Patterns of co-occurrence of 11 species of nesting colonial Ciconiiformes in estuarine areas of the Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida were examined using Reciprocal Averaging and Detrended Correspondence Analyses. The first RA ordination axis categorized the species into two groups: species of large birds that often nest in the tops of large trees, and species of smaller birds that usually nest lower down in trees, bushes, or on the ground. The Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) showed the largest positive ordination score on this axis, followed by the Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) and the Great Egret (Casmerodius albus). The other 8 species were clumped on the first ordination axis and showed little separation. The second RA axis showed an ordering of relative species abundances along an apparent north-south gradientThere were no consistent similarities of ordination scores of any species pairs or groups on all the major axes, suggesting that no consistent similarities in relative abundances of 2- or 3-species 'assemblages' were found throughout the entire Atlantic Coastal Plain.
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Patterns of species co-occurrence of nesting colonial Ciconiiformes in Atlantic coast estuarine areas