Distribution of breeding Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in the southwestern United States: Past, present, and future

Studies in Avian Biology
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Abstract

The Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) breeds in desert grasslands of southeastern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico in the US, and in adjacent parts of northern Sonora and Chihuahua, Mexico. Roads that were surveyed in 1982 and 1987 in Arizona and New Mexico were relocated and roadside survey protocols were repeated in 2004 and 2005 to identify changes in distribution or abundance of the subspecies during the subsequent 17 yr. The Sonoita and San Rafael valleys in Arizona and the Animas Valley in New Mexico remain as primary population centers, supporting the highest mean numbers of singing males per stop, as well as the largest populations of Arizona Grasshopper Sparrows in the US. Mean number of singing males per stop was highest in the San Rafael Valley. Mean number of singing males per survey stop showed an increasing pattern from 1982–1987 and a subsequent decline to the present (2004–2005). Present bird densities are intermediate in value between 1982 and 1987 values. Small populations remain in the Altar, San Pedro, Sulphur Springs, and San Bernardino valleys in Arizona. The valleys evaluated in this and historical surveys represent the areas in which almost all Arizona Grasshopper Sparrows breed in the US; if any additional areas exist, they support peripheral, small, or remnant populations. Although historic, current, and future land use, and current and future threats differ among valleys, the primary factors posing threats to the future of Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow populations appear to be loss and/or degradation of habitat due to exurban development, overgrazing, and the effects of long-term drought.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Distribution of breeding Arizona Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum ammolegus) in the southwestern United States: Past, present, and future
Series title Studies in Avian Biology
Volume 37
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher Cooper Ornithological Society
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 113
Last page 124