976). Ogden and Singletary (1973) document 
this behavior for the Florida Bay population. 

Requirements for this ritualistic behavior are 
unstudied, but Dixon and Staton (1976) have evi- 
dence that disturbance of the female while 
guarding the nest will disrupt her behavior and 
may lead to higher egg mortality. Freedom from 
human disturbance during the period of incuba- 
tion and hatching may thus be a critical factor. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Hatchling crocodiles may require access to 
freshwater during their early lives (Neill 1971, 
T. Ellis andW. E. Evans personal communication); 
Lang (1975) differs from this view. 

Home range/territoriality requirements are 
unknown, but crocodiles wander over considerable 
areas at times (Neill 1971). Local or seasonal vari- 
ation in food supply may prompt these moves 
(Ogden 1979). 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Present population structure in Florida may 
be slanted toward larger individuals with no evi- 
dence of recruitment of young into the popula- 
tion. No data are available on the structure of 
natural, healthy populations of American croco- 
diles. 

Population trends in Florida are clearly down- 
ward. The estimated population in Florida is be- 
tween 200 and 400 individuals with fewer than 25 
known breeding females (Ogden 1979). Loss of 
several breeding females on Key Largo has been 
documented over the past 5 years. 

REPRODUCTION 

Courtship and mating are described by Lang 
(1975). Females in south Florida begin construc- 
tion of nests in April and eggs are laid in April or 
May. Twenty to 80 eggs may be layed in a clutch 
(Ogden 1979). Hatching occurs in July and 
August. 

An adult crocodile, presumably the female 
parent, opens the nest and assists the young in 
hatching (Ogden and Singeletaryl973, Alvarez del 
Toro 1974). A close early protective relationship 
between the parents and young is known for 
several crocodile species (Kushlan 1973, Alvarez 
del Toro 1974, Pooley and Gans 1976) and has 
been postulated for the Florida population 
(Ogden 1979), although its duration and extent 
are unknown. 

The survival rate of young is unknowm under 
natural conditions but is very low for the Florida 
population (Lang 1975). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Crocodilians in general, with their high repro- 
ductive potential, usually respond well to effec- 
tive management/ conservation programs, as the 
rapid recovery of the American alligator in the 
United States indicates. However, no population 
of the American crocodile has as yet received 
such protection and thus its potential for response 
to specific programs cannot be evaluated. The 
State of Florida and the Everglades National Park 
have given legal protection to crocodile popula- 
tions for some time, yet the population has 
continued to decline. These data indicate that 
enforcement or protective legislation alone is 
inadequate to rebuild the Florida crocodile 
population. An active program to decrease 
accidental mortahty and increase recruitment 
in conjunction with a public information 



program to increase the public's tolerance to large 
breeding-sized individuals would appear manda- 
tory. 

The Recovery Plan for the American croco- 
dile has been approved (12 Feb 1979) and out- 
lines steps to be taken to assure a self-sustaining 
population throughout suitable habitat in the 
United States. The plan calls for research to 
determine habitat needs, habitat distribution, 
crocodile distribution, habitat ownership, and 
availability of crocodile habitat. The plan also 
outlines action steps that may be necessary pend- 
ing research findings, including controlling man- 
related mortality, educating the public, increasing 
recruitment by captive propagation and release, 
reducing natural mortality, and protecting nesting 
sites. 
AUTHORITIES 

Howard W. Campbell (Recovery Team Leader) 
National Fish and WildHfe Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Ave, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

Tommy Hines (Recovery Team) 

Research Biologist 

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 

Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
GainesvUle, FL 32601 

Richard Klukas (Recovery Team) 
Resource Management Specialist 
National Park Service 
Southeast Regional Office 
1895 Phoenix Blvd. 
Atlanta, GA 30349 

James A. Kushlan (Recovery Team) 
Research Biologist 
Everglades National Park 
P.O. Box 279 
Homestead, FL 33030 

Paul Moler 

Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish 

Commission 
4005 South Main Street 
Gainesville, FL 32601 

John C. Ogden (Recovery Team) 
Research Biologist 
National Audubon Society 
115 Indian Mound Trail 
Tavemier, FL 33070 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Although no subspecies of the American 
crocodile have been described, unpublished data 
indicate that geographic variation in several char- 
acters exists and studies are required to determine 
the relationships of the Florida crocodile popula- 
tion to other populations. It appears, on the basis 
of available data, to be distinct on an average sub- 
species level of difference from at least the Jamaica 
and Pacific coast of Mexico populations. Its iso- 
lated and peripheral status suggests that genetic 
differentiation from other populations is a strong 
possibility. 

LITERATURE CITED /SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Alvarez del Toro, M. 1969. Breeding the spec- 
tacled caiman at Tuxtla Gutierrez Zoo. 
Internat. Zoo Yearb. 9:35-36. 



. 1974. Los Crocodylia de Mexico (Estudio 

Comparativo). Ediciones de Inst. Mex. Re- 
cursos Natur. Renovables, A.C. Mexico, D.F. 
70 pp. 



Bothwell, D. 1962. The great outdoors book 
of alligators and other crocodiUa. Great Out- 
doors Publ. Co. St. Petersburg. 88 pp. 

Campbell, H. W. 1972. Ecological or phylo- 
genetic interpretations of crocodilian nesting 
habits. Nature 238 (5364):404-405. 

Carr, A. F. and C. J. Goin. 1955. Guide to the 
reptiles, amphibians, and fresh-water fishes of 
Florida. Univ. of Florida Press. Gainesville. 
341 pp. 

Conant, R. 1975. A field guide to reptiles and 
amphibians of eastern and central North 
America. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 
429 pp. 

Cott, H. B. 1961. Scientific results of an inquiry 
into the ecology and economic status of the 
Nile crocodile {Crocodylus niloticus) in 
Uganda and northern Rhodesia. Trans. Zool. 
Soc. London 29(4):21 1-357. 

Craighead, F. C. 1968. The role of the alligator in 
shaping plant communities and maintaining 
wildlife in the southern Everglades. Florida 
Natur. 41(8):2-7, 69-74. 



Dimock, A. W. and J. A. Dimock. 1908. Florida 
enchantments. Outing Publ. Co., New York. 
289 pp. 

Ditmars, R. L. 1953. The reptiles of North 
America. Doubleday and Co., Inc. New York. 
476 pp. 

Dixon, J. and M. Staton. 1976. Breeding biology 
of Caiman crocodilus crocodilus from the 
Venezuelan Llanos. U.S. Fish Wildl. Res. Rep. 
5:1-21. 

Fernandez, W. 1971. The American crocodile. 
Mus. News, Miami. 1(9):209-211. 

Fittkau, E. J. 1970. Role of caimans in the 
nutrient regime of mouth-lakes of Amazon 
effluents. Biotropica 2(2): 138-142. 

. 1973. Crocodiles and the nutrient metabo- 
lism of Amazon waters. Amazonia 4(1): 
103-133. 

Kushlan, J. A. 1973. Observations on maternal 
behavior in the American alligator. Alligator 
mississippiensis . Herpetologica 29(3): 256-257. 

. 1974. Observations on the role of the 



American alligator [Alligator mississippiensis) 
in the south Florida wetlands. Copeia 1974 
(4):993-996. 

Lang, J. W. 1975. The Florida crocodile: will 
it survive. Bull Field Mus. Natur Hist. 46(8): 
5-9. 

Loding, H. P. 1922. A preliminary catalog of 
Alabama reptiles and amphibians. Alabama 
Geol. Surv. Natur. Hist. Mus.. Pap. 5:1-59. 

Martin de Lucenay, A. 1942. El crocodrilo 
mexicano II, el desarroUo y la alimentacion. 
Rev. Gral. de Marina. Mexico. 



Ogden, J. and C. Singletary. 1973. Night of the 
crocodile. Audubon 75(3):32-37. 

Perrero, L. 1975. Alligators and crocodiles of the 
world. Windward Publ. Co. Miami. 64 pp. 

Pooley, A. C. and C. Cans. 1976. The Nile croco- 
dile. Science 234(4): 114-124. 

Pope, C. H. 1955. The reptile world. Alfred A. 
Knopf, New York. 325 pp. 

Powell, J.A. 1973. The status of Crocodylus 
acutus in southern Florida. In Proc. 2nd 
working meet, of crocodile specialists. lUCN 
Pub. New Sen, Suppl. Pap. 41:1-115. 



ACCOUNT PREPARED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 
412 N.E. 16th Ave., Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Neill, W. T. 1971. The last of the ruling reptiles. 
Columbia Univ. Press, New York and London 
486 pp. 

Ogden, J. 1979. Florida crocodile, in R. W. 
McDiarmid ed. Rare and endangered biota of 
Florida, Vol 3, Amphibians and reptiles. Univ. 
Presses of Florida, Gainesville. Pages 21-22. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.48 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

THE KEY DEER 







ts»-^ *<■•:•<; ■'--- 
-"--'.■.. if'. 



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.:d.^im' 






Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the scacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Kndangcred Species Act of 1973, as dmendcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services oi the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed lo: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Sen ice 
N ASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.48 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERI EBRA IE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF 1 HE UNFFED STATES- 



THE KEY DEER 



A Cooperative Effort 
by tin- 
National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 
the Office of Endangered Species 
and the 
National (Coastal Ecosystems 1 earn, 
Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidcll Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office ()f Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




KEY DEER 

Odocoileus virginianus clavium Barbour and Allen 



KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Mammalia 

ORDER Artiodactyla 

FAMILY Cervidae 

OTHER COMMON NAMES toy deer 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 15 October 1976, 4 March 1977 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (32 FR 4000, 11 March 
1977) 

States: Endangered: Florida. 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Loss of habitat to development of Lower Keys 
is the primary reason for the deer's current status. 
Big Pine Key supports some two-thirds of the 
total population, and 37% of this island had been 
cleared for development as of 1973 (Klimstra et 
al. 1974). The human population of the keys is 
projected to increase by 48% by 1990, implying 
even more loss of deer habitat. 

Other factors include mortality of young 
falling into drainage ditches and being killed by 
automobiles. Overhunting with dogs and jack- 
lights (U.S. Department of the Interior 1973) was 
probably an important factor in the 1940's and 
1950's, and reports of poaching are still rather 
frequent (Klimstra et al. 1974). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 



DESCRIPTION 

The smallest race of North American deer, the 
adult key deer is 63 to 76 cm high at the shoulder 
with an average weight of 36 kg for males and 29 
kg for females. The body is stockier, the legs 
shorter, and the skull wider than other races of 
white-tailed deer. The coat varies from a deep red- 
dish brown to a grizzled gray color. Bucks usually 
develop antlers by their second year, and eight 
points by the fifth year (Klimstra 1979). 

RANGE 

The key deer's range is restricted to the 
islands of the lower Florida Keys: Annette, Big 
Munson, Big Pine, Big Torch, Cudjoe, Howe, 
Johnson,Knockemdown, Little Pine, Little Torch. 
Mayo, Middle Torch, No Name, Porpoise, Ram- 
rod, Sugarloaf, Summerland, Toptree Hammock, 
Wahoo, and Water Key (Dickson 1955, Klimstra 
et al. 1974). The deer are resident only on keys 
with permanent freshwater: Big Pine, Big Torch, 
Cudjoe, Howe, Little Pine, Litde Torch, Middle 
Torch, No Name, Sugarloaf, and Summerland 
Keys. 

RANGE MAP 

Present distribution is indicated by shading on 
the following page. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Florida: Monroe 

HABITAT 

Only islands having permanent freshwater 
are used consistently by key deer. Other islands 
are used temporarily during the rainy season 
(Klimstra 1979). Big Pine Key (2,428 ha) and No 
Name Key (404 ha) support the largest deer pop- 
ulation. Both have permanent freshwater and ex- 
tensive pineland habitat. Klimstra et al. (1974) 
noted use of five habitat types in descending or- 
der of preference: pinelands, hardwood hammock, 
buttonwood-scrub mangrove, mangrove swamp, 
and developed areas. Habitat selection varies with 
season, time of day, and sex and age of the ani- 
mal. Pinelands, hardwood hammocks, recent 
clearings, roadsides, and grassy areas are used for 
feeding. Hammocks and mangrove swamps are 
used for cool retreats during the day (Klimstra 
1979). 

The pineland community on Big Pine Key is 
open as a result of fire, with abundant plant spe- 
cies including Dade County Pine {Pinus elliottii 



var. densa), silver palm {Coccothrinax argentata), 
stopper {Myrtus verrucosa), devil's claw (Pisonia 
rotundata), and grasses. 

Dominant species in the hammocks include 
Spanish stopper {Eugenia foetida), maiden 
bush {Savia bahamensis), poisonwood {Metopium 
toxiferum), white indigo berry (Randia aculeata), 
and darling plum (Reynosia septentrionalis). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

Red mangrove {Rhizophora mangle) is an im- 
portant food source, with 63% occurrence in pel- 
let analysis (Dickson 1955). Klimstra et al. (1974) 
list the following food plants: joeweed {Jacquinia 
keyensis); white indigo berry; devil's claw; poison 
ivy {Toxicodendron radicans); morinda {Morinda 
royoc); catbrier {Smilax havanensis); blolly {Pi- 
sonia discolor); ground cherry {Phy sails augusti- 
folia); blazing star {Liatris tenuifolia);hegg,articks 
{Bidens pilosa); capweed {Lippia nodiflora); 
hempvine {Mikania batatifolia); false foxglove 
{Agalinis spp.); borreria {Borreria); snowberry 
{Chiococca pinetorum); saffron plum {Bumelia 
celastrina); Christmas berry {Crossopetalum ilici- 
folium); nightshade {Solanum blodgettii); vine 
milkweed {Cynancfium blodgettii); white vine 
{Sarcostemma clausa); mallow {Eustoma exalta- 
tum); and saw palmetto {Serenoa repens). Dick- 
son (1955) adds silver palm, acacia {Acacia pine- 
torum), wild dilly {Manilkara bahamensis), and 
brittle thatch palm {Thrinax microcarpa). 

Klimstra et al. (1974) determined caloric 
values of food plants used by key deer and noted 
that many are equivalent in energy content to 
commercial animal feeds, alfalfa, corn, wheat, and 
barley. 

Food plants change seasonally, probably re- 
flecting availability and nutritional needs (Klim- 
stra et al. 1974). Some plants are regularly 
browsed, resulting in stunting and near-extirpa- 
tion. Following fire in the pinelands, new growth 
immediately attracted deer and extensive brows- 
ing occurred for 6 to 9 months. 

Virtually no plant species is immune from 
deer use at one time or another (Klimstra et al. 
1974). 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

Open areas and subdivisions are favored bed- 
ding sites at night, and mangrove swamps provide 
cool retreats during the day (Klimstra 1979). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Not known. 



3 3 



A "- >. B A M A . 
_ Ihoustom \ 



as 24 25 




3 4 5 6 



e 9 10 11 12 13 M 15 16 n IB 19 aO 21 23 23 2* 



The present-day distribution of key deer is depicted on this map by shading. 



RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Adult males maintain home ranges of about 
120 ha (and larger during the breeding season), 
and adult females range over about 50 ha (Klim- 
stra 1979). 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Dickson (1955) estimated the population at 
25 to 80 individuals. Numbers have increased 
since then to between 300 and 400 animals, and 
the population is now believed stable (Klimstra 
1979). 

The official estimate of the National Key 
Deer Wildlife Refuge is 600 animals, but this may 
be re\i:5ed downward as monthly census data are 
analyzed 'D. Kosin personal communication). 

REPRODUCTION 

Dickson (1955) stated that there was no spe- 
cial breeding season, although Klimstra (1979) 
observed a breeding peak in September and Octo- 
ber. Territorial activity seems limited to defend- 
ing a receptive doe from other bucks (Klimstra et 
al. 1974). Dickson (1955) observed evidence of 
fighting between adult bucks in February. Bucks 
with full racks are generally the earliest breeders, 
and exclude yearling males and those with lesser 
racks. 

The gestation period is 204 days, with peak of 
fav^ming coinciding with the rainy season in April 
and May (Dickson 1955, Khmstra 1979). Birth of 
fawns occurs in all habitat types, but usually in 
areas of open understory. 

Key deer have a relatively low reproductive 
rate, with an average of 1.08 fawns per adult doe 
annually (Khmstra et al. 1974). Male fawns out- 
number females, but the sex ratio changes until 
adult females outnumber males by 2.38 to 1. Fif- 
ty percent of male fawns survive 1.5 years, and 
50% of female fawns survive 2.1 years (Klimstra 
et al. 1974). Longevity records are 8 years for 
males and 9 years for females. 

Adult females form loose matriarchal groups 
with one or two generations of offspring, while 
bucks feed and bed together during the nonbreed- 
ing season only (Klimstra 1979). 



MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

In 1954, the National Key Deer Wildlife Re- 
fuge was established and now includes 1,764 ha, 
of which 300 ha are leased. Since 1954, the deer 
population has increased by more than 600%, and 
is now considered to be stable. 

Recommendations for management include 
continuation of closed season, acquisition of addi- 
tional habitat on Big Pine, No Name, and Cudjoe 
Keys, controlled burning in pinelands, mainten- 
ance of existing waterholes, fencing of islands 
where refuge lands and subdivisions adjoin, popu- 
lation and habitat monitoring, visitor manage- 
ment, and additional research on all aspects of 
key deer biology (Khmstra et al. 1974, Klimstra 
1979). 

AUTHORITIES 

Donald J. Kosin, Refuge Manager 
National Key Deer Wildlife Refuge 
P.O. Box 510 
Big Pine Key, FL 33043 

W. D. Klimstra, Director 
Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory 
Southern Illinois University 
Carbondale.IL 62901 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Khmstra et al. (1974) noted that key deer 
appear to be growing to a larger size in the last 
few years, perhaps due to improved nutrition. 
The tiixonomic status of the key deer has been 
questioned and is now under investigation by 
Klimstra and others. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Alexander, T. R., and J. H. Dickson. 1970. Vege- 
tational changes in the National Key Deer Re- 
fuge. Q. J. Florida Acad. Sci. 33(2):81-89. 

. 1972. Vegetational changes in the Na- 
tional Key Deer Refuge -II. Q. J. Florida 
Acad. Sci. 35(2):85-96. 

Barbour, T., and G. M. Allen. 1922. The white- 
tailed deer of eastern United States. J. Mam- 
mal. 3(2):65-78. 

Dickson, J. D., III. 1955. An ecological study of 
the Key deer. Florida Game Fresh Water Fish 
Comm., Tech. Bull. 3. 104 pp. 



Dooley, A. 1975. Foods of the Florida key deer. 
M. A. Thesis. So. IlHnois Univ., Carbondale. 
80 pp. 

Hardin, J. W. 1974. Behavior, socio-biology, and 
reproductive life history of the Florida key 
deer, Odocoileus virginianus clavium. Ph. D. 
Dissert. So. Illinois Univ., Carbondale. 226 
pp. 

Harlow, R. F., and F. K. Jones, Jr. 1965. The 
white-tailed deer in Florida. Florida Game 
Fresh Water Fish Comm., Tech. Bull. 9. 240 
pp. 

Klimstra, W. D. 1968-1972. Key deer investiga- 
tions annual progress reports to the U.S. 
Dept. of Interior., Bur. Sport Fish. Wildl., 
Coop. Wildl. Res. Lab., So. Illinois Univ., Car- 
bondale. Unpubl. 

. 1979. Key deer. Pages 15-17 in]. N. 

Layne, ed. Rare and endangered biota of 

Florida, Vol. I, Mammals. Univ. Presses of 
Florida, Gainesville. 

Klimstra, W. D., J. W. Hardin, N. J. Silvy, B. W. 
Jacobson, and V. A. Terpening. 1974. Key 
deer investigations final report to the U.S. 
Dept. of Interior, Bur. Sports Fish. Wildl., Co- 
op. Wildl. Res. Lab., So. Illinois Univ., Car- 
bondale. 184 pp. Unpubl. 

Sokoloff, B., J. B. Reed, and R. Dutcher. 1949 
(1950). Nutritive value of mangrove leaves 
(Rhizophora mangle). Q.J. Florida Acad. Sci. 
12(3):191-194. 

U.S. Department of the Interior. 1973. Threatened 
wildlife of the United States. Compiled by Of- 
fice of Endangered Species and International 
Activities, Bur. Sports Fish. Wildl. Resour. 
Publ. 114. U.S. Govt. Printing Office, Wash- 
ington, D.C. 289 pp. 

GATEKEEPER 

To be designated by the Office of Endangered 
Species. 

ACCOUNT PREPARED/UPDATED BY: 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory 

412 N.E. 16th Avenue, Room 250 
Gainesville, FL 32601 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.49 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

LAYSAN DUCK 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoasl of the Unitetl States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and c()nscr\'ation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Knginccrs in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed \.u: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Coinputcr Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.49 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 



LAYSAN DUCK 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildhfe Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




CREDIT: DAVID B. MARSHAUL 



LAYSAN DUCK 

Anas laysanensis Rothschild 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Anseriformes 

FAMILY Anatidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES . . . .Laysan teal, Laysan Island duck 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Update To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered (42 FR 36425, 14 July 

1977; 42 FR 10476, 22 Feb 1977. 
States: Endangered: Hawaii 



REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Palmer found these ducks exceedingly tame 
(Rothschild 1900). Other observers since have 
commented on their tame behavior (Ely and 
Clapp 1973). Weak flight allows capture by hand 
after a flight of 125 yards (Wetmore in Delacour 
1956). Their dependence on the lagoon increased 
their vulnerability (Warner 1963). They are now 
rare, after recovering from near extinction due to 
denudation of vegetation by European rabbits 
{Oryctolagus caniculus) introduced about 1903. 
The last rabbits were eliminated in 1923, and 
vegetation recovered. The duck population also 
recovered, but has fluctuated considerably since. 
By 1957, it was thought to be near its saturation 
point; it then declined from unknown causes to 
the point where it was close to extinction again 
(King in press. Fish and Wildlife Service 1973. 



Ely and Clapp 1973, Berger 1972, Warner 1963, 
Ripley 1960). More recent counts have varied 
from 69 in July 1974 to 287 in August 1976. 
The last count w^as 240 in August 1977, so the 
present status is relatively good (Eugene Kridler 
personal communication). 

Reasons for the rapid and extreme population 
fluctuation in recent years are evidently unknown, 
but the main one is probability inability to count 
all birds present (Eugene Kridler pers. comm.). 
Ely and Clapp (1973) say adults have no known 
enemies on the island and destruction of eggs by 
Laysan finches and young by frigatebirds is prob- 
ably negligible. The limiting factor in the past and 
now must have been the environment. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

33 

DESCRIPTION 

The Laysan Duck is a small, dark brown duck 
similar to the Hawaiian duck, but smaller and 
redder; head and neck are blackish, often 
speckled irregularly wdth white almost around the 
bill and on the face and chin; there is always a 
white ring around the eyes. The speculum is green 
and black, bordered with white posteriorly. The 
bill is narrow. Females are more boldly marked 
than males; the speculum is sooty brown, some- 
times with a little green (Delacour 1956). 

Size — Male: wingspan 192-210 mm, tail 100- 
105 mm; culmen 39-40 mm; tarsus 37-39 mm; 
Female: wingspan 190-196 mm; tail 90 mm, 
culmen 38-39 mm; tarsus 35-38 mm (Delacour 
1956). 

The downy young are like those of the com- 
mon mallard, but smaller and redder above and 
cinnamon below; markings on upper parts are 
indistinct (Delacour 1956). 

Eggs are greenish white, 55 by 38 mm (Fisher 
1903). 

RANGE 

Laysan Island (4 km ), in the northwestern or 
leeward Hawaiian Islands, is the only known 
range. According to von Kittlitz in Phillips 
(1923), it also occured on adjoining Lisianski 
Island in 1928, but this statement has never been 
verified and is considered almost certainly er- 



roneous (King in press, Ely and Clapp 1973, 
Berger 1972). Although 525 individuals have been 
banded since 1958, no natural occurrences away 
from Laysan Island have been recorded (Ely and 
Clapp 1973). The details of published records of 
Laysan ducks on Laysan Island from 28 March 
1928 to 9 September 1960 are given by Ely and 
Clapp (1973). 

RANGE MAP 

Total Range (Ely and Clapp 1973). 

STATES /COUNTIES 

Hawaii Leeward Islands 

HABITAT 

All plant associations on Laysan Island are 
used, but concentrations are found in low sedges 
and vines around the central lagoon (Ely and 
Clapp 1973, Warner 1963, E. Kridler in King in 
press). Fisher (1903) and Bailey (1956) found 
birds concentrated at a small brackish or fresh- 
water pond near the southwest corner of the 
lagoon, always a favorite spot until its disappear- 
ance in the 1920's. They rarely occur on the 
hypersaline and almost lifeless main lagoon and 
almost never on the ocean (Warner 1963, Ely and 
Clapp 1973). A. Wetmore in Ely and Clapp 
(1973) noted that birds rested among rocks 
during the day, and at night walked inland to 
the lagoon margin and patches of vegetation 
which probably provided food. More recently, 
ducks have concentrated around slightly brackish 
water available at several points following heavy 
rains. They apparently survive long periods when 
neither fresh nor slightly brackish water is avail- 
able. The home range of each pair usually con- 
tains a strip of lagoon shore (Woodside and 
Kramer in Ely and Clapp 1973). Ducks occur 
throughout the island, but most of them are 
found in the beach morning glory near the 
lagoon during the day (Ely and Clapp 1973). 

They formerly used permanent freshwater 
areas that are now filled with sand as a result of 
the rabbits' destruction of the vegetation cover 
(Warner 1963), complete except for three patches 
of sesuvium that may have enabled the remnant 
population of ducks to survive (Warner 1963). 
Now that vegetation has recovered, the sesuvium 



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is completely ignored. Present vegetation is dis- 
tributed in zones away from the lagoon. The la- 
goon flat at the water's edge is covered with alter- 
nating strands of sedge {Sicyos sp.), heliotrope 
[Heliotropium currasavicum) , and sesuvium (Se- 
suvium portulacastrum) . The next zone is a knee- 
deep mat of beach morning glory [Ipomoea pes- 
caprae), which almost surrounds the lagoon. 
Farther up the gradual slope above the water 
table, morning glory is replaced by a dense belt of 
bunch grass [Erogrostis variabilis), often mixed 
with puncture vine {Tribulus cistoides) and boer- 
haavia (Boerhaavia diffusa). Still farther up the 
slope, the plant cover thins to scattered mats of 
prostrate succulent boerhaavia interspersed with 
bunch grass. Occasional clumps of scaevola 
{Scaevola fructescens) are scattered about the 
higher ridges of the island. Ducks use all of these 
vegetation zones for feeding, although they are 
restricted to the morning glory and bunch grass 
interphase and boerhaavia zones when molting 
and flightless (Warner 1963). Fresh or slightly 
brackish water seeps are used for bathing when 
available, but there are long periods when these 
are not available. There is some evidence of salt 
secretion by the nasal glands, and also that rain 
water on bushes is used for bathing (Warner 
1963). 



FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The stomach of a male collected near a pond 
was gorged with small flies resembling the com- 
mon housefly (Fisher 1903). Warner (1963) 
noted that sesuvium, so heavily utilized when it 
was the major remaining vegetation on Laysan 
during rabbit infestation, is now completely 
ignored as food. Most feeding and other activity 
begins at dusk and continues to about midnight 
(Ely and Clapp 1973. Warner 1963). These ducks 
are primarily insectivorous, at least during the 
summer months (Ely and Clapp 1973). Warner 
(1963) describes nocturnal feeding on cutworms, 
which are larvae of a nocturnal moth {Agrostis 
sp.), both from vegetation and the sand beneath, 
and pursuit of brine flies along the lagoon edge. 
He observed feeding on littoral invertebrates in 
tide pools as well as on larvae and pupae of flies 
and beetles in the sand around seabird carcasses. 
He believed that plant materials were eaten, if at 



all, only incidentally to the animal food which 
was actively sought. He noted that ducks follow 
favored routes for feeding activities. He deter- 
mined the home range to be about 0.81 ha, and 
much smaller during the summer flightless period 
while molting. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

When approached, the birds usually walk into 
vegetation, and less often, paddle into the lagoon 
or take flight (Ely and Clapp 1973). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

The nest is a down-lined depression under 
vegetation (Ely and Clapp 1973). One nest was 
placed under a thick chenopodium bush close to 
a pond. The shallow bowl was a little over 12.7 
cm in diameter, formed of long, dry sedge stems 
(Fisher 1903). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

None described. 

OTHER CRITICAL REQUIREMENTS 

None known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Fisher (1903) estimated their numbers at 
less than 100 in 1903. Dill and Bryan (1912) 
could not be sure of more than 6 individuals 
in 1911. Munter (1915) counted 13 on the fresh- 
water pond in 1915. J. S. Palmer (m Phillips 
1923) reported about 35 in 1918. A. Wetmore 
(in Phillips 1923) left 14 in 1923. Brock (1951) 
found 33 in 1950. 

Never very common, they declined to mini- 
mum between 1920 and 1930. A thorough 
search in 1930 discovered only 1 female (Ely 
and Clapp 1973). By 1957, the population had 
recovered to an estimated 600 (Warner 1963). 
Estimates fluctuated between 200 and 300 until 
1969, then dechned to only 75 birds in 1970 
(Fish and Wildlife Service, Ely and Clapp, Berger 
1972; King in press). In 1972, the estimated 
number was 175, but in 1973, they were down 
to less than 40 (E. Kridler 1974 in King in press). 
More recent counts are: July 1974—69, August 
1975-251, May 1976-100, August 1976-287, 
August 1977— 240, (Eugene Kridler pers.comm.). 



The extreme variation in counts even during the 
same year shows the difficulty of observing all 
birds present, probably due to the secretiveness 
and nocturnal habits of the species noted by 
Warner (1963). 

There is a captive population of over 150 in 
zoos and private collections (King in press). 

REPRODUCTION 

H. M. Smith found 7 downy young in broods 
of 3 and 4 in 1950 (Brock 1951). Fisher (1903) 
found 6 eggs in a nest. The species breeds readily 
in captivity (Ripley 1960). 

The nesting cycle is evidently an extended 
one. Pairing is first observed in early March and 
continues until mid-summer. There seems to be 
no published report of courtship behavior (Ely 
and Clapp 1973), Warner 1963). Usual clutch 
size is 5 or 6. The earliest recorded hatching date 
is 19 May (Fisher 1903). Most eggs are laid in 
May, but the season extends through July. 
Incubation takes 27 to 28 days, The drake 
guards the incubating female. The chicks remain 
in the nest with the female for 2 days. In the 
wild, males sometimes tend the brood (Warner 
1963, Ely and Clapp 1973). 

High chick mortality, which reduced brood 
size from an average of 3 at hatching to about 1 
or less at 1 month, strongly suggests that this 
may be a limit on population growth (Warner 
1963). 

Warner (1963) considered destruction of 
eggs by Laysan finches and young by frigate- 
birds a possible but unproved limiting factor on 
population; Ely and Clapp (1973) thought it to 
be probably negligible. 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The entire range (Laysan Island) is within 
the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge. 
Landings on the island are restricted by permit. 
The species is protected by Federal and State 
law, and Listed in Appendix 1 of the 1973 Con- 
vention on International Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. A census is 
conducted periodically by the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service. Conservation measures pro- 
posed by King (in press) are: 

1. Increase patrols of Laysan Island to 
prevent unauthorized landings and to prevent 



introduction of additional pest plants, in- 
sects, and predators such as dogs, cats, and 
rats. 

2. Introduce captive-reared Laysan ducks 
to another Pacific island with suitable habi- 
tat (Fish and Wildlife Service, King in press). 

Introduction attempts include a release of 
24 or 25 in the Kewalo marsh on the outskirts 
of Honolulu in 1894 by a Mr. Whitney, but none 
have been taken since (Ely and Clapp 1973). In 
March 1968, 12 were transported from Laysan 
to Southeast Island, Pearl and Hermes Reef, by 
Fish and Wildlife Service personnel. All disap- 
peared soon after introduction (Ely and Clapp 
1973, E. Kridler 1974 in King in press, Fish and 
Wildlife Service 1973). Beginning with 44 cap- 
tured birds, rearing in captivity has been very 
succesful in the Hawaii zoo and numerous main- 
land aviaries (Warner 1963, Ripley 1960). A re- 
covery team has been appointed and a recovery 
plan for the Laysan duck is now in progress. 

AUTHORITIES 

Eugene Kridler 
835 Akumu Street 
Kailua, Hawaii 96743 

Richard Warner 
Building 737 IFAS 
University of Florida 
Gainesville, Florida 32611 



PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

The great variation in population estimates 
at different times, even during the same year, is 
evidence of the inadequacy of present inventory 
methods. Also, the almost complete lack of in- 
formation on the factors that limit the population 
indicates a definite need for additional research 
on both of these problems in particular. 

Introduction of predatory or competing ani- 
mals, particularly rats, on Laysan Island as a 
result of unauthorized or unknown landings re- 
mains the greatest threat to the continued sur- 
vival of the duck, so the sooner another popu- 
lation can be established on another island, the 
safer it will be from such accidents.— John W. 
Aldrich. 



LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Bailey, A. M. 1942. The portuluca flats of Lay- 
san. Audubon Mag. 44:150-161. 

. 1956. Birds of Midway and Laysan Is- 



lands. Denver Mus. Nat. His., Mus. Pictorial 
12:1-130 (80-38). 

Berger, A. J. 1972. Hawaiian birdlife. Univ. 
Press of Hawaii, Honolulu. 

Brock, V. E. 1951. Some observations of the 
Laysan Duck, Anas wyvilliana laysensis. Auk 
68:371-372. 

Delacour, J. 1956. The waterfowl of the World, 
Vol. 2., Country Life Ltd., London, p. 49. 

Dill, H. R., and W. A. Bryan. 1912. Report of an 
expedition to Laysan Island in 1911. U.S. 
Dep. Agric. Biol. Surv. Bull. 42. 30 pp. 

Ely, C. A., and R. B. Clapp. 1973. The natural 
history of Laysan Island, northwestern Ha- 
waiian Islands. Atoll Res. Bull. 177. pp. 

Fish and Wildlife Service. 1973. Threatened wild- 
life of the United States. U.S. Bur. Sport 
Fish. Wildl. Resource Publ. 114. pp. 

Fisher, W. K. 1903. Notes on the birds peculiar 
to Laysan Island, Hawaiian group. Auk 20: 
384-397. 



Greenway, J. C, Jr. 1958. Extinct and vanishing 
birds of the World. Spec. Pub. 13, Amer. 
Commit, for Internat. Wildl. Protect. 
New York. pp. 167-168. 

King, W. in press. (Revised). Red data book, 
Aves. Survival Service, lUCN, Morges, Switz- 
erland. 

Lint, K. D. 1960. Preserving the Laysan Teal. 
Zoonooz 33(8):6-7. 

Munter, W. H. 1915. Report of destruction of 
bird life on Laysan Island. Ann. Rep. Coast 
Guard for 1915:130-140. 

Phillips, J. C. 1923. Natural history of the ducks. 
Vol. 2. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 
pp. 51-52. 

Ripley, S. D. 1960. Laysan Teal in captivity. 
Wilson Bull. 72:244-247. 

Rothschild, W. 1900. The avifauna of Laysan 
and neighboring islands; with a complete his- 
tory to date of the birds of the Hawaiian 
possessions. Pt. 3. R. H. Porter, London. 

Warner, R. E. 1963. Recent history and ecology 
of the Laysan Duck. Condor 65:3-23. 

Wetmore, A. 1925. Bird life among lava rock 
and coral sand. Nat. Geog. Mag. 48:77-108. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.50 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States 

RED HILLS SALAMANDER 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this scries of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the F.ndangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngincers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed to: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems 1 eam 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
iNASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704.58 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.50 
March 1980 



/ 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES 

RED HILLS SALAMANDER 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 



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CREDIT: R.H. MOUNT 



RED HILLS SALAMANDER 

Phaeoffiatbus hubrichti High ton 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Amphibia 

ORDER Caudata 

FAMILY Plethodontidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Hubricht's salamander, 

Alabama red hills salamander. 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS to be determined 

Updates 23 July 1977,31 March 1978 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Threatened (41 FR 53032-53034, 
3 December 1976). 

States: None. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Timber harvesting by clearcutting, site prepa- 
ration, and conversion of mixed hardwood stands 
to pine plantations have been shown to cause lo- 
calized extermination of red hills salamanders 
(French 1976). The amount of suitable habitat is 



steadily shrinking due to these timber manage- 
ment practices (Jordan and Mount 1975). 

Overcollection by amateur and professional 
herpetologists has reduced populations in some 
areas (41 FR 53032-53034, 3 December 1976). 

Natural low fertility (Brandon 1965) inhibits 
recovery of decimated populations. 

PRIORITY INDEX 

Not assigned. 

DESCRIPTION 

The red hills salamander is solid dark brown 
to black, with no pattern. Palms, soles, and snout 
are somewhat paler. Adults are 80 to 119 mm in 
snout-to-vent length (total length up to 256 mm); 
the body is elongate with 20 to 22 costal grooves 
and proportionately small limbs. The eyes are 
protuberant. 

RANGE 

The salamander is known only from south 
central Alabama between the Conecuh and Ala- 
bama Rivers, where it is restricted to the Talla- 
hatta and Hatchetigbee geological formations. Its 
known distribution includes 22,213 ha (French 
1976). An additional 1,485 ha contiguous with 



the present range are believed to have supported 
red hills salamanders prior to timber harvesting 
and conversion to pine within the last decade 
(French 1976). 

RANGE MAP 

The total known distribution is indicated by 
shading. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Alabama Butler, Conecuh, Covington, Cren- 
shaw, Monroe. 

HABITAT 

The species lives in burrows on the slopes of 
cool, moist ravines shaded by an overstory of 
mixed hardwood trees. It does not occur in pine 
forests. 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

The salamander feeds at or very near the 
mouth of its burrow at night, especially for the 
first hour or two after sunset. Prey items include 
spiders and small insects that are caught with its 
sticky tongue. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

This species requires shaded, moist ravines 
with ground litter and a friable soil for burrow- 
ing. Displaced individuals apparently do not make 
(or find) new burrows, and are thus permanently 
eliminated from the population (R. Jordan per- 
sonal communication). Burrows are apparently 
not started from the surface, but only by sub- 
surface branching off from other burrows. 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nesting requirements are unknown. A cap- 
tive female laid a clutch of infertile eggs, attached 
to the underside of a piece of bark (R. Mount per- 
sonal communication). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

Not known. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

The very specific habitat of this species may 
be its only environmental requirement. 



POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

The species was discovered in 1960. No popu- 
lation estimates are available. Most of the suitable 
habitat is owmed by timber companies who have 
been harvesting, preparing sites, and converting 
the mixed hardwood forests to pine plantations. 
French (1976) estimates that at least 6% of its 
range has been made unsuitable by these practices 
within the past 10 years. 

REPRODUCTION 

Little is known, but the presence of only a 
few large ovarian ova in adult females suggests 
that direct development occurs within the egg, 
without a free-living larval stage (Brandon 1965). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Within the range of the red hills salamander, 
most timber companies are now 'marking out' the 
ravines and steep slopes and harvesting only the 
largest trees (French 1976). One company has 
issued a policy statement indicating its intention 
to protect salamander habitat (R. Mount personal 
communication) . 

AUTHORITIES 

Thomas W. French 
Department of Life Sciences 
Indiana State University 
Terre Haute, IN 47809 

Ralph Jordan, Jr. 

Tennessee Valley Authority 

Regional Heritage Program 

Division of Forestry 

Fisheries and Wildlife Development 

Norris,TN 37828 

Robert H. Mount 

Department of Zoology-Entomology 

Auburn University 

Auburn, AL 36830 

Terry D. Schwaner 
Museum of Natural History 
University of Kansas 
Lavinrence.KS 66044 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

Although much remains to be learned about 
this salamander, the knowledge required to pre- 
vent threats to its existence is apparently available. 




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LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

Brandon, R. A. 1965. Morphological variation 
and ecology of the salamander Phaeognathus 
hubrichti. Copeia 1965(1):67-71. 

. 1966. Phaeognathus and P. hubrichti. 

Pages 26.1-26.2 in Cat. Am. Amphib. Rep- 
tiles. Am. Soc. Ichtyol. Herpetol. 

French, T. W. 1976. Report on the status and 
future of the red hills salamander, Phaeog- 
nathus hubrichti. Office of Endangered Spe- 
cies, U.S. Fish Wildl. Serv., Washington, 
D.C. 

French, T. W., and R. H. Mount. 1978. Current 
status of the red hills salamander, Phaeog- 
nathus hubrichti Highton, and factors affect- 
ing its distribution. J. Ala. Acad. Sci. 49:172- 
179. 

Highton, R. 1961. A new genus of lungless sala- 
mander from the Coastal Plain of Alabama. 
Copeia 1962(l):65-58. 

Jordan, J. R. 1973. Sexual dimorphism in the red 
hills sa\2imai\dcx , Phaeognathus hubrichti High- 
ton (Amphibia: caudata: plethodontidae), 
with comments on its phylogenetic assign- 
ment. Assoc. S. E. Biol. Bull. 20(2)-62. 

. 1975. Observations on the natural his- 



tory and ecology of the red hills salamander, 
Phaeognathus hubrichti Highton (caudata: 
plethodontidae). M.S. Thesis, Auburn Univ., 
Auburn, Ala. 53 pp. 

Jordan, J. R., and R. H. Mount. 1975. The status 
of the red hills salamander, Phaeognathus 
hubrichti. J. Herpetol. 9:211-215. 

Mount, R. H. 1975. The reptiles and amphibians 
of Alabama. Auburn Printing Co., Auburn, 
Ala. 347 pp. 

Mount, R. H., and T. D. Schwaner. 1970. A tech- 
nique for collecting the plethodontid salaman- 
der Phaeognathus hubrichti. Copeia (1):205- 
206. 

Schwaner, T. C. 1970. The Alabama red hills sala- 
mander. Alabama Conserv. 1970:7. 

Schwaner, T. D., and R. H. Mount. 1970. Notes 
on the distribution, habits, and ecology of the 
salamander Phaeognathus hubrichti Highton. 
Copeia 1970(3):571-573. 

Valentine, B. D. 1963a. The plethodontid sala- 
mander Phaeognathus: external morphology 
and zoogeography. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washing- 
ton 76:153-158. 

1963b. The plethodontid salamander 



Phaeognathus: collecting techniques and ha- 
bits. J. Ohio Herpetol. Soc. 4:49-54. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.51 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 

ARCTIC PEREGRINE FALCON 




Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoasl of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data arc not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the l",ndangered Species .\ct of 1973, as diiniulcd). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SVVIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Kngineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biok)gical Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this series to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell. Louisiana 704.'')8 



u 



FWS/OBS-80/01.51 
March 1980 



SELECTED VERTEBRATE ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAST OF THE UNITED STATES- 
ARCTIC PEREGRINE FALCON 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald W. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell, Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




PHOTO OF CLOSELY RELATED SUBSPECIES 



CREDIT: KENNETH FINK 



ARCTIC PEREGRINE FALCON 

Falco peregrinus tundrius White (1968) 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Falconiformes 

FAMILY Falconidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES Duck Hawk (AOU 1931); 

Beach Peregrine, Blond Peregrine (fal- 
coner's names, White 1968); Tundra Pere- 
grine (Ruos 1970 and numerous authors). 

DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates To be determined 



LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (42 FR 36425, 14 July 
1977 p. 36425). Protected, Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act of 3 July 1918 (40 
Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703-711) as 
amended 3 Dec. 1969. Public Law 91- 
135. Listed, Appendix I, Convention 
on International Trade in Endangered 
Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (42 
FR 10476, 22 Feb. 1977). 

States: Endangered: Alaska, South Carolina, 
Texas - Listed: Florida. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS 

Up to 1960, no long-term data are available 
by which to detect either an increase or decrease 



in the total population of peregrines of northern 
Canada. In general, up to that time, it had been 
observed as a common breeding bird in an exten- 
sive area (Fyfe 1969). 

In 1969, J. L. Ruos (pers. comm.) estimated 
the annual harvest of tundra-breeding peregrines 
(taken by falconers, mostly during migration) at 
between 60 and 120 individuals, over 90% of 
which were first-year birds. The effect of this 
former harvest on the population is unknown, but 
it has been prohibited under present migratory 
bird regulations in the United States, where most 
of it occurred. 

Earlier investigation of the Alaskan popula- 
tion (Enderson et al. 1968; Cade et al. 1968) and 
the Canadian population (Enderson and Berger 
1968) indicated that members of this subspecies 
were reproducing normally. However, Cade et al. 
(1968) found that residues of organochlorines in 
tissues and eggs appeared to be near the threshold 
at which abnormal reproductive effects begin. 
More recent studies by Cade and Fyfe (1970), 
Berger et al. (1970), and Cade et al. (1971) indi- 
cated that shell thinning was pronounced in pere- 
grines from the northwest territories, the Ungava 
region, and Alaska. The thinning approached or 
exceeded 20%, the level at which reproductive 
failures seem to begin. In addition, there was evi- 
dence that F. p. tundrius populations of arctic 
Canada and Alaska had declined suddenly. No 
other reason for this decline than the effect of 
pesticide poisoning on reproduction is suggested 
(Cade and Fyfe 1970:235). 

PRIORITY INDEX 

10 

DESCRIPTION 

The Arctic peregrine falcon is a medium- 
sized, pointed winged, swift flying bird of prey 
with prominent black and white facial markings; 
adults have slate gray back and white underparts 
streaked and barred with black. Immatures are 
brownish above and more heavily streaked below 
than adults. They are similar to American pere- 
grine falcons (anatum), but smaller and in all 
plumages more lightly marked with paler browns 
or bluish grays and less ventral rufous wash. Black 
facial markings are more restricted (White 1968). 

Distinction between tundris and anatum in 
adult plumage is best made by facial markings 



(width of black between eye and white auriculcir, 
and width of malar stripe at base) and white fore- 
head. The rufous basal portion of nape feathers, 
which is whiter ventrally and somewhat paler dor- 
sally, are also useful characters. Immature plum- 
aged tundrius is distinguished from anatum by 
facial characters, including a complete white 
superciliary stripe, with darker stripe running 
posterior to the eye usually present; also a median 
pair of tail feathers conspiciously barred with 
"vinaceous buff" (M. Ralph Browning ms. 1972). 
Measurements (all in mm unless otherwise 
indicated; values in parentheses are averages). - 
Adult male (64 specimens): wing (chord) 292-330; 
tail, 134-154 (140.5); tarsus 40-50 (44.3); bHl 
without cere 15-20 (18.7); bUl with cere 22-25 
(24.0); weight (12 breeding specimens), 550-647 
(610.9) g. Adult female (62 specimens); wing 
331-368 (351.8); tail 138-180 (167.8); tarsus 42- 
57 (49.8); biU without cere 21-24 (22.7); bill with 
cere 26-30 (27.8); weight (19 breeding specimens) 
825-1094 g (952.9 g). Immature male (27 speci- 
mens): wing 295-319 (311.1); tail 135-162 
(151.8); tarsus 38-50 (44.0); bill without cere 17- 
19 (18.3); bill with cere 22-25 (22.7); weight (4 
specimens, fuUy fledged) 477-662 (570.0). Im- 
mature female (30 specimens): wing 320-367 
(349.6); tail, 155-189 (175.6); tarsus 44-(?)55 
(49.1); bill without cere 19-24 (21.4); bill with 
cere 23-28 (26.4); weight (3 specimens, fully 
fledged) 844-925 g (889.0 g) (White 1968). 

RANGE 

F. p. tundrius breeds in tundra areas through- 
out Arctic Alaska, Canada, and western Green- 
land, from the northern tip of the Mackenzie Dis- 
trict south and east across the Arctic tundra to 
Hudson Bay, along the north coast of Ungava and 
north into the Arctic islands as far as northern 
Baffin Island and Melville Island; wesward as far 
as Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, and eastward to 
the western coast of Greenland. The subspecies 
intergrades morphologically with anatum in open 
boreal forest or taiga areas of Alaska and Canada 
(Fyfe 1969; White 1968). 

These peregrines migrate largely along the 
Atlantic coast and to some extent through the in- 
terior of the continent. The Atlantic coastal flight 
includes some birds from western Greenland. 
They winter north (sparingly) from at least Cape 
Sable, Florida and Cameron Bayou Louisiana 



(probably along entire gulf coast) and Baja Cali- 
fornia (occasionally); south through West Indies, 
Central and South America to 40° S in Chile and 
35° S in Argentina (White 1968; Rice in Hickey 
ed 1969; Shor 1970a; Mueller and Berger 1961; 
Hofslud 1966;Enderson 1965, 1969). 

Ward and Berry (1972), analyzing records of 
sightings and bandings of fall migrants on the 
outer beaches of Assateague Island, Maryland, 
from 1939-1971, determined that the proportion 
of immatures in different years was 81% to 91%. 
Of birds trapped for banding in those years, only 
8% of the adults and 30% of the immatures were 
males. A decline in total numbers during the 
study period was indicated (Ward and Berry 
1972). Shor (1970) points out that data on pro- 
duction indicate that this great preponderance of 
immatures is impossible unless we assume that 
about 90% of adult birds are not seen in migra- 
tion. It was assumed that most of the birds re- 
corded were Arctic Peregrines, the majority pos- 
sibly from Greenland breeding localities, as in- 
dicated by Shore (1970). 

Migrants appear in numbers on an island off 
Kenai Peninsula, Alaska around 1 September. It 
is not known where they go from there. Some in- 
dividuals, almost certainly from the Arctic migrant 
population, have been taken in July and August 
in mid-latitudes of the United States (White 
1969). 

Mueller and Berger (1961) recorded 150 pere- 
grines in fall migration along the west shore of 
Lake Michigan from 1952 to 1957. They were 
seen with concentrations of hawks of various 
species along that migration route, and their 
abundance at any one time was correlated with 
weather conditions that caused updrafts of air. 

RANGE MAP 

The Breeding range (Fyfe et al. 1976) and 
migration range are shown on the following map. 

STATES/COUNTIES (within main migration 
routes): 

Barnstable, Nantucket, Dukes 

Washington 

Suffolk, Nassau 

Monmouth, Ocean, Atlantic, 
Cape May 

Delaware: Sussex 



Maryland: 
Virginia: 
North Carolina: 

South Carolina: 

Georgia: 

Florida: 



Minnesota: 
Wisconsin: 

Illinois: 
Texas: 



Massachusetts: 
Rhode Island: 
New York: 
New Jersey: 



Worcester 

Accomack, Northampton 

Currituck, Dane, Hyde, Carteret, 
Onslow, Pender, Hanover, 
Brunswick 

Horry, Georgetown, Charleston, 
Colleton, Beaufort 

Chatham, Liberty, Mcintosh, 
Glynn, Camden 

Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Flag- 
ler, Volusia, Brevard, Indian 
River, St. Lucie, Martin, Palm 
Beach, Broward, Dade, Collier 

St. Louis 

Douglas, Door, Kewaunee, Man- 
itowoc, Sheboygan, Ozaukee, 
Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha 

Lake 

Jefferson, Chambers, Galveston, 
Brazoria, Matagorda, Calhoun, 
Aransas, Nueces, Kleberg, 
Kenedy, Willacy, Cameron 



HABITAT 

Peregrines prefer cliff ledges for nesting sites, 
but in the absence of these, will nest on cutbanks 
along rivers or coastal areas, on elevated landforms 
known as dykes, and occasionally on low mounds 
or even boulders. In nearly all instances, nests are 
located in the immediate vicinity of a body of 
water, either salt or fresh. If cliffs are not close to 
water or if no food species are available, nesting 
peregrines will be scarce or absent (Fyfe 1969). In 
the case of joint occupancy of bluffs by peregrines 
and gyrfalcons along the Colville River in Alaska, 
peregrine nests were usually at the brink of a 
slope or on a bluff to which a person could walk, 
whereas gyrfalcon nests were on ledges on vertical 
faces of cliffs, usually under an overhang, and ac- 
cesible only by rope (White 1969). 

In arctic Canada, these falcons nest on cliffs 
and cut banks of rivers if food is available nearby. 
In the central Canadian barrens near Cotwoyto 
Lake, the landforms known as dykes provide 
rocky formations elevated over the surrounding 
countryside that are suitable for nesting. Where 
land relief is slight in the central barrens (tundra) 
of Canada, peregrines nest on boulders and hum- 
mocks as little as 1 m above the surrounding area. 




Breeding range and migration routes of the Arctic peregrine falcon 



Rivers are important in the falcon's environ- 
ment; they create the nesting cliffs by erosion and 
provide bathing facilities, especially on gravel 
bars; rivers also provide habitat for shorebirds and 
v^aterfowl for the falcon's food. Peregrines also 
hunt extensively over the surrounding country, 
particularly taking ptarmigan and longspurs (Cade 
1960). 

They seldom nest on the cliffs along the Bering 
Sea coast of mainland Alaska or in the mountains 
above 800 m. A cliff of some sort is the most im- 
portant feature of the nesting habitat (Cade 1960). 

FOOD AND FORAGING 

Food would not be a limiting factor in most 
of northern Canada. Throughout that area, pas- 
serines, shorebirds and waterfowl are abundant 
in summer, with the exception of the Arctic 
desert areas or relatively barren mountain tops on 
Baffin Island (Fyfe 1969; Cade 1954). 

Bumham and Maddox (m Fyfe et al. 1976) 
reported that four species of small passerine birds 
made up over 90% of the food of peregrines in 
western Greenland. J. N. Rice and R. B. Berry 
(ms. 1970) also found that, with the exception of 
a single ptarmigan, the peregrines nesting at 
Ungava Bay in 1970 fed entirely on small pas- 
serines, primarily horned larks, snow buntings, 
and water pipits. Cade (1960), however, reported 
that Arctic peregrines take a wide variety of avian 
prey (waterfowl, shorebirds, and passerines), with 
no single species predominating except possibly 
ptarmigan. In his opinion, peregrines probably 
feed heavily on lemmings during their cyclical 
abundance, but that the availability of lemming 
does not affect the peregrine population. 

SHELTER REQUIREMENTS 

None 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

In Arctic Alaska and Canada, nests are scrapes 
in either earth or gravel, on bare grass, rocky cliffs, 
cutbanks, dykes, boulders, or hummocks. Three 
nests in old rough-legged hawks nests had eggs 
laid on bare sticks with no soft material. Five 
nests in old rough-legged hawk nests had eggs 
and other plant material (Hohn 1955, McEwen 
1957;Cade (1960); Fyfe 1969). 

Cliff nests are typical for the species and are 
situated on a ledge or in a hole, often under a pro- 



tecting overhang. Nests on boulders and hum- 
mocks have little or no protection from above 
(Fyfe 1969). All nesting sites known in Alaska 
were on cliffs on islands or along the coast or 
river bluffs (Cade 1960). Of 57 eyries along the 
Colville River, height of the nests above the river 
ranged from 3.2 m to 96 m (average 35 m); the 
distance below the brink of the cliff was to 90 
(average 14) m. Fifteen of 57 eyries were located 
on shale formations, 17 on sandstone or conglo- 
merate, and 27 on earth or talus banks. Eleven 
were in old rough-legged hawk nests. The brinks 
of the cliffs are usually overgrown with dense 
thickets of alder and willow scrub (Cade 1960). 
All nests found by Burnham and Mattox (in Fyfe 
et al. 1976) in western Greenland were located 
on rocky cliffs varying in height from 25 to 120 
m. All nests found in Alaska were on cliffs, mostly 
along rivers (Cade 1960). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

The complex courtship and mating ritual is 
described under Reproduction. A strong pair 
bond is essential to the reproductive success of 
the species (Cade 1960). 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

Suitable nesting sites near an adequate food 
supply and freedom from organochlorine chemi- 
cals in the environment are the most critical re- 
quirements. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

White (1969) said the number of breeding 
adults on the Arctic Slope of Alaska seems to be 
maintaining itself and there was no evidence of a 
decrease in reproductive capacity. 

Population density was approximately one 
pair per 52 km^ of suitable habitat in the Bathurst 
Inlet area, Canada, and about one pair per 259 
km^ in areas of limited nesting habitat. In esti- 
mating 7,500 breeding pairs in northern Canada 
(Fyfe 1969, J. H. Enderson and D. D. Berger in 
Fyfe 1969), a sharp decline of nesting peregrines 
was found along the Mackenzie River and at 
Campbell Lake in 1966. 

Enderson (1969) calculated the mortality rate 
of peregrines on the basis of band recovery (pre- 
sumably mostly tundrius) as 70% for immatures 
and an annual rate of 25% for adults. He assumed 



that the 70% immature mortality rate is indicative 
of a declining population. 

Rice (1969) calculated from peregrines trapped 
for banding on the beaches of the Maryland- 
Virginia coast that immatures constituted 83% of 
the population in the 1954-1959 period and 
84% in the 1960-65 period. The 1954-59 sample 
included 2 adult males, 37 adult females, 50 im- 
mature males and 144 immature females. The 
1960-65 sample included 4 adult males, 26 adult 
females, 56 immature males and 116 immature 
females. Cade (1960) estimated 200 to 250 breed- 
ing pairs in Arctic Alaska. 

Cade (1960) suggests that gyrfalcons can suc- 
cessfully prevent peregrines from occupying the 
larger river cliffs and thus affect their density and 
distribution. 

In the Colville River area of about 36,800 
km^ on the Arctic slope of Alaska, the popula- 
tion of peregrines appears to have held rather 
constant in the number of breeding pairs until 
about 1970-71, and then started a severe drop. It 
may now have leveled off at about 30% to 35% of 
its former numbers, as suggested by data from 1973 
and 1975. Total numbers of pairs or single adults 
were as foUows: 1952-1959, 32-36; 1967, 27; 
1968,32;1969,33; 1971, 25; 1973, 14; 1975, 13. 
Based on early 1950 studies by Cade, the total 
population of the Colville drainage may have been 
between 120 and 160 pairs (White and Cade 1975; 
Peakalletal. 1976). 

In the Sagavanirktok River area of about 
2400 km^ on the Arctic Slope of Alaska, the 
population followed a similar pattern, but appears 
to have started to decrease earlier and declined 
slightly more. Total numbers of pairs or single 
adults were as follows: pre-1950, 11; 1958, 5; 
1963, 5; 1970, 3; 1972, 2; 1973, 2; 1974,5; 1975, 
3 (White and Cade 1975). 

Fyfe et al. (1976) note that limited data for 
other parts of Arctic Alaska indicate a population 
decline similar to the well-documented decline 
for the Colville drainage, and that it is doubtful 
that as many as 50 pairs are still producing young 
in northern Alaska where Cade (1960) estimated 
the breeding population at 200 to 300 pairs in the 
late 1950's. 

In the Canadian Arctic, most populations 
have dechned to 50% or less of their historically 
known size. On Ungave Bay, the Interior Barrens, 
Central Arctic Coast, Banks Island, and the North 
Slope of Canada where historical records exist. 



only 41% of known nesting sites were occupied in 
1975. Occupancy of newly found nests declined 
60% from 20 in 1973 to 8 in 1975, indicating an 
accelerated decline of Canadian Arctic popula- 
tions since 1973. 

In western Greenland, the observations of 
Bumham and Mattox (in Fyfe et al. 1975) re- 
vealed a substantial density of one peregrine per 
200 km^ 

REPRODUCTION 

In the Colville River area (36,800 km^) on 
the Arctic Slope of Alaska, production of young 
may have started to fall off as early as 1965 or 
1966. The numbers of young produced in 1952- 
1959 was 40 to 50; in 1967, 34; in 1968, 34; in 
1969, 26; in 1971, 14;andin 1973,9 (White and 
Cade 1975; Peakal et al. 1975). The DDE residue 
in eggs in that area through 1971 averaged about 
190 parts per million dry weight (Peakall et al. 
1975) and egg shells had thinned to about 23% 
(White and Cade 1975). 

Burnham and Mattox (m Fyfe et al. 1976), in 
an approximately 1800 km^ area of western 
Greenland, found a productivity of peregrines 
averaging nearly 2.5 young per pair over a 4-year 
period. DDE residues of 332 parts per million 
found in addled eggs and egg-shell thinning of 
14% indicate incipient problems for that popula- 
tion. Eleven peregrine egg shells taken from Arc- 
tic Ungava in 1967 ranged in thickness between 
0.25 and 0.33 mm (mean thickness 0.291 mm), 
representing a 24.4% drop from the 0.385 mean 
of 30 eggshells measured by Dan Anderson from 
"eastern Arctic" eggs collected during the first 
third of the century. In ten eggs checked, DDE 
ranged from 137 to 498 ppm on a fat basis (D. D. 
Berger pers. comm. 1970). 

Cade (1960) suggests that when peregrines 
and gyrfalcons are in direct competition, the gyr- 
falcon is the dominant competitor. On the Ander- 
son River, Fyfe (1969) found the gyrfalcon to be 
dominant and believed that where the two species 
nest during the same season, the gyrfalcon may 
displace the peregrine from the better nesting 
sites such as cliff locations, relegating the peregrine 
to dirt cutbanks. Natural hazards to nesting are 
late spring storms or excessive erosion. Because of 
the short nesting season, renesting is usually not 
possible (Fyfe 1969). A significant correlation of 
immature peregrine migration counts along Atlan- 



tic coastal beaches in October with mean daily 
minimum July temperatures in eastern Arctic 
Canada indicate that minimum temperature on 
the breeding grounds will cause a 31.6% (1-bird) 
change in numbers of migrant immature birds 
identified along the Atlantic coast per party-day 
(Ruos 1970). 

The Arctic peregrine is, in effect, reproduc- 
tively isolated from the more southern taiga pop- 
ulation by its gonad cycle. The entire courtship 
cycle of tundrius and thus the factors regulating 
pair bonding is at variance with more southern 
breeding peregrines (Cade 1960; White 1968). 

Peregrines apparently become established 
along the lower ColviUe river between 4 and 10 
May, with peak arrivals after the middle of May. 
Falcon arrival is synchronized with the arrival 
of their chief prey species. The incubation pe- 
riod probably averages about 29 days for each 
egg. Since there are intervals of 2 days between 
egg layings and incubation begins with laying of 
the first egg in the Arctic, there may be as much 
as a week's difference in the ages of the youngest 
and oldest nestlings. On the Colville, there was 
one instance of laying in the last week of May, 12 
instances in the first week of June, and 6 instances 
in the second week of June. The total range for 
any given event in the breeding cycle is barely 
more than 3 weeks. Since the total period of the 
breeding cycle from laying to the beginning of 
independent existence of the young is not less 
than 95 days in Arctic, peregrines must begin to 
lay eggs not later than the third week in June to 
ensure successful rearing of young before the 
food is gone. The average clutch of Arctic birds is 
3 eggs (54 samples), whereas the mean for the 
U.S. is 3.74 (299 samples)showing a decreasing 
size of clutch northward. Average fledging success 
on the Colville River, Alaska was 1 .4 young per 
nest. Predators on eggs and young, in addition to 
man, are a negligible factor in the Arctic. Fairly 
certain predators are the timber wolf, red fox, 
arctic ground squirrel, and golden eagle (Cade 
1960). 

Preincubation or courtship behavior divided 
into 8 parts: (1) attraction of mates to each other, 
(2) mutual roosting on cliffs, (3) cooperative 
hunting excursions, (4) courtship flights, (5) 
"familiarities" on cliff, (6) courtship feeding, (7) 
copulation, (8) nest scraping. Females are dom- 
inant over males and successful mating depends 



on the males' ability to adjust to that situation. In- 
cubation and brooding is done mostly by the fe- 
male, who sits more closely than females in more 
southern latitudes. Food is brought by the male, 
and even during the early fledging period, the 
male continues to transfer food to the female for 
feeding young. When young are about 3 weeks 
old, the female begins to hunt actively again 
(Cade 1960). Peregrines are definitely territorial 
during the breeding season and defense of terri- 
tory, which is roughly 3.22 km in diameter, has a 
graded intensity from less intense at the outer 
limits, where defense is only over food, to most 
intense near the nesting cliff, which is always de- 
fended against all other predatory birds, although 
rough-legged hawks are sometimes allowed to nest 
on the same cliffs within 100 yards (Cade 1960). 

First-year falcons not engaged in breeding 
may pass their first summer within or at the peri- 
phery of their breeding range, but are not obvious 
because they are not associated with nesting sites. 
In 1967 one first-year female was seen on the 
Colville River (White 1969). 

Tradition is important in the occupancy of a 
particular cliff. Once vacant, it may take a long 
time for another pair to reoccupy it and establish 
a new tradition. New occupancy is probably the 
result of population pressure as well as attractive- 
ness of the site (Cade 1960). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

The most important actions that might be 
taken in behalf of the Arctic peregrine would 
probably be to designate for special protection 
against land-use exploitation the areas where eyries 
are concentrated in Arctic Alaska, Canada, and 
western Greenland; as well as major migration 
concentration areas along the Atlantic and Gulf 
coasts and the shores of the western Great Lakes; 
and to conduct an intensive educational and law- 
enforcement program to reduce the use of chlor- 
inated hydrocarbon pesticides in areas along the 
major migration pathways and wintering grounds 
in the eastern United States, West Indies, and 
Central and South American countries. 

AUTHORITIES 

Thomas J. Cade 
Laboratory of Ornithology 
Cornell University 
Ithaca, New York 14850 



Clayton M. White 
Department of Zoology 
575 Widtsoe Bldg. 
Brigham Young University 
Provo.Utah 84601 

Richard Fyfe 

Room 1110 

10025 Jasper Avenue 

Edmonton, Alta. Canada 

T5J 1S6 

James H. Enderson 

Dept. of Biology 

Colorado College 

Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903 

David B. Peakall 
Laboratory of Ornithology 
Cornell University 
Ithaca, New York 14850 

Daniel D. Berger 

1328 N.Jefferson, Apt. 313 

MiWaukee, Wisconsin 53202 

WiUiam H. Bumham 
Dept. of Zoology 
Brigham Young University 
Provo,Utah 84601 

Joseph J. Hickey 
226 Russell Laboratories 
University of Wisconsin 
Madison, Wisconsin 53706 

James L. Ruos 

7145 Deer Valley Road 

Highland, Maryland 20777 

Walter R. Spofford, II 
Aguila-Rancho 
Portal, Arizona 85632 

F. Prescott Ward 
302 Belfast Court 
Joppa, Maryland 21085 

Wilston Shor 
6614 32nd Street 
Washington, D.C. 20015 

James N. Rice 

Contention Lane 

Berwy n , Pennsylvania 19312 

PREPARER'S COMMENTS 

It seems obvious that by far the most im- 
portant factor contributing to the reproductive 



difficulties and population decline of the Arctic 
peregrine, as in the case of the now-extinct eastern 
Unites States population of the American pere- 
grine, is high levels of chlorinated hydrocarbon 
chemicals in the environment. Correction of this 
situation should receive the highest priority in all 
efforts in behalf of this species— J. W. Aldrich. 

LITERATURE CITED/SELECTED 
REFERENCES 

A. O. U. 1931. Ahcek-list of North American 
birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Lan- 
caster, PA. 

Berger, D. C, D. W. Anderson, J. D. Weaver, R. 
W. Risebrough and J. A. Keith. 1970. Shell- 
thinning in eggs of Ungava Peregrines. Canad. 
Field-Nat. 84:256-267. 

Berry, R. B. 1971. Peregrine Falcon population 
survey, Assateague Island, Mary land, fall 1960. 
Raptor Research News 5(ll):31-43' 

Bumham, W. H. 1975. Breeding biology and 
ecology of the Peregrine Falcon in West 
Greenland. MSc. thesis. Brigham Young Univ. 
Provo, Utah. 

Bumham, W. H., M. A. Jenkins, F. P. Ward, W. G. 
Mattox, D. M. Clement, and J. T. Harris. 19 74. 
Falcon research in Greenland. 1973. Arctic 
27:71-74. 

Cade, T. J. 1954. On the biology of falcons and 
the ethics of falconers. Falconry News and 
Notes 1:12-19. 

. 1960. Ecology of the Peregrine and Gyr- 

falcon populations in Alaska. Univ. Calif. 
PubLZool. 63:151-290. 

Cade, T. S., and R. Fyfe. 1970. The North Amer- 
ican Peregrine survey, 1970. Canad. Field-Nat. 
84:231-245. 

Cade, T. J., C. M. White and J. R. Haugh. 1968. 
Peregrines and pesticides in Alaska. Condor 
70:170-178. 

Cade, T. S., J. L. Lincer, C. M. White, D. G. Ros- 
eneau, and L. G. Schwartz. 1971. DDE resi- 
dues and eggshell changes in Alascan falcons 
and hawks. Science 172(3986):955-957. 

Campbell, R. W. and B. Davies. 1973. Nesting 
raptor survey in western Canadian Arctic. En- 
vironmental Protection Board Report; 1973, 
Sect. 1. 



8 



Enderson, J. 1965. A breeding and migration sur- 
vey of the Peregrine Falcon. Wilson BuU. 77: 
327-339. 

. 1969. Coastal Migration data as popula- 



tion indices for the Peregrine Falcon. Chapt. 
23 in J. J. Hickey ed. Peregrine Falcon popul- 
ations: their biology and decline. Univ. Wis- 
consin Press, Madison. 
Enderson, J., and D. Berger. 1968. Chlorinated 
hydrocarbon residues in Peregrines and their 
prey species from northern Canada. Condor 
70:149-153. 

Enderson,J.J.,D.G. Rosenau,andL. G. Schwartz. 
1968. Nesting performance and pesticide resi- 
dues in Alaska and Yukon Peregrines in 1967. 
Auk 85:683. 

Fyfe, R. 1969. The Peregrine Falcon in the Can- 
adian Arctic and eastern North America. 
Chapt. 8. in Hickey ed. Peregrine Falcon pop- 
ulations, their biology and decline. Univ. Wis- 
consin Press Madison. 

1977. Status of Canadian raptor popula- 



tions, ICBP World Conf. Birds of Prey Proc: 
34-39. 
Fyfe, R., S. A. Temple, and T. J. Cade. 1976. The 
1975 North American Peregrine Falcon sur- 
vey. Canad. Field-Nat. 90:228-273. 

Hickey, J. J. (ed). 1969. Peregrine Falcon popula- 
tions: their biology and decline. Univ. Wis- 
consin Press, Madison. 

Hofslund, P. B. 1966. Hawk Migration over the 
western tip of Lake Superior. Wilson Bull., 
78:79-87. 

Hohn, E. O. 1955. Birds and Mammals observed 
on a cruise in Amundsen Gulf, N.W.T. July 
29-August 16. 1953. Canad. Field-Nat. 69: 

41-44. 

Kessel, B. and T. J. Cade. 1958. Birds of the Col- 
ville River, northern Alaska. Biol. Papers 
Univ. Alaska no. 2. 

Mattox, W. G., R. A. Graham, W. A. Burnham, 
D. M.Clement. 1972. Peregrine Falcon survey, 
west Greenland, 1972. Arctic 25:308-311. 

McEwen, E. G. 1957. Birds observed at Bathhurst 
Inlet, Northwest Territories, Canad. Field- 
Nat. 71:109-115. 

Mueller, H. C. and D. D. Berger. 1961. Weather 
and fall migration of hawks at Cedar Grove, 
Wisconsin. Wilson Bull. 73:171-192. 



Peakall, D. B., T. J. Cade. C. M. White and J. R. 
Haugh. 1975. Organochlorine residues m 
Alaskan Peregrines. Pesticide Monitoring 
Journ. 8:255-260. 

Rice, J. N. 1969. A peregrine population index on 
the Maryland-Virginia coast, pp. 279-280, in 
J. J. Hickey ed. Peregrine Falcon populations: 
their biology and decline. Univ. Wisconsin 
Press, Madison. 

Ruos, J. L. 1970. Correlation of Arctic tempera- 
tures in July with numbers of Tundra Pere- 
grines (F. p. tundrius) seen per partyday in 
October along the Mid-Atlantic coast. Special 
study Report prepared for Rare and Endan- 
gered Species Committee, U.S. Fish and Wild- 
hfe Service, 15 Feb. 1970. 

Shor, W. 1970. Peregrine Falcon population dy- 
namics deduced from band recovery data. 
Raptor Research News 4(2):49-59. 

. 1970a. Banding recoveries of Arctic mi- 
grant Peregrines of the Atlantic Coast and 
Greenland population. Raptor Research News 
4(4):125-131. 

Spofford, W. R. 1969. Hawk Mountain counts as 
population indices in northwestern America, 
pp. 323-332, in J. J. Hickey ed. Peregrine Fal- 
con populations: their biology and decline. 
Univ. Wisconsin Press, Madison. 

Walker, W., W. G. Mattox, and R. W. Risebrough. 
1973. Pollutant and shell thickness determina- 
tion of Peregrine eggs from west Greenland. 
Arctic 26:256-158. 

Ward, F. P. and R. B. Berry. 1972. Autumn migra- 
tions of Peregrine Falcons on Assateague Is- 
land, 1970-72. Journ. Wildl.Mngmt. 36:484- 
492. 

White, C. M. 1968. Diagnosis and relationships of 
the North American tundra inhabiting Pere- 
grine Falcons. Auk 85:179-191. 

• 1969. Breeding Alaskan and Arctic mi- 
grant populations of Peregrines. Chap. 2 in 
Hickey, J.J. ed. Peregrine Falcon populations 
their biology and decline. Univ. Wisconsin 
Press, Madison. 

White, C. M., and T. J. Cade. 1971. Chff-nesting 
raptors and ravens along the Colville River in 
Arctic Alaska. Living Bird 10:107-150. 

• 1975. Long term trends of Peregrine 

populations in Alaska. ICBP World Conf. 
Birds of Prey Proc. 



Biological Services Program 



FWS/OBS-80/01.52 
MARCH 1980 



Selected Vertebrate Endangered Species 
Of the Seacoast of the United States- 



MISSISSIPPI 

SANDHILL 

CRANE 



^•'^T-mmr •»:,' 







Fish and Wildlife Service 



U.S. Department of the Interior 



PREFACE 

The purpose of this series of species accounts is to provide resource managers and the 
public with information about Federally listed endangered and/or threatened vertebrate 
species that occur along, or within 100 kilometers of, the seacoast of the United States. In- 
formation about life history, distribution, requirements and conservation of the subject 
species is included (range maps and other distributional data aic not necessarily equivalent 
to critical habitat as defined in the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended). 

This series of accounts is intended to complement the computerized Sensitive Wildlife 
Information System (SWIS) developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in coordina- 
tion with the Offices of Endangered Species and Biological Services of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. A 3-ring binder is used for this scries to facilitate additions and deletions as new 
accounts are prepared or as the status of species is changed. 

Suggestions or questions regarding SWIS should be directed to: 

Office of Endangered Species 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Interior Building 
Washington, D.C. 20240 

Suggestions or questions regarding this report should be directed lo: 

Information Transfer Specialist 
National Coastal Ecosystems Team 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 
1010 Cause Blvd. 
Slidell, Louisiana 704r}8 



11 



FWS/OBS-80/01.52 
March 1980 



SELECTKD VKR 1 KBRA 1 K ENDANGERED SPECIES 
OF THE SEACOAS 1 0\ 1 HE UNITED STATES- 
MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE 



A Cooperative Effort 

by the 

National Fish and Wildlife Laboratory, 

the Office of Endangered Species 

and the 

National ('oastal Ecosystems Team, 

Office of Biological Services 



Project Officer 

Donald VV. Woodard 

National Coastal Ecosystems Team 

NASA-Slidell Computer Complex 

1010 Cause Blvd. 

Slidell. Louisiana 70458 



Performed for 

Coastal Ecosystems Project 

Office of Biological Services 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

U.S. Department of the Interior 




(PHOTO OF C1-OSEI.Y REL.ATED SUBSPECIES) 



MISSISSIPPI SANDHILL CRANE 

Grus canadensis pulla Aldrich 

KINGDOM Animalia 

CLASS Aves 

ORDER Gruiformes 

FAMILY Gruidae 

OTHER COMMON 

NAMES. . . . Florida Crane (Mcllhenny 1938); 
Florida SandhUl Crane (Valentine 1963). 



CREDIT: LUTHER C. GOLDMAN 



DATE 

Entered into SWIS To be determined 

Updates To be determined 

LEGAL STATUS 

Federal: Endangered: (42FR36425, 14 July 
1977). Protected (Migratory Bird Treaty 
Act of July 3, 1918. (40 Stat. 755; 16 
U.S.C. 703-711) as amended 3 Dec. 
1969. Public Law 91-135. 



States: Endangered: Mississippi (protected 
under the Nongame and Endangered 
Species Act of 1974; 
Listed: Alabama. 

REASONS FOR CURRENT STATUS: 

The Mississippi Sandhill Crane is nearing ex- 
tinction because of its very small and restricted 
population and the deterioration of its habitat, 
semiopcn wet pine savanna, because of drainage, 
planting of trees for timber, urban and suburban 
development, and highway construction (U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service 1973; Morine 1975; 
Recovery Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 
1976). 

Since the mid-1950's, timber companies have 
acquired or leased thousands of hectares, which 
have been planted to slash pine (Pinus elliottii). 
Drainage ditches dug through savannas and water- 
courses speed run-off. Fire, the natural agent in 
maintaining even wet prairies, has been controlled 
or eliminated, encouraging pine plantation sur- 
vival and also permitting natural reproduction of 
pine and brush in unplanted savannas. Many ac- 
cess roads, trails, and fire lanes have been built, 
giving people easier access to crane habitat. Tim- 
ber management has made thousands of hectares 
of former crane habitat unsuitable for these birds 
(Valentine and Noble 1970; Morine 1975; Re- 
covery Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 
1976). 

Housing developments and small farms are ex- 
panding into crane habitat from Ocean Springs, 
Fontainebleau, and Gautier communities. Recent 
release of St. Regis timber land holdings allowed 
the sale of about 2,000 hectares of crane environ- 
ment for development. 

U.S. Highway 90, a four-lane east-west avenue 
through crane range, now a "strip city" extends 
the entire distance between Ocean Springs and 
Pascagoula. Other highways through crane habitat 
are being built or improved. The adverse effects 
of highways on cranes are: (1) direct loss of land 
to right-of-way and borrow areas; (2) disturbance 
by noise, vibration, and visual factors; (3) pollu- 
tion of surrounding air and soil; (4) facilitation of 
public access to crane environment; and (5) stim- 
ulation of residential and commercial develop- 
ments along highway route (Recovery- Team for 
the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 



PRIORITY INDEX 

50 

DESCRIPTION 

This species is similar in size to the Florida 
sandhill crane, Grus canadensis pratensis, but 
colored portions of plumage are much darker 
throughout. It differs from the greater sandhill 
crane, Grus canadensis tabida, in smaller size 
(except tarsus) and darker color; and from the 
lesser sandhill crane, Grus canadetuis canadensis, 
in larger size in all dimensions and darker color. 
It can be distinguished from the Canadian sandhill 
crane, Grus canadensis rowani, by longer tarsi and 
darker color (Aldrich 1972). 

Measurements. (8 live adult birds hatched 
from Mississippi-taken eggs, sex undertermined): 
wind (chord), 470-493 mm; bill (from posterior 
end of nostrO), 82-91; tarsus, 216-258 (Aldrich 
1972). 

Eggs. Light buffy background with splotches 
of reddish brown and lavender, particularly around 
the large end (Mcllhenny 1938;Walkinshaw 1960). 
Average measurements of 16 eggs was 95.9 (89- 
104) x 58.55 (56.2-59.0) (Walkinshaw 1973). 

RANGE 

Sandhill cranes are permanent residents in 
Jackson County Mississippi near Ocean Springs and 
at Fontainebleau, between the Pascagoula River 
on the east and Jackson-Harrison county line on 
the west, Graveline Bayou on the south and on 
the north the 30°37' latitude line (Valentine 1978, 
pers. comm.). 

Their former distribution is poorly known, 
but presumed to have been more extensive than 
at present with populations in widely separated 
areas of suitable habitat in southern Louisiana 
(Cook 1914; Figgins 1923; Mcllhenny 1943; 
Lower>' 1960), southern Mississippi (Mcllhenny 
1 93 8 ; Turcotte 1 94 7 ; Walkinshaw 1949; Valentine 
1963; Valentine and Noble 1970), and southern 
Alabama (Howell 1928; Imhof 1962). No speci- 
mens of the populations outside southern Missis- 
sippi are extant, so their identification as pulla 
must be assumed. In a more detailed statement by 
the Recovery Team of the Mississippi Sandhill 
Crane (1976), the range is said to be confined to 
southern Jackson County, Mississippi, from the 
Pascagoula River to about the Harrison County 



Line. The northern Hmit is the east-west line (lat. 
30° 35'), about 6.4 km north of Vancleave. The 
southern limit is Simmons Bayou and Graveline 
Bay. Eleven nesting areas were located within 
those limits during 1965 through 1978. It is not 
known where unpaired birds go when paired 
adults are nesting. 

Although this subspecies leaves its breeding 
rjinge to feed and roost, it probably does not mi- 
grate far. One individual was seen as far as 1 1 miles 
from the nesting area. However, some individuals 
of other populations of sandhill cranes may win- 
ter within the range of the Mississippi birds, as 
evidenced by the fact that two cranes found dead 
in 1974 within the range of G. c. pulla neither 
clearly fit the original description of that subspe- 
cies nor matched the specimens of cranes reared 
from eggs taken in Mississippi (Aldrichm Recovery 
Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 
Also, migrant sandhill cranes have been found 
wintering at Gulf Shores in Baldwin County, 
Alabama, about 80 km from the range of the Mis- 
sissippi subspecies (Hamilton 1971; James 1972). 

RANGE MAP 

Breeding range (from Valentine and Noble 
1970:763; Recovery Team for the Mississippi 
Sandhill Crane 1976) is shown on the following 
map. Hatched areas are recent (1965-70) nesting 
grounds. Numbers indicate active nests found. 

STATES/COUNTIES 

Mississippi: Jackson. 

HABITAT 

Nesting habitat was described by Walkinshaw 
(1949), Valentine (1963) and Valentine and Noble 
(1970) as wet areas in semiopen pine flats. It 
would appear that, although savanna-like in as- 
pect, breeding areas have more trees than is usually 
the case wdth sandhill cranes of other subspecies 
(Walkinshaw 1949, 1960, 1973). However, the 
area immediately surrounding the nest is fairly 
open. In the larger savannas, there are scattered 
long-leaf pines [Pinus palustris), slash pine (Pinus 
elliottii), baldcypress (Taxodium distichum), and 
shrubs, but the view is quite open. Grassland open- 
ings in the swamps, forests and pine plantations 
used for nesting may be less than 0.4 hectares in 
area. Of 55 nests, 24 (44%) were in open savannas; 



24 (44%), in swamp edges and openings; 4 (7%), 
in pine plantations; and 3 (5%), along pine forest 
edges (Valentine and Noble 1970; Valentine in 
Recovery Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 
1976). 

Habitat in the winter roost in the Pascagoula 
River marsh is mainly sawgrass [Cladium) with 
minor components of other marsh plants. The 
creek and bayou banks are lined with baldcypress 
and several brush species. The roost marsh is fresh 
to slightly brackish, but fairly salty water may 
run up the bayous during droughts and high tides 
(Recovery Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 
1976). 

Factors in the natural environment that can 
cause mortality are severe storms with flooding, 
droughts, and fires. Despite some losses of nests 
from fire, it is essential to the ecology of cranes 
because it checks encroachment of woody vegeta- 
tion on open savannas (Recovery Team for the 
Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976; Aldrich pers. 
comm.). 

The most serious threat to the success of crane 
breeding is probably habitat destruction through 
the current timber management practices, drain- 
ing marshes and planting pine (Valentine and 
Noble 1970). 

FOOD AND FORAGING BEHAVIOR 

During the summer, cranes feed on natural 
foods found in swamps, savannas, and open forest 
lands. Animal foods include adult and larval in- 
sects, earthworms, crayfish, frogs, and small 
rodents. Plant foods are roots, tubers, seeds, nuts, 
fruits and leafy parts. During the fall, winter, and 
early spring, most cranes feed on waste grain and 
invertebrates in small com fields and pastures 
several kilometers north of the breeding range. 
Such farms are scarce in that area. There have 
been a few complaints of crane depredations on 
com fields, but most farmers welcome the cranes 
(Recovery Team for the Mississippi Sandhill 
Crane 1976). In winter and spring, they also feed 
on freshly sprouted grass on burned open pine 
flats (Mcllhenny 1938). 

NESTING OR BEDDING 

Nests are buUt in savannas, sparsely forested 
areas, or swamp openings that hold shallow water 
or may be dry. Nests placed on ground in open 



areas are built of dead vegetation gathered near the 
nest site (Recovery Team for Mississippi Sandhill 
Crane 1976). Walkinshaw (1960) found nests of 
dried sedges that were 124 by 104 cm across and 
13 cm high and were situated in water 21 cm 
deep. Mcllhenny (1938) described a nest of dried 
grasses and weed stalks about 128 cm across and 
20 to 36 cm above water 15 cm deep. The active 
nest is often within a short distance of the one 
used the previous year. Old or "dummy" nests 
are often in close proximity to active nests (Re- 
covery Team for Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 
Valentine found one instance of the same nest 
being used 3 consecutive years; two used for 2 
years; and another use 1 year, deserted for one 
season and used again the next year (Valentine 
1978, pers. comm.). 

The main winter roost is in the Pascagoula 
River marsh, in the vicinity from Bluff Creek, 
Bayou Castelle, and Paige Bayou to the West 
Pascagoula River (Recovery Team for the Missis- 
sippi Sandhill Crane 1976). The Pascagoula River 
marsh roosts are used mainly from Ausust to 
March. During the breeding season, most cranes 
roost in the nesting and feeding range. Cranes 
may be vulnerable to hunters as they fly into and 
out of the roost, generally only during brief pe- 
riods at daybreak and sundown (Recovery Team 
for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 

RITUAL REQUIREMENTS 

All subspecies of sandhill crane engage in 
spectacular dances. Sometimes a single member of 
a pair will dance, sometimes both; sometimes a 
group forms a circle, facing inward. The dances 
consist of a great variety of postures, particularly 
bowing low and leaping 2 or more meters into the 
air, accompanied by vocalizations. Walkinshaw 
(1949) describes these dances in detail. They 
seem to be related to courtship in some cases, but 
may take place at any time of the year. 

OTHER CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL 
REQUIREMENTS 

None known. 

POPULATION NUMBERS AND TRENDS 

Leopold (1929) estimated 50 to 100 or more 
cranes in Mississippi. Mcllhenny (1938) reported 
1 1 nests in the Fontainebleau area and counted 
34 in one flock in April 1938. Walkinshaw (1949) 



estimated more than 25 pairs in 1940. Turcotte 
(1947) estimated 30 in 1947. Strong (1969) es- 
timated 16 pairs and a population of 50 to 60 
birds. Valentine and Noble (1970) estimated about 
38 to 40. Valentine (1975) judged a minimum of 
10 to a maximum of 15 breeding pairs with a 
population between 30 and 50 individuals. He 
found 20 fairly distinct nesting territories in 11 
areas during 1965 through 1978, but the most 
nests found in any one year was 8 in 1969. 

During the period 19-22 January 1977, a total 
of 52 cranes was counted in the wintering area of 
Mississippi sandhill cranes. It is not known whether 
they were all of that subspecies or some were 
migrants from elsewhere (Jacob Valentine, official 
trip report U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 27 Jan. 
1977). 

REPRODUCTION 

Paired cranes select a breeding territory for 
courtship, mating, and nesting and defend it from 
other cranes. Territory size may depend on the 
density of cranes and physical attributes of the 
habitat. In open savannas, it appears that only 
one pair has possession of a territory despite the 
size of the savanna. The smallest savanna occupied 
by one pair was 36 ha, the largest, over 202 ha. In 
Ben Williams Swamp and other areas where open- 
ings suitable for nesting are shielded from each 
other by large trees and shrubs, cranes will nest 
close together. In 1971, three nests in a row along 
southern edge of Ben Williams Pond were only 
0.8 km apart. The same nesting territories are 
often used year after year. Territories have been 
deserted (or searchers could not find the nest) for 
years and then reoccupied. Desertions may have 
been caused by brush or tree encroachment on 
the open area around the nest. Three territories ap- 
parently were not occupied after roads were built 
nearby. One nesting site was destroyed by excava- 
tion of a borrow pit in construction of Interstate 
10. Of the 14 or 15 known nesting territories, 6 
appear to be abandoned (Recovery Team for the 
Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 

The egg-laying period is 4 April to 20 May. 
Hatching occurs between 11 April and 20 June, 
with a peak during 1-20 May. Of 54 nests found 
between 1965 and 1975, 9 contained 1 egg and 
45 held 2, a mean of 1.83 eggs per clutch. The 
incubation period is 30 to 31 days. Both parents 
incubate. The hatching success of 38 eggs in the 
wild was 61%, compared to 60% of 42 eggs arti- 



ficially incubated for propagation. Hatching failure 
of 15 wild eggs was attributed to desertion (4); 
rotten eggs (2); eggs missing (3); crow depreda- 
tion (3); chick dying in eggs (1); and eggs cracked 
by flushing birds (2). Human disturbance can be 
credited with at least 5 egg losses; crow depreda- 
tions occurred during periods when cranes were 
off nests after being frightened by humans. Two 
eggs were broken by cranes flushed from nests by 
humans. The fate of three missing eggs is un- 
known; some eggs found were outside the nest 
after desertion. Heavy rains are known to destroy 
some eggs. Cranes attend nests constantly and so 
are not normally subject to robbing by birds or 
mammals. Crows have not been abundant untU 
recently, when sanitary fill dumps along the road 
now attract hundreds of them. Raccoons are 
present but not numerous in the breeding range 
(Walkinshaw 1973; Valentine in Recovery Team 
for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 

Poor hatchability of eggs, weak chicks and 
foot and leg deformities in chicks have been noted 
in cases of captive chicks hatched from eggs in in- 
cubators. Relatively low hatchability and survival 
is thought by some to be due to genetic problems 
resulting from inbreeding because of the obviously 
small gene pool. On the other hand, J. M. Valen- 
tine has observed 10 wild chicks, all free of ap- 
parent defects (Valentine 1978 pers. comm.). 
Another chick died while trying to break out of 
the egg (Recovery Team for the Mississippi Sand- 
hill Crane 1976). Chicks are able to scramble off 
the nest at 8 hours of age and can swim if neces- 
sary (Walkinshaw 1973). 

MANAGEMENT AND CONSERVATION 

Restoration of this population of sandhill 
cranes began before it was recognized as a distinct 
subspecies, with the rearing of young hatched 
from eggs taken from wild nests in Mississippi. 
Captive propagation has been at the Patuxent 
Wildlife Research Center, Laurel, Maryland. The 
intent was to reintroduce the propagated stock 
into the wild. Acquisition and restoration of habi- 
tat in the present range and adjoining areas and 
rerouting proposed sections of Interstate Highway 
10 were proposed as essential protection measures 
(U.S. Fish and Wildhfe Service 1973). 

As of 20 September 1976, a Mississippi Sand- 
hill Crane Recovery Team, with Jacob M. Valen- 
tine as leader, was appointed by the U.S. Fish and 



Wildlife Service, and a recovery plan approved 
in September 1976 was revised in 1978 (Recovery 
Team for the Mississippi Sandhill Crane 1976). 
Lands available for crane occupancy are 
limited. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has 
proposed some refuge lands which are the best 
available that still contain either nesting cranes or 
potential nesting habitat. With the assistance of 
the Nature Conservancy, the Service acquired 
3,490 ha of habitat in two units and has estab- 
Ushed the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National 
Wildlife Refuge. A habitat management plan for 
the refuge was completed by the Service on 28 
March 1975 (Morine 1975;