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Group Title: journal of Caribbean ornithology
Title: The Journal of Caribbean ornithology
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00100142/00004
 Material Information
Title: The Journal of Caribbean ornithology
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds
Publisher: Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds / Sociedad para la Conservatción Y Estudio de Las Aves Caribeñas/Société pour la Conservation et L'Etude de Caraïbe
Place of Publication: Ridgewood, NY
Publication Date: 2006
Frequency: three issues a year
three times a year
regular
 Subjects
Subject: Ornithology -- Periodicals -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Ornithology -- Periodicals -- West Indies   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Conservation -- Periodicals -- Caribbean Area   ( lcsh )
Birds -- Conservation -- Periodicals -- West Indies   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Language: In English, French and Spanish.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 16, no. 1 (Spring 2004)-
General Note: Title from cover.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00100142
Volume ID: VID00004
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 52094634
lccn - 2003212636
issn - 1544-4953
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Preceded by: Pitirre

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover
    Copyright
        Copyright
    Main
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    Back Matter
        Back Matter
    Back Cover
        Back Cover
Full Text









THE JOURNAL OF

CARIBBEAN ORNITHOLOGY

SOCIETY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND STUDY OF CARIBBEAN BIRDS
SOCIEDAD PARA LA CONSERVATION Y ESTUDIO DE LAS AVES CARIBENAS
ASSOCIATION POUR LA CONSERVATION ET L' ETUDE DES OISEAUX DE LA CARAIBE

2006 Vol. 19, No. 1
(ISSN 1544-4953)
Formerly EL PITIRRE


CONTENTS

HISTORICAL BREEDING DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE OF THE WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON
(PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA) ON ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS. Douglas B. McNair ................. 1
GROUND VERSUS ABOVE-GROUND NESTING OF COLUMBIDS ON THE SATELLITE CAYS OF ST. CROIX,
US VIRGIN ISLANDS. Douglas B. McNair .......................... .. ... ................ 8
VARIATION AND HYBRIDIZATION IN THE GREEN HERON (BUTORIDES VIRESCENS) AND STRIATED HERON
(B. STRIATA) IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, WITH COMMENTS ON SPECIES LIMITS. Floyd E. Hayes......... 12
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BONAIRE, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES, AS A BREEDING SITE FOR TERNS AND
PLOVERS. Jeffrey V. Wells and Allison Childs Wells ...................................................... ..................... 21
ENDANGERED PIPING PLOVERS (CHARADRIUS MELODUS) OVERWINTERING IN PUERTO RICO. Allen R.
Lewis, Adrianne G. Tossas, Jose A. Coldn, and Beatriz Herndndez ................................ .................... 27
FIVE NEW SPECIES OF BIRDS FOR ARUBA, WITH NOTES ON OTHER SIGNIFICANT SIGHTINGS. Steven G.
M lodinow ................................................................. ......... ... ..... .................. 31
ANALISIS DE LAS RECUPERACIONES DE EJEMPLARES ANILLADOS DE GARZAS Y COCOS (CICONIIFORMES)
EN EL PERIODO DE 1913 A 1998. Dennis Denis Avila y Hector M. Salvat Torres ................................ 36
SECOND AND THIRD RECORDS OF WESTERN MARSH-HARRIER (CIRCUS AERUGINOSUS) FOR THE
WESTERN HEMISPHERE IN PUERTO RICO. Christopher L. Merkord, Rafy Rodriguez, and John
Faaborg ...................................... .............................. .................. 42
FIRST RECORD OF THE WESTERN REEF-HERON (EGRETTA GULARIS) FOR ST. VINCENT AND THE
GRENADINES. M ichael R. Paice ............................................................................................................ 45
STATUS OF THE AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) IN ST. VINCENT AND THE
GRENADINES. Floyd E. Hayes, Michael R. Paice, Tony Blunden, P. William Smith, Susan A. Smith,
Graham White, and Martin D. Frost .................. ............. ........... ....... .... ..................... 48
HISPANIOLAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (COCCYZUS LONGIROSTRIS) TETHERED BY COMMON GREEN SNAKE
(UROMACER CATESBYI). Thomas H. White, Jr. ................................................ ............ ...................... 52
FIRST RECORD OF AUDUBON'S WARBLER (DENDROICA CORONATA AUDUBONI) IN JAMAICA. Gary R.
Graves ..... ........................ ..... ................................................ 54
GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (QUISCALUS NIGER) PREYS ON ANOLIS GRAHAMI. Gary R. Graves ............ 56
PRIMER REGISTRO SOBRE LA REPRODUCCION DEL OSTRERO AMERICANO (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) EN
CUBA. Ernesto H erndndez Pirez ......................................... ............................................................... 59












THE JOURNAL OF CARIBBEAN ORNITHOLOGY

THE JOURNAL OF THE SOCIETY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND STUDY OF CARIBBEAN BIRDS
LA REVISTA DE LA SOCIEDAD PARA LA CONSERVACI6N Y ESTUDIO DE LAS AVES CARIBENAS
LE JOURNAL DE L' ASSOCIATION POUR LA CONSERVATION ET L' ETUDE DES OISEAUX DE LA CARAIBE


Editor in Chief
FLOYD E. HAYES, Department of Biology, Pacific Union College, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin, CA 94508, USA;
telephone: 707-965-6401; fax: 707-965-7577; e-mail: jco@puc.edu

Associate Editors
WAYNE ARENDT, P. O. Box 534, Luquillo PR 00773-0534, USA; e-mail: warendt@fs.fed.us.
P. A. BUCKLEY, 211 Meadowtree Farm Road, Saunderstown, RI 02874, USA; e-mail: pabuckley@uri.edu
DENNIS DENIS AVILA, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de la Habana, Calle 25 e/J e I, Vedado, Ciudad
Habana, Cuba; e-mail: dda@fbio.uh.cu
ANDREW DOBSON, Warwick Academy, 117 Middle Rd., Warwick PGO1, Bermuda; e-mail: adobson@war-
wickacad.bm
PHILIPPE FELDMANN, Cirad, TA 179/04, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 5, France; e-mail: feldmann@cirad.fr
RUUD VAN HALEWIJN, 14 Adelaarhof, Utrecht, 3514 TZ, The Netherlands; e-mail: vanhale@wanadoo.nl
SUSAN KOENIG, Windsor Research Centre, Sherwood Content P.O., Trelawny, Jamaica; e-mail: wind-
sor@ cw-jamaica.com
OLIVER KOMAR, SalvaNATURA, Colonia Flor Blanca, 33 Ave. Sur #640, San Salvador, El Salvador; e-
mail: okomar@salvanatura.org
LOURDES MUGICA VALDES, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de la Habana, Calle 25 entre J e I, Vedado,
Ciudad Habana, Cuba; e-mail: lmugica@fbio.uh.cu
ANTONIO RODRIGUEZ SUAREZ, Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de la Habana, Calle 25 entre J e I, Ve-
dado, Ciudad Habana, Cuba; e-mail: arguez@fbio.uh.cu
JOSEPH WUNDERLE, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 507,
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721; e-mail: wunderle@coqui.net

Book Review Editor
STEVEN C. LATTA, PRBO Conservation Science, 4990 Shoreline Highway, Stinson Beach, CA 94970, USA;
e-mail: slatta@prbo.org

Editorial Assistants
MELISSA CHROWL, BRETT HAYES, AND CHRISTIAN VON POHLE; Department of Biology, Pacific Union Col-
lege, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin, CA 94508, USA; e-mail: jco@puc.edu

Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, 2006

The Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) is a non-profit organization under sec-
tion 501(c)3 of the United States Internal Revenue Code. All contributions are fully tax-deductible to the ex-
tent allowed by U. S. law. We welcome private support from individuals, corporations, and foundations. Out-
right gifts and pledges may be made by contacting the SCSCB Treasurer at ilothian@msn.com or by writing to
PO Box 863208, Ridgewood, NY 11386, USA.

Typeset in Microsoft Office Publisher by Floyd E. Hayes. Printed by Preferred Images, Pacific Union College,
Angwin, CA, USA.


ISSN 1544-4953










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:1-7, 2006


HISTORICAL BREEDING DISTRIBUTION AND ABUNDANCE OF THE
WHITE-CROWNED PIGEON (PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA)
ON ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

DOUGLAS B. MCNAIR
Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, 45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted,
United States Virgin Islands 00840, USA; current address: Sapphos Environmental, Inc., 133 Martin Alley, Pasadena,
CA 91105, USA; e-mail: dmcnair@sapphosenvironmental.com

Abstract: I critically assessed historical data (before 2002) on the breeding distribution and abundance of the
White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) on St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, since the first confirmed breed-
ing record in 1858. White-crowned Pigeons have formed moderate to large colonies at three colony sites, two cays
(Green Cay, Ruth Island) and a mangrove wetland (the former Krause Lagoon; destroyed in 1962), although only
one of these three colony sites has ever been documented to be a large active colony at a given time. The largest
certain documented site was at the former Krause Lagoon, where up to 600 birds nested in the 1950s, although the
colony at Green Cay in the 1910s and 1920s may have been much larger. Historical data for the White-crowned
Pigeon on St. Croix are generally sparse because of insufficient observer effort, and the difficulty of obtaining reli-
able population estimates is further compounded because of poaching of adults and squabs at the largest colony sites,
most recently at Ruth Island, a man-made cay located just south of the former Krause Lagoon.
Key words: abundance, colony site, distribution, Green Cay, Krause Lagoon, Patagioenas leucocephala, poaching,
Ruth Island, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, White-crowned Pigeon

Resumen: DISTRIBUTION DE HISTORIC DE CRIA Y ABUNDANCIA DE LA PALOMA CABECIBLANCA (PATAGIOENAS
LEUCOCEPHALA) EN ST. CROIX, ISLAS VIRGENES DE EEUU. Se realiz6 una revisi6n critica de los datos hist6ricos
(anteriores al 2002) acerca de la distribuci6n de cria y la abundancia de la Paloma Cabeciblanca (Patagioenas leuco-
cephala) en St. Croix, Islas Virgenes de EEUU, desde el primer registro confirmado de su cria en 1858. La Paloma
Cabeciblanca ha formado colonias de moderadas a grandes en tres localidades, dos cayos (Green Cay, Ruth Island) y
un manglar (la antigua Laguna Krause; destruida en 1962). Solo una localidad ha sido documentada actualmente
como una gran colonia activa. El mayor sitio documentado fue el de la antigua Laguna Krause, donde hasta 600 aves
anidaron en la d6cada de los anos 50, aunque la colonia en Green Cay, alrededor de 1910 y 1920, podria haber sido
mucho mayor. Los datos hist6ricos para la Paloma Cabeciblanca en St. Croix son generamente escasos a causa de un
insuficiente esfuerzo de observaci6n, y la dificultad de obtener estimados poblacionales confiables se ha derivado de
la caza furtiva de adultos y pichones en la mayor colonia, mas recientemente en Ruth Island, un cayo artificial locali-
zado justo al sur de la anterior Laguna Krause.
Palabras clave: abundancia, caza furtiva, colonias, distribuci6n, Green Cay, Islas Virgenes de EEUU, Laguna
Krause, Paloma Cabeciblanca, Patagioenas leucocephala, Ruth Island, St. Croix

Resume : DISTRIBUTION HISTORIQUE ET ABONDANCE DU PIGEON A COURONNE BLANCHE (PATAGIOENAS LEUCO-
CEPHALA) A ST. CROIX, ILES VIERGES AMERICAINES. Une analyse critique des donn6es historiques a &6t faite sur la
distribution des nicheurs et 1'abondance du Pigeon a couronne blanche (Patagioenas leucocephala) a St. Croix, Iles
Vierges Am6ricaines, depuis la premiere observation de nidification confirm6e en 1858 jusqu'en 2001. Cette espece
avait constitu6 plusieurs colonies de taille moyenne B grande sur 3 sites, 2 ilots (Green Cay, Ruth Island) et un
marais de mangrove (1'ancien Krause Lagoon, d6truit en 1962). Cependant, seul un de ces 3 sites a toujours &6t con-
sid6r6 comme 6tant une colonie active et importante. Le site le plus important connu 6tait Krause Lagoon, ou jusqu'a
600 oiseaux nichaient dans les ann6es 1950, bien que la colonie de Green Cay ait pu &tre encore plus important dans
les ann6es 1910 et 1920. Les donn6es historiques du Pigeon a couronne blanche sont globalement rares a St. Croix
en raison d'une pression d'observation insuffisante et la difficult d'obtention d'estimations fiables des populations
est aggrav6e par le braconnage d'adultes et de poussins sur les sites des colonies les plus importantes, et plus r6cem-
ment a Ruth Island, un ilot artificiel situ6 juste au sud de Krause Lagoon.
Mots-clis : abondance, braconnage, colonies, distribution, Green Cay, Iles Vierges Am6ricaines, Krause Lagoon,
Patagioenas leucocephala, Pigeon a couronne blanche, Ruth Island, St. Croix


THE ABUNDANCE OF THE territorially endangered of a large industrial complex in 1962 destroyed it,
White-crowned Pigeon (Patagioenas leucocephala) has never been documented and critically assessed
breeding population at Krause Lagoon, St. Croix, other than by Dammann (1977) and Arendt et al.
United States Virgin Islands, before the construction (1979), whose examination of Seaman's quarterly


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









MCNAIR PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA IN ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS


federal-aid reports (funded under the Pittman-
Robertson Act of 1937) was incomplete. In this note
I examine published and unpublished materials,
much of the latter from federal-aid reports including
all of Seaman's, to obtain estimates of the historical
breeding population of the White-crowned Pigeon
on St. Croix.

METHODS
Counts or estimates of the number of birds and
nests at each historical breeding site were initially
taken at face value from the original source. Esti-
mates of the number of birds by Seaman at Krause
Lagoon (260 ha) were usually extrapolated from
nest counts over a portion of this area. Where war-
ranted, I reinterpret the fragmented and incomplete
data and conclusions of Beatty, Seaman, Knowles,
and other individuals about the size of breeding
populations at various historical sites. These data
include the most recent site at Ruth Island, just
south of the former Krause Lagoon, which was cre-
ated by placing dredged spoil taken from channels
excavated for the industrial complex on a nearshore
bar (Long Reef). Subsequent to vegetative coloniza-
tion and succession, Ruth Island became the main
breeding site for White-crowned Pigeons on St.
Croix (Knowles 1994, 1995, 1997). However, data
on the abundance of the breeding population at Ruth
Island, where this pigeon breeds semi-colonially in
dense aggregations (and formerly on Green Cay;
Beatty 1930), have also never been critically exam-
ined. These historical data form the basis of our
knowledge of breeding White-crowned Pigeons on
St. Croix prior to initiation of new surveys in 2002
(McNair unpubl. data).

RESULTS

UNKNOWN LOCALITY
The earliest record of breeding White-crowned
Pigeons on St. Croix was a juvenile "which could
not have left the nest many days" (University Mu-
seum of Zoology, Cambridge 17/col/8/w/3) shot on
28 July 1858 by Newton and Newton (1859).

GREEN CAY
Beatty (1944) stated this cay was occupied "by a
colony of 10,000 breeding birds [White-crowned
Pigeons] from 1916 to 1920" but they have not
nested there since that period. He also stated earlier
(Beatty 1930) that White-crowned Pigeons nested in
"countless numbers" on Green Cay in the early
1920s, when the northern part of this cay had intact


heavy woodland (unlike today, it is now low scrub;
Woodbury and Vivaldi 1982). The only documented
breeding evidence was two eggs taken from a nest
on 21 June 1921 (Beatty 1930). Seaman (1973,
1993) also observed breeding birds at Green Cay
during the 1920s, but provides no numbers and it is
impossible to separate information on White-
crowned Pigeons in his accounts from Zenaida
Doves (Zenaida aurita). Dammann (1977) stated
birds at Green Cay had been shot out since 1946,
but presented no data. In the 1980s, Fred W. Sladen
(pers. comm.) observed small numbers of White-
crowned Pigeons on Green Cay during the main
breeding period (May-July), although he found no
nests.

SOUTHGATE POND
Seaman (1993) suggested that White-crowned
Pigeons were formerly restricted to nesting on St.
Croix proper during the 1920s at Southgate Pond,
just across from Green Cay (350 m), but no docu-
mented evidence exists. Sladen (in Scott and Car-
bonell 1986) stated birds bred at Southgate Pond in
the 1980s, but did not discover nests. Breeding
habitat would have been in mangrove wetlands and
littoral woodland on the beach berm.

KRAUSE LAGOON
Harry A. Beatty was the first individual to docu-
ment nesting over many years (11 June 1934, 30
May 1939, 3 May 1941, 4 May 1941, and 15 June
1944) when he collected five sets of two eggs
(Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology 17348,
WFVZ 17347, San Bernardino County Museum
2P30, United States National Museum B46833; and
Delaware Museum of Natural History 471, respec-
tively). In 1942, Beatty (1943) stated a "large col-
ony" was nesting in the mangroves on 21 July.
From 300-600 birds nested at Krause Lagoon in
1944 and through the 1950s (Table 1), usually based
on extrapolated estimates from counts of nests that
ranged as high as 170 per year. George A. Seaman
banded 1,271 squabs from 1950 to 1960 (Table 1).
The estimated number of adult birds and number of
banded squabs per year (n = 6) were positively cor-
related (Spearman's rank correlation, rs = 0.84, P =
0.04), even though the breeding population gener-
ally declined during the 1950s, but by no more than
half its maximum number in 1950 (contra Dam-
mann 1977). Dammann and Nellis (1992) stated
that Krause Lagoon was formerly "the home of
thousands" of White-crowned Pigeons, but I cannot
find any substantiation for this statement.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









McNAIR PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA IN ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS


Table 1. Estimated number of adult birds, minimum number of nests, and number of banded young of the
White-crowned Pigeon documented at Krause Lagoon from 1944 to 1961 on St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands.


Number of Number of Number of Range of Visits Number
Year Adults Nests Visits Bandeda Reference(s)

1944 500 Jun Beatty 1944
1949 "half its for- May Jun Seaman 1949
mer size"
1950 600 170b 5 12 Jun Aug 174 Seaman 1950a, b
1951 UC 21 Jun 3 Aug 122 Seaman 1951b
1952 May- Jul 97 BBLd
1953 60+ U Jun Aug 180 Seaman 1953, 1954b
1954 500e 54+; 19 U <18 May 24 Jul; 150 Seaman 1954a, b
4 Nov
1955 45 55+ U 28 Apr 28 Jul 110 Seaman 1955
1956 350 83+ 4+ 29 May 14 Aug 38 Seaman 1956a, b,
Lamb 1957
1957 300 83+ 3 21 Jun 26 Jul 54 Seaman 1957b
1958 "few hun- Seaman 1958
dred"
1959 U U late May 9 Jul 103 Seaman 1959a, b
1960 500 13 May Sep 243 Seaman 1960
1961 30+ 5 25 May 25 Jul Seaman 1961

data supplied by the Bird Banding Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, U. S. Geological Survey
bsome of the same nests may have been sampled on different days, although White-crowned Pigeons fre-
quently reuse the same nest
unknown
ddata on range of visits also supplied by the Bird Banding Laboratory
about two-thirds of the birds were breeding, according to Seaman (1954a)


KRAUSE LAGOON REMNANT
Dammann (1977) stated that a "few" birds nested
in dead mangroves at Krause Lagoon Remnant, but
White-crowned Pigeons do not nest in dead man-
groves (McNair pers. obs.). Ten birds were at
Krause Lagoon Remnant during June 1982 (Norton
1982) and Sladen (in Scott and Carbonell 1986)
discovered fewer than ten breeding pairs there in the
1980s.

SALT RIVER ESTUARY
Seaman (1993) stated that "hundreds" of White-
crowned Pigeons roosted at Salt River Estuary
(actually, in Sugar Bay) in the mid-1930s. Accord-
ing to Dammann (1977), the birds had been shot out
since 1946. Birds still roosted there in 1950, but
Seaman (1950a) did not mention any numbers. Also
in 1950, Seaman (1950a, b, 1951a) reported that "a
small and negligible colony" nested there, perhaps
based on second-hand information. Seaman (1954a)


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


stated that by 1954 White-crowned Pigeons no
longer nested at Sugar Bay. Lamb (1957) stated that
Salt River Bay was a former breeding site, appar-
ently based on information provided by Seaman.
Sladen (in Scott and Carbonell 1986) stated birds
nested at Sugar Bay in the 1980s, but did not dis-
cover any in mangrove wetlands where he implied
they occurred. Wauer (1990) presumed White-
crowned Pigeons nested in littoral woodland just
above Sugar Bay, not in mangroves, but provided
no documentation.

RUTH ISLAND
The first year birds began nesting at Ruth Island,
a dredge spoil island created in the early 1960s, is
unknown, although they were established by 1980
when Yntema and Sladen (1987) saw an adult sit-
ting on a nest, brooding young. The pigeons breed
at Ruth Island in littoral woodland and scrub as well
as mangrove wetlands (Yntema and Sladen 1987).









MCNAIR PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA IN ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS


Knowles (1994, 1995) reported that 200-300 pairs
of White-crowned Pigeons nested at Ruth Island in
1993. After he established plots beginning in 1994,
Knowles (1994, 1995, 1997) estimated that a mini-
mum number of 633, 961, and 899 pairs nested at
Ruth Island in 1995, 1996, and 1997, respectively.

OTHER BREEDING SITES
Sladen (in Scott and Carbonell 1986; Sladen pers.
comm.) discovered from 1-10 breeding pairs at
seven other sites in the 1980s, at Altona Lagoon, the
Buccaneer Hotel, Coakley Bay Salt Pond, Great
Pond, Manning Bay Lagoon, Sandy Point National
Wildlife Refuge (NWR), and the University of Vir-
gin Island (UVI) Wetlands. In addition to birds nest-
ing on Ruth Island, Sladen confirmed breeding
(nests found, with eggs or young) on at least four of
these seven sites (Great Pond, Manning Bay La-
goon, Sandy Point NWR, UVI Wetlands). Breeding
pairs at all sites were located in mangrove wetlands
including Great Pond, except for additional birds at
Great Pond in littoral woodland on the beach berm
and at the Buccaneer Hotel where they only nested
in littoral woodland.

DISCUSSION
Historical data on the White-crowned Pigeon
breeding population on St. Croix are sparse, other
than those for the former Krause Lagoon during the
1950s and Ruth Island during the mid-1990s. Birds
were formerly concentrated at Green Cay, then
Krause Lagoon, where documented breeding popu-
lations did not overlap. It is impossible to recon-
struct a plausible population estimate for birds on
Green Cay (Beatty's claim of 877 pairs/ha, if it had
been confirmed, would have been the densest breed-
ing aggregation ever documented; Bancroft and
Bowman 2001). Apparently plausible documented
population estimates are available for Krause La-
goon, most from the 1950s, when the maximum
annual population estimate for this multi-brooded
pigeon was 600 birds in 1950 (contra Dammann
1977).
Following destruction of the former Krause La-
goon (Norton and Seaman 1985), Ruth Island be-
came the apparent primary breeding site on St.
Croix by the 1990s, although it is unknown when
birds first began breeding there except that it was
sometime between 1962 and 1980. The proximity of
uninhabited Ruth Island to the former Krause La-
goon probably facilitated colonization. Knowles
overlooked many other breeding sites on St. Croix
discovered by Sladen in the 1980s, that were un-


doubtedly active in the 1990s regardless of any ef-
fects of heightened hurricane activity on habitat
since 1989 (e.g., Wauer and Wunderle 1992, Wiley
and Wunderle 1993). These populations were
probably small, suggested by the size of recent
(2002-2003) breeding populations at all of these
sites except for one for which there has been a re-
cent, obvious increase because of favorable habitat
change (McNair unpubl. data).
The larger size of the breeding population of
White-crowned Pigeons at Ruth Island, however,
must not have been nearly as large as Knowles had
estimated. His original data were not documented or
presented in a form that can be extracted to reana-
lyze the data, so the size of the breeding population
is unknown; it probably did not exceed 150-200
pairs. Knowles's estimates at Ruth Island were ap-
proximately 2-3 times greater than the largest esti-
mate of the former breeding population at Krause
Lagoon. This is unlikely, even though White-
crowned Pigeon nests at Ruth Island can be closely
packed in littoral woodland (as they may have been
at Green Cay), whereas at Krause Lagoon they were
usually spaced widely apart in red mangroves but
over a much larger area (260 ha compared to 7.1
ha). Knowles attributed the breeding population
crash at Ruth Island in 1994 and low nest success
during the other 3 yr to predation, which he rarely
observed or documented. However, poaching of
squabs occurred regularly at Krause Lagoon, where
Seaman on a single visit noted that up to 25% of his
marked nests poached, and may better explain
Knowles's data. Poaching by squab poachers was
diffused here because nests were dispersed, the
habitat was tiresome to traverse, and the large size
of Krause Lagoon prevented breeding failure from
occurring from poaching alone. The smaller size of
mangrove wetlands at Salt River Bay may have
allowed poachers (of squabs and adults) to wipe out
the breeding colony.
Poaching of squabs is an illegal practice that con-
tinues today at Ruth Island, where nearly complete
breeding failure probably occurred in 2002 because
the aggregated, accessible nests on this small island
facilitate poaching (McNair unpubl. data). Negligi-
ble poaching of adults and juveniles otherwise oc-
curs island-wide, but this was a common practice
during Seaman's day even during the breeding sea-
son which sometimes coincided with the opening of
the hunting season on St. Croix (e.g., 16 August in
1956; 1 July in 1960; Seaman 1957a, 1960; Norton
and Seaman 1985). Surviving adults at Green Cay,
then later at Krause Lagoon, probably dispersed to


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









McNAIR PATAGIOENAS LEUCOCEPHALA IN ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS


breed at other sites on St. Croix (and perhaps other
islands), although this was not documented, as they
continued to be reduced by hunting pressure
(including poaching), and later, at Krause Lagoon
by habitat destruction (Dammann 1977, Norton and
Seaman 1985; cf., northern US Virgin Islands:
Nichols 1943; British Virgin Islands: Mirecki et al.
1977; Puerto Rico: Wiley 1977, 1979, Arendt et al.
1979). Hunting pressure may have led to cessation
of breeding at Salt River Estuary (= Sugar Bay),
assuming breeding occurred, although the apparent
population size was small, at least by 1950. The
main reason for continued hunting pressure was to
kill larger numbers of roosting birds in late summer
and early autumn, especially in the mature man-
grove forest. The effects of hunting pressure and
poaching of squabs on numbers of White-crowned
Pigeons, in addition to insufficient documentation
or lack of substantiation of claims over many years,
makes it difficult to make plausible population esti-
mates at most historical breeding sites. It is also
uncertain how many breeding sites were active on
St. Croix and how important they were before the
elimination of breeding birds from Green Cay by
1930 and before the destruction of Krause Lagoon
and after the creation of Ruth Island during the early
1960s. It is perhaps notable, however, that no more
than one historical breeding site of moderate or ma-
jor importance has ever been documented to be ac-
tive at a given time on St. Croix.
Insufficient observer effort since Seaman's day,
especially on St. Croix proper, contributed to uncer-
tainty about historical breeding populations. Enig-
matically, Seaman (1993) never saw a White-
crowned Pigeon in the western end of St. Croix
(including Krause Lagoon) during his childhood,
but only saw his first birds at Southgate Pond and
Green Cay during the early 1920s because Beatty
introduced him to the species there. Much later,
Seaman (1993) considered White-crowned Pigeons
summer residents of mangrove swamps, yet appar-
ently never searched for the species in littoral wood-
land (other than Green Cay). Nellis et al. (1984)
failed to find any breeding sites of the White-
crowned Pigeon on St. Croix during the mid-to-late
1970s. Breeding sites in littoral woodland were
documented on St. Croix proper (and Ruth Island
and Green Cay) in the 1980s when one individual
(F. W. Sladen) finally looked for them in this habi-
tat. Insufficient observer effort also extended to
mangrove wetlands, even though this breeding habi-
tat is generally preferred by pigeons compared to
littoral woodland (except on islands) because anti-


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


predator adaptations include selection of relatively
remote sites and placement of nests directly over
water (Wiley 1979, Campbell 1991).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank F. W. Sladen for contributing data, K.
Carter (Biological Sciences Division, San Bernar-
dino County Museum), R. Corado (Collections
Manager, Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zool-
ogy), J. P. Dean (Collections Manager, Division of
Birds, Department of Systematic Biology, Smith-
sonian Institution), G. K. Hess (Collections Man-
ager, Department of Birds, Delaware Museum of
Natural History), and R. Symonds (Collections
Manager, University Museum of Zoology, Cam-
bridge) for providing information from their orni-
thological collections, K. Klimkiewicz of the Bird
Banding Laboratory, Patuxent Wildlife Research
Center, United States Geological Survey for provid-
ing copies of Seaman's banding data from Krause
Lagoon, C. D. Lombard, F. F. Rivera-Milan, and J.
W. Wiley for reviewing a penultimate draft of this
manuscript, and W. J. Arendt and one anonymous
individual for their reviews of the submitted manu-
script. I also thank the USFWS for financial support
(Federal Aid Program, Pittman-Robertson Colum-
bids Project, W12, Study 1) and Christine Willis for
her support. Copies of unpublished manuscripts
listed below are available from the author.

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the Virgin Islands No. 4-R: Unpublished quar-
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the Virgin Islands No. 4-R: Unpublished quar-
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Puerto Rico: status, distribution, and movements.
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effects of hurricanes on birds, with special refer-
ence to Caribbean Islands. Bird Conservation
International 3:319-349.
WOODBURY, R. O., AND J. L. VIVALDI. 1982. The
vegetation of Green Cay. U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service contract report no. CI-007-6-1. Files:
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O. Box 510, Boquer6n, Puerto Rico).
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Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:8-11, 2006


GROUND VERSUS ABOVE-GROUND NESTING OF COLUMBIDS
ON THE SATELLITE CAYS OF ST. CROIX, US VIRGIN ISLANDS

DOUGLAS B. MCNAIR1 AND CLAUDIA D. LOMBARD2
Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources, 45 Mars Hill, Frederiksted, United States
Virgin Islands 00840, USA; current address: Sapphos Environmental, Inc., 133 Martin Alley, Pasadena, California 91105,
USA; e-mail: dmcnair@sapphosenvironmental.com; 2United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Building, 3013
Estate Golden Rock, Christiansted, United States Virgin Islands 00820-4355, USA

Abstract: We examined the incidence of ground versus above-ground nesting of columbids on four nearshore cays
off St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. Roof rats (Rattus rattus) occurred on two cays (Protestant Cay, Ruth Island),
whereas rats were absent from the two other cays (Buck Island, Green Cay) in 2002-2003. We discovered 6 ground
nests (2.1%) of three columbids out of 288 nests of five columbids, including the first documented record of ground
nesting by the Scaly-naped Pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa). The proportion of ground nests on cays with or without
rats was similar (1.5% versus 3.4%). Despite flexible nest-site placement of ground and above-ground nests of
columbids on inhabited and uninhabited cays off St. Croix, the low number and restriction of ground nests to early
successional habitats suggest that columbids may prefer breeding above-ground when suitable nest-sites are avail-
able in more mature habitats regardless of the presence or absence of rats.
Key words: above-ground nests, cays, columbids, ground nests, Patagioenas squamosa, Rattus rattus, roof rat,
Scaly-naped Pigeon, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

Resumen: NIDIFICACION EN EL SUELO VS SOBRE EL SUELO DE COLiUMBIDOS EN LOS CAYOS SATELLITE DE ST.
CROIX, ISLAS VIRGENES DE EEUU. Se examin6 la incidencia de nidificaci6n en el suelo y sobre el suelo de colfmbi-
dos en cuatro cayos adyacentes a St. Croix, Islas Virgenes de EEUU. Las ratas (Rattus rattus) aparecieron en dos de
los cayos (Protestant Cay, Ruth Island), mientras que estuvieron ausentes de otros dos cayos (Buck Island, Green
Cay) en 2002-2003. Se descubrieron seis nidos en el suelo (2.1%) de tres columbidos, de los 288 nidos de cinco
columbidos, incluyendo el primer registro documentado de nidificaci6n en el suelo de la Torcaza Cuellimorada
(Patagioenas squamosa). Las proporciones de nidos en el suelo entre los cayos con y sin ratas fue similar (1.5 %
versus 3.4 %). A pesar de la flexibilidad en la selecci6n de sitios de nidificaci6n en el suelo o sobre este, de los
columbidos en cayos habitados o deshabitados adyactentes a St. Croix, la pequeia cantidad y la restricci6n de los
nidos en el suelo a habitats sucesionales tempranos sugieren que los columbidos pueden preferir nidificar en lugares
altos cuando existen sitios asequibles en habitats maduros, independientemente de la presencia o no de ratas.
Palabras clave: nidos sobre el suelo, cayos, columbidos, Islas Virgenes de EEUU, nidos en el suelo, Patagioenas
squamosa, Rattus rattus, ratas, Torcaza Cuellimorada, St. Croix

Resume : NIDIFICATION AU SOL COMPAREE A NIDIFICATION AU-DESSUS DU SOL DES COLOMBIDES SUR LES ILETS
SATELLITES DE ST. CROIX, ILES VIERGES AMERICAINES. Nous avons compares la nidification au sol par rapport a la
nidification au dessus du sol des colombid&s sur 4 ilots de St. Croix, Iles Vierges Amiricaines. Le Rat noir (Rattus
rattus) est present sur 2 ilots (Protestant Cay, Ruth Island), alors qu'il 6tait absent des deux autres (Buck Island,
Green Cay) en 2002-2003. 6 nids (2,1%) de 3 especes de colombid6s sur les 288 r6pertori6s de 5 especes, ont &6t
d6couverts au sol, dont la premiere observation confirm6e de nidification au sol du Pigeon a couronne blanche
(Patagioenas squamosa). La proportion de nids au sol 6tait la meme sur les ilots avec ou sans rat (1,5% vs. 3,4%).
En d6pit de la localisation souple du choix des sites de nidification, au sol ou non, des colombid6s sur les ilots habi-
t6s ou non de St. Croix, le nombre r6duit et la localisation des nids au sol aux premiers stades de la succession des
habitats, suggere que les colombid6s pr6ferent nicher au dessus du sol quand des sites ad6quats sont disponibles dans
des habitats plus 6volu6s, qu'il y ait ou non presence de rats.
Mots-cls : nids au dessus du sol, ilots, columbid6s, nids terrestres, Patagioenas squamosa, Rattus rattus, Pigeon a
couronne blanche, St. Croix, Iles Vierges Am6ricaines


GROUND NESTING by some columbids, especially studies were conducted are dominated by rock and
the Zenaida Dove (Zenaida aurita), may be frequent grassland-scrub vegetation <1 m tall (Dammann and
on cays in the Culebra Archipelago of Puerto Rico Nellis 1992, Rivera-Milan and Schaffner 2002).
and the northern United States Virgin Islands where Though trees and other woody vegetation were
nest density is greater than on the main islands available on some cays, most Zenaida Doves nested
(Nellis et al. 1984, Burger et al. 1989, 1991, Rivera- on the ground, on flat rocks, in rock crevices, under
Milan and Schaffner 2002). The cays where these rock boulders, and on soil completely or partially


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









McNAIR AND LOMBARD COLUMBID NESTING ECOLOGY ON CAYS OFF ST. CROIX


covered by vegetation. Ground nests, however, had
generally lower success than nests above-ground
and overall reproductive success on these cays was
low (22-26%), despite the absence of exotic mam-
malian predators.
The small Indian mongoose (Herpestes javani-
cus) and roof rat (Rattus rattus) are major predators
on nests of landbirds on some cays off Puerto Rico
and the U.S. Virgin Islands where these predators
occur (Nellis et al. 1984, Campbell 1991, Rivera-
Milan and Schaffner 2002). Land crabs (Gecarcinus
ruricola) were the main predator on Zenaida Dove
nests (eggs and nestlings) on cays off St. Thomas,
where mammalian predators were absent (Nellis et
al. 1984). Despite heavy predation by crabs on
small islands without mammalian predators (Nellis
et al. 1984, Burger et al. 1991, Rivera-Milan and
Schaffner 2002), tree-nesting by some columbids
(including Zenaida Doves), if sites are available,
generally predominates on small islands with rats
and ground nesting on small islands without rats
(and other mammalian predators).
Off St. Croix, three of the four cays have always
been mongoose-free and the mongoose was suc-
cessfully eradicated from Buck Island by the 1990s.
Roof rats formerly occurred on all four cays. They
were recently eradicated from Green Cay (68 rats
removed by live-trapping from June 2000 to Febru-
ary 2001; C. D. Lombard unpubl. data) and Buck
Island (Witmer et al. 2002), although rats have
recolonized Green Cay since 2005 (Lombard pers.
obs.) but were absent when this study was con-
ducted in 2002-2003. Rats are present but appar-
ently are rather scarce on Protestant Cay and Ruth
Island (McNair pers. obs.). Pre- and post-removal
effects of exotic mammals on columbid nests on the
two cays off St. Croix without rats cannot be com-
pared because of the absence of pre-removal stud-
ies. Nonetheless, columbid nest placement (ground
versus above-ground) on cays without rats can be
compared to the two cays with rats and results
therein can be compared to published studies. The
number of ground nests covered by vegetation or
under boulders and at other sites may increase in
response to the removal of rats (Atkinson 1985,
Wiley 1991, Rivera-Milan and Schaffner 2002).
Green Cay and Buck Island were free of rats in
2002-2003, when breeding may have shifted from
above-ground to ground nests even though repro-
ductive success of above-ground nests on large is-
lands such as Puerto Rico with high densities of
avian and mammalian predators is generally higher
than in ground nests on small cays (Wiley 1991,


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


Rivera-Milan and Schaffner 2002). In this note, we
present data on columbid nest-site placement from
2002 and 2003 on four cays off of St. Croix and
assess its consistency with the expectation that
ground nests should be fairly numerous or at least
increase on cays without rats.

STUDY AREA AND METHODS
In the course of several ongoing studies on Green
Cay and the three other nearshore cays off St. Croix,
we opportunistically obtained information on
ground and above-ground nests (trees, shrubs, cacti)
of five species of columbids (52 visits in 2002 and
2003). Ground nests as defined herein exclude nests
placed in crevices of rock walls or on rock ledges
above the ground but include nests placed on the
ground among boulders. Vegetative descriptions for
Buck Island, Green Cay, and Ruth Island, and vege-
tative characteristics for Protestant Cay are avail-
able (Woodbury and Little 1976, Woodbury and
Vivaldi 1982, Yntema and Sladen 1987, McNair
2003). Briefly, all four cays have extensive or fairly
extensive areas of open xeric forest, dry thorn-
woodland, or highly modified littoral woodland
with exotic vegetation (Protestant Cay) except for
man-made Ruth Island, where woodland is more
limited in extent and the coral rubble is lightly vege-
tated. Small areas of mangrove wetland occur on
Ruth Island and Buck Island. Grassland-scrub vege-
tation is more limited than woodland on all four
cays but is fairly extensive on Green Cay, especially
the northern half. Seabird colonies on these cays are
absent or limited to low numbers of one or two spe-
cies.

RESULTS
We discovered a total of six ground nests (2.1%)
of Scaly-naped Pigeon (Patagioenas squamosa),
White-crowned Pigeon (P. leucocephala), and
Zenaida Dove on two cays (Green Cay, Protestant
Cay) out of 288 nests of five species of columbids
(Table 1). The proportion of ground nests was low
on cays with (1.5%) or without rats (3.4%). Most of
our data, other than White-crowned Pigeon at Ruth
Island, were from Green Cay and Protestant Cay.
All six ground nests were discovered in early
successional habitats, not in open woodland or for-
est. The Scaly-naped Pigeon nest on Protestant Cay
that contained one fresh egg on 27 June 2002 (when
an adult was flushed off the nest) was placed on soil
underneath a sapling (1.5 m) wild tamarind (Leu-
caena leucocephala) 15 cm from a dilapidated rock-
wall near the top of a slope on hotel grounds in an









MCNAIR AND LOMBARD COLUMBID NESTING ECOLOGY ON CAYS OFF ST. CROIX


Table 1. The number of ground versus above-ground nests for five species of columbids on four cays (with
rats, Ruth Island and Protestant Cay; without rats, Buck Island and Green Cay) off St. Croix, US Virgin
Islands, from 2002 and 2003.


Numbers of Ground / Above-ground Nests
Rats No rats

Species Ruth Island Protestant Cay Buck Island Green Cay Total
Scaly-naped Pigeon 1/17 1 / 17
White-crowned Pigeon 0 / 107 0/13 0/2 1 / 19 1 / 141
White-winged Dove" 0 / 14 0 / 14
Zenaida Dove 0/1 2/41 0/1 2 / 45 4 / 88
Common Ground-Doveb 0/4 0 / 18 0 / 22
Total 0/126 3/71 0/3 3/82 6/282
aZenaida asiatica
b Columbina passerina


area that had been cleared of vegetation three weeks
earlier. One ground nest of the Zenaida Dove on
Protestant Cay, discovered with two eggs on 14
May 2003, was completely shaded by a sapling wild
tamarind 18 cm from the same rockwall as the
Scaly-naped Pigeon nest in an adjacent area that had
been cleared in November 2002. The other Protes-
tant Cay nest, with two eggs on 3 May 2002, was
placed among low herbaceous vegetation on the
beach beside an abandoned unfenced tennis court.
The two Zenaida Dove nests on Green Cay, discov-
ered with two eggs each on 19 August 2002 and 29
May 2003, were underneath two shrubs Eupatorium
sinuatum and Oplonia spinosa in grassland-scrub
near the northeastern tip. The two eggs in the
White-crowned Pigeon nest discovered on 29 May
2003 were placed under overhanging boulders on a
60" slope on the leeward side near the top of the
peak of the northern tip of Green Cay; by 17 June
this nest contained two large nestlings about to
fledge. Except for this nest, the other five ground
nests of these columbids failed, at least four during
the egg stage (only the Zenaida Dove nest under-
neath the Eupatorium and Spinosa on Green Cay in
2002 may have survived to the nestling stage).
Some above-ground nests were placed in unusual
nest-sites. One Scaly-naped Pigeon nest at Protes-
tant Cay was located at a height of 0.5 m above
ground on a dry upturned tree trunk along a steep
hillside, and another nest at a height of 1.5 m was
built on a coralita vine (Antigonon leptopus) lying
on top of a large remnant trunk of a tree that had
been recently cut down. One White-crowned Pigeon


nest was placed on a ledge inside an open rusted
hull of a ship 2.4 m above the water line, just off the
shoreline of Ruth Island. Another pair of White-
crowned Pigeons on Protestant Cay built a bulky
nest on the top of the tip of a live banana frond that
lay upon the corner of a window sill of an unoccu-
pied dwelling 3.3 m above the ground. Zenaida
Doves twice nested on the seat of a table chair (0.75
m above ground) placed 2 m inside this same dwell-
ing. Finally, one pair of Zenaida Doves built a nest
on Ruth Island (where the species is scarce) at a
height of 2 m on top of a fold of a large, torn, hori-
zontal tarpaulin that served as the roof for a tempo-
rary fishing shack.

DISCUSSION
The six ground nests plus at least seven unusual
sites for above-ground nests again demonstrate
flexible nest-site placement of columbids on inhab-
ited and uninhabited cays (Rivera-Milan 1999,
Rivera-Milan and Schaffner 2002). The ground nest
of the Scaly-naped Pigeon on Protestant Cay is the
first documented for this species, which generally
nests high in large, tall trees. The minimum nest
heights above ground reported for Puerto Rico were
a few nests just off the ground in well supported
stunted trees or shrubs in elfin forest in the Sierra de
Luquillo (J. W. Wiley pers. comm.) and 1 m above
ground in a sea grape (Coccoloba uvifera) at Fla-
menco, Culebra (F. F. Rivera-Milan pers. comm.).
Despite considerable nest-site flexibility on near-
shore cays off St. Croix, we found few columbid
ground nests, even on cays without rats where rocky


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









McNAIR AND LOMBARD COLUMBID NESTING ECOLOGY ON CAYS OFF ST. CROIX


and grassland-scrub habitat was available. Whereas
our searches were opportunistic and uneven as to
species, site, and year, we are confident that only a
small proportion of columbid nests on these cays
are ground nests.
The scarcity and failure of all but one of these
ground nests on cays with and without rats, with or
without seabird colonies (cf. Burger et al. 1991),
and their restriction to early successional habitats
suggest that columbids may prefer breeding above-
ground when suitable nest-sites are available in
more mature habitats. Predation effects by native
fauna probably reduce the incidence of ground nest-
ing on cays even where rats (and other exotic preda-
tors) may be absent, unless no other habitat is read-
ily available on more exposed cays such as Cayo del
Agua in the Culebra Archipelago or Saba Cay and
Flat Cay off St. Thomas. Land crabs are probably
the major predators of columbid nests on cays off
St. Croix, except possibly Buck Island where the
Pearly-eyed Thrasher (Margaropsfuscatus) is fairly
numerous (cf. Wiley 1991).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank Hotel-on-the-Cay for providing us boat
transportation to reach Protestant Cay, J. Johnson of
the Tamarind Reef Hotel for providing kayaks that
allowed us to reach Green Cay, Z. Hillis-Starr of the
National Park Service for allowing us to reach Buck
Island on their boat, and M. A. Mahoney for allow-
ing us access to St. Croix Renaissance Park where
we launched kayaks provided by W. Coles. We also
thank J. W. Wiley for reviewing a penultimate draft
of this manuscript and W. J. Arendt and two anony-
mous individuals for their reviews of the submitted
manuscript. McNair also thanks the USFWS for
financial support (Federal Aid Program, Pittman-
Robertson Columbids Project, W12, Study 1) and
Christine Willis for her support. Copies of unpub-
lished manuscripts listed below are available from
the first author.

LITERATURE CITED
ATKINSON, I. A. E. 1985. The spread of commensal
species of Rattus to oceanic islands and their ef-
fects on island avifaunas. Pp. 35-81 in Conserva-
tion of island birds (P. J. Moors, ed.). ICBF Tech-
nical Publication 3. Washington: Smithsonian
Institution Press.
BURGER, J., M. GOCHFELD, D. J. GOCHFELD, AND J.
E. SALIVA. 1989. Nest site selection in Zenaida
Dove (Zenaida aurita) in Puerto Rico. Biotropica
21:244-249.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2009


BURGER, J., M. GOCHFELD, J. E. SALIVA, D. J.
GOCHFELD, D. A. GOCHFELD, AND H. MORALES.
1991. Habitat use by visiting Zenaida Doves
Zenaida aurita in Puerto Rico: avoidance of is-
lands without nesting seabirds. Ornis Scandi-
navica 22:367-374.
CAMPBELL, E. W. 1991. The effect of introduced
roof rats on bird diversity of Antillean cays. Jour-
nal of Field Ornithology 62:343-348.
DAMMANN, A. E., AND D. W. NELLIS. 1992. A
natural history atlas to the cays of the U. S. Virgin
Islands. Pineapple Press, Inc., Sarasota, FL.
MCNAIR, D. B. 2003. Population estimate, habitat
associations, and conservation of the St. Croix
Ground Lizard Ameiva polops at Protestant Cay,
United States Virgin Islands. Caribbean Journal
of Science 39:94-99.
NELLIS, D. W., R. A. DEWEY, M. A. HEWITT, S.
IMSAND, R. PHILIBOSIAN, AND J. A. YNTEMA.
1984. Population status of Zenaida Doves and
other columbids in the Virgin Islands. Journal of
Wildlife Management 48:889-894.
RIVERA-MILAN, F. F. 1999. Population dynamics of
Zenaida Doves in Cidra, Puerto Rico. Journal of
Wildlife Management 63:232-244.
RIVERA-MILAN, F. F., AND F. C. SCHAFFNER. 2002.
Demography of Zenaida Doves on Cayo del
Agua, Culebra, Puerto Rico. Condor 104:587-
597.
WILEY, J. W. 1991. Ecology and behavior of the
Zenaida Dove. Ornitologia Neotropical 2:49-75.
WITMER, G. W., F. BOYD, E. CAMPBELL, III, J.
WAKEFIELD, AND Z. HILLIS-Starr. 2002. The
eradication of introduced rats at Buck Island Reef
National Monument, St. Croix, U. S. Virgin Is-
lands. Final report. U.S. Department of Interior,
National Park Service, Buck Island Reef National
Monument, Christiansted, St. Croix, U. S. Virgin
Islands.
WOODBURY, R. O., AND E. L. LITTLE, JR. 1976.
Flora of Buck Island Reef National Monument
(U. S. Virgin Islands). U. S. Dept. Agric. Forest
Service, Institute of Tropical Forestry, Rio Pie-
dras, Puerto Rico.
WOODBURY, R. O., AND J. L. VIVALDI. 1982. The
vegetation of Green Cay. U. S. Fish and Wildlife
Service contract report no. CI-007-6-1. Files:
Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge (P.
O. Box 510, Boqueron, Puerto Rico).
YNTEMA, J. A., AND F. W. SLADEN. 1987. Ruth
Island survey. Final report, endangered species
project ES-1, Study IIB, Job IIB-1. Division of
Fish and Wildlife, U. S. Virgin Islands.










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:12-20, 2006


VARIATION AND HYBRIDIZATION IN THE GREEN HERON
(BUTORIDES VIRESCENS) AND STRIATED HERON (B. STRIATA)
IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, WITH COMMENTS ON SPECIES LIMITS

FLOYD E. HAYES
Department of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago.
Current address: Department of Biology, Pacific Union College, Angwin, CA 94508, USA. floyd_hayes@yahoo.com

Abstract: The rufous-necked Green Heron (Butorides virescens) of North America and the Caribbean hybridizes
with the gray-necked Striated Heron (B. striata) of South America in Panama and southern Caribbean islands. I ana-
lyzed historic and current variability of the two taxa in Trinidad and Tobago by comparing museum specimens and
live individuals in the field with a color photograph of nine voucher specimens used as a hybrid index. In Trinidad,
the population is dominated by B. striata, whereas B. virescens and intermediate individuals are rare. In Tobago, B.
virescens is the predominant form, with small numbers of B. striata and intermediate individuals. The increased
variability and intermediacy of individuals in Tobago strongly implies hybridization, and the higher proportion of
intermediate individuals among museum specimens suggests a shift within the past century toward relatively "pure"
phenotypes. Neck color was unrelated to clinal variation, seasonality, or habitat. The distribution of phenotypes dif-
fers markedly between populations of Butorides in Trinidad and Tobago, which are separated by only 36 km, sug-
gesting that competitive exclusion may preclude B. virescens from colonizing Trinidad and B. striata from coloniz-
ing Tobago. Because the two taxa may often have opportunities to interbreed on Tobago but tend to mate assorta-
tively, they appear to have achieved essential reproductive isolation, thus supporting their current treatment as dis-
tinct species.
Key words: Butorides striata, Butorides virescens, Green Heron, hybridization, species limits, Striated Heron,
Tobago, Trinidad, variation

Resumen: VARIACION E HIBRIDIZACION DE LA GARCITA VERDE (BUTORIDES VIRESCENS) Y LA GARCITA ESTRIADA
(B. STRIATA) EN TRINIDAD Y TOBAGO, CON COMENTARIOS ACERCA DE LOS LIMITES DE LA ESPECIE. La Garcita
Verde (Butorides virescens) con cuello rufo de Norteam6rica y el Caribe se hibridiza con la Garcita Estriada (B.
striata) con cuello griz de Suram6rica, en Panama y las islas caribenas del sur. Se analiz6 la variabilidad hist6rica y
actual de ambos taxas a trav6s de la comparaci6n de especimenes de museo y animales vivos con una fotografia a
color de nueve de nueve ejemplares utilizados como patrones del hibrido. En Trinidad la poblaci6n esta dominada
por B. striata, mientras que B. virescens e individuos intermedios son raros. En Tobago, B. virescens es la forma
predominante, con pequenos nfmeros de B. striata e individuos intermedios. La variabilidad incrementada incre-
mentada y los caracteres intermedios en los individuos de Tobago sugieren fuertemente hibridizaci6n y la mayor
proporci6n de individuos intermedios entre los especimenes de museo sugiere un cambio en el siglo pasado hacia los
fenotipos "puros". El color del cuello no estuvo relacionado a variaciones clinales, estacionales o de habitat. La dis-
tribuci6n de los fenotipos difiere marcadamente entre las poblaciones de Butorides en Trinidad y Tobago, que estan
separadas tan solo por 36 km, lo que sugiere que la exclusi6n competitiva evita la colonizaci6n de Trinidad por B.
virescens y la de Tobago por B. striata. Como ambos taxas tienen frecuentes oportunidades de entrecruzarse en To-
bago, pero tienen un apareamiento asociativo, parece ser que han alcanzado un aislamiento reproductivo esencial que
apoya su tratamiento actual como especies diferentes.
Palabras clave: Butorides striata, Butorides virescens, Garcita Estriada, Garcita Verde, hybridizaci6n, limites de
especies, Tobago, Trinidad, variaci6n

Resume : VARIABILITE ET HYBRIDATION ENTRE LE HERON VERT (BUTORIDES VIRESCENS) ET LE HERON STRIE (B.
STRIATA) A TRINITE ET TOBAGO: COMMENTAIRES SUR LES FRONTIERES D'ESPECES. Le H6ron vert (Butorides vires-
cens) a cou roux d'Am6rique du Nord et de la Caraibe, se croise avec le H6ron stri6, a cou gris d'Am6rique du Sud,
du Panama et des iles du sud des Antilles (B. striata). J'ai 6tudi6 la variability historique et actuelle et deux taxons a
Trinit6 et Tobago en comparant des specimens de Mus6um et des individus vivants en liberty avec des cliches en
couleur de neuf specimens utilis6s comme index hybride. A Trinit6, la population est dominme par B. striata, alors
que B. virescens et les individus interm6diaires sont rares. A Tobago, B. virescens est la forme pr6dominante, avec
un nombre faible de B. striata et d'individus interm6diaires. La plus variability et situation interm6diaire croissante a
Tobago implique fortement la presence d'hybridation et la plus grande proportion d'individus interm6diaires dans
les specimens de Mus6ums suggere une drive pendant le siecle pass vers des ph6notypes relativement << pures >.
La couleur du cou n'est pas li6e a une variation clinale, ou de saisonnalit6 ou d'habitat. La distribution des ph6noty-
pes differe nettement entre les populations a Butorides de Trinidad et de Tobago, s6par6es de seulement 36 km, sug-
g6rant qu'une exclusion competitive emp&che B. virescens de coloniser Trinidad et B. striata de coloniser Tobago.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO


Bien que les deux taxons on des possibilities de se croiser a Tobago, ils tendent a s'associer pr6f6rentiellement de
maniere homogene. Ils semblent done avoir atteint un isolement reproductif suffisant, allant done dans le sens de
leur traitement actuel en tant qu'espece s6par6.
Mots-cles : Butorides striata, Butorides virescens, H6ron stri6, H6ron vert, hybridation, limites d'especes, Tobago,
Trinit6, variability


HYBRIDIZATION, THE INTERBREEDING between
morphologically distinct populations in secondary
contact (Short 1969), is a genetic phenomenon
widespread in birds, even between non-sister taxa
(Grant and Grant 1992), and can be inferred pheno-
typically by an increase in variability and interme-
diacy in the contact zone (Schueler and Rising
1976). Where zones of phenotypic intermediacy
occur between parapatrically distributed taxa, docu-
menting the gradient of change in geographic varia-
tion and the distribution of phenotypes (or, prefera-
bly, genotypes) within the contact zone is important
to distinguish between primary intergradation
(clinal variation) and secondary intergradation
(hybridization), to infer the extent of gene flow and
the development of isolating mechanisms, and to
interpret the taxonomic significance of hybridiza-
tion (e.g., Remington 1968, Short 1969, Woodruff
1973, Schueler and Rising 1976, Moore 1977, Bar-
ton and Hewitt 1985a, b, Harrison 1990).
The heron genus Butorides has been the subject
of a disputed taxonomic history that remains unre-
solved. Two species are currently recognized: (1)
the rufous-necked Green Heron (B. virescens) of
North America, Central America, and the West In-
dies; and (2) the gray-necked Striated Heron (B.
striata) of South America (including dark B. s. sun-
devalli of the Galapagos Islands), Eurasia, Africa,
and Australia (American Ornithologists' Union
1998, Banks et al. 2003). David and Gosselin
(2002) recently pointed out that Butorides is femi-
nine, requiring that B. striatus be changed to B. stri-
ata (Banks et al. 2004). The two forms were gener-
ally treated as distinct species (e.g., Peters 1931,
Hellmayr and Conover 1948, Bock 1956, Palmer
1962, Wetmore 1965), but sometimes considered
conspecific (Hartert 1920) or possibly conspecific
(Eisenmann 1952, Parkes 1955), until Payne (1974)
provided evidence of extensive hybridization be-
tween B. virescens and B. striata where their ranges
meet in southern Central America, several southern
Caribbean islands, and coastal northern South
America. Based on the conclusions of Payne (1974,
1979) and Payne and Risley (1976), the American
Ornithologists' Union (1976, 1983) lumped the two
forms into the Green-backed Heron (B. striata).



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


In a subsequent reanalysis of specimens from the
Panamanian contact zone between B. virescens and
B. striata, Monroe and Browning (1992) concluded
that Payne's (1974) voucher specimens used as a
hybrid index included juveniles and did not repre-
sent a continuous series. They concluded that B.
virescens and B. striata seldom hybridized and
should be regarded as distinct species. The Ameri-
can Ornithologists' Union (1993, 1998) accepted
their conclusions. Hayes (2002), however, demon-
strated that Payne's (1974) voucher specimens had
all attained adult neck coloration and represented a
continuous series; furthermore, a reanalysis of
Payne's (1974) data demonstrated increased vari-
ability and intermediacy in the contact zone be-
tween B. virescens and B. striata, implying exten-
sive hybridization. Because phenotypically "pure"
B. virescens and B. striata phenotypes coexisted
within the contact zone, Hayes (2002) tentatively
concluded that assortative mating occurred, support-
ing their treatment as distinct species, but noted that
the sample size of museum specimens was small
and it remained uncertain whether both parental
phenotypes actually bred within the hybrid zone.
At the eastern end of the hybrid zone, the ranges
of B. v. virescens (resident throughout eastern North
America, Central America, and the Caribbean) and
B. s. striata (resident throughout South America)
meet in Trinidad and Tobago, where populations are
dominated by B. striata in Trinidad but by B. vires-
cens on Tobago (ffrench 1973, 1991). On the latter
island, individuals of both species and intermediates
have been collected (Payne 1974). In this paper I
document historic and current variability of the two
taxa in Trinidad and Tobago, and attempt to assess
several potential environmental correlates for vari-
ability (clinal variation, seasonality, or habitat),
infer the degree of gene flow and development of
reproductive isolation between the two taxa, and
interpret the taxonomic significance of hybridiza-
tion.

STUDY AREA AND METHODS

STUDY AREA
Trinidad and Tobago are large continental islands









HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

located on the continental shelf of South America
just north of the Orinoco River Delta (Fig. 1). Situ-
ated only 19 km from the continental mainland,
Trinidad is larger (4520 km2) and higher in eleva-
tion (up to 925 m), and possesses a greater diversity
of wetlands (Kenny and Bacon 1981). Freshwater
wetlands include rivers, swamps, marshes, rice
fields, reservoirs, fish ponds, drainage canals, and
sewage ponds; saltwater wetlands include mangrove
swamps, salt marshes, river mouths, and mudflats.
Tobago is located farther from the continent (118
km) but only 36 km from Trinidad; being smaller in
size (306 km2) and lower in elevation (up to 576 m),
Tobago's wetlands average smaller and rice fields
are lacking.

METHODS
I photographed a series of nine voucher speci-
mens used by Payne (1974) as a hybrid index in
which neck coloration was scored from 1-9, ranging
from gray to dark purplish brown (see Fig. 1 of
Hayes 2002). Specimens scored 1-4 (gray to
brownish gray) occur throughout the South Ameri-
can range of B. striata and specimens scored 6-9
(grayish red-brown to purplish brown) occur
throughout the North American range of B. vires-
cens (Payne 1974, Hayes 2002). Potential hybrids,
especially those that have backcrossed with a paren-
tal phenotype, may be difficult to distinguish from
presumably "pure" phenotypes. Individuals scored
as 5 occur only in the hybrid zone and in isolated B.
v. bahamensis of the Bahamas; thus, individuals
with a neck coloration score of 5 in Trinidad and
Tobago presumably represent hybrids, but those
with lower or higher neck coloration scores
(especially 4 or 6) may also be hybrids (Payne
1974, Hayes 2002).
Direct comparisons with a color photograph of
hybrid index specimens were used to score neck
coloration of museum specimens or photographs of
museum specimens collected in Trinidad and To-
bago from 1897 to 1913 (see Acknowledgments),
and for live individuals observed throughout the
country from October 2000 to August 2002. When
an individual appeared intermediate in neck colora-
tion between two voucher specimens, which often
occurred, I chose the specimen it most closely re-
sembled. Because juveniles and immatures have
streaked necks (always browner than adults of S.
striata), only adults and subadults that had fully
acquired adult neck coloration (Hayes 2002) were
scored. Because the apparent shade of neck colora-
tion tended to vary by 1 score depending on the


angle of lighting, the only individuals scored were
non-flying individuals carefully observed from the
side in good lighting conditions with binoculars
(7x) or a telescope (25x).
Because many localities were sampled repeatedly
(up to 28 times) to obtain large sample sizes, and
because none of the birds were banded or marked,
many individuals were probably sampled repeat-
edly. To minimize the probability of including re-
peated samples in the following analyses, I chose
the highest number of individuals scored within a
day for each locality separated by a distance of >1
km from the nearest locality, and excluded data
sampled on other days. In addition to the two is-
lands (Trinidad and Tobago), localities were lumped
into four arbitrarily defined regions to test for clinal
variation: (1) western Trinidad, (2) central and east-
ern Trinidad, (3) western Tobago, and (4) central
and eastern Tobago (Fig. 1).
To evaluate potential environmental correlates of
variability in neck color, I recorded the following
variables for each heron examined: (1) water salin-
ity as either fresh or salt (including brackish); (2)
presence or absence of a patch of mangroves
(Rhizophora mangle, Avicennia germinans, Lagun-
cularia racemosa, or Conocarpus erecta) > 0.25 ha
in area within 50 m of the individual; and (3) sea-
son, with March-May as spring, June-August as
summer, September-November as autumn, and De-
cember-February as winter.

STATISTICAL ANALYSES
Because neck coloration scores were ordinally
ranked and did not meet the assumptions of para-
metric statistical tests, nonparametric Mann-
Whitney U tests (U or z statistic), Kruskal-Wallis
tests (H statistic), and two-sample chi-square tests
with Yates correction (X2 statistic) were used when
appropriate to compare the distribution of neck col-
oration scores between geographic regions, time
periods, and habitat classes, respectively (Zar 1998).
All probabilities are two-tailed with a = 0.05.

RESULTS

HISTORICAL STATUS IN TRINIDAD
Anecdotal accounts of early ornithologists and a
limited number of specimens indicate that Trinidad
historically has been inhabited primarily by B. stri-
ata (Belcher and Smooker 1934, Junge and Mees
1958, Herklots 1961, ffrench 1973). Belcher and
Smooker (1934:579) reported that B. virescens was
a rare breeding resident whose eggs were described


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO


Fig. 1. Sampling localities of Butorides herons in Trinidad and Tobago during 2000-2002. Dashed lines on
each island represent the division of regions: (a) western Trinidad, (b) central and eastern Trinidad, (c) western
Tobago, and (d) central and eastern Tobago.


as "more rounded on the average" than those of B.
striata. Herklots (1961) reported sight records of B.
virescens, but provided no further details. ffrench
(1973) regarded the purported breeding of B. vires-
cens in Trinidad as uncertain and suggested that
sight records pertained to migrants. Payne (1974)
reported neck coloration scores of four specimens
from Trinidad ranging from 1-3 (x = 1.5, SD = 1.0).
The six specimens I examined from Trinidad, col-
lected from 1902 to 1951 (BMNH, USNM, YPM),
ranged from 1-3 (x = 1.5, SD = 0.8) and did not
differ significantly from Payne's (1974) sample (U
= 15.5, P = 0.43).

CURRENT STATUS IN TRINIDAD
Of 40 individuals examined in the field, neck
coloration scores varied from 1-6, with 57.5%
scored as 1 and 95% with a score of 1-3 (x = 1.7,
SD = 1.1; Table 1). Although no specimens of B.
virescens were collected, three sightings were ac-
cepted recently by the Trinidad and Tobago Rare
Bird Committee, including two subadults with adult
neck coloration at Trincity on 31 January 1998, a
presumed adult at Pointe-a-Pierre on 21 March
1998, and an adult at San Rafael on 10 January


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


1999 (White and Hayes 2002). However, neck col-
oration was not scored on any of these individuals.
Intermediate individuals were rare in Trinidad.
Birds with a neck coloration score of 4, representing
brown-necked B. striata or hybrid B. virescens x
striata, were recorded at Caroni on 2 June 2001 and
at Pointe-a-Pierre on 7 October 2000 (see Hayes
2002 for a photograph of the latter). A presumed
hybrid individual with a score of 5 was seen at
Caroni on 28 June 2001 and on 19 April, 30 May,
and 2 June 2002. Adults with neck coloration scores
of 6, representing either B. virescens or hybrids,
were noted at Cacandee on 21 April 2001 and at
Fullarton on 26 May 2002.

HISTORICAL STATUS IN TOBAGO
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Tobago
was inhabited by both taxa of Butorides with a high
proportion of intermediate individuals. Belcher and
Smooker (1934) regarded B. striata as common and
B. virescens as rare. Perhaps influenced by Belcher
and Smooker (1934), Junge and Mees (1958) re-
ported that B. striata was more common but the
only specimen collected was B. virescens. In con-
trast to earlier reports, Herklots (1961) and ffrench


Caribbean Sea


(hj TOBAGO







Atlantic Ocean









HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO


Table 1. Frequency of neck color scores of Butorides herons in different time periods, islands, regions,
seasons, water salinities, and habitats. Specimen data from Trinidad are insufficient for analysis. Data for
region, season, salinity, and habitat are based on live individuals observed from 2000-2002.


Neck Color Scores

Variable 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Island
Trinidad (2000-2002) 23 10 5 1 0 1 0 0
Tobago (Payne 1974) 0 0 2 0 4 6 0 1
Tobago (1892-1913) 0 0 2 0 5 8 0 3
Tobago (2000-2002) 1 4 3 2 3 12 20 5
Region
western Trinidad 16 9 4 1 0 1 0 0
central/eastern Trinidad 7 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
western Tobago 1 4 3 0 3 8 14 3
central/eastern Tobago 0 0 0 2 0 4 6 2
Season: Trinidad
summer 11 7 4 0 1 0 0 0
autumn 9 1 1 1 0 0 0 0
winter 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
Season: Tobago
summer 0 1 0 0 1 2 6 3
autumn 1 3 3 2 2 6 10 2
winter 0 0 0 0 0 4 4 0
Water salinity: Trinidad
freshwater 15 5 3 1 0 0 0 0
saltwater 8 5 2 0 1 0 0 0
Water salinity: Tobago
freshwater 1 4 3 1 1 9 12 5
saltwater 0 0 0 1 2 3 7 0
Habitat: Trinidad
mangroves 5 4 2 0 1 0 0 0
non-mangroves 18 6 3 1 0 0 0 0
Habitat: Tobago
mangroves 0 0 0 0 1 1 4 0
non-mangroves 1 4 3 2 2 11 16 5


(1973) reported B. virescens as a common resident.
Herklots (1961) attributed several sight records of
B. striata in Tobago to R. ffrench, who later re-
garded sight records of B. striata in southwest To-
bago as uncertain (ffrench 1973) and eventually
omitted the species from Tobago's avifauna
(ffrench 1996). Payne (1974) reported neck colora-
tion scores of 13 specimens from Tobago ranging
from 3-8 (x = 5.38, SD = 1.33; Table 1), indicating
that both taxa as well as intermediates were present.
Neck coloration scores from 18 specimens I exam-
ined from Tobago, collected from 1892-1913, also


ranged from 3-8 (x = 5.72, SD = 1.41; Table 1 and
Appendix) and did not differ significantly from
Payne's (1974) sample (U = 131.5, P = 0.55). The
proportion of specimens with a neck coloration
score of 5 (presumed hybrids) varied from 31%
(Payne 1974) to 28% (this study).

CURRENT STATUS IN TOBAGO
Of 50 individuals examined in the field, neck
coloration scores ranged from 1-8 (x = 5.86, SD =
1.84; Table 1). Mean neck coloration scores did not
differ significantly from the museum specimens I



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006












examined (z = 1.21, P = 0.23). However, when neck
scores were lumped into three categories (1-3, 4-6,
and 7-8), proportionately more intermediate pheno-
types (scores of 4-6) occurred among specimens
(72%) than live individuals (34%; Table 1) and the
distribution of neck scores differed significantly
between live individuals and specimens (X2 = 8.17,
df = 3, P = 0.02). Presumed B. virescens with scores
of 7-8 comprised 50% of the population and pre-
sumed B. striata with scores of 1-3 comprised 16%
of the population (Table 1). Presumed hybrids with
a score of 5 comprised only 6% of the population
(Table 1), significantly less than the specimens I
examined (28%; X2 = 4.13, df = 1, P = 0.04). No
birds were observed with a neck score of 9, which is
very rare in B. virescens (1.4% of 147 specimens
from the Greater and Lesser Antilles; Payne 1974).
Mean neck coloration scores were significantly
higher in Tobago than in Trinidad (z = 7.43, P <
0.001).
The only specimens of adult B. striata taken in
Tobago were two males with neck coloration scores
of 3 collected at Sandy Point on 25 April 1903
(AMNH 469318, 469318). An adult B. striata at
Buccoo from 17 January to 9 February 1998 was the
first sighting accepted by the Trinidad and Tobago
Rare Bird Committee (White and Hayes 2002). Be-
tween 24 May and 7 August 2001, I identified a
minimum of six (up to four seen in a day) adult B.
striata with neck coloration scores of 1-3 in south-
western Tobago. The following year, I found three
different adult B. striata with scores of 1-3 in south-
western Tobago on 11 June 2002. A B. striata with
a neck score of 1-3 (seen too briefly to score) was
seen at Englishman's Bay, north-central Tobago, on
8 October 2001.

ENVIRONMENTAL CORRELATES
Significant variation in neck coloration occurred
among the four regions (H = 56.5, P = 0.006; Table
1). However, nonparametric multiple comparison
tests revealed no significant differences between the
two Trinidad regions or between the two Tobago
regions (P > 0.05). Each region in Trinidad differed
from both regions in Tobago and each region in
Tobago differed from both regions in Trinidad (P <
0.05). Neck coloration did not differ significantly
among seasons in either Trinidad (H = 1.86, P =
0.39) or Tobago (H = 4.3, P = 0.12), between fresh-
water and saltwater habitats in Trinidad (U = 214.5,
P = 0.50) or Tobago (U = 271, P = 0.68), or be-
tween mangrove and non-mangrove habitats in
Trinidad (U = 208, P = 0.19) or Tobago (U = 152.5,


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

P = 0.53; Table 1).

DISCUSSION
Although some criticize the use of a hybrid index
as crude and subjective, Corbin and Barrowclough
(1977) demonstrated that independent studies
yielded nearly identical results. With regard to
Payne's (1974) hybrid index specimens, I found a
color photograph of the specimens to be highly use-
ful and reasonably accurate for scoring neck colora-
tion of museum specimens and in the field. Payne
(1974) and I examined specimens independently,
yet obtained similar results. When colleagues ac-
companied me in the field and shared excellent
views of an individual, their independent assess-
ment of neck coloration was always within 1 score
of my own.
The resident population of Butorides in Trinidad
is dominated by gray-necked B. striata (scores of 1-
2) with a minority of brown-necked individuals
(scores of 3-4) within the normal range of variation
throughout South America. The range of dates for
B. virescens (10 January to 26 May) suggests that it
is a rare visitor to Trinidad, either as a Nearctic mi-
grant or a visitor from Tobago. There is no credible
evidence that B. virescens has ever bred in Trinidad.
In Tobago, the current population consists pre-
dominantly of B. virescens, with a small number of
B. striata and intermediate individuals. The higher
proportion of intermediate individuals among mu-
seum specimens, probably contributing to the uncer-
tainty of earlier accounts by ornithologists, suggests
a phenotypic shift within the past century toward
relatively pure phenotypes. Some individuals of B.
virescens may represent migrants from farther
north, but if so, the proportion is likely small, given
the rarity of B. virescens in Trinidad. Whether B.
striata actually breeds in Tobago or is a rare but
regular non-breeding visitor from Trinidad remains
uncertain (breeding of Butorides herons in Tobago
is poorly documented). My observations of multiple
individuals during the wet season coincided with the
peak breeding season for wading birds in Trinidad,
including Butorides herons, as well as the peak sea-
son for vagrancy of non-breeding waterbirds from
mainland South America (ffrench 1991). The in-
creased variability and intermediacy of the Tobago
population, in contrast with its neighboring islands
in the Lesser Antilles and Trinidad (Payne 1974,
Hayes 2002), strongly implies hybridization, indi-
cating that at least some B. striata breed in Tobago.
There is no evidence that neck color variability in
Trinidad and Tobago is related to clinal variation









HAYES BUTORIDES HERONS IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO

within an island, seasonality, or habitat. The seem-
ingly continuous variation in neck color from gray
to purplish-brown strongly implies polygenic con-
trol of the deposition of gray eumelanin and rufous
phaeomelanin pigments in the distal barbules of
neck feathers (Schodde et al. 1980). Brown-necked
individuals of B. striata with elevated levels of ru-
fous phaeomelanin pigments in the neck also tend to
have more extensive rufous on the underparts and
wing covert margins than gray-necked individuals
(Hayes pers. obs.). Whether neck color variability in
B. virescens and B. striata is adaptive or represents
genetic drift in isolated populations remains un-
known, but the darker coloration of B. s. sundevalli
in the Galapagos Islands is thought to enhance for-
aging success in a backdrop of bare, blackish lava
(Snow 1975).
The distribution of phenotypes differs markedly
between populations of Butorides in Trinidad and
Tobago, which are separated by only 36 km. An
accomplished disperser, B. virescens is widely dis-
tributed on islands throughout the Caribbean, in-
cluding Tobago, but only rarely visits Trinidad,
suggesting that competitive exclusion by resident B.
striata precludes it from successfully colonizing the
island. Small numbers of B. striata frequently wan-
der to Tobago from Trinidad or mainland South
America, and vagrancy within the Caribbean has
been documented on St. Vincent in the Lesser Antil-
les (AMNH 325358, with a neck score of 3, taken
on 18 July 1924; Bond 1964, Payne 1974) and St.
John in the Greater Antilles (neck score of 2, pre-
sent from 25-29 May 2003; F. E. Hayes unpubl.
photos). My observations in 2001 and 2002 suggest
that small numbers of B. striata visit Tobago fre-
quently enough to form a small breeding popula-
tion, yet the island's population of Butorides re-
mains dominated by relatively "pure" B. virescens
phenotypes, suggesting that competitive exclusion
precludes the successful establishment of B. striata.
The historical shift toward relatively "pure" pheno-
types of both taxa in Tobago suggests the occur-
rence of assortative mating despite occasional hy-
bridization. Because the two taxa may have frequent
opportunities to interbreed freely on Tobago but
interbreed only occasionally, they appear to have
achieved essential reproductive isolation (Johnson
et al. 1999), thus supporting their current treatment
as distinct species.
Given that these two taxa, which differ morpho-
logically only in neck (and perhaps belly) colora-
tion, appear to behave as distinct species, the num-
ber of species in Butorides, which includes up to 26


subspecies currently subsumed within B. striata and
four within B. virescens (Hanckock and Kushlan
1984, Hayes 2002), may be greater than currently
recognized. Finally, these conclusions are based on
the inherent limitations of scoring live individuals in
the field based on specimen scores, and inferring
gene flow from phenotype. Behavioral studies of
mated pairs and genetic analyses are needed to ade-
quately resolve the species limits of Butorides her-
ons.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank P. A. Buckley, D. B. McNair, R. B.
Payne, J. V. Remsen, Jr., and an anonymous re-
viewer for reviewing earlier drafts. Field work in
Trinidad and Tobago was funded indirectly by Car-
ibbean Union College, the Tobago House of Assem-
bly, and the University of the West Indies. For their
companionship and patience in the field I thank B.
Hayes, M. Hayes, M. Kenefick, K. Lallsingh, N.
Lallsingh, and numerous others who accompanied
me less frequently. Examination of museum speci-
mens in the U. S. National Museum of Natural His-
tory (USNM) and the American Museum of Natural
History (AMNH) was financed by a Study and
Travel Grant from the University of the West In-
dies, St. Augustine. For their assistance with mu-
seum specimens, I thank C. Angle (USNM), M.
Foster (USNM), J. Weicker (AMNH), P. Rasmus-
sen (USNM), and P. Sweet (AMNH). I also thank J.
Bates and D. Willard for loaning specimens from
the Field Museum of Natural History (FMNH), M.
Adams for providing photographs of specimens in
the (British) Natural History Museum (BMNH), G.
Frisk for providing photographs of a specimen in
the (Swedish) Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet (NRM),
and K. Zyskowski for providing photographs of
specimens in the Yale-Peabody Museum (YPM). I
also thank J. Eitniear, A. Kratter, R. Payne, and K.
Voous for providing pertinent literature.

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Appendix. Neck coloration scores of adult Butorides specimens from Tobago examined in this study. AMNH
= American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY; BMNH = Natural History Museum, London, UK;
FMNH = Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL; NRM = Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet, Stockholm,
Sweden.


Specimen Date (M-D-Y) Sex Neck Color Score

AMNH 156503 unknown male 5
AMNH 156504 04-24-1903 female 5
AMNH 469318 04-25-1903 male 3
AMNH 469319 04-25-1903 female 5
AMNH 469320 04-25-1903 male 3
AMNH 469321 04-24-1903 male 6
AMNH 469322 04-24-1903 female 5
AMNH 469223 04-24-1903 unknown 5
AMNH 469324 03-04-1897 male 6
AMNH 469325 04-27-1903 unknown 6
BMNH 1914.7.6.2 05-21-1913 unknown 6
BMNH 1914.12.1.536 12-29-1907 unknown 6
BMNH 1969.43.28 04-24-1903 unknown 6
FMNH 33642 04-20-1892 male 8
FMNH 33659 04-20-1892 male 8
FMNH 33662 04-15-1892 male 8
FMNH 33676 04-20-1892 female 6
NRM 568904 04-24-1903 male 6


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:21-26, 2006


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF BONAIRE, NETHERLANDS ANTILLES,
AS A BREEDING SITE FOR TERNS AND PLOVERS

JEFFREY V. WELLS'2 AND ALLISON CHILDS WELLS'3
1Cornell Lab of Ornithology, 159 Sapsucker Woods Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850; current address: Boreal Songbird
Initiative, c/o 210 Water St., Hallowell, ME 04347; e-mail: jeffwells@borealbirds.org; 3current address: Natural
Resources Council of Maine, 3 Wade St., Augusta, ME 04330

Abstract: We carried out surveys to document numbers of nesting terns and plovers on Bonaire and Klein Bonaire,
Netherlands Antilles from 4-7 July 2001. Significant numbers of several species were counted including Snowy
Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus; 46 adults), Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wilsonia; 24-26 adults), and Least Tern
(Sternula antillarum; 360 adults) as well as smaller numbers of Royal Tern (Sterna maxima), Sandwich "Cayenne"
Tern (Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha), and Common Tern (Sterna hirundo). Evidence of breeding was found in all
but the Royal Tern. Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba appear to have regionally significant populations of terns and plov-
ers of several species. With increased protection from introduced predators and human disturbance, Bonaire and its
sister islands have the potential to become major source populations to maintain southern Caribbean metapopula-
tions of terns and plovers.
Key words: Charadrius alexandrinus, Charadrius wilsonia, conservation, Netherlands Antilles, plovers, seabirds,
Sterna hirundo, Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha, Sternula antillarum, terns

Resumen: LA IMPORTANCIA DE BONAIRE, ANTILLAS HOLANDESAS, COMO SITIOS DE CRIA PARA LAS GAVIOTAS Y
LIMICOLAS. Se llevaron a cabo expediciones para documentar las cantidades de gaviotas y limicolas nidificantes en
Bonaire y Klein Bonaire, Antillas Holandesas, entre el 4 y el 7 de julio de 2001. Significantes cantidades de varias
especies fueron encontradas, incluyendo al Frailecillo Blanco (Charadrius alexandrinus; 46 adultos), al Titere
Playero (Charadrius wilsonia; 24-26 adultos), y la Gaviotica (Sternula antillarum; 360 adultos) asi como pequenos
ndmeros de la Gaviota Real (Sterna maxima), la Gaviota de Sandwich "Cayenne" (Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha)
y la Gaviota Comdn (Sterna hirundo). Evidencias de crfa fueron halladas para todas, excepto para la Gaviota Real.
Bonaire, Curacao, y Aruba aparentan tener poblaciones regionalmente significativas de gaviotas y limicolas de
varias especies. Con la protecci6n creciente contra depredadores introducidos y disturbios humanos, Bonaire y su
isla hermana, tienen el potencial para convertirse en una importante poblaci6n fuente para la mantenci6n de la meta-
poblaci6n caribeia de gaviotas y limicolas.
Palaberas clave: aves marinas, Antillas Holandesas, Charadrius alexandrinus, Charadrius wilsonia, conservaci6n,
gaviotas, limicolas, Sterna hirundo, Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha, Sternula antillarum

Resume : L'IMPORTANCE DE BONAIRE, ANTILLES NEERLANDAISES, COMME SITE DE NIDIFICATIONS POUR LES
STERNES ET LES GRAVELOTS. Nous avons entrepris des recherches du 4 au 7 juillet 2001 pour estimer le nombre de
sternes et de gravelots nicheurs a Bonaire et Klein Bonaire, Antilles n6erlandaises. Un nombre significatif d'indivi-
dus de differentes especes a &t6 compt6, incluant le Gravelot a collier interrompu (Charadrius alexandrinus, 46
adultes), le Gravelot de Wilson (Charadrius wilsonia, 24-26 adultes), et la Petite Sterne (Sternula antillarum, 360
adultes) ainsi que des effectifs plus r6duits de Sterne royale (Sterna maxima), de Sterne de "Cayenne" (Sterna sand-
vicensis eurygnatha), et de Sterne pierregarin (Sterna hirundo). Des indices de nidification ont &6t trouv6s pour
toutes les especes a l'exception de la Sterne royale. Bonaire, Curacao, et Aruba possedent des populations d'impor-
tance r6gionale pour plusieurs especes de sternes et de gravelots. Avec une meilleure protection contre les pr6dateurs
introduits et le derangement humain, Bonaire et ses iles sceurs ont le potentiel pour jouer un rl6e majeur dans le
maintien des m6tapopulations de sternes et de gravelots du sud de la' Caraibe.
Mots-cles : Antilles n6erlandaises, Charadrius alexandrinus, Charadrius wilsonia, conservation, gravelots, oiseaux
de mer, pluviers, Sterna hirundo, Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha, sternes, Sternula antillarum



RECENTLY, THERE HAS BEEN increased recogni- (Schreiber 2000). Using this baseline information,
tion of the islands of the Caribbean as important effective conservation actions can be implemented
breeding areas for various species of waterbirds, to stabilize and increase populations.
including several tern and plover species (Schreiber In early July 2001, we conducted surveys of tern
and Lee 2000). To better understand the relative and plover populations on the island of Bonaire,
importance of each site, species abundance and dis- Netherlands Antilles, and its nearby offshore island
tribution must be documented and monitored of Klein Bonaire. Bonaire and its sister islands of


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









BREEDING TERNS AND PLOVERS OF BONAIRE


N


S


Fig. 1. Areas surveyed for terns and plovers on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, in July 2001. Sites identified
by letters on the map are keyed to Table 1, which summarizes the numbers of birds, nests, and fledglings
found at each site. See the text for survey details. Geographic names for the survey areas identified on the
map are as follows: A-west side of Pekelmeer; B-east side of Pekelmeer; C-north side Lac Bay; D-
Washikemba; E-shoreline near Boca Onima; F-Salina Matijs; G-Playa Macoshi; H-Malmok Lighthouse; I-
Boca Bartol; J-Playa Funchi; K-Salina Wayaca; L-Slagbaai; M-Playa Frans; N-Playa Tam; O-Lake Goto;
P-mouth of Goto; Q-southcentral coast; R-Klein Bonaire.


Curaqao and Aruba have historically been known to
harbor breeding populations of a number of species
of terns and plovers (Voous 1983). Some surveys
have been carried out for a few tern nesting islands
(e.g. San Nicolas reef islands on Aruba and Jan
Thiel islands on Curaqao) but no comprehensive
surveys of breeding terns have been reported for
Bonaire and no surveys of plovers have been re-
ported for Bonaire, Curacao, or Aruba. We visited
breeding locales on Bonaire noted in Voous (1983)
as well as areas we suspected might be used by
terns and plovers. Specifically, the species for
which we were able to collect baseline breeding
population data were Snowy Plover (Charadrius
alexandrinus), Wilson's Plover (Charadrius wil-
sonia), Royal Tern (Sterna maxima), "Cayenne"
Sandwich Tern (Sterna sandvicensis eurygnatha),
Common Tern (Sterna hirundo), and Least Tern
(Sternula antillarum).


In this paper we provide information on numbers
of pairs found at each site, breeding status if known,
and information on productivity based on numbers
of fledglings observed.

METHODS
We carried out surveys of different sections of
Bonaire from 4-7 July and on Klein Bonaire on 7
July 2001. We began our surveys at approximately
06:30 hr and continued until approximately 11:00
hr. We resumed surveys after 16:00 most days,
when temperatures had begun to decline, until dusk.
To survey areas we drove access roads along coast-
line, bays, salt pans, and lagoons and systematically
scanned all possible areas with 10x40 binoculars
and 20-45 x telescope. In areas where it was difficult
to effectively view and count with optical equip-
ment, we walked toward colonies or nesting areas
but in all cases we limited time in the area to reduce


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


WELLS AND WELLS









WELLS AND WELLS BREEDING TERNS AND PLOVERS OF BONAIRE


Table 1. Summary of adults, young, and nests of plovers and terns found during surveys for terns and
plovers on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles, in July 2001. Survey sites are illustrated in Fig. 1.


Survey Site Snowy Plover Wilson's Plover Sandwich Tern Common Tern Least Tern
A 14 adults 1 adult 4 adults 6 adults 22 adults
B 7 adults 0 0 18 adults 187 adults
7 fledglings 49 fledglings
3-4 nests 29 nests
C 10 adults 8-10 adults 0 1-2 adults 30 adults
4 with young 2+ nests
D 0 0 0 0 6 adults
1 nest
E 0 0 0 0 31adults
F 0 0 0 0 0
G 0 0 0 0 0
H 0 0 2 adults 0 8 adults
I 0 0 0 2 adults 6 adults
J 0 0 0 0 0
K 0 0 0 0 0
L 0 0 0 2 adults 49 adults
27 nests
M 0 2 adults 0 0 0
N 0 0 0 12 adults 0
O 8 adults 0 5 adults 0 2 adults
4 nests
P 0 2 adults 0 4 adults 0
Q 1 adult 1 adult 0 0 0
R 6 adults 8 adults 0 0 16 adults
6 nests


disturbance. On Klein Bonaire we walked the coast-
line approximately half way around the island. The
areas surveyed are illustrated in Fig. 1. Our surveys
represent minimum numbers present on the islands,
since we were unable to visit or view every area. In
particular, we were unable to access interior por-
tions of the Pekelmeer that are part of the commer-
cial salt operations and that harbored major tern
colonies in the past. Also, at least in the tern spe-
cies, some birds may have already nested and
moved away from the islands, since breeding can
begin as early as April or May (Voous 1983).

RESULTS

SNOWY PLOVER
Our surveys documented a total of 46 adults, 40
on mainland Bonaire and six on Klein Bonaire (Fig.
1, Table 1). Evidence of breeding was shown by



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


seven pairs, five of which were seen with chicks
and two that gave distraction displays. Largest num-
bers were found in the southern part of Bonaire,
especially along the western side of the Pekelmeer
(Fig. 1-Site A), the salinas on the north side of Lac
Bay (Fig. 1-Site C), and the northeast side of the
Pekelmeer (Fig. 1-Site B). Four pairs at the Lac
Bay site had chicks ranging from one pair with three
chicks to one pair with only one very young (1-3 d
old) chick. We also found a concentration of 8
adults in the southern part of the Lake Goto (Fig. 1-
Site O). Two pairs, apparently nesting along the
roadside, gave distraction displays. We counted six
adults on Klein Bonaire (Fig 1-Site R), all near an
area marked as Tanki Kalabas on some maps.
There, one chick was observed with a pair of adults.

WILSON'S PLOVER
Our surveys documented a total of 24-26 adults,









WELLS AND WELLS BREEDING TERNS AND PLOVERS OF BONAIRE


16-18 on mainland Bonaire and eight on Klein Bon-
aire (Fig. 1, Table 1). We found a concentration of
8-10 adults near the salinas on the north side of Lac
Bay (Fig. 1-Site C), and six were together at a site
on Klein Bonaire (Fig. 1-Site R), though none of
these showed any evidence of breeding. Otherwise,
birds were seen in pairs or singly. One chick was
noted at Lac Bay and several of the pairs at that site
were agitated, as though they had eggs or young
nearby. One pair near Tanki Kalabas on Klein Bon-
aire was also agitated by our presence and clearly
had eggs or young nearby.

ROYAL TERN
Although small numbers were seen at various
locations throughout the island, we found no direct
evidence of nesting and none of the birds showed a
complete black cap extending to the base of the
upper mandible. Individuals were seen flying by
carrying fish at Playa Tam and Klein Bonaire but
most sightings involved loafing birds or birds forag-
ing offshore. The largest number of individuals was
a count of 12 on 4 July near the salinas along the
north side of Lac Bay. We did not observe any juve-
nile birds.

SANDWICH TERN
Sandwich Terns were observed at three locations
with confirmed nesting at one location (Fig. 1, Ta-
ble 1). Of 11 individuals observed, all but one were
of the yellow-billed "Cayenne" form. Four individu-
als were noted on 5 July sitting on nests on a small
unnamed island in the Lake Goto (Fig. 1-Site O).
Four individuals were loafing on 4 July along the
western side of the Pekelmeer (Fig. 1-Site A). Two
individuals flew by Malmok, Washington-Slagbaai
National Park (Fig. 1-Site H) on 6 July, one of
which was of the black-billed form.

COMMON TERN
Foraging and loafing birds were seen at as many
as ten locations around the island but breeding was
confirmed at only one location (Fig. 1, Table 1). We
tallied a minimum of 48 adults, seven fledglings,
and at least 3-4 nests. At many of the locations, we
observed only 1-2 birds, but 12 foraging birds were
seen at Playa Tam (Fig. 1-Site N), and six loafing
birds were seen along the west side of the Pekel-
meer (Fig. 1-Site A). At the single confirmed nest-
ing location along the east side of the Pekelmeer,
we counted 18 adults, of which 3-4 were on nests,
and seven fledglings (Fig. 1-Site B).


LEAST TERN
Least Terns were the most abundant breeding tern
on the island. We tallied a minimum of 360 adults at
13 sites, 62 fledglings, and at least 73 nests (Fig. 1,
Table 1). Nests were confirmed at 10 of the 13 sites
that had concentrations of Least Terns. Because we
tried to limit disturbance, especially as temperatures
increased, our estimates of the number of nests are
certainly lower than the actual number. There were
also likely more colonies along sections of the coast
that we were not able to survey and within the inte-
rior portions of the Pekelmeer, which are part of the
commercial salt operations on the island. Largest
concentrations of birds and nests were along the
eastern side of the Pekelmeer (Fig. 1-Site B), on an
island at Boca Slagbaai (Fig. 1-Site L), near Boca
Onima (Fig. 1-Site E), and near Lac Bay (Fig. 1-
Site C). The high number of fledglings indicates
that many of the birds had already completed breed-
ing and had been successful.

DISCUSSION
Schreiber (2000) presented estimates of numbers
of pairs of various species of seabirds breeding in
the Caribbean including four of the species we sur-
veyed-Royal Tern, Common Tern, Sandwich
"Cayenne" Tern, and Least Tern. Though the esti-
mates do not include numbers from Bonaire, Cura-
Cao, or Aruba, or the nearby Venezuelan island bird
colonies, they do provide a gauge for the signifi-
cance of the numbers from our surveys on Bonaire.
For example, Common Terns occur as breeders in
the Caribbean in only small numbers (Buckley and
Buckley 2000) making even the relatively small
colony we documented on Bonaire of conservation
significance. Similarly, the total Caribbean breeding
population of Least Terns has been estimated at
1500-3000 pairs (Jackson 2000) suggesting that the
180 pairs on Bonaire are a significant regional
population, especially as this breeding location is at
the species southern range limit, i.e., there are no
breeding records from mainland South America
(Hilty 2003). The numbers of Least Terns we docu-
mented on Bonaire are also within the range esti-
mated to breed on Aruba (100-200 pairs) from sev-
eral anecdotal observations (Jackson 2000) but sig-
nificantly less than numbers documented on Bon-
aire and Curaqao in 2002 (A. Debrot pers. comm.).
The numbers of "Cayenne" Terns that we docu-
mented on Bonaire are much lower than the hun-
dreds or thousands (estimated 3-4,000 pairs) that
nested intermittently at various sites on Bonaire
from the 1960s through at least the early 1980s


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









WELLS AND WELLS BREEDING TERNS AND PLOVERS OF BONAIRE


(Voous 1983). Common Terns have apparently al-
ways bred in relatively small numbers on Bonaire
with 10-15 pairs estimated in 1961 (Voous 1965).
Royal Terns likewise have historically been known
to breed irregularly in very small numbers on Bon-
aire (Voous 1983). The number of Least Terns that
we documented on Bonaire is much lower than that
indicated as occurring prior to the early 1980s by
Voous (1983), who wrote that "...the total number
[on Aruba + Curacao + Bonaire] in some years may
be close to one thousand pairs, the majority of
which on Bonaire." However, surveys completed in
2002 indicated as many as 800 pairs on Bonaire that
year (A. Debrot pers. comm.). We did not observe
any Roseate Terns (Sterna dougallii), a species
mentioned by Voous (1983) as a former breeder on
Bonaire.
While the numbers of "Cayenne" Terns and Least
Terns may have declined as compared to pre-1980
estimates, we do note the possibility that the sea-
birds nesting on Bonaire may be part of a meta-
population that could shift breeding sites from
among a set of islands including (W to E) Aruba,
Curaqao, Bonaire, and the Venezuelan islands of
Las Aves, Los Roques, and La Orchila. Unfortu-
nately, such major shifts in breeding sites would
likely be attributable to major nest predation events
that trigger the colony to seek a new, safer location
to breed. Predators on any of these islands could
include rats and cats that are known to occur at
some sites. At many locations, humans may still be
taking eggs to sell for food as well. Ideally surveys
of all tern nesting areas within the south Caribbean
area should be carried out within the same season
and over several years to assess whether birds here
do indeed represent a metapopulation, the degree of
movement of population segments among locations
across years, and the overall number of breeding
terns in the region.
Less information is available on the status of the
two plover species so it is more difficult to place
our survey information in context. There are no
estimates available for total population size of the
cinnamominus subspecies of Wilson's Plover
(Wetlands International 2002), the subspecies that
breeds along the northern coast of South America
and nearby islands including Bonaire, nor are there
any estimates of numbers on Bonaire, Curacao, or
Aruba (Voous 1983). Published estimates of total
population size of the Snowy Plover population that
breeds in the eastern USA, eastern Mexico, and the
Caribbean put the total number of birds at 2 200 to 2
800 (Wetlands International 2002). Based on this


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


estimate, the number of Snowy Plovers breeding on
Bonaire would approach 2% of this population and
would suggest that the island supports a regionally
important breeding concentration. The numbers on
Bonaire are further interesting and potentially sig-
nificant given that Snowy Plovers have not been
confirmed as breeders on the coast of Central Amer-
ica (Page et al. 1995), northern South America
(Hilty 2003), or in the Lesser Antilles (Raffaelle et
al. 1998).
Bonaire and the nearby islands of Aruba, Cura-
Cao, Las Aves, Los Roques, and La Orchila have the
potential to be very important tern and plover breed-
ing locations in a regional and global context. Bon-
aire, because of its strong natural resource-based
ecotourism economy and its history of park designa-
tion and natural resource stewardship, is especially
well suited to implementing a tern and plover con-
servation strategy that could increase the numbers
and productivity of breeding terns and plovers. In
the USA, many seabird and plover conservation and
management techniques have been developed and
effectively implemented to increase, stabilize, or
restore populations. Some of these techniques could
certainly be employed on Bonaire to the benefit of
tern and plover populations. In particular, we would
recommend that Klein Bonaire be considered as a
location to attempt to establish a protected tern col-
ony using decoys, calls, and other social attraction
methods (Kress 1998) ideally after ensuring that the
island, now owned and managed by the National
Marine Park, is rid of any invasive rats or cats.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We extend our thanks to the Buddy Dive Resort
and Carol Bradovchak for lodging and their friendly
assistance during our stay on Bonaire. We are grate-
ful to the staff of the Washington-Slagbaai National
Park, especially Fernando Simal and George Thode,
for access to the park, and to Catriona Glendinning
of the Marine Park for arranging transportation and
permission to access Klein Bonaire. We also wish to
thank the CARMABI institute, particularly Al De-
brot and Leon Pors, for assistance in mapping our
surveys, and to Tineke Prins and an anonymous
reviewer for comments that greatly improved the
manuscript. Also, thank you to local birder Jerry
Ligon for ongoing discussions about the birds of
Bonaire.

LITERATURE CITED
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1998. Check-
list of North American birds. 7th edition. Ameri-









WELLS AND WELLS BREEDING TERNS AND PLOVERS OF BONAIRE


can Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C. 829
pp.
BUCKLEY, P. A., AND F. G. BUCKLEY. 2000. Breed-
ing Common Terns in Greater West Indies: status
and conservation priorities. Pp. 96-102 in Status
and conservation of West Indian seabirds (E. A.
Schreiber and D. S. Lee, eds.). Society of Carib-
bean Ornithology, Special Publication No. 1.
HILTY, S. L. 2003. Birds of Venezuela. Princeton
University Press, Princeton. 878 pp.
JACKSON, J. 2000. Distribution, population changes
and threats to Least Terns in the Caribbean and
adjacent waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mex-
ico. Pp. 109-117 in Status and conservation of
West Indian seabirds (E. A. Schreiber and D. S.
Lee, eds.). Society of Caribbean Ornithology,
Special Publication No. 1.
KRESS, S. 1998. Applying research for effective
management: case studies in seabird restoration.
Pp. 141-154 in Avian conservation (J. M.
Marzluff and R. Sallabanks, eds.). Island Press,
Washington, DC.
PAGE, G. W., J. S. WARRINER, J. C. WARRINER,
AND P. W. C. PATON. 1995. Snowy Plover
(Charadrius alexandrinus). In The birds of North
America, no. 154 (A. Poole and F. Gill, eds.).


Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA,
and American Ornithologists' Union, Washing-
ton, D.C.
RAFFAELE, H., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A. KEITH,
AND J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A guide to the birds of
the West Indies. Princeton University Press,
Princeton, NJ. 511 pp.
SCHREIBER, E. A., AND D. S. LEE (eds.). 2000.
Status and conservation of West Indian seabirds.
Society of Caribbean Ornithology, Special Publi-
cation No. 1.
SCHREIBER, E. A.. 2000. Action plan for conserva-
tion of West Indian seabirds. Pp. 182-191 in
Status and conservation of West Indian seabirds
(E. A. Schreiber and D. S. Lee, eds). Society of
Caribbean Ornithology, Special Publication No.
1.
Voous, K. H. 1965. Nesting and nest sites of Com-
mon Tern and Dougall's Tern in the Netherlands
Antilles. Ibis 107:430-431. (Abstract)
Voous, K. H. 1983. Birds of the Netherlands Antil-
les. de Walburg Pers, Utrecht. 327 pp.
WETLANDS INTERNATIONAL. 2002. Waterbird popu-
lation estimates. 3rd ed.. Wetlands International
Global Series No. 12, Wageningen, The Nether-
lands.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:27-30, 2006


ENDANGERED PIPING PLOVERS (CHARADRIUS MELODUS)
OVERWINTERING IN PUERTO RICO

ALLEN R. LEWIS '5, ADRIANNE G. TOSSAS2, JOSt A. COLON3, AND BEATRIZ HERNANDEZ4
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagiiez, PR 00681-9012; e-mail: alewis@uprm.edu;
2Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagiiez, PR 00681-9012; e-mail: agtossas@caribe.net;
3PO Box 1656, Ciales, PR 00638-1656; e-mail: naturave@caribe.net; 4Pedro Cintrdn 57, UTT, San Juan,
PR 00926; e-mail: bea hdz@hotmail.com

Abstract: The Puerto Rican Shorebird Network conducted monthly counts at 14 census sites from 2001-2003. Pip-
ing plovers (Charadrius melodus) were found overwintering in restricted locations at three of the sites for multiple
years and one was seen once at a fourth site. The number of birds wintering at these locations may be as few as five.
Although birds were unmarked, their reappearance at particular sites in successive years suggests site fidelity. Two
of the sites are beaches under pressure for development, which may reduce their suitability as wintering areas. Unde-
tected Piping Plovers may winter sparsely throughout the Caribbean.
Key words: Charadrius melodius, endangered species, migratory shorebird, overwintering, Piping Plover, Puerto
Rico

Resumen: CHORLO MELODICO (CHARADRIUS MELODIUS) UNA ESPECIE EN PELIGRO INVERNANDO EN PUERTO RICO.
La Red Limicola Puertorriqueia llev6 a cabo conteos mensuales en 14 sitios de censo desde 2001 hasta 2003. Se
encontraron Chorlos Mel6dicos (Charadrius melodus) invernando en lugares especificos en tres de los sitios por
multiples anos y uno fue visto una sola vez en un cuarto sitio. El nfmero de aves invernando en estos lugares puede
ser tan bajo como cinco. Aunque las aves no estaban marcadas, su reaparici6n en lugares especificos en anos suce-
sivos sugiere fidelidad al sitio. Dos de los sitios son playas bajo presi6n de desarrollo, lo que puede reducir su con-
veniencia para la invernaci6n. Chorlos Mel6dicos podrian estar invernando en bajas densidades a lo largo del Caribe
sin ser detectados.
Palabras clave: Charadrius melodus, Chorlo Mel6dico, especie en peligro, invernando, playero migratorio, Puerto
Rico

Resume : LE PLUVIER SIFFLEUR (CHARADRIUS MELODUS), ESPECE EN DANGER, HIVERNANTE A PORTO RICO. Le
r6seau portoricain des limicoles a conduit des comptages mensuels de 2001 a 2003 sur 14 sites. Le Plumier siffleur
(Charadrius melodus) a &6t trouv6 en hivernage a des endroits isol6s de trois des sites plusieurs ann6es et une obser-
vation isol d'un individu est connue d'un quatrieme site. Le nombre d'oiseaux hivernant pourrait &tre de seulement
5. Bien que les oiseaux n'aient pas &6t marquis, leur r6apparition des ann6es successives aux memes localisations
isol6es suggere une fidAlit6 de site. Deux de ces localisations sont des plages menaces par le d6veloppement, et qui
pourraient voir leur quality de site d'hivernage r6duite. D'autres Pluviers siffleurs non d6tect6s pourraient hiverner
de maniere sparse ailleurs dans la Caraibe
Mots-cles : Charadrius melodus, espece en danger, limicole migrateur, hivernage, Pluvier siffleur, Porto Rico


THE PIPING PLOVER (Charadrius melodus) is an
endemic North American shorebird listed as endan-
gered in both the United States and Canada (U. S.
Fish and Wildlife Service 1985, COSEWIC 2005).
Of the 50 species of shorebird nesting in North
America it is one of five assigned highest priority in
the U. S. Shorebird Conservation Plan (Brown et al.
2001). The distribution and status of the species is
relatively well known due to the International Pip-
ing Plover Census (IPPC) carried out for winter and
breeding populations in 1991, 1996, and 2001 by U.
S. and Canadian researchers (Haig et al. 2005). Pip-
ing Plovers breed along the shores of lakes and riv-
ers of the northern Great Plains in the U. S. and



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


Canada, along the barrier beaches of the Atlantic
seaboard from Newfoundland to North Carolina,
and in very small numbers around the Great Lakes.
They overwinter along the sandy beaches of the
southeastern U. S., the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, Baha-
mas, and in small numbers at other Caribbean loca-
tions (Haig and Elliot-Smith 2004, Haig et al. 2005,
Raffaele et al. 1998).
One of the findings of the species census is that
the winter distribution remains incompletely de-
fined. The 2001 IPPC found in winter only half as
many birds as were found during the breeding sea-
son (2 389 vs 5 945; Haig et al. 2005, Ferland and
Haig 2002). We speculate that some of the missing









LEWIS ETAL. CHARADRIUS MELODUS OVERWINTERING IN PUERTO RICO


Culebra
San Juan
Anasco


Guaniquilla Vieques
Punta Melones
Ponce
Sobo20 km


Fig. 1. Shorebird survey sites in Puerto Rico. Ellipses denote four sites where at least one Piping Plover was
found during winter. Bullets denote four additional sites where the ocean beach or protected flat resembled
utilized sites but no Piping Plovers were detected. The remaining sites were marsh, lagoon, and mangrove
habitats where Piping Plovers were neither observed nor expected. City of San Juan is shown by a circle.


birds are spread thinly over the many km of beach
in the Caribbean where few observers are available
to record them. Censuses undertaken for the 2001
IPPC found 55 Piping Plovers in Cuba and 35 in the
Bahamas, but none in Puerto Rico. Piping Plovers
have been reported from Puerto Rico as rare winter
visitors (Raffaele 1989, Collazo et al. 1995), and
sightings from two Christmas Bird Counts were
used justifiably in the IPPC report as evidence of
the presence of the species. Nevertheless, little is
known about the regular use of Puerto Rico as a
wintering site by this species. This note describes
Piping Plovers overwintering at low density at three
Puerto Rican Shorebird Network survey sites.

METHODS
The Puerto Rican Shorebird Network (PRSN) of
the Puerto Rican Ornithological Society initiated
monitoring of shorebirds at selected sites in 2001 as
part of the International Shorebird Survey organized
by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.
The network has grown to include 14 sites with a
total transect length of 33 km distributed around the
coast of Puerto Rico (Fig. 1) in a variety of habitats.
Monthly censuses have been taken at most of the
sites for up to three calendar years, equivalent to
parts of four consecutive winter seasons. Censuses
for each area are under the charge of a trained vol-
unteer who retraces the same route each month and
makes total counts of all species of shorebirds ob-
served.


RESULTS
At each of three PRSN survey locations (Cabo
Rojo salt flats, Isabela, and Luquillo) Piping Plovers
have been observed throughout the winter for two to
four winter seasons (Table 1). A single sighting was
recorded at a fourth survey site, Jobos, in January
2003. The total number of plovers using these sites
may be as few as five, with one or two individuals
at each site.
The Cabo Rojo salt flats (Caribbean Islands Na-
tional Wildlife Refuge) supported occasional Piping
Plovers from 1985 to 1992 (Collazo et al. 1995).
The site contained two Piping Plovers in the four
consecutive seasons covered by our surveys (Table
1). The plovers inhabited low-energy sand beaches
(little or no wave action), fields of coral rubble, and
salt flat at the edge of a shallow, high salinity la-
goon. Associated species of shorebirds included
resident Snowy Plovers (Charadrius alexandrinus),
Wilson's Plovers (Charadrius wilsonia), and a vari-
ety of migratory calidrids.
The Luquillo site contained one Piping Plover in
seasons two and four (Table 1). The plover inhab-
ited high energy beach (heavy wave action) that was
protected at some locations by a low strip of
lithified sand dune (aeolinite). A band of vegetation
separated the beach from adjacent upland areas.
Associated species of shorebirds included Semipal-
mated Plovers (Charadrius semipalmatus), Black-
bellied Plovers (Pluvialis squatarola), Sanderlings
(Calidris alba), and Least Sandpipers (Calidris



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









LEWIS ETAL. CHARADRIUS MELODUS OVERWINTERING IN PUERTO RICO


Table 1. Piping Plover sightings in Puerto Rico by month, year, and location. No Piping Plovers were de-
tected in months indicated with a zero; no census was carried out in months indicated with a dash. The table
depicts three calendar years per site and, consequently, at least part of four winter seasons.


Location Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Cabo Rojo 2001 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 2
2002 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
2003 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Isabela 2001
2002 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 1
2003 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2
Luquillo 2001 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0
2002 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2003 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0
Jobos 2001 0 0
2002 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2003 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


minutilla). The location used by the plovers is an
empty stretch of beach, not the intensively devel-
oped recreation area, but it is not a refuge. Con-
struction of a resort is under review for the site.
The Isabela site contained one and occasionally
two Piping Plovers in seasons two, three, and four
(Table 1). The site was not examined in season one.
When two plovers were found, they were always
near each other and foraged together. In all three
seasons one or two plovers were usually found rest-
ing in a low hollow on the landward side of an aeo-
linite outcrop that offered protection from heavy
Atlantic surf and wind. Small lagoons lapped the
landward side of the aeolinite and supported an al-
gal lawn on the lowest aeolinite exposures in which
the plovers fed at low tide. The plovers also foraged
in the adjacent dry beach sand, and two birds, per-
haps the same pair, were once found in dry sand 3
km from the usual site. Associated species of shore-
birds included Wilson's Plovers, Semipalmated
Plovers, Black-bellied Plovers, Sanderlings, and
Least Sandpipers. All sheltered on the aeolinite and
foraged in the algal lawns as well as in wet areas
formed higher on the rock by overwash. This site is
on a 3 km stretch of beach that has been relatively
inaccessible and has no human habitation. However,
the beach is not part of a refuge and has recently
come under heavy pressure for development.

DISCUSSION
Piping Plovers have been in residence at the same



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


locations for months during consecutive winter sea-
sons at Cabo Rojo and Isabela and less consistently
at Luquillo. We have not seen evidence that these
home ranges are defended, but the reuse of particu-
lar sites leads us to speculate that the same individu-
als are returning to the same wintering locations.
Strong site fidelity within a season has been re-
ported for Piping Plovers wintering in Texas (Drake
et al. 2001), and between year nest-site fidelity is
well known in this species (Wilcox 1959, Haig and
Oring 1988). We conclude that Puerto Rico is part
of the regular wintering range for this species.
The sites used in Puerto Rico are beaches at the
opposite ends of the spectrum of wave energy. This
suggests that many locations in the Caribbean, in-
cluding unstudied sites in Puerto Rico, might be
appropriate overwintering sites for Piping Plovers.
Unfortunately our census sites were not selected to
be a representative sample of coastal habitats; they
are sites known to have shorebirds, and they are
convenient to reach for particular volunteers. There-
fore, we cannot construct a defensible estimate of
the total number of Piping Plovers overwintering in
Puerto Rico. However, based on a total shoreline of
1,094 km (Earth Trends Country Profiles 2003),
five birds in the 33 km census route, and recogni-
tion that much of the shoreline of the island is far
too developed to sustain the plovers, we can guess
that the number is less than 50. The three beaches in
Puerto Rico now known as over-wintering sites, as
well as the Jobos Reserve where a single bird was









LEWIS ETAL. CHARADRIUS MELODUS OVERWINTERING IN PUERTO RICO


observed, are characterized by relatively long
stretches without development. Such beaches are
disappearing from the island. The other four census
sites (marked by bullets in Fig. 1) that are either salt
flat or beach do not shelter the plovers. These sites
have more development with nearby houses and
dogs. Less intensively developed sections of Cuba,
Hispaniola, and the Bahamas may have more birds.
Some of the Piping Plovers missing from the 2001
IPPC winter census may be scattered over thou-
sands of km of coastline in the Caribbean and the
Bahamas.
As construction-based economic development
transforms beaches that are not part of any refuge
system, the suitability of the beaches for the plovers
may decline, and because of their strong site fidelity
the plovers may be unable to respond flexibly. Car-
ibbean beaches are everywhere under pressure.
Continuous monitoring is essential to detect and
understand changes in use of wintering grounds by
the birds in response to the intensification of use of
the sites by people, and we hope the results of this
study will encourage others in the Caribbean to
carry out similar efforts. The Caribbean emphasis in
the 2006 winter census (S. Haig pers. comm.) may
also spur additional interest in this important region.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We express our appreciation to our colleagues in
the Puerto Rico Shorebird Network who have car-
ried out monthly censes for the past 3 yr. Partici-
pants include Sergio Col6n, Cosme Lantigua, Luis
Mufiiz, Alberto Puente, Jos6 E. Rodriguez, Rafael
Rodriguez, Jos6 Salguero, and Jos6 Septlveda.
Their careful efforts have increased our understan-
ding of patterns of movement of shorebirds through
Puerto Rico. We also wish to recognize the efforts
of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
for their organization and promotion of the Interna-
tional Shorebird Surveys and to thank the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service for logistic support.

LITERATURE CITED
BROWN, S., C. HICKEY, B. HARRINGTON, AND R.
GILL (eds.). 2001. The U. S. shorebird conserva-
tion plan. 2nd ed. Manomet Center for Conserva-
tion Sciences, Manomet, MA.


COLLAZO, J. A., B. A. HARRINGTON, J. S. GREAR,
AND J. A. COLON. 1995. Abundance and distribu-
tion of shorebirds at the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats,
Puerto Rico. Journal of Field Ornithology 66:424-
438.
COSEWIC. 2005. Canadian species at risk. Com-
mittee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in
Canada. Http://www.cosewic.gc.ca/eng/sct0/rpt/
rpt_csare.cfm
DRAKE, K. R., J. E. THOMPSON, K. L. DRAKE, AND
C. ZONICK. 2001. Movements, habitat use, and
survival of nonbreeding Piping Plovers. Condor
103:259-267.
EARTH TRENDS COUNTRY PROFILES. 2003. Coastal
and marine ecosystems: Puerto Rico. Http://
earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/country_profiles/
coa cou_630.pdf
FERLAND, C. L., AND S. M. HAIG. 2002. 2001 Inter-
national Piping Plover census. U. S. Geological
Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science
Center, Corvallis, OR. 293 pp.
HAIG, S. M., AND E. ELLIOTT-SMITH. 2004. Piping
Plover. The birds of North America Online (A.
Poole, ed.) Comell Laboratory of Ornithology,
Ithaca, NY. Http://bna.birds.comell.edu/BNA/
account/Piping_Plover.
HAIG, S. M., C. L. FERLAND, F. J. CUTHBERTY, J.
DINGLEDINE, J. P. GOOSSEN, A. HECHT, AND N.
MCPHILLIPS. 2005. A complete species census
and evidence for regional declines in Piping Plov-
ers. Journal of Wildlife Management 69:160-173.
HAIG, S. M. AND L. W. ORING. 1988. Mate, site,
and territory fidelity in Piping Plovers. Auk
105:268-277.
RAFFAELE, H. A. 1989. A guide to the birds of
Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Princeton
University Press, Princeton, NJ.
RAFFAELE, H. A., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A.
KEITH, AND J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A Guide to the
birds of the West Indies. Princeton University
Press, Princeton, NJ.
U. S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE. 1985. Determi-
nation of endangered and threatened status for
Piping Plover. Federal Register 50:50726-50734.
Http://www.fws.gov/endangered/wildlife.html
WILCOX, L. 1959. A twenty year banding study of
the Piping Plover. Auk 76:129-152.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:31-35, 2006


FIVE NEW SPECIES OF BIRDS FOR ARUBA,
WITH NOTES ON OTHER SIGNIFICANT SIGHTINGS

STEVEN G. MLODIINOW
4819 Gardner Avenue, Everett, WA 98203, USA; e-mail: sgmlod@aol.com

Abstract: A trip to Aruba during mid-March 2005 produced five previously unrecorded species: Great Frigatebird
(Fregata minor), Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), Greater Ani (Crotophaga major), Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo
olivaceus), and Indigo Bunting (Passerina cyanea). Three other species were recorded only once previously. These
species were from a diverse set of families and widely differing geographical origins. Also found were a number of
passerines generally considered rare to casual in the southern Caribbean Basin. Aruba's apparent attraction for such
vagrants is not clear but may be related to its relatively westerly position and its scarce but easily accessible habitat
increasing the observer's ability to find such birds.
Key words: Aruba, Aythya collaris, Crotophaga major, distributional records, Fregata minor, new bird species,
Passerina cyanea, Vireo olivaceus

Resumen: CINCO NUEVAS ESPECIES PARA ARUBA Y NOTAS SOBRE OTROS AVISTAMIENTOS SIGNIFICATIVOS. Una
expedici6n a Aruba a mediados de marzo del 2005 produjo cinco nuevos registros de especies: Fregata Grande
(Fregata minor), Pato Cabez6n (Aythya collaris), Greater Ani (Crotophaga major), Vireo de Ojo Rojo (Vireo oliva-
ceus), y el Azulejo (Passerina cyanea). Otras tres especies habian sido reportadas solo una vez con anterioridad.
Estas especies pertenecen a un grupo diverso de familias y de muy diferentes origenes geograficos. Tambi6n se en-
contr6 un cierto nfmero de paserinas consideradas generalmente raras o casuales en el sur del Caribe. El atractivo
aparente de Aruba para estos vagrants no esta claro pero puede estar relacionado a su posici6n relativamente occi-
dental y a sus dispersos, pero accesibles habitats, que aumentan la probabilidad de los observadores de encontrar
estas aves.
Palabras clave: Aruba, Aythya collaris, Crotophaga major, especies de aves nuevas, Fregata minor, nuevos re-
portes de especies, Passerina cyanea, reportes de distribuci6n, Vireo olivaceus

Resume : CINQ NOUVELLES ESPECES POUR ARUBA, AVEC DES NOTES SUR D'AUTRES OBSERVATIONS INTERESSAN-
TES. Un voyage a Aruba mi mars 2005 a permis d'observer 5 especes nouvelles : la Fr6gate du Pacifique (Fregata
minor), le Fuligule a collier (Aythya collaris), 1'Ani des pal6tuviers (Crotophaga major), le Vir6o aux yeux rouges
(Vireo olivaceus), et le Passerin indigo (Passerina cyanea). 3 autres especes observes n'avaient &6t vues qu'une
seule fois auparavant. Ces especes 6taient de diverses familles et d'origines g6ographiques tres varies. D'autres
especes rares ou accidentelles dans le sud du bassin caraibe ont aussi &6t notes. L'apparente attraction d'Aruba pour
de tels erratiques n'est pas claire mais pourrait &tre li6e a sa localisation relativement B l'ouest et par son habitat rare
mais facilement accessible qui augmente les chances pour l'observateur de trouver de tels oiseaux.
Mots-cles : Aruba, Aythya collaris, Crotophaga major, distribution des observations, Fregata minor, nouvelles
especes d'oiseaux, Passerina cyanea, Vireo olivaceus


CASEY BEACHELL AND I explored Aruba from 12
to 18 March 2005, our third such visit. During this
time, we repeatedly visited the Bubali Bird Sanctu-
ary, Tierra del Sol Golf Course, Spanish Lagoon,
and flooded saltflats near Malmok, discovering five
species of birds previously unrecorded from Aruba
plus three species detected only once previously.
The Bubali Bird Sanctuary and the lake at Tierra del
Sol Golf Course provide the only significant perma-
nent freshwater habitat on this arid island. Bubali
was created in 1972 to handle sewage outflow from
the island's resorts and hotels. The resultant marsh
is about 1 km long and 0.5 km wide, with most of
the area covered by cattails (Typha spp.) and water
lettuce (Pistia stratiotes). On the marsh's west



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


shore, there is a line of broadleaf trees with a can-
opy ranging mostly from 3-6 m in height. The golf
course lake is Y-shaped and, when full, about 1 km
long and 0.25 km wide. This lake provides muddy
and grassy edges as well as a strip of Typha marsh.
Presumably the level of the lake is dependent on
run-off from the golf course and precipitation.
Spanish Lagoon is a brackish 1 km cut into the is-
land's interior and is the most prominent mangrove
swamp on Aruba. Finally, towards the north side of
the island, there is a series of saltpans that have wa-
ter only if there has been sufficient recent rainfall,
and Aruba's rainfall from September 2004 through
January 2005 was substantially above normal Aruba
(Meteorological Service Netherland Antilles and









MLODINOW NEW OR SIGNIFICANT BIRD RECORDS FOR ARUBA


Aruba 2004, 2005). During March 2005, almost all
contained water fringed by muddy shoreline, but
only the saltpan near Malmok was used regularly by
shorebirds. Full descriptions of all birds reported
herein are on file at the Zoological Museum of the
University of Amsterdam.

FIRST RECORDS

GREAT FRIGATEBIRD (FREGATA MINOR)
On 15 March 2005 an adult female Great Frigate-
bird was seen at Ceroe Colorado, the southeast cape
of the island. It was observed for 4-5 min as close as
50 m. The shape of the belly patch, complete dark
chest band, and limited white on axillars eliminated
other frigatebird species (James 2004, D. J. James,
in litt). Great Frigatebird has not been previously
recorded on the Aruba, Bonaire, or Curagao (the
ABC Islands), Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago or
the West Indies (Voous 1983, ffrench 1991, Hilty
2003). The Atlantic Ocean breeding population is
limited to Trinidade Island and Martin Vas Rocks
off Brazil (American Ornithologists' Union 1998).
In the North Pacific, Great Frigatebirds breed as far
north as Mexico's Islas Revillagigedo (Howell and
Webb 1995) and have wandered as far north as the
Farallon Islands, California (Richardson et al.
2003). Great Frigatebird has also been recorded
once in the eastern United States in Oklahoma
(Tomer et al. 1996).

RING-NECKED DUCK (AYTHYA COLLARIS)
On three occasions from 12-16 March 2005 we
were able to study, at length, two female Ring-
necked Ducks at the Tierra del Sol Golf Course.
The distinctive head shape, bill pattern, and diag-
nostic facial pattern were easily seen. This species
winters regularly as far south as the Virgin Islands,
but in the Lesser Antilles it is found less than once
per decade (Raffaele et al. 1998), and there are but
three records from Venezuela (Hilty 2003). Reuter
and Prins (in prep.) list three records from Curagao,
including eight together during 1999, and one from
Bonaire. There have been several records from
Trinidad and Tobago (e.g., ffrench 1991, Hayes and
White 2000, White and Hayes 2002).

GREATER ANI (CROTOPHAGA MAJOR)
Near noon on 13 March 2005 at Spanish Lagoon
we observed two large birds that landed above us
giving a croak-like call. They were large, glossy
black, and had exceptionally long tails. We watched
the birds from about 10 m for 2-3 min before they


flew off. The distinctive bill shape and white eyes
were readily apparent. Greater Ani had not previ-
ously been recorded on the ABC Islands nor the
West Indies (Raffaele et al. 1998, Reuter and Prins,
in prep.). In northern Venezuela, where fairly com-
mon from late April to November, they occur
mostly as migrants from Amazonia but are also
found in smaller numbers during the remainder of
the year (Hilty 2003). Greater Anis are a fairly com-
mon resident in Trinidad and Tobago, where they
inhabit mangrove swamps among other habitats
(ffrench 1991).

RED-EYED VIREO (VIREO OLIVACEUS)
At Spanish Lagoon on 13 March 2005, we
watched a vireo for approximately 4 min, observing
the lack of a dusky "whisker" mark, bright red eyes,
relatively bright green back, and strong facial pat-
tern. Black-whiskered Vireo (V. altiloquus) was
eliminated by the lack of a "whisker," the relatively
bright green back, the stronger facial pattern, and
the relatively smaller bill. Yellow-green Vireo (V.
flavoviridis) would have had a larger bill, been more
brightly colored, and lacked the dark upper border
to the supercilium. It is surprising that this species
had not been previously detected on Aruba, as mi-
grant Red-eyed Vireos from North America are
uncommon to fairly common in Venezuela (Hilty
2003), and there are at least six records from Bon-
aire and three from Curacao (Voous 1983, Reuter
and Prins in prep.). Its similarity to the resident
Black-whiskered Vireo may partly explain the lack
of previous records. Given this individual's bright
red eyes, it was likely of the nominate North Ameri-
can race, rather than one of the South American
races which have browner eyes (Hilty 2003).

INDIGO BUNTING (PASSERINA CYANEA)
A brown Indigo Bunting (likely an immature fe-
male) was noted 12 March 2005 in a weedy area
bordering the sewage treatment plant at the Bubali
Bird Sanctuary. Black-faced Grassquit (Tiaris bi-
color) was easily eliminated by shape and lack of
olive hues. The relatively dull brown color and lack
of prominent wingbars eliminated Lazuli Bunting
(P. amoena), and Blue-black Grassquit (Volatinia
jacarina) would have been smaller with a sharper
all black bill. In the West Indies Indigo Buntings are
regular as far south as the Virgin Islands and San
Andres, though they are rarely recorded in the
Lesser Antilles (once in St. Martin, twice in Domin-
ica, once in Barbados; McNair et al. 1999, Islam
2002, Brown 2005) and have been recorded but


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









MLODINOW NEW OR SIGNIFICANT BIRD RECORDS FOR ARUBA


once in Venezuela and once on Trinidad and To-
bago (ffrench 1991, Hilty 2003). Surprisingly, there
are multiple records from Bonaire and Curacao,
sometimes involving small flocks, from early No-
vember into late April (Voous 1983), and they are
currently considered regular on Bonaire and Cura-
Cao (Reuter and Prins, in prep.). The lack of pre-
existing records from Aruba may well be due to
relatively poor ornithological coverage.

SECOND RECORDS

LITTLE EGRET (EGRETTA GARZETTA)
An individual of this species was observed for 5
min at some distance, but in excellent light, from
the observation tower at Bubali early in the morning
of 12 March. The dark lores and two long filamen-
tous head plumes without shaggy crest were noted.
The bird associated with several Snowy Egrets (E.
thula), the yellow lores of which were easily seen.
An individual of this species allowed close study at
Tierra del Sol Golf Course 25-30 March 2003, pro-
viding the ABC Islands' first record (Mlodinow
2004). This Old World species was first recorded in
the Western Hemisphere at Barbados on 16 April
1954 (Bond 1966). Its numbers have increased dra-
matically in the Caribbean Basin since the 1980s,
with breeding first noted at Barbados in 1994 and
over 50 records from Trinidad and Tobago, mostly
from January to April (Massiah 1996, Hayes and
White 2001, Mlodinow et al. 2004). There are no
records for Venezuela (Hilty 2003). The 12 March
2005 bird may well be the same one seen at Tierra
del Sol two years earlier.

LIMPKIN (ARAMUS GUARAUNA)
On the evening of 12 March, we observed a
Limpkin for 5-10 min as it stalked the lake's edge at
Tierra del Sol. Eventually, it flew to the marshy
portion of the lake, and we were unable to relocate
it that day or on further visits. This distinctive bird
lacked the white spots on the back typical of A. g.
dolosus from North America, Central America, and
the West Indies; rather, the pale streaking was lim-
ited to the head and neck, typical of the nominate
race from South America. Some local movement
occurs in northern Venezuela, where it is most com-
mon June to October (Hilty 2003). This species is
an uncommon resident on Trinidad and Tobago
(ffrench 1991). The only other record for the ABC
Islands was from Ceru Colorado, Aruba, in Febru-
ary 1975 (Voous 1983, Reuter and Prins, in prep.).


PHILADELPHIA VIREO (VIREO PHILADELPHICUS)
Just after sunrise on 18 March, a vireo with a
relatively small bill (when compared to Red-eyed or
Black-whiskered) and bright yellow throat and chest
approached within 3 m at Spanish Lagoon. It lacked
wingbars and had a dark transocular stripe, a whit-
ish supercilium, and a gray crown. A Tennessee
Warbler (Vermivora peregrina) would have had a
much finer bill, and would not have had the combi-
nation of yellow underparts and blue-gray cap or a
bright yellow throat and chest. Red-eyed, Black-
whiskered, and Yellow-green Vireo were eliminated
by the solidly yellow throat and chest plus the rela-
tively small bill. A Brown-capped Vireo (V. leuco-
phrys) would have had a whiter throat, brown cap,
and less distinct transocular stripe, while Warbling
Vireo (V. gilvus) would also lack the solidly yellow
throat and chest and would have had pale lores.
Philadelphia Vireo is less than annual in the West
Indies and is unrecorded from the Virgin Islands or
Lesser Antilles (Raffaele et al. 1998). It has been
recorded in South America only in Colombia
(American Ornithologists' Union 1998) and there
are two prior ABC Island records, one from Spanish
Lagoon on 13 January 2002 (Wells and Wells 2004)
and one on Curaqao in April 2000 (Wells and Wells
2001).

ADDITIONAL RECORDS OF NOTE
During our stay we also recorded a number of
presumably unusual neotropical migrants, including
11 Northern Parulas (Parula americana), three
Chestnut-sided Warblers (Dendroica pensylvanica),
ten Cape May Warblers, a Black-throated Blue
Warbler (D. caerulescens), nine Prothonotary War-
blers (Protonotaria citrea), an Ovenbird (Seirus
aurocapillus), a Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus
motacilla), 13 Common Yellowthroats (Geothylpis
trichas), and a Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina).
Prior to 2005, Aruba had two records of Chestnut-
sided Warbler, three of Cape May Warbler, three of
Black-throated Blue Warbler, twelve of Prothono-
tary Warbler, six of Ovenbird, two of Louisiana
Waterthrush, and six-plus records of Hooded War-
bler (Voous 1983, Reuter and Prins, in prep.). Ob-
servations from Bonaire and Curaqao show these
vagrants occur at least equally often on these islands
(Reuter and Prins, in prep.). Furthermore, Voous
(1983) listed only ten ABC Island records of North-
ern Parula and one of Common Yellowthroat, al-
though both have subsequently been found regularly
in small numbers on Aruba (J. Wells in litt,


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









MLODINOW NEW OR SIGNIFICANT BIRD RECORDS FOR ARUBA


Mlodinow pers. obs.). We found nine parulas during
March 2003 and six during March 2004. Although
we did not find any Common Yellowthroats during
March 2003, five were detected at Bubali during
March 2004. Of the above species, Northern Parula,
Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-throated Blue War-
bler, and Common Yellowthroat are considered
vagrants in nearby Venezuela, and Cape May War-
bler, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Hooded
Warbler are listed as rare there (Hilty 2003). The
status of these species is similar on Trinidad and
Tobago (ffrench 1991). Only Prothonotary Warbler
is uncommon to fairly common in Venezuela and
Trinidad and Tobago (Hilty 2003, ffrench 1991).
On our previous March trips to Aruba, we had
been surprised by the relative abundance of what
should be rare-to-accidental neotropical migrants
based on these species' abundance in the Lesser
Antilles, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela. This
year furnished even more of these "rare" visitors
than normal. It is not clear why Aruba (and Bonaire
and Curaqao) seemingly attract so many more of
these neotropical vagrants than other islands in the
southern Caribbean or Venezuela. The relative lack
of habitat may simply make it easier for observers
to find them, especially when compared to mainland
South America. Furthermore, the ABC Islands are
located farther west than other southern Caribbean
Islands, perhaps increasing the likelihood that spe-
cies wintering predominantly in Central America
and Mexico may stray there. Of the passerine va-
grants noted above, Philadelphia Vireo, Chestnut-
sided Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Hooded
Warbler, and Indigo Bunting have a predominantly
Mexican / Central American winter distribution.
Aruba is approximately 850 km west of Grenada,
the nearest island in the Lesser Antilles, and 850 km
east of Costa Rica, which is at the same latitude in
Central America.
Furthermore, this year's success in particular may
well have been related to the increased precipitation
received from September 2004 through January
2005. During September, mostly related to the pas-
sage of Hurricane Ivan to the north, Aruba received
256 mm of rain compared with the long-term aver-
age of 35 mm, causing local flooding, a most un-
usual event on Aruba (Meteorological Service Neth-
erlands Antilles and Aruba 2004). A high level of
rainfall persisted through December, with the Octo-
ber through December precipitation total being 402
mm, well above the average of 200 mm
(Meteorological Service Netherlands Antilles and
Aruba 2004). Only in January did the heavy rainfall


begin to abate with 94 mm rather than the typical 62
mm and by February, precipitation levels had re-
turned to normal (Meteorological Service Nether-
lands Antilles and Aruba 2005). The island was
clearly greener during March 2005 than during the
previous two years, and the number of dragonflies
and butterflies were well above what we'd experi-
enced before. With increased precipitation, and ap-
parently increased insect abundance, it would be
easy to imagine that more fall migrants chose to
winter on Aruba rather than move on to the South
American mainland. Indeed, the increased storm
activity during the fall migratory period may even
have led to more birds being deposited on Aruba.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I owe a great debt of gratitude to Tineke Prins of
the Zoological Museum of the University of Am-
sterdam for her steady supply of data and for putting
up with my badgering. I also owe her thanks for
reviewing and improving this manuscript. Ruud van
Halewijn reviewed and significantly improved an
earlier version of this manuscript. Francisco
Franken of the Department of Fisheries was kind
enough to take me out to Aruba's tern nesting colo-
nies, thereby putting me in the right place at the
right time to see the Great Frigatebird, and thanks to
Castro Perez of the Department of Tourism for ar-
ranging the entire matter. The identification of said
frigatebird would have been impossible without the
help of David James. I also owe thanks to Facundo
Franken, Al Debrot, Adam Brown, and Hans Reuter
for providing useful information. Finally, and per-
haps above all else, thanks to the kind folks of
Aruba in general, and those of the Bucuti Beach
Resort in particular, for making our visits utterly
enjoyable.

LITERATURE CITED
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1998. Check-
list of North American birds. 7th ed. Allen Press
Inc., Lawrence, KS.
BOND, J. 1966. Eleventh supplement to the Check-
list of the birds of the West Indies. Academy of
Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.
BROWN, A. C., AND N. COLLIER. 2005. New and
rare bird records from St. Martin, West Indies.
Cotinga 25:52-58.
FFRENCH, R. 1991. A guide to the birds of Trinidad
and Tobago. Cornell University Press, Ithaca,
NY.
HAYES, F. E., AND G. WHITE. 2000. First report of
the Trinidad and Tobago Rare Bird Committee.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









MLODINOW NEW OR SIGNIFICANT BIRD RECORDS FOR ARUBA


Living World, Journal of the Trinidad and To-
bago Field Naturalists' Club 1999-2000:39-45.
HAYES, F. E., AND G. L. WHITE. 2001. Status of the
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) in Trinidad and
Tobago. Pitirre 14:54-58.
HILTY, S. L. 2003. Birds of Venezuela. 2nd ed.
Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.
HILTY, S. L., AND W. L. BROWN. 1986. A guide to
the birds of Colombia. Princeton University
Press, Princeton, NJ.
HOWELL, S. N. G., AND S. WEBB. 1995. A guide to
the birds of Mexico and Northern Central Amer-
ica. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
ISLAM, K. 2002. Second sight record of Indigo Bun-
ting (Passerina cyanea) on Dominica. Pitirre 15:
77.
JAMES, D. J. 2004. Identification of Christmas Is-
land, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds. Birding Asia
1:22-38.
MASSIAH, E. 1996. Identification of Snowy and
Little Egret. Birding World 9:434-444.
MCNAIR, D. B., E. B. MASSIAH, AND M. D. FROST.
1999. New and rare species of Nearctic landbird
migrants during autumn for Barbados and the
Lesser Antilles. Caribbean Journal of Science
35:46-53.
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE NETHERLANDS ANTIL-
LES AND ARUBA. 2004. Annual climatological
report, 2004. Http://www.meteo.an
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE NETHERLANDS ANTIL-
LES AND ARUBA. 2005. Climatological survey
Aruba, January and February 2005. Http://
www.meteo.an
MLODINOW, S. G. 2004. First records of Little
Egret, Green-winged Teal, Swallow-tailed Kite,


Tennessee Warbler, and Red-breasted Blackbird
from Aruba. North American Birds 57:559-561.
MLODINOW, S. G., W. E. DAVIS, JR., AND J. I. DIES.
2004. Possible anywhere: Little Egret. Birding
36:52-62.
RAFFAELE, H., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A. KEITH,
AND J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A guide to the birds of
the West Indies. Princeton University Press,
Princeton, NJ.
RICHARDSON, T. W., P. PYLE, R. BURNETT, AND P.
CAPITOLO. 2003. The occurrence and seasonal
distribution of migratory birds on Southeast Far-
allon Island, 1968-1999. Western Birds 34:58-96.
REUTER, J. H., AND T. G. PRINS. In prep. Checklist
of the birds of Aruba, Curacao, and Bonaire,
Netherlands Antilles.
TOMER, J. S., R. B. CLAPP, AND J. C. HOFFMAN.
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Voous, K. H. 1983. Birds of the Netherlands Antil-
les. De Walburg Pers, Utrecht, Netherlands.
WELLS, J. V., AND A. M. CHILDS WELLS. 2001.
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philadelphicus) for Curacao, Netherlands Antil-
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14:59-60.
WELLS, J. V., AND A. M. CHILDS WELLS. 2004.
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Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:36-41, 2006


ANALISIS DE LAS RECUPERACIONES DE EJEMPLARES ANILLADOS DE
GARZAS Y COCOS (CICONIIFORMES) EN EL PERIODO DE 1913 A 1998

DENNIS DENIS AVILA Y HECTOR M. SALVAT TORRES

Facultad de Biologia, Universidad de La Habana; Calle 25 entre J e I, Vedado, Ciudad Habana, Cuba; email:
dda@fbio.uh.cu

Resumen: La t6cnica de anillamiento y recuperaciones de aves migratorias es uno de los m6todos mas eficientes
para obtener informaci6n sobre patrones de movimiento y pardmetros demograficos en estas especies. Los miembros
del orden Ciconiiformes presentan fuertes procesos dispersivos post-cria que oscurecen los patrones migratorios, sin
embargo, se sabe que los humedales cubanos mantienen grandes poblaciones bimodales. El objetivo de este trabajo
es analizar las recuperaciones de individuos de Ciconiiformes anillados en Norteam6rica y recuperados en Cuba
entre 1913 y 1998, a partir de la base de datos del Departamento de Pesca y Fauna de los EEUU (USFWS). En este
periodo se recuperaron los anillos de 273 individuos de Ciconiiformes, de ocho especies. El analisis de los recobra-
dos por d6cada mostr6 un comportamiento ascendente en la primera mitad de siglo, con un marcado descenso a par-
tir de la d6cada de los 80. Las especies con mayor representaci6n fueron el Guanaba de la Florida (Nycticorax nycti-
corax) y el Coco Prieto (Plegadisfalcinellus). Los meses de mayor cantidad de recuperaciones correspondieron a la
migraci6n invernal, aunque se presentaron recuperaciones en meses intermedios. Las provincias con mayor nfmero
de recobrados fueron La Habana, Pinar del Rio y Sancti Spiritus y los individuos provenian mayormente de New
Jersey, Virginia y Carolina del Sur.
Palabras clave: recuperaci6n, anillamiento, Caribe, garzas, cocos, movimientos

Abstract: ANALYSIS OF BANDED BIRD RECOVERIES OF HERONS AND EGRETS (CICONIIFORMES) DURING THE PE-
RIOD 1913 TO 1998. Banding of migratory birds is one of the most efficient tools used in gathering information on
movements and demography. Members of the order Ciconiiformes exhibit strong post fledging dispersal movements
that confound migrational patterns. The objective of this paper in to analyze recoveries of ciconiiform birds banded
in North America and recovered in Cuba from 1913 to 1998, registered in the US Fish and Wildlife Service
(USFWS) data base located in Laurel, Maryland. During this period, 273 individuals of eight species of ciconiiform
birds were recovered. Numbers per decade demonstrate an increase in the first half of the century, followed by a
decrease commencing in the 1980s. The species most represented were Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax
nycticorax) and Glossy Ibis (Plegadis falcinellus). The months with the highest rate of band recovery corresponded
to winter migration but there were recoveries outside of the migratory period as well. Provinces with the most recov-
eries were La Havana, Pinar del Rio, and Sancti Spiritus, and the individuals were banded mostly in New Jersey,
Virginia, and South Carolina.
Key words: banding, Caribbean, egrets and herons, ibises, movements, recoveries

Resume : ANALYSE DES DONNEES DE BAGUAGE D' AIGRETTES ET DE HERONS (CICONIIFORMES) ENTRE 1918 ET
1998. L'analyse des donn6es de baguages est 1'un des outils les plus efficaces de collecte d'information sur les d6-
placements et sur la d6mographie des oiseaux migrateurs. Les especes de Ciconiiformes pr6sentent un erratisme
juvenile marqu6 qui complique la comprehension des sch6mas migratoires. Malgr6 cela, il est connu que les zones
humides de Cuba pr6sentent une distribution des populations nettement bimodale. L'objectif de cet article est d'ana-
lyser les donn6es de Ciconiiformes disponibles dans la base de donn6es de 1'USFWS bagu6s en Am6rique du Nord,
et obtenues a Cuba entre 1913 et 1998. Pendant la p6riode 6tudi6e, 273 individus de 8 especes de Ciconiiformes ont
6t& enregistr6s. Le nombre d'individus par decade montre une augmentation pendant la premiere moiti6 du XXeme
siecle puis une diminution marque depuis les ann6es 1980. Les especes les plus repr6sent6es sont le H6ron bihoreau
(Nycticorax nycticorax) et 1'Ibis falcinelle (Plegadisfalcinellus). Les mois comportant le plus de donn6es correspon-
dent a la migration hivernale mais certaines donn6es concernent la p6riode interm6diaire. Les provinces avec le plus
de donn6es sont celles de La Havane, Pinar del Rio, et Sancti Spiritus. Les oiseaux avaient &6t essentiellement ba-
gu6s dans les 6tats du New Jersey, de Virginie, et de Caroline du Sud.
Mots-cles : aigrette, baguage, Caraibe, contrl6es, h6ron, ibis, d6placements, reprises


LA TECNICA DE ANILLAMIENTO y recuperaciones miento y de importantes parimetros demogrificos
de aves acuiticas migratorias ha sido, hist6ricamen- en estas especies (Baillie 1995). Para la conserva-
te, uno de los m6todos mas utilizados para la obten- ci6n de las poblaciones de aves acu6ticas se requie-
ci6n de informaci6n acerca de los patrones de movi- re de una visi6n transcontinental, ya que es vital que


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









DENIS AVILA Y SALVAT TORRES RECOBRADO DE GARZAS Y COCOS EN CUBA


los esfuerzos conservacionistas tengan en cuenta las
zonas de residencia estacional de las poblaciones
migratorias. Entre las aves acu6ticas existe una dis-
persi6n amplia y aleatoria de los juveniles desde los
sitios de reproducci6n. Estos movimientos generales
son bien marcados en el orden Ciconiiformes, y se
ha pensado que sea un mecanismo utilizado para la
colonizaci6n de nuevas Areas (Byrd 1978).
Ya desde principios del pasado siglo, Townsend
(1931) planteaba que las garzas norteamericanas
presentan un patr6n de migraci6n excepcional, ya
que migran hacia el norte despu6s de la estaci6n de
cria, por un simple instinto heredado. En Norteam&-
rica la dispersi6n post-nidada ocurre en todas las
direcciones pero preferentemente hacia el sur-oeste.
Estos movimientos que siguen a la reproducci6n
pueden oscurecer los patrones de migraci6n inver-
nal en los Ciconiiformes, que son en su mayoria
migratorios, y se mezclan anualmente con poblacio-
nes residentes en las islas del Caribe.
Numerosos estudios se han centrado en aspectos
de la migraci6n y Areas de invernada de estas espe-
cies en el continente norteamericano (Coffey 1943,
1948, Dusi 1967, Browder 1973, Byrd 1978, Ryder
1978), sin embargo, en Cuba y otras Areas del Cari-
be, se han publicado s61o trabajos puntuales que
analizan las recuperaciones en algunos grupos como
Anseriformes (Rodriguez 2004, Blanco y Sanchez
2005) o Phoenicopteriformes (Blanco et al. 2003).
Byrd (1978) analiz6 4 459 recuperaciones de garzas
anilladas en el territorio de America del Norte, pero
apenas hace referencia al Area del Caribe. Mikuska
et al. (1998) identificaron en Bahamas y el Caribe


11 sitios de invernada claves para las garzas migra-
torias de Norteam6rica, cinco de ellos en territorio
cubano y para ello utilizaron datos de 851 recupera-
ciones de anillos, aunque no brindan detalles especi-
ficos en cada Area. En Cuba no existen trabajos rela-
cionados con este tema para las garzas (Ardeidae) y
cocos (Threskiornithidae), aunque es conocido que
humedales cubanos contienen grandes poblaciones
bimodales de todas estas especies, y constituyen un
refugio invernal de importantes cantidades de estas
aves (Denis et al. 2003).
En este trabajo se presenta un an6lisis detallado
de las recuperaciones de las especies del orden Ci-
coniiformes, anilladas en el continente norteameri-
cano, entre los afios 1913 y 1998. Los resultados
aportan nuevos elementos relacionados con la mi-
graci6n de estas aves, que pueden contribuir al desa-
rrollo de programas y estrategias futuras dirigidas a
la conservaci6n de especies del orden y sus habitats
naturales.

MATERIALES Y METODOS
Los registros de recuperaciones de aves anilladas
en Cuba se han obtenido hist6ricamente a trav6s de
la colaboraci6n de pescadores, cazadores y durante
colectas cientificas, y han sido recopiladas por el
Laboratorio de Aves Migratorias de Cuba, pertene-
ciente al Instituto de Ecologia y Sistemitica del
Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnologia y Medio Am-
biente. Estos datos se unieron a los enviados por los
centros de anillamiento del Servicio de Pesca y Vi-
da Silvestre de Estados Unidos (USFWS) y por el
Servicio Canadiense de Vida Silvestre (CWS).


Tabla 1. N6mero y aios de recobrados de los individuos por especie, del orden Ciconiiformes, recuperados
en Cuba durante el periodo de 1930 a 1998.


Afos de Recobrados
Especie n Minimo Miximo

Guanab6 de la Florida (Nycticorax nycticorax) 76 1914 1996
Garza Ganadera (Bubulcus ibis) 20 1958 1991
Garcilote (Ardea herodias) 28 1932 1997
Garz6n (Ardea alba) 36 1937 1998
Garza de Vientre Blanco (Egretta tricolor) 17 1931 1998
Garza de Rizos (Egretta thula) 21 1940 1996
Garza Azul (Egretta caerulea) 13 1938 1969
Coco Blanco (Eudocimus albus) 24 1956 1984
Coco Prieto (Plegadis falcinellus) 38 1958 1991


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









DENIS AVILA Y SALVAT TORRES RECOBRADO DE GARZAS Y COCOS EN CUBA


60
0 60
0 50
20
-

1 40
2.
= 30

-0
Z 0
z 0
-


I-I n


n


1910-20 1921-30 1931-40 1941-50 1951-60 1961-70 1971-80 1981-90 1991-00

Decada
Fig. 1. N6mero de individuos de Ciconiiformes, anillados en Norteam6rica y recuperados en Cuba por d6cada
durante el period de 1913 a 1998.


RESULTADOS
Entre 1913 y 1998 se recuperaron 273 individuos
anillados del orden Ciconiiformes en Cuba, pertene-
cientes a ocho especies (Tabla 1).
El andlisis de los recobrados por d6cada mostr6
un comportamiento ascendente en la primera mitad
de siglo, con un descenso a partir de la d6cada de
los 80 (Fig. 1). Esta tendencia refleja la importancia
del anillamiento, que cobr6 fuerzas en d6cada de los
aflos 30 impulsado por organizaciones ornitol6gi-
cas. Un comportamiento similar en el tiempo pre-
sentaron las recuperaciones del orden Anseriformes,
seg6n mencionan Blanco y Sanchez (2005).
La distribuci6n espacial de las recuperaciones ha
incluido todas las provincias de Cuba en proporcio-
nes relacionadas a la extensi6n de su territorio y al
drea de humedales (Tabla 2). Las provincias con


mayor cantidad de recobrados son La Habana,
Sancti Spiritus y Pinar del Rio, mientras que Ciudad
de la Habana fue donde menor cantidad de recobra-
dos hubo. El ndmero de recapturados para las tres
provincias con mayor incidencia es de 119 para un
43,6 % del total. El bajo ndmero de recapturas en
Ciudad de la Habana puede ser debido a que las
dreas de alimentaci6n estin reducidas al maximo
por la urbanizaci6n. Las especies mas representadas
entre las recobradas son el Guanab6 de la Florida
(Nycticorax nycticorax) y el Coco Prieto (Plegadis
falcinellus). El caso del Coco Prieto es llamativo
dado los cambios poblacionales marcados que ha
experimentado la especie en las 61timas d6cadas a
nivel regional, y en especial, en las zonas arroceras
de Cuba donde sus poblaciones se incrementaron de
forma muy marcada desde la d6cada del 80, al


Tabla 2. Nimero de individuos de cada especie analizada del orden Ciconiiformes que han sido recuperados
por provincias de Cuba, en el period de 1913 a 1998. Ha = Habana; CH = Ciudad de Habana; M = Matanzas;
VC = Villa Clara; H = Holguin; PR = Pinar del Rio; Ca = Camaguey; Ci = Cienfuegos; SS = Sancti Spiritus;
IJ = Isla de la Juventud; CA = Ciego de Avila; LT = Las Tunas; Gr = Granma; SC = Santiago de Cuba; Gu =
Guantanamo.


Especie Ha CH M VC H PR Ca Ci SS IJ CA LT Gr SC Gu Total
N. nycticorax 15 0 8 3 6 9 8 3 11 2 1 1 2 4 3 76
B. ibis 3 0 1 6 3 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 1 3 0 20
A. herodias 7 1 0 2 2 6 1 1 1 0 2 3 1 1 0 28
A. alba 6 0 4 2 7 6 2 1 2 0 1 3 1 0 1 36
E. tricolor 3 1 0 2 2 1 0 1 3 1 0 1 1 1 0 17
E. thula 2 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 1 4 21
E. caerulea 4 0 0 1 2 4 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 13
E. albus 6 0 4 2 7 6 2 1 2 0 1 3 1 0 1 36
P. falcinellus 1 0 6 3 1 4 5 4 11 0 1 0 2 0 0 38


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









DENIS AVILA Y SALVAT TORRES RECOBRADO DE GARZAS Y COCOS EN CUBA


o 50 -
ccr
. 40-
0
E 30
d 20
z
10
0


nn


HF]


Ene Feb Mar Abr May Jun Jul Ago Sep Oct Noc Dic
Mes

Fig. 2. Dinimica anual de la recuperaci6n de individuos de garzas y cocos anillados en Norteam6rica y
recuperados en Cuba en el period comprendido entre los anos 1913 y el 1998.


punto en que se Ilegaron a detectar en algunos con-
teos poblacionales las mayores cifras de todo el
continente (Acosta 1998).
En Cuba la dinimica estacional de capturas
durante el period estudiado (por meses), muestra
que el mayor ndmero de recuperaciones de aves se
produjo durante las 6pocas residencia invernal (171
individuos) comprendidas entre los meses de octu-
bre hasta febrero (Fig. 2). Los meses con el valor
miximo de recaptura fueron enero y febrero (40 y
41 individuos respectivas), lo que refleja la existen-
cia en estos meses de una mayor concentraci6n de
individuos del orden en Cuba. Los meses de mayor
cantidad de recuperaciones correspondieron a los
meses migratorios, aunque la presencia de recupera-
ciones en meses intermedios demuestra la mezcla
que se produce entre las poblaciones por el hecho de
que existan individuos que permanezcan luego de
migrar (poblaciones bimodales). Usualmente estas
aves que permanecen en las dreas de invernada son
ejemplares j6venes que no estin listas para la repro-
ducci6n, la edad promedio de los individuos recap-
turados en los meses dejunio a agosto fue de 21.8
5.42 meses (n = 22) y para los individuos recaptura-
dos en etapa migratoria fue de 28.9 2.93 meses (n
= 217; prueba de Mann-Whitney, U = 1851,5, P =
0,08). Estos resultados coinciden completamente
con lo descrito por Blanco y Sinchez (2005) para
los anitidos.
La mayor cantidad de las garzas y cocos recobra-
dos en Cuba se realiz6 entre los 4 y los 10 meses
despu6s de haberse anillados (46 %). Se recaptura-
ron 39 individuos, equivalentes al 14 % de los reco-
brados, que estuvieron anillados entre 10 meses y
dos a~os y 13 (5 %) que se recuperaron mis de 10


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


afos despu6s de haber sido anillados: tres Garcilotes
(Ardea herodias), tres Garzones (A. alba), una Gar-
za Ganadera (Bubulcus ibis), dos Garzas de Rizos
(Egretta thula), y cuatro Guanabaes de la Florida.
Todas estas especies pueden sobrevivir en vida libre
entre 13 y 23 afos, seg6n datos de anillados (Clapp
et al. 1982). Esta distribuci6n de frecuencias en el
tiempo de anilladas puede deberse a que estas aves
son capturadas y marcadas en el momento de la
reproducci6n (formaci6n de colonias) y recaptura-
das en la migraci6n siguiente, sin haber transcurrido
un afo. El individuo con mayor tiempo entre anilla-
do y recobrado fue un Garcilote (22 afos y 9 me-
ses).
El conjunto de datos de recobrados, tanto de gar-
zas como de cocos, en Cuba, sugiere que las migra-
ciones tienen un mayor ndmero de individuos pro-
venientes de New Jersey, Virginia, Michigan, South
Carolina, Mississippi y Ohio y en menor ndmero, de
Indiana, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Qu6bec, Kansas,
Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Minne-
sota, Maine, Illinois, Georgia, Delaware y Alberta
(Tabla 3), aunque esto depende del esfuerzo de ani-
llamiento anual en cada estado. Para las aves de los
Estados con mayor ndmero de recapturados en Cu-
ba, Dusi (1967) sugiere que estas poblaciones mi-
gran al sur y hacia el este a trav6s de la Florida
hacia Cuba o a lo largo de las Bahamas hacia Puerto
Rico. Coffey (1943, 1948) sugiri6 que las colonias
del Mississippi se movian hacia el sur durante la
migraci6n, siguiendo rutas de tierra desde el sur-
oeste del Valle del Mississippi a trav6s de Louisia-
na, Texas y M6xico y pasando a Cuba por la penin-
sula de Yucatan. Los individuos de Ohio y Michi-
gan, aparentemente, siguen la ruta del sur hasta el


Sn Fn









DENIS AVILA Y SALVAT TORRES RECOBRADO DE GARZAS Y COCOS EN CUBA


Tabla 3. Estados o provincias norteamericanas don-
de fueron anillados los individuos anillados del
orden Ciconiiformes capturados y recuperados en
Cuba en el period de 1913 y 1998.


Estado

New Jersey
Virginia
Carolina Sur
Michigan
Mississippi
Ohio
Florida
Maryland
Alabama
Ontario
Massachussets
Carolina Norte
Illinois
Quebec
Georgia
Wisconsin
Delaware
Rhode Island
Pennsylvania
Maine
Minnesota
Dakota Norte
Kansas
Alberta
Indiana
Dakota Sur


No. de Individuos

53
30
30
30
24
18
17
16
14
13
10
10
6
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
2
1
1
1
1
1


golfo y costa del Atl6ntico para invernar en ireas de
Cuba, Jamaica, Repdblica Dominicana y probable-
mente en otras islas de las Antillas Mayores y
Menores (Byrd 1978).
La Garza Ganadera (Bubulcus ibis) tiene altas
tendencias dispersivas que hacen dificil la separa-
ci6n entre dispersi6n y migraci6n. Los juveniles
despu6s de la cria se dispersan rdpidamente
cubriendo distancias de 1 900 a 5 000 km. Al pare-
cer su tendencia a volar en los grupos mixtos con
garzas azules y de rizos, hace que explote los tres
corredores principales del grupo: la via oriental des-
de Nova Scotia por la costa atldntica hasta el Mis-
sissippi, el corredor central (del este de Kansas has-
ta Pananm) y la ruta de la costa pacifica de Alaska
hasta M6xico (Byrd 1978).
Frederick et al. (1996) analizan la informaci6n de


18 713 cocos blancos anillados en EUA entre 1926
y 1985 y sus recuperaciones y tambi6n describen la
importancia de los humedales de Cuba en la migra-
ci6n invernal de esta especie (17 recuperaciones).
Su quinta recomendaci6n de manejo fue, precisa-
mente, la necesidad de coordinar esfuerzos con
cientificos y conservacionistas cubanos.
Las investigaciones que involucran anillamientos
y recapturas son s6lo posibles gracias a la labor
cooperativa integrada de muchas personas en un
amplio rango geogr6fico y de tiempo. Si se recono-
ce el hecho de que en Norteam6rica y el Caribe,
cerca del 20 % de las poblaciones de aves acu6ticas
esta declinando (Wetlands International 2003) los
estudios de este tipo, capaces de detectar y monito-
rear cambios a gran escala son imprescindibles.
Esto es un llamado a la aplicaci6n de un enfoque a
escala continental de las investigaciones y de la
conservaci6n de las aves acu6ticas, independiente
de barreras politicas y culturales.

AGRADECIMIENTOS
Al Dr. Pedro Blanco que puso a nuestra disposi-
ci6n la base de datos de recuperaciones en Cuba. Al
LCAM por su autorizaci6n para realizar los anilla-
mientos y por los anillos, y al Dr. J. A. Kushlan, que
don6 las pinzas de anillamiento. Al Wayne Arendt,
Leopoldo Miranda y Oliver Komar por revisar el
manuscrito. Se agradece el apoyo de la Sociedad de
Ornitologia del Caribe e Ideawild. Debe reconocer-
se el esforzado trabajo de los estudiantes de la Uni-
versidad de La Habana que, voluntariamente, traba-
jaron en la campafia de anillamiento de flamencos y
de garzas: Ronar L6pez, Yadiley Est6vez, Jos6 L.
Ponce de Le6n y Gisela M. L6pez.

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munidad de aves acuiticas del agroecosistema
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na, Cuba. 110 pp.
BAILLIE, S. R. 1995. Uses of ringing data for the
conservation and management of bird popula-
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BLANCO P. R., Y B. O. SANCHEZ. 2005. Recupera-
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BLANCO, P., B. SANCHEZ, P. DEL POZO, Y J. MORA-
LES. 2002. Recapturas del Flamenco Rosado
(Phoenicopterus ruber) en Cuba durante el


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period de 1966 al 2000. Pitirre 15:31-33.
BYRD, M. A. 1978. Dispersal and movement of six
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BROWDER, J. A. 1973. Long-distance movements of
Cattle Egret. Bird-Banding 44:158-170.
CLAPP, R. B., M. K. KLIMKIEWICZ, Y J. H.
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DENIS, D., M. ACOSTA, A. JIMENEZ, O. TORRES, Y
A. RODRIGUEZ. 2003. Las zancudas. Pp. 112-127
en Aves de Cuba (H. Gonzalez, ed.). UPC Print,
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DENNIS, J. V. 1986. European encounters of birds
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DUSI, L. J. 1967. Migration in the Little Blue
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OGDENS. 1996. Conservation of large, nomadic
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GONZALEZ, H. 1996. Composici6n y abundancia de
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en Cuba occidental y central durante el periodo
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La Habana, Cuba. 93 pp.
GONZALEZ, H., J. SIROIS, M. K. MCNICHOLLS, P. B.
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RYDER, R. A. 1978. Breeding distribution, move-
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Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:42-44, 2006


SECOND AND THIRD RECORDS OF WESTERN MARSH-HARRIER (CIRCUS
AERUGINOSUS) FOR THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE IN PUERTO RICO

CHRISTOPHER L. MERKORD', RAFY RODRIGUEZ2, AND JOHN FAABORG3
1105 Tucker Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri 65211, email: clmerkord@mizzou.edu; 2Calle del Rio
# 21 Norte, Mayagiiez, Puerto Rico 00680, email: raromo@prtc.net; 3110 Tucker Hall, University of Missouri,
Columbia, Missouri 65211, email: faaborgj@missouri.edu

Abstract: The Western Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) is an Eurasian species rarely recorded in the Western
Hemisphere. We document a female at the Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico from 14 Janu-
ary to 30 March 2004 and an immature at the same locality from 11 January to 11 February 2006. These records
represent the second and third for the Western Hemisphere and the first for Puerto Rico.
Key words: Circus aeruginosus, distributional records, Puerto Rico, Western Marsh-Harrier

Resumen: SEGUNDO Y TERCER REGISTRO DE AGUILUCHO LAGUNERO OCCIDENTAL (CIRCUS AERUGINOSUS) PARA
EL HEMISFERIO OCCIDENTAL EN PUERTO RICO. El Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental (Circus aeruginosus) es una
especie euroasiatica raramente registrada en el hemisferio occidental. En este trabajo se documenta una hembra en el
Refugio Nacional de Vida Silvestre Laguna Cartagena en Puerto Rico entre el 14 dejunio al 30 de marzo del 2004, y
un inmaduro en esa misma localidad entre el 11 de enero y el 11 de febrero de 2006. Estos registros representan el
segundo y tercero para el hemisferio occidental y el primero para Puerto Rico.
Palabras clave: Aguilucho Lagunero Occidental, Circus aeroginosus, Puerto Rico, registros de distribuci6n

Resume : DEUXIEME ET TROISIEME OBSERVATIONS DE BUSARD DES ROSEAUX (CIRCUS AERUGINOSUS) POUR L'
HEMISPHERE OCCIDENTAL A PORTO RICO. Le Busard des roseaux (Circus aeruginosus) est une espece europ6enne
rarement observe dans l'h6misphere occidental. Nous fournissons des informations sur l'observation d'une femelle
a Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge a Porto Rico dul4 janvier au 30 mars 2004 et d'un immature au mrme
endroit du 11 janvier au 11 f6vrier 2006. I s'agit des deuxieme et troisieme observations pour 1'h6misphere occiden-
tal et les premieres pour Porto Rico.
Mots-clis : Busard des roseaux, Circus aeruginosus, distribution, Porto Rico


THE WESTERN MARSH-HARRIER (Circus aerugi-
nosus) is an Eurasian species rarely recorded in the
Western Hemisphere. On 4 December 1994, a fe-
male Western Marsh-Harrier was reported from
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia,
USA (Shedd et al. 1998), but lack of photographic
documentation led the American Ornithologists'
Union to relegate C. aeruginosus to the Appendix of
the Check-list of North American Birds (AOU
2000). On 11 November 2002, another female
Western Marsh-Harrier was found and photo-
graphed at Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin on the island of
Guadeloupe (Levesque and Malglaive 2004), pro-
viding the first fully documented record. The spe-
cies has shown some propensity to stray, with re-
cords from several islands in the eastern Atlantic
and the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean (Ferguson-
Lees and Christie 2001). In this note we report the
second and third records for the Western Hemi-
sphere, both from Puerto Rico.

OBSERVATIONS
On 14 January 2004, Chris Merkord, John


Faaborg, Wes Bailey, Courtney Kerns, and Kelly
Gamble saw a female Western Marsh-Harrier
(Circus aeruginosus) at the Laguna Cartagena Na-
tional Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico. We observed
the bird flying over the open water and surrounding
marsh. Although it kept the numerous ducks in con-
stant flight it never gave chase. Twice the bird
landed in woody vegetation on the edge of the lake,
perching just above the ground. We observed the
bird at midday for approximately 15 minutes using
Swarovski EL 8.5x42 binoculars, Leica binoculars,
and a Bushnell Spacemaster 60mm spotting scope
with a 22x wide angle lens.
In flight the Western Marsh-Harrier gave the im-
pression of a relatively long-winged, long-tailed
raptor of uniform dark brown coloration. The bird's
flight was buoyant as it glided, swooped, and hov-
ered with legs extended below. The rump was a
lighter shade of brown, contrasting slightly with the
darker back and tail. Although we could not see any
barring on either side of the squared, apparently
uniformly brown tail, the photos do show 4 to 5
dark bars on the underside of the tail (Fig. 1). One



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









MERKORD ETAL. CIRCUS AERUGINOSUS IN PUERTO RICO


Fig. 1. Female Western Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) at Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico, 25 January
2004. Video stills by R. Rodriguez.


observer remarked on a pale area at the base of the
primaries on the underside of the wing. Whitish
spots were evident at the proximal leading edge of
the wing when viewed head-on, although we did not
note the entire leading edge of the wings to be pale,
as characteristic of females of this species. Most
striking was the cream-colored crown extending
from the bill to the nape, passing just above the
eyes. A slightly less striking but still noticeable
cream-colored throat contrasted with the dark mask
through the eyes.
Local birders reported a dark-rumped harrier in
the area as early as 27 December 2003 (S. Col6n
pers. comm.). On 25 January 2004, Rafy Rodriguez
observed a harrier matching our description at La-
guna Cartagena and obtained video footage of the
bird with a handheld digital video camera. Stills of
that video are presented here (Fig. 1). Reports of a
Western Marsh-Harrier at Laguna Cartagena conti-



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


nued to 30 March 2004 (S. Col6n pers. comm.).
On 11 January 2006, John Faaborg and others
saw a similarly-plumaged bird, again at Laguna
Cartagena. Written descriptions and photographs by
Rafy Rodriguez (Fig. 2), taken on 11 February
2006, show a darker overall coloration and lack of
white on the leading edge of the wings, consistent
with a juvenile Western Marsh-Harrier (Beaman
and Madge 1998) and noticeably different than the
adult female from the 2004 sightings. The 2006
sightings would thus appear to represent a separate
individual from the 2004 sightings.

DISCUSSION
The 2004 and 2006 sightings represent the second
and third documented records, respectively, of C.
aeruginosus for the New World. Only two other
species of Eurasian raptors have been reported from
the Caribbean region. A specimen of a Eurasian









CIRCUS AERUGINOSUS IN PUERTO RICO


Fig. 2. Juvenile Western Marsh-Harrier (Circus aeruginosus) at Laguna Cartagena, Puerto Rico, 11 February
2006. Photos by R. Rodriguez.


Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) was taken in Martinique
on 9 December 1949 (Pinchon and Vaurie 1961),
and one was photographed in Trinidad during 17
December 2003 to 1 January 2004 (Kenefick and
Hayes 2006). A Black Kite (Milvus migrans) was
found in Dominica on 19 April 1999 (Norton et al.
2003), and a second was found in the British Virgin
Islands in mid-October 1999 (Mazar Barnett and
Kirwan 2002). See Ebels (2002) for a summary of
sightings of 42 other Palearctic species in the Carib-
bean region.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank Javier Mercado and Matthew Anderson
for help with identification and Wayne Arendt,
Christopher Conner, Stacy Small, Jennifer White,
and an anonymous reviewer for reviewing this
manuscript.

LITERATURE CITED
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 2000. Forty-
second supplement to the American Ornitholo-
gists' Union Check-list of North American birds.
Auk 117:847-858.
BEAMAN, M., AND S. MADGE. 1998. The handbook
of bird identification: for Europe and the western
Palearctic. Princeton University Press, Princeton,
NJ.


EBELS, E. B. 2002. Transatlantic vagrancy of
Palearctic species to the Caribbean region. Dutch
Birding 24:202-209.
FERGUSON-LEES, J., AND D. A. CHRISTIE. 2001.
Raptors of the World. Houghton Mifflin Com-
pany, New York, NY.
KENEFICK, M., AND F. E. HAYES. 2006. Trans-
Atlantic vagrancy of Palearctic birds in Trinidad
and Tobago. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology
19:in press.
LEVESQUE, A., AND L. MALGLAIVE. 2004. First
documented record of Marsh Harrier for the West
Indies and the New World. North American Birds
57:564-565.
MAZAR BARNETT, J., AND G. M. KIRWAN. 2002.
Published records from the literature: Caribbean.
Cotinga 17:82-83.
NORTON, R. L., A. WHITE, AND A. DOBSON. 2003.
West Indies & Bermuda. North American Birds
57:131-133.
PINCHON, P. R., AND C. VAURIE. 1961. The Kestrel
(Falco tinnunculus) in the New World. Auk
78:92-93.
SHEDD, D. H., R. D. GETTINGER, B. L. SHEDD, AND
F. R. SCOTT. 1998. First record of a Western
Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosis) [sic] in Vir-
ginia. Raven 69:56.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


MERKORD ETAL.









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:45-47, 2006


FIRST RECORD OF THE WESTERN REEF-HERON (EGRETTA GULARIS)
FOR ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

MICHAEL R. PAICE
8d, Rochdale Way, Deptford, London, SE8 4LY, England; e-mail: mrpaice@yahoo.co.uk

Abstract: An immature dark-morph Western Reef-Heron (Egretta gularis), almost certainly of the nominate race E.
g gularis, was observed and photographed on Mustique Island, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, on 1 February 2004,
representing the 15th record of Western Reef-Heron for the Western Hemisphere and the first for St. Vincent and the
Grenadines.
Key words: Ardeidae, distributional record, Egretta gularis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Western Reef-Heron

Resumen: PRIMER REGISTRO DE LA GARCETA DIMORFA (EGRETTA GULARIS) PARA SAN VICENTE Y LAS GRANADI-
NAS. Un individuo inmaduro del morfo oscuro de Egretta gularis, casi seguramente de la raza nominal E. g. gularis,
fue observada y fotografiada en Isla Mustique, San Vicente y las Granadinas el lero de febrero de 2004. Este repre-
senta el registro nfmero 15 de la especie para el hemisferio occidental y el primero para estas islas.
Palabras clave: Ardeidae, Egretta gularis, Garceta Dimorfa, registro de distribuci6n, San Vicente y las Granadinas

Resume : PREMIERE OBSERVATION DE L'AIGRETTE DES RECIFS (EGRETTA GULARIS) POUR ST. VINCENT ET LES
GRENADINES. Une Aigrette des r6cifs immature de forme sombre (Egretta gularis), tres certainement de la race no-
minale E. g. gularis, a &6t observe et photographi6e sur 1'Ile Moustique, St. Vincent et les Grenadines, le ler f6vrier
2004. Il s'agit de la 15eme observation pour l'h6misphere occidental et la premiere pour Saint Vincent et les Grena-
dines.
Mots-cles : Aigrette des r6cifs, Ardeidae, distribution, Egretta gularis, St. Vincent et les Grenadines


THE WESTERN REEF-HERON (Egretta g. gularis)
occurs from the Red Sea to south-east India and in
West Africa north to western Europe (Snow and
Perrins 1998). The nominate race, E. g. gularis,
breeds in West Africa, and E. g. schistacea breeds
in East Africa eastward to India. Although both
races regularly occur north to southern Europe
(Dubois and Y6sou 1995), the nominate race is con-
sidered a very rare but increasing vagrant to the
West Indies region, where it has been reported from
St. Lucia (four records, one of two birds; Keith
1997), Barbados (seven records; Mlodinow et al.
2004), Trinidad (one in 1986, the first confirmed
record for South America; Murphy and Nanan
1987), and Tobago (one in 2000-2002; Kenefick
and Hayes 2006). A summary of Western Reef-
Heron records in the Western Hemisphere through
2004 is presented by Mlodinow et al. (2004). In this
note I document the first record of a Western Reef-
Heron for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

OBSERVATIONS
On 1 February 2004 I observed and photographed
(Fig. 1) a dark heron on Mustique Island in the
Grenadines from 14:25-14:55 hr and later, while
accompanied by R. Touche and O. Touche, from
15:45-16:15 hr. The bird was observed on a rocky



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


reef off the sandy beach at Lagoon Bay West, mid-
way down the west coast of Mustique Island, at its
westernmost point. The bird was feeding using sev-
eral techniques including the spectacular 'umbrella'
wing shading action. The weather was warm with
bright sunshine and a light breeze. The bird was
observed in good light from about as close as 10 m
through 8x40 binoculars and through a tripod-
mounted 30x telescope.
The bird was approximately the same size as a
Little Blue Heron (E. caerulea) that chased it during
our observations. However, the bill appeared longer,
straighter, and proportionately thinner, the head
appeared smaller, and the neck appeared longer and
thinner. The plumage was generally dark grey with
a brownish tint on the back and downy white (or
very pale grey) around the vent from behind the legs
to the tail. The chin and throat were white, with the
white extending from the base of the lower mandi-
ble to beyond the eyes and for about the same dis-
tance downward on the throat. The bill was greyish,
not black, and lacked a dark tip as in E. caerulea.
The grey lores blended without contrast with the
grey upper head colour. The legs were black with
bright lime-green feet, the lime-green colour ex-
tending about 2.5 cm up the tarsi. The irides were
white.









PAICE EGRETTA GULARIS IN ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES


Fig. 1. Immature dark-morph Western Reef-Heron
(Egretta gularis) at Mustique Island, St. Vincent and
the Grenadines, 1 February 2004. Photos by M. R.
Paice.


DISCUSSION
The combination of a white throat and yellowish
green feet eliminate the similarly sized and similarly
dark Little Blue Heron and Tricolored Heron (E.
tricolor) of the New World.
The Little Egret occurs in Asia, Africa, and south-
ern Europe, and has been spreading north-west in
Europe since ca. 1960 (Mlodinow et al. 2004). It
was first recorded in the West Indies in 1954 (Bond
1966). An increase in sightings in the 1980s culmi-
nated in the discovery by Martin Frost in December
1994 of the first breeding pair in the Western Hemi-


1(H ~~
-I I
~,I;xI


sphere, on Barbados, where a breeding colony be-
came established with as many as 20 breeding pairs
and a total population of about 80 individuals
(Massiah 1996). Little Egrets also occur regularly
on Trinidad and Tobago, with more than 50 records
to date (Hayes and White 2001). They have also
been found on St Lucia, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe,
Martinique, and Aruba (Mlodinow 2004, Mlodinow
et al. 2004).
The Little Egret is white and is thus unlikely to be
confused with a dark morph Western Reef-Heron,
yet the existence of dark-morph Little Egrets has
often been claimed (e.g., Brown et al. 1982, Dubois
and Y6sou 1995, Snow and Perrins 1998, van den
Berg 1999, Borrow and Demey 2001). However,
the genetic origin of the dark plumage in such birds
is usually unknown and they are very rare (Kushlan
and Hancock 2005). Furthermore, interbreeding
between Little Egret and E .g. schistacea popula-
tions has been reported in western India (Parasharya
and Naik 1984) and interbreeding between Little
Egret and E. g. gularis has been observed in eastern
Spain (Dies et al. 2001). Suspected E. g. gularis x
E. garzetta hybrids in eastern Spain were pale grey
with variable amounts of white on the head, wings,
and underparts, even in adults (Dies et al. 2001).
Photographs of birds accepted as hybrids show this
plumage range and a bill that is blacker and often
thinner than that of E. g. gularis (de Juana 2002; see
also the websites of the Dies brothers and Ricard
Guti6rrez at www.rarebirdspain.net). Parasharya
and Naik (1987) considered blue/grey lores and a
black bill as evidence of Little Egret gene flow into
the schistacea population.
Of the two races of E. gularis, schistacea exhibits
more obvious and consistent structural differences
from the Little Egret (Dubois and Y6sou 1995). In
the more westerly populations of schistacea (e.g.,
those in the Sinai and Israel), the white morph pre-
dominates, comprising 80% or more of the popula-
tion (Shirihai 1996, van den Berg 1999), whereas in
gularis populations in Senegal, the Gambia, and
Mauritania, less than 1% are white (Dubois and
Y6sou 1995). In comparison with Little Egret,
Western Reef-Heron has a shorter tarsus in relation
to its bill length, the bill is usually thicker, paler and
slightly downcurved, and the legs are often paler.
Although the bill of the heron at Mustique Island
appeared rather slender and pointed and its legs
appeared rather black as in a Little Egret or Little
Egret x Western Reef-Heron, the lack of black bill
colouration combined with the well defined white
throat patch and lack of white plumage elsewhere


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









PAICE EGRETTA GULARIS IN ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES


are more consistent with a dark-morph nominate
Western Reef-Heron. The brownish tint on the back
and pale belly indicate it was a juvenile.
This sighting provides the 15th record of Western
Reef-Heron for the Western Hemisphere and the
first for St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The in-
creasing number of sightings of Western Reef-
Heron in the Caribbean during the last few decades
suggests that this species may well follow the Little
Egret in colonising the Caribbean.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I thank Rodney and Ouda Touche for accompany-
ing me to see this bird and for sharing my interest in
the birds of the island. I also thank Geoff Hilton and
colleagues at the RSPB, and John Archer for com-
menting on the photographs, and Nick Bertrand,
Steven Mlodinow, William Murphy, and my father,
E. S. Paice, for commenting on the text. I thank the
staff at the British Library in London and at the
London Natural History Museum Library, Tring, for
being so helpful. I especially thank Basil Charles
and Dana Gillespie and their charity, the Mustique
Blues Festival, for making my visits to Mustique
possible. The Mustique Blues Festival promotes the
education of disadvantaged St. Vincent children
through the Basil Charles Foundation.

LITERATURE CITED
BOND. J. 1966. Eleventh supplement to the Check-
list of the birds of the West Indies. Academy of
Natural Sciences, Philadelphia, PA.
BORROW, N., AND R. DEMEY. 2001. Birds of West-
ern Africa. Christopher Helm, London.
BROWN, L. H., E. K. URBAN, AND K. NEWMAN.
1982. The birds of Africa. Vol. 1. Academic
Press, London.
DE JUANA, E. 2002. Observaciones de aves raras en
Espana. Ardeola 49:141-171.
DIES, J. I., J. PROSPER, AND B. DIES. 2001. Occa-


sional breeding by Western Reef Egret in eastern
Spain. British Birds 94:382-386.
DUBOIS, P. J., AND P. YESOU. 1995. Identification
of Western Reef Egrets and dark Little Egrets.
British Birds 88:307-319.
KEITH, A. R. 1997. The birds of St Lucia West In-
dies. British Ornithologists' Union Checklist no.
15. London.
KENEFICK, M., AND F. E. HAYES. 2006. Trans-
Atlantic vagrancy of Palearctic birds in Trinidad
and Tobago. Journal of Caribbean Ornithology
19:in press.
KUSHLAN, J. A., AND J. A. HANCOCK. 2005. The
herons. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
MASSIAH, E. 1996. Identification of Snowy Egret
and Little Egret. Birding World 9:434-444.
MLODINOW, S. G. 2004. First records of Little
Egret, Green-winged Teal, Swallow-tailed Kite,
Tennessee Warbler, and Red-breasted Blackbird
from Aruba. North American Birds 57:559-561.
MLODINOW, S. G., W.E. DAVIS, JR., AND J.I. DIES.
2004. Possible anywhere: Little Egret. Birding
36:52-62.
MURPHY, W. L., AND W. NANAN. 1987. First con-
firmed record of Western Reef-Heron (Egretta
gularis) for South America. American Birds
41:16-27.
PARASHARYA, B. M., AND R. M. NAIK. 1987.
Changes in the soft part coloration of the Indian
Reef Heron, Egretta gularis (Bosc) related to age
and breeding status. Journal of the Bombay Natu-
ral History Society 84:1-6.
SHIRIHAI, H. 1996. The birds of Israel. Princeton
University Press, London.
SNOW, D. W., AND C. M. PERRINS. 1998. The birds
of the Western Palearctic. Concise ed. Vol. 1.
Oxford University Press, Oxford.
VAN DEN BERG, A. B. 1999. Dark-morph egret in
Morocco in April 1997. Dutch Birding 21:8-15.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006










J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:48-51, 2006


STATUS OF THE AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (HAEMATOPUS
PALLIATUS) IN ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES

FLOYD E. HAYES1, MICHAEL R. PAICE2, TONY BLUNDEN3, P. WILLIAM SMITH4, SUSAN A. SMITH4,
GRAHAM WHITE5, AND MARTIN D. FROST6
oDepartment of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago; e-mail:
floyd_hayes@yahoo.com; current address: Department of Biology, Pacific Union College, 1 Angwin Ave., Angwin,
CA 94508, USA; 28d, Rochdale Way, Deptford, London, SE8 4LY, England; e-mail: mrpaice@yahoo.co.uk;
314 White Hill Ecchinswell, Nr Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 4UF, UK; e-mail: tony@epr.uk.com; 415917NE Union Rd.
#69, Ridgefield, WA 98642, USA; e-mail: birdsmiths@hotmail.com; 5Waterloo Estate, Carapichaima, Trinidad and
Tobago; e-mail: g-white@tstt.net.tt; 6Featherbed Lane, St. John, Barbados; e-mail: mfrost@hornabbot.bb

Abstract: The American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) was first reported from the Grenadine islands of St.
Vincent and the Grenadines in 1950 by James Bond, who merely stated that it "evidently breeds in the Grenadines
(Tobago Cays)" but provided no further information. We report recent sightings of: up to five oystercatchers at Be-
quia during 13-22 March 1993, one on 5 August 1999, and one on 25-27 June 2004; up to five at Mustique during
January-February 1997, 1998, and 2001-2006; two at Petit Nevis on 5 August 1999; up to two at Mayreau on 25
May 1998, 27 December 2001, and August 2002; and three at Battowia on 26 June 2004. These observations provide
evidence that either small numbers of non-breeding birds regularly visit the Grenadines or a small population may
breed in the Grenadines.
Key words: American Oystercatcher, Battowia, Bequia, Haematopus palliatus, Mayreau, Mustique, Petit Nevis,
status, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

Resumen: ESTATUS DEL OSTRERO (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) EN SAN VICENTE Y LAS GRANADINAS. El Ostrero
(Haematopus palliatus) fue registrado por primera vez para las islas Granadinas de San Vicente y las Granadinas en
1950 por James Bond, quien solamente senal6 que "evidentemente cria en las Granadinas (Islas Tobago)" sin
proveer mas informaci6n. En este trabajo se registran recientes avistamientos de hasta cinco ostreros en Bequia du-
rante el 13 22 de marzo de 1993, uno el 5 de agosto de 1999, otro entre el 25-27 de junio del 2004, hasta cinco en
Mustique durante enero y febrero de 1997, 1998 y entre 2001-2006; dos mas en Petit Nevis el 5 de agosto de 1999,
hasta dos en Mayreau el 25 de mayo de 1998, el 27 de diciembre del 2001, y agosto del 2002, y tres en Battowia el
26 de junio de 2004. Estas observaciones proveen evidencias de que un pequeno ndmero de aves visitan regular-
mente las Granadinas o de que una pequeia poblaci6n puede estar criando en ella.
Palabras clave: Battowia, Bequia, estado, Haematopus palliatus, Mayreau, Mustique, Ostrero, Petit Nevis, San
Vicente y las Granadinas

Resume : STATUT DE L'HUITRIER D'AMERIQUE (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) DANS ST. VINCENT ET LES GRENADINES.
L'Huitrier d'Amerique (Haematopus palliatus) a &t6 observe pour la premiere fois dans les iles Grenadines de St.
Vincent et les Grenadines par James Bond en 1950. Celui-ci mentionnait juste que < il niche manifestement dans les
Grenadines (Tobago Cays) > sans fournir plus d'information. Nous rapportons ici des observations r6centes de, jus-
qu'a 5 huitriers a Bequia du 13 au 22 mars 1993, une le 5 aoft 1999 et une autre du 25 au 27 juin 2004 ; jusqu'a cinq
B Moustique en janvier et fevrier 1997, 1998 et de 2001 a 2006 ; deux a Petit Nevis le 5 aoft 1999 ; jusqu'a deux a
Mayreau les 25 mai 1998, 27 d6cembre 2001 et aoft 2002 ; et trois a Battowia le 26 juin 2004. Ces observations
revelent que, soit un petit nombre d'oiseaux non nicheurs visite regulierement les Grenadines ou alors qu'une petite
population pourrait y nicher.
Mots-clis : Battowia, Bequia, Haematopus palliatus, Huitrier d'Amerique, Mayreau, Mustique, Petit Nevis, statut,
St. Vincent et les Grenadines



IN THE CARIBBEAN REGION, the American Humphrey 1994, American Ornithologists' Union
Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) breeds lo- 1998, Raffaele et al. 1998). In the Grenadine islands
cally along the Atlantic coast of North America of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which are sel-
from Florida to the Yucatan Peninsula, the Baha- dom visited by birders or ornithologists, the status
mas, Greater Antilles, northern Lesser Antilles, and of the American Oystercatcher remains poorly
along the north coast of South America (Nol and known and is the subject of this note.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006





























Fig. 1. American Oystercatcher (Haematopus pallia-
tus) at Lagoon Bay West, Mustique, 28 January
2003. Photo by M. R. Paice.


HISTORIC STATUS
The American Oystercatcher was not mentioned
in early chronicles of ornithologists visiting St. Vin-
cent and the Grenadines (Wells 1902, Clark 1905,
Bond 1936, Devas c. 1943), suggesting that it was
either absent or overlooked. The first account of its
occurrence appears to be that of Bond (1950:38),
who briefly stated that it "evidently breeds in the
Grenadines (Tobago Cays)" but provided no further
details. The presumed breeding of American
Oystercatcher in the Grenadines was mentioned
repeatedly by the American Ornithologists' Union
(1957, 1983, 1998), but inexplicably the species
was not listed by Raffaele et al. (1998) for St. Vin-
cent and the Grenadines. None were seen during
extensive ornithological field work within the archi-
pelago by Joseph Wunderle (pers. comm.) during
the mid-to-late 1970s.


HAYES ETAL. HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS IN THE GRENADINES

RECENT OBSERVATIONS
In March 1993, Blunden visited Bequia for 12
days and briefly visited Mustique twice. In the eve-
ning of 13 March, five birds were noted in Spring
Bay, Bequia, where they appeared to be roosting on
exposed rocks. Presumably the same group of birds
was heard after dark at the same locality on 22
March. At L'Anse Chemin, west of Bequia Head,
Bequia, one was heard calling and another seen
eating a shellfish on 16 March; presumably these
individuals were different than the ones at Spring
Bay.
In January and February 1997, Paice spent 19
days in Mustique and observed two at North Point
on 4 February 1997. Paice returned to Mustique for
17 days in January and February 1998, and ob-
served two fly past Pasture Bay on the east coast on
27 January, three at North Point on 1 February,
three at South Point on 4 February, and two at La-
goon Bay West on the west coast on 6 February.
On 25 May 1998, while traveling past the north-
western tip of Mayreau aboard the St. Vincent mail-
boat, the Smiths observed a pair along the shoreline.
These were the only birds seen by them during 4
days on Bequia, 2 days on Union Island, and their
passage of several islands in the Grenadines, includ-
ing Canouan.
During a 6 day visit to Bequia in August 1999,
White found a single bird along the rocky coast
between Friendship Bay and the Fishing Depot op-
posite Petit Nevis on 5 August 1999. About 2 hr
later, two were seen foraging on a rocky shelf on the
northeast side of Petit Nevis; one of the two may
have been seen earlier on Bequia.
During a 15 day visit to Mustique in January and
February 2001, Paice observed one on the west side
of Cape Lookout, on the north coast, on 25 January,
two at Britannia Bay on the west coast on 28
January, two at North Point on 3 February, and


Table 1. Monthly summary of the maximum number of American Oystercatchers (Haemaotopus palliatus)
observed on each island of the Grenadines.


Island Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Bequia 5 1 2
Battowia 3
Mayreau 2 1 2
Mustique 2 5
Petit Nevis 2-


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









HAYES ETAL. HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS IN THE GRENADINES


P Battowia


Baliceaux


Bequia -


Isla a Petit
Quatre Nevis


Mustique


9 Petit
Mustique
Savan


V Canouan


Tobago
t, Cays


Union 5^ Palm
<- e Palm


Petit St.
Vincent


Fig. 2. Map of the Grenadine islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, with arrows indicating localities of
recent American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus) sightings.


Mayreau
-4,'


Petit o
Canouan


three at South Point on 6 February.
While traveling aboard the yacht Hurricane on 27
December 2001, Hayes observed a pair at Monkey
Point, Mayreau, which flew eastward over Saline
Bay and then returned to Monkey Point. These were
the only birds seen during brief visits by boat to
Bequia, Canouan, Mayreau, Tobago Cays, Union
Island, and Palm Island on 23, 27, and 28 December
2001.
During 2002-2006, Paice returned repeatedly to
Mustique during January and February, spending 16
days on each occasion. In 2002, one was seen at
Lagoon Bay West on 23 and 27 January, one flying
south at Britannia Bay on 29 and 31 January, and
two flying south at Britannia Bay on 4 February. In
2003, three were at Lagoon Bay West on 28 January
(Fig. 1). In 2004, two were at Lagoon Bay West on


28 January and one on 7 February, and five were at
Lovell, at the north end of Britannia Bay, on 8 Feb-
ruary. In 2005, one was on a rocky islet off L'Anse-
coy Bay, on the north coast. In 2006, two were seen
at Lovell/Britannia Bay on 18 and 19 January, and
one on 22 January. Two were seen on the rocky islet
off L'Ansecoy Bay, on the north coast on 21 Janu-
ary and one on 27 January, and two were seen on
Wilkes Island (another tiny rocky islet) off the west
coast towards the southern end of Mustique on 26
January.
In August 2002, Wayne Burke (pers. comm.) saw
one at the northern tip of Mayreau. In 2004, Frost
and Wayne Burke observed one on St. Elairs, a cay
at the mouth of Friendship Bay, Bequia, on 25 June,
and one on Semples Cay off Bequia on 27 June. On
26 June, Frost and Burke observed three on the


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006












north side of Battowia and one (possibly one of the
three) on the south side. A visit by Frost to Tobago
Cays and Mayreau on 20 and 21 January 2006
failed to produce any.

DISCUSSION
In the northern Lesser Antilles, small oyster-
catcher populations apparently breed locally and
may be increasing in St. Martin, St. Bartholomew,
Guadeloupe, and St. Lucia (Benito-Espinal 1990,
Leck and Norton 1991, Keith 1997). Our observa-
tions of up to five birds on multiple islands of the
Grenadine islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines
(Fig. 2) at various months of the year with no appar-
ent seasonal pattern (Table 1), provide evidence that
either small numbers of non-breeding birds regu-
larly visit the Grenadines from an unknown source
population (northern Caribbean or northern South
America) or a small population may breed in the
Grenadines, potentially comprising the southern-
most breeding population in the Lesser Antilles.
Given the increasing anthropogenic threats to the
marine and littoral ecosystems of the Grenadines
(Anonymous 1991), a thorough survey of breeding
seabirds and shorebirds in the islands is urgently
needed.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
We thank E. Nol and J. Wunderle for reviewing
an earlier version of the manuscript. F. E. Hayes
was funded by a travel grant from the University of
the West Indies. M. R. Paice thanks Basil Charles
and Dana Gillespie and their charity, the Mustique
Blues Festival, which promotes the education of
disadvantaged St. Vincent children through the
Basil Charles Foundation, for making visits to
Mustique possible. We thank W. Burke for provid-
ing an unpublished observation, J. C. Eitniear for
providing a pertinent reference, and A. Levesque
and F. Providence for comments on the status of
American Oystercatcher in Guadeloupe and St. Vin-
cent, respectively.


HAYES ETAL. HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS IN THE GRENADINES

LITERATURE CITED
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1957. Check-
list of North American birds. Lord Baltimore
Press, Baltimore, MD.
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1983. Check-
list of North American birds. 6th ed. American
Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1998. Check-
list of North American birds. 7th ed. American
Ornithologists' Union, Washington, DC.
ANONYMOUS. 1991. St. Vincent and the Grena-
dines: environmental profile. Caribbean Conser-
vation Association, St. Michael, Barbados.
BENITO-ESPINAL, E. 1990. Oiseaux des Petites An-
tilles. Editions du Latanier, St-Barthelemy.
BOND, J. 1936. Birds of the West Indies. Academy
of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
BOND, J. 1950. Check-list of birds of the West In-
dies. Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia.
CLARK, A. H. 1905. Birds of the southern Lesser
Antilles. Proceedings of the Boston Society of
Natural History 32:203-312.
DEVAS, R. P. C. 1943. Birds of Grenada, St. Vin-
cent and the Grenadines (British West Indies).
Advocate Co., Ltd., Barbados.
KEITH, A. R. 1997. The birds of St. Lucia. British
Ornithologists' Union Check-list No. 15.
LECK, C. F., AND R. L. NORTON. 1991. An anno-
tated checklist of the birds of the U. S. Virgin
Islands. Antilles Press, Christiansted, St. Croix.
NOL, E., AND R. C. HUMPHREY. 1994. American
Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus). In The
birds of North America, no. 82 (A. Poole and F.
Gill, eds.). Academy of Natural Sciences, Phila-
delphia; American Ornithologists' Union, Wash-
ington, DC.
RAFFAELE, H., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A. KEITH,
AND J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A guide to the birds of
the West Indies. Princeton University Press,
Princeton, NJ.
WELLS, J. G. 1902. Birds of the island of Carriacou.
Part I. Water birds. Auk 19:237-246.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:52-53, 2006


HISPANIOLAN LIZARD-CUCKOO (COCCYZUS LONGIROSTRIS)
TETHERED BY COMMON GREEN SNAKE (UROMACER CATESBYI)

THOMAS H. WHITE, JR.
Department of Zoology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695; current address: U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, Rio Grande Field Office, PO Box 1600, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 00745; e-mail:
thomas_white @fws.gov

Abstract: Entanglement of birds by snakes is rarely reported. On 15 July 1998, a Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo
(Coccyzus longirostris) was encountered tethered to a small sapling by common green snake (Uromacer catesbyi),
which apparently was the intended prey of the cuckoo, in Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic.
Key words: Coccyzus longirostris, ensnarement, green snake, Hispaniolan Lizard Cuckoo, Uromacer catesbyi

Resumen: UN PAJARO BOBO MAYOR (COCCYZUS LONGIROSTRIS) ENTRAMPADO POR UNA SERPIENTE VERDE
COMUN (UROMACER CATESBYI ). El entrampe de aves por serpientes es raramente registrado. El 15 de julio de 1998,
un Pajaro Bobo Mayor (Coccyzus longirostris) fue encontrado sujeto a un pequeno arbusto por una serpiente verde
comdn (Uromacer catesbyi), la cual aparentemente era una presa pretendida por el pajaro, en el Parque Nacional del
Este, Repfblica Dominicana.
Palabras clave: Coccyzus longirostris, entrampe, serpiente verde, Arriero de la Espafiola, Uromacer catesbyi

Resume : PRISE AU PIEGE D'UN TACCO D'HISPANIOLA (COCCYZUS LONGIROSTRIS) PAR UN SERPENT VERT ARBORI-
COLE (UROMACER CATESBYI). L'enchev&trement d'oiseaux avec des serpents est rarement observe. Un Tacco d'His-
paniola (Coccyzus longirostris) a &6t trouv6 le 15 juillet 1998 dans le Parc National del Este, en R6publique Domini-
caine, attach a un arbuste par un serpent vert arboricole (Uromacer catesbyi), qui 6tait probablement sa proie.
Mots-cles : Coccyzus longirostris, prise au piege, serpent vert, Tacco d'Hispaniola, Uromacer catesbyi


ALTHOUGH BIRDS have been reported ensnared or
entangled in a variety of items, this occurs most
often with plants. For example, over 12 species of
small Passerines have been found entangled in seed
heads of burdock (Arctium minus; McNicholl
1988,1994). Lincoln (1931) reported entanglement
in string or nesting material as the cause of 11
(0.9%) of 1,136 documented avian mortalities. In
Mississippi, Samano et al. (1998) reported the fatal
ensnarement of four endangered Red-cockaded
Woodpeckers (Picoides borealis) and a Yellow-
bellied Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus varius) in mesh
snake traps used to prevent snake predation at Red-
cockaded Woodpecker nest sites. In Costa Rica,
Graham (1997) reported the fatal entanglement of
hermit hummingbirds (Phaethornis spp.) in spider
webs. There has been at least one reported instance
of a bird entangled by a snake. In Arkansas, Me-
shaka et al. (1988) reported an immature Red-
shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) that was stran-
gled by a black rat snake (Elaphe o. obsoleta) it had
captured until both were rescued. Here I report the
ensnarement of a Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo (Coc-
cyzus longirostris) by a common green snake
(Uromacer catesbyi).


OBSERVATIONS
On 15 July 1998, while conducting radiotel-
emetry of Hispaniolan Parrots (Amazona ventralis)
in Parque Nacional del Este, Dominican Republic, I
encountered an adult Hispaniolan Lizard-Cuckoo
struggling vigorously with a 0.5-m long Uromacer
catesbyi, which the cuckoo had partially ingested.
As I approached, the cuckoo attempted several
times to take flight. However, before dying the
snake had tightly coiled approximately 5 cm of its
tail around a small sapling. Because the cuckoo
apparently could neither disgorge nor dislodge the
now-dead snake, the bird was effectively tethered to
the tree. I easily captured the frantically struggling
cuckoo by hand and carefully extracted the snake,
of which 5 cm had been swallowed, from the
cuckoo. It appeared that the head of the snake, being
slightly broader than the anterior portion of the
body, was primarily the cause of the entrapment as I
distinctly felt friction while extracting it. I examined
the cuckoo for apparent external injuries and found
none. No blood was observed in the bird's mouth
nor did the bird's throat appear injured from the
encounter. I then photographed the cuckoo and,
when released, it immediately flew away.



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006












DISCUSSION
I am unsure of exactly how long the cuckoo had
been held in such manner. However, it certainly was
not present when I had passed the same site 2 hr
earlier. Although it is unknown whether the cuckoo
would have died as result of this incident, the pres-
ence of mongooses (Herpestes javanicus), feral cats
(Felis silvestris catus) and the hot, dry climate of
the area (Abreu and Guerrero 1997) certainly placed
the bird in dire jeopardy under the circumstances.
This appears to be the first reported case of a preda-
tory bird actually tethered to a tree by its intended
prey. According to Raffaele et al. (1998), birds of
this genus (Coccyzus spp.) commonly consume
small reptiles such as snakes, and events of this na-
ture may constitute a previously unknown, albeit
rare, potential source of mortality for these birds.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank W. J. Arendt, W. K. Hayes, and S. C.
Latta for reviewing an earlier version of this note,
North Carolina State University and the U. S. Fish
and Wildlife Service for financial and logistic sup-
port during the time that these observations were
made, and F. Brammer and K. G. Smith for pointing
out pertinent references. Special thanks are also due
Parque Nacional del Este for study area access, and
also to Jesus Almonte and Jose Luis Hernandez for
assistance in the field.


WHITE COCCYZUS LONGIROSTRIS TETHERED BY A SNAKE


LITERATURE CITED
ABREU, D., AND K. A. GUERRERO (eds). 1997.
Evaluacion ecol6gica integrada Parque Nacional
del Este, Repiblica Dominicana. Tomo 1: Recur-
sos terrestres. The Nature Conservancy, Arling-
ton, VA.
GRAHAM, D. L. 1997. Spider webs and windows as
potentially important sources of hummingbird
mortality. Journal of Field Ornithology 68:98-
101.
LINCOLN, F. C. 1931. Some causes of mortality
among birds. Auk 48:536-546.
MCNICHOL, M. K. 1988. Bats and birds stuck on
burdock. Prairie Naturalist 20:157-160.
MCNICHOL, M. K. 1994. Additional records of birds
caught on burdock. Ontario Birds 12:117-119.
MESHAKA, W. E., S. E. TRAUTH, AND C. FILES.
1988. Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta (black rat snake).
Antipredatory behavior. Herpetological Review
19:84.
RAFFAELE, H., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A. KEITH,
AND J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A guide to the birds of
the West Indies. Princeton University Press,
Princeton, NJ.
SAMANO, S., D. R. WOOD, J. COLE, F. J. VILELLA,
AND L. W. BURGER. 1998. Red-cockaded Wood-
peckers ensnared in mesh snake traps. Wilson
Bulletin 110:564-566.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:54-55, 2006


FIRST RECORD OF AUDUBON'S WARBLER
(DENDROICA CORONATA AUDUBONI) IN JAMAICA

GARY R. GRAVES
Department of Vertebrate Zoology, MRC-116, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution,
P.O. Box37012, Washington, D. C. 20013-7012, USA; e-mail: gravesg@si.edu

Abstract: I observed and photographed an "Audubon's" Warbler (Dendroica coronata auduboni) in Kingston,
Jamaica, in December 2005. This is the first well-documented record of the auduboni population complex of the
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) in Jamaica and the Caribbean.
Key words: "Audubon's" Warbler, Caribbean, Dendroica coronata auduboni, Jamaica, Yellow-rumped Warbler

Resumen: PRIMER REGISTRO DE LA BIJIRITA DE AUDUBON (DENDROICA CORONATA AUDUBONI) EN JAMAICA. Se
observ6 y fotografi6 una Bijirita de Audubon (Dendroica coronata auduboni) en Kingston, Jamaica, en diciembre
del 2005. Este es el primer registro bien documentado del complejo poblacional auduboni de la Bijirita Coronada
(Dendroica coronata) en Jamaica y el Caribe.
Palabras clave: Bijirita Coronada, Bijirita de Audubon, Caribe, Dendroica coronata auduboni, Jamaica

Resume : PREMIERE OBSERVATION DE PARULINE D'AUDUBON (DENDROICA CORONATA AUDUBONI) EN JAMAIQUE.
J'ai observe et photographiC en d6cembre 2005 une Paruline << d'Audubon >> (Dendroica coronata auduboni) a King-
ston en Jamaique. C'est la premiere observation bien documentee d'un individu du complexe d'espece auduboni de
la Paruline a croupion jaune (Dendroica coronata) en Jamaique et dans la Caraibe.
Mots-cls : Paruline "d'Audubon", Caraibe, Dendroica coronata auduboni, Jamaique, Paruline a croupionjaune


THE AUDUBONI GROUP of populations of the Yel-
low-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) breeds
in western North America from British Colombia
south through the mountains of the western United
States to Durango, Mexico (American Ornitholo-
gists' Union 1957, Dunn and Garrett 1997). The
auduboni group winters commonly in the western
United States from California, Arizona, and New
Mexico southward through western and highland
Mexico and sparsely south to Honduras. Individuals
with auduboni plumage characteristics occur casu-
ally in eastern North America south to Florida. The
only previous report of auduboni in the Caribbean
was an inadequately documented sight record from
Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands (Aldridge
1987). In this note I photographically document the
first record for the Caribbean in Jamaica.
On 19 December 2005, I observed and photo-
graphed an "Audubon's" Warbler (Dendroica coro-
nata auduboni) in Hope Botanical Gardens, King-
ston, Jamaica (18"01.34'N, 76"44.95'W; WGS-84).
The warbler, which appeared to be a male in first
basic plumage, was studied through binoculars
(Zeiss, 10x40) at close range (6-8 m) in good morn-
ing light for about 5 min (08:45-08:50 hr). The war-
bler was similar in appearance to a male "Myrtle"
Warbler (Dendroica c. coronata) observed earlier


that morning, but differed in possessing a bright
yellow throat and in lacking a pale supraloral streak
and superciliary (Fig. 1). The warbler's distinctive
call note was sharper than those of nearby "Myrtle"
Warblers. The photo-documentation represents the
first record of the auduboni population complex of
the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
in Jamaica.
Brian Schmidt, Ricardo Miller, and I relocated
and photographed the "Audubon's" Warbler at
close range (6-10 m) for more than 1 hr on 20 De-
cember (08:30-09:30 hr). It associated closely with
several "Myrtle" Warblers, part of a mixed-species
flock that frequented three enormous trees
(Enterlobium cyclocarpum) growing on the mowed
lawn. This introduced tree is seasonally deciduous
and the pinnately-compound foliage preferred by
the warblers was beginning to abscise. In addition to
the "Audubon's" Warbler and "Myrtle" Warbler,
the loosely organized flock included Northern Pa-
rula (Parula americana), Magnolia Warbler (D.
magnolia), Cape May Warbler (D. tigrina), Black-
throated Blue Warbler (D. caerulescens), Yellow-
throated Warbler (D. dominica), Prairie Warbler (D.
discolor), Palm Warbler (D. palmarum), and Ameri-
can Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla). Schmidt and I
returned with Catherine Levy and several other



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









GRAVES DENDROICA CORONATA AUDUBONI IN JAMAICA


Fig. 1. "Audubon's" Warbler in Hope Botanical Gardens, Kingston, Jamaica, 20 December 2005. Photos by
Brian K. Schmidt. See pdf file for color.


observers on 21 December and watched the warbler
forage in the Enterlobium trees for another 2 hr
(07:30-09:30 hr). The species composition of the
flock was unchanged from the previous morning but
the number of "Myrtle" Warblers had increased
significantly (four to 15 individuals) suggesting the
overnight arrival of migrants. The number of
"Myrtle" Warblers in the area dwindled to two indi-
viduals by the morning of 22 December and the
"Audubon's" Warbler could not be located.
"Myrtle" Warblers exhibit an irruptive abundance
pattern in Jamaica and are rare or absent in King-
ston during many winters (e.g., 2003-2004). The
correlative evidence suggests that the auduboni in-
dividual was associated with the pulse of "Myrtle"
Warblers that passed through the Kingston area in
mid-December 2005.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank Catherine Levy and Susan Koenig for
comments on the manuscript, Brian Schmidt for
photographing the bird, and the James Bond and
Alexander Wetmore funds of the Smithsonian Insti-
tution for support.

LITERATURE CITED
ALDRIDGE, B. M. 1987. Sampling migratory birds
and other observations on Providenciales Islands
B. W. I. North America Bird Bander 12:13-18.
AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGISTS' UNION. 1957. Check-
list of North American birds. 5th ed. American
Ornithologists' Union, Baltimore, MD.
DUNN, J. L., AND K. L. GARRETT. 1997. A field
guide to the warblers of North America. Hough-
ton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:56-58, 2006


GREATER ANTILLEAN GRACKLE (QUISCALUS NIGER)
PREYS ON ANOLIS GRAHAMI

GARY R. GRAVES
Department of Vertebrate Zoology, MRC-116, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution,
P.O. Box37012, Washington, D. C. 20013-7012, USA; e-mail: gravesg@si.edu

Abstract: A female Greater Antillean Grackle (Quiscalus niger) was observed to dismember and consume a large
male Anolis grahami in Kingston, Jamaica. The entire dismemberment sequence lasted 57 minutes. The large size of
the anole indicates that the geographically-widespread grackle may be capable of preying on all size classes of the
seven Jamaican Anolis species, with the possible exception of adult male Anolis garmani, the largest species on the
island. This observation also suggests that individual grackles may exhibit handedness.
Key words: Anolis grahami, Caribbean, Greater Antillean Grackle, Jamaica, predation, Quiscalus niger

Resumen: EL CHICHINGUACO (QUISCALUS NIGER) DEPREDANDO ANOLIS GRAHAMI. Una hembra de Chichinguaco
(Quiscalus niger) fue observada desmembrando y consumiedo un gran macho de Anolis grahami en Kingston, Ja-
maica. La secuencia completa dur6 57 minutos. El gran tamano del lagarto indica que esta ave, ampliamente dis-
tribuida es capaz de depredar todas las tallas de las siete especies de Anolis de Jamaica, con la posible excepci6n de
los machos adultos de Anolis garmani, la mayor de las especies de la isla. Esta observaci6n tambidn sugiere que
Quiscalus individuales pueden tener lateralidad.
Palabras clave: Anolis grahami, Caribe, Chichinguaco, depredaci6n, Jamaica, Quiscalus niger

Resume : LE QUISCALE NOIR (QUISCALUS NIGER) EST UN PREDATEUR DE ANOLIS GRAHAMI. Une femelle de Quis-
cale noir (Quiscalus niger) a &t6 observe en train de d6membrer et de consommer un grand male d'Anolis grahami
a Kingston en Jamaique. La duree complete du d6membrement a &t6 de 57 minutes. La grande taille de cet anolis
confirme que ce quiscale a large aire de repartition est capable de capturer toutes les classes de taille des sept especes
d'Anolis jamaicains, a l'exception, peut-etre, du male adulte de l'Anolis garmani, la plus grande espece de l'ile.
Cette observation suggere aussi que des individus de quiscales peuvent montrer une certaine adresse "manuelle".
Mots-cls : Anolis grahami, Caraibe, Jamaique, predation, Quiscalus niger, Quiscale noir


AVIAN PREDATION may exert strong selection on
body size and behavior of Anolis lizards in the Car-
ibbean (Schoener 1979), yet the guild of anole
predators on each island and the size range of anoles
taken by particular avian species are virtually un-
known (Lack 1976, Wunderle 1981). Athough a few
dietary studies of anole predators have been con-
ducted (Wetmore 1916, McLaughlin and Roughgar-
den 1989, Gassett et al. 2000), predation data typi-
cally accumulate as anecdotes such as the one I re-
port here.
On 11 February 2004, Brian Schmidt and I ob-
served a female Greater Antillean Grackle
(Quiscalus niger) consume a large male Anolis gra-
hami in Hope Botanical Garden, Kingston, Jamaica
(1801.30'N, 7644.89'W; WGS-84). The geo-
graphically-widespread grackle is known to feed on
a wide range of animal and plant foods (Gosse
1847, Wetmore 1916). Although a comprehensive
dietary study of Jamaican populations has yet to be
conducted, grackle stomachs (n = 74) examined in
Puerto Rico contained earwigs, beetles, weevils,


cicadas, stinkbugs, mole crickets, grasshoppers,
crickets, lepidopteran caterpillars, wasps, ants, ticks,
and snails, as well as fruit, seeds, and corn
(Wetmore 1916). Vertebrate remains included frogs
(Leptodactylus sp. and Eleutherodactylus sp.), small
anoles (Anolis sp.), and ameiva lizards (Ameiva
exsul).
Our Jamaican observation was noteworthy for
several reasons. First, it suggests that the Greater
Antillean Grackle is capable of preying upon all
size classes of the seven Jamaican Anolis species
with the possible exception of adult males of the
largest species, A. garmani. Secondly, the observa-
tions provide insight on the behavioral techniques
used by grackles to dismember large, tough prey
items. Finally, the anecdote suggests that individual
grackles may exhibit handedness. The bulk of this
report addresses the behavioral aspects with a par-
ticular emphasis on the sequence of events.
The grackle emerged from a palm grove and car-
ried the anole in its bill to a low tree overhanging
the main road through the garden. The grackle was



Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006












thought to be a female because it had glossy plum-
age but lacked the distinctive keeled tail characteris-
tic of males. The anole was limp and undamaged
except for an obvious head wound, which I assumed
was inflicted by the grackle. The grackle held the
anole against the branch with its left foot and vigor-
ously grasped and then wrenched and pulled frag-
ments of skull, muscle, and then the fleshy tongue,
through the anole's gaping mouth, leaving the skin
of the cranial region flaccid. The grackle then
crushed and mashed the anole's forelimbs by run-
ning them back and forth through its mandibles, and
afterwards grasped and jerked, but failed to detach,
the anole's toes. The procedure was repeated on the
hind limbs without visible success. The distal half
of the anole's tail was then torn free and crushed by
passing it back and forth through the grackle's man-
dibles before it was swallowed. The grackle paused
a few seconds while the tail fragment settled in its
stomach and then grasped and jerked large pieces of
flesh from the tail stump.
The grackle flipped the anole several times and
picked tissue from its neck region until the orange
dewlap was torn half away. The grackle then pene-
trated the visceral cavity by pecking and enlarging
the anole's cloacal opening. After extracting and
consuming the intestines, the grackle made another
unsuccessful attempt to tear away the forelimbs and
pectoral girdle. The grackle was hidden from view
behind foliage for several minutes. When it reap-
peared, the skin of the anole's back exhibited a
large tear. In short order, the grackle consumed the
remaining viscera and began ripping away the trunk
musculature. The hind limbs were ripped free from
the inside and skinned down to the metatarsals by
pulling on the free end of the limbs. The vertebral
column was completely stripped of loose muscle
tissue and then dropped to the ground. The remain-
der of the carcass was torn in two pieces. The
skinned hind limbs of the anole dangled from a long
strip of skin held by the grackle's left foot, whereas
the anole's pectoral girdle and forelimbs were held
to the perch with its right foot. During the observa-
tion period, the grackle made several short flights
(1-2 m) with the anole in its bill. Although the
grackle's right foot appeared to be fully functional,
the bird invariably anchored the anole with its left
foot, which seemed to indicate handedness (Vince
1964, Clark 1973, Knox 1983).
In one of the more noteworthy maneuvers, the
grackle grasped the dangling skin with its bill and
pulled the suspended hind limbs toward the tree
limb, anchored the loop of skin with its left foot,


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


GRAVES QUISCALUS NIGER PREYS ON ANOLIS GRAHAMI


and then grasped the hind limbs directly with its
bill. Only a dozen or so species of birds have been
previously recorded pulling suspended food up to a
perch (Thorpe 1963, Heinrich 1995). The grackle
picked some additional bits of flesh from the hind
limbs but finally left the remnants of skin and bone
wrapped around the branch. The pectoral girdle and
forelimbs were then dropped, perhaps inadvertently,
because the grackle tilted its head and peered down-
ward toward the scrap. The grackle paused only
momentarily before it began searching a nearby
clump of Tillandsia in the canopy. The entire dis-
memberment sequence lasted 57 minutes.
Based upon measurement of the recovered fore-
limbs, the snout-vent length of the anole was -70
mm (body mass, -9-12 g), which is near the maxi-
mum size recorded for male Anolis grahami
(Schoener and Schoener 1971). This indicates that
female grackles (body mass; x = 76.0 4.5 g, n =
11; S. Koenig, unpubl. data) are capable of preying
on all size classes of the small to medium-sized
Anolis species (grahami, opalinus, valencienni,
lineatopus, sagrei, reconditus) known from Jamaica
(Rand 1967, Schoener and Schoener 1971). On the
other hand, male grackles (body mass; x = 107.7
8.0 g, n = 11; S. Koenig unpubl. data) may be able
to prey on the largest Jamaican species, A. garmani,
with the possible exception of adult males (snout-
vent length 110 mm).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I thank James Schulte for confirming the identity
of the anole with cytochrome b gene sequence data
(Genbank accession number DQ353945), Susan
Koenig for providing body mass data for grackles,
Brian Schmidt for field assistance, and William
Hayes, Catherine Levy, and Douglas McNair for
comments on the manuscript. Research permits
were granted by National Environment and Plan-
ning Agency, Kingston.

LITERATURE CITED
CLARK, G. A. 1973. Holding food with the feet in
passerines. Bird-Banding 44:91-99.
GASSETT, J. W., T. H. FOLK, K. J. ALEXY, K. V.
MILLER, B. R. CHAPMAN, F. L. BOYD AND D. I.
HALL. 2000. Food habits of Cattle Egrets on St.
Croix, U. S. Virgin Islands. Wilson Bulletin
112:268-271.
GOSSE, P. H. 1847. The Birds of Jamaica. Bentley,
Wilson and Fley, London.
HEINRICH, B. 1995. An experimental investigation
of insight in Common Ravens (Corvus corax).









GRAVES QUISCALUS NIGER PREYS ON ANOLIS GRAHAMI


Auk 112:994-1003.
KNOX, A. G. 1983. Handedness in crossbills Loxia
and the Akepa Loxops coccinea. Bulletin of the
British Ornithologists' Club 103:114-118.
LACK, D. 1976. Island biology, illustrated by the
land birds of Jamaica. University of California,
Berkeley.
MCLAUGHLIN, J. F. AND J. ROUGHGARDEN. 1989.
Avian predation on Anolis lizards in the north-
eastern Caribbean: an inter-island contrast. Ecol-
ogy 70:617-628.
RAND, A. S. 1967. The ecological distribution of the
anoline lizards around Kingston, Jamaica. Bre-
viora 272:1-18.
SCHOENER, T. W. 1979. Inferring the properties of


predation and other injury-producing agents from
injury frequencies. Ecology 60:1110-1115.
SCHOENER, T. W. AND A. SCHOENER. 1971. Struc-
tural habitats of West Indian Anolis lizards I.
Lowland Jamaica. Breviora 368:1-53.
THORPE, W. H. 1963. Learning and instinct in ani-
mals. Methuen and Company, London.
VINCE, M. A. 1964. Use of the feet in feeding by
the Great Tit Parus major. Ibis 106:508-529.
WETMORE, A. 1916. Birds of Porto Rico. United
States Department of Agriculture Bulletin 326:1-
140.
WUNDERLE, J. M. 1981. Avian predation upon Ano-
lis lizards on Grenada, West Indies. Herpetolo-
gica 37:104-108.


Puerto Rican Parrot (Amazona vittata)
Drawing by Tirtsa Porrata-Doria


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006









J. Carib. Ornithol. 19:59-60, 2006


PRIMER REGISTRO SOBRE LA REPRODUCCION DEL
OSTRERO AMERICANO (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) EN CUBA

ERNESTO HERNANDEZ PEREZ
Refugio de Fauna "Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso ", Empresa Nacional para la Proteccidn de la Flora y la Fauna,
Cuba

Resumen: Se documenta por primera vez la presencia de una pareja de Ostreros Americanos (Haematopus pallia-
tus) criando en el archipidlago cubano. La observaci6n tuvo lugar en cayuelo del Mono, ubicado en el Refugio de
Fauna Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso, provincia Villa Clara. La pareja se encontr6 activa desde el dia 18 Abril 2005, y
mostr6 conductas de distracci6n ante depredadores frente a los investigadores. El dia 29 Junio 2005 se encontr6 un
pich6n volant6n, de 460 g de peso, largo total 370 mm, ala extendida 340 mm, largo del tarso 64 mm y largo del
pico 69 mm.
Palabras clave: Cuba, Haematopus palliatus, Ostrero Americano, reproducci6n

Abstract: FIRST BREEDING RECORD OF THE AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) IN CUBA. We
document the first breeding record of a pair of American Oystercatchers (Haematopus palliatus) in Cuba. Our ob-
servations occurred in Cayuelo del Mono, Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso Wildlife Refuge, in Villa Clara province. The
pair was seen from 18 April 2005, displaying antipredator behavior when approached by the research team. On 29
June 2005, we found a fledgling with body mass of 460 g, total length of 370 mm, wing length of 340 mm (flattened
and straightened), tarsus of 64 mm, and culmen of 69 mm.
Key words: American Oystercatcher, breeding, Cuba, Haematopus palliatus

Resume : PREMIERE OBSERVATION DE NIDIFICATION DE L'HUITRIER D'AMERIQUE (HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS) A
CUBA. Nous avons observe le premier couple nicheur d'Huitrier d'Amerique (Haemotopus palliatus) de Cuba. L'ob-
servation a &t6 faite a Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso Wildlife Refuge, dans la province de Villa Clara. Le couple a &t6
vu du 18 avril 2005, adoptant un comportement d'6loignement des predateurs quand il 6tait approch6 par l'6quipe
de recherche. Nous avons trouv6 le 29 juin 2005, un oisillon de 460 g, de longueur totale de 370 mm, avec une lon-
gueur d'aile de 340 mm (aplatie et 6tendue), un tarse de 64 mm et un bec de 69 mm.
Mots-clds : Cuba, Haematopus palliatus, Huitrier d'Amerique, nidification


EL OSTRERO AMERICANO (Haematopus palliatus)
es uno de los 11 representantes de la familia Hae-
matopodidae (Hockey 1996). En el Caribe se consi-
dera localmente comdn en las Bahamas, Puerto Ri-
co, Islas Virgenes y Guadalupe (Raffaele et al.
1998). En Cuba se reconoce como un residente in-
vernal muy raro, con tres observaciones documenta-
das en las localidades de Coco, Pared6n Grande y
las ci6nagas de Zapata, en los meses de septiembre,
octubre y enero, respectivamente (Garrido y Kirk-
connell 2000).
El 18 de abril de 2005, durante las actividades de
monitoreo de aves marinas realizada por el personal
del Refugio de Fauna Lanzanillo-Pajonal-Fragoso,
se observ6 una pareja de Ostrero en Cayuelo del
Mono. Este pequefio cayo de 89 m de largo y 60 m
de ancho, es un monticulo de piedra plano (1 m
sobre el nivel del mar) que aflora a unos 1 500 m al
Este-nordeste de Punta del Pino, Cayo Pajonal. Su
vegetaci6n es muy escasa, solo un arbol de Mangle
Prieto (Avicennia germinans) y vegetaci6n hal6fita
que crece sobre la roca caliza. Esta localidad consti-


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006


tuye un sitio de nidificaci6n de la Gaviota Monja
(Sterna anaethetus), la Gaviota de Sandwich (S.
sandvicensis) y la Gaviota Comdn (S. hirundo), asi
como del Titere Playero (Charadrius wilsonia).
Durante los tres dias de expedici6n la pareja de
ostreros se mantuvo en la localidad, mostr6 conduc-
tas de distracci6n de depredadores cuando los espe-
cialistas recorrian el cayuelo; especificamente, vola-
ron alrededor del cayuelo mientras emitian un fuerte
silbido, para luego posarse en sitios mis apartados.
Debido al comportamiento de la pareja y al mes
en que fue observado (abril, que coincide con la
etapa reproductiva de la especie), se consider6 la
posibilidad de que criaran en el cayuelo y se proce-
di6 a localizar e identificar el nido. Se hall6 un nido
con tres huevos que, inicialmente se atribuy6 al
Ostrero, pues no se encontr6 otra ave en el lugar. En
la segunda visita (2 de junio del 2005), se comprob6
que el nido pertenecia a una pareja de Titere Playe-
ro. En esta fecha ya habian comenzado a nidificar la
Gaviota de Sandwich y la Gaviota Comdn, por lo
que las tareas de busqueda del nido de Ostrero









HERNANDEZ PEREZ REPRODUCCION DEL HAEMATOPUS PALLIATUS EN CUBA


fueron pospuestas temporalmente para no afectar al
resto de la comunidad de aves que crian en el ca-
yuelo.
En una tercera visita, el 29 Junio 2005, se localiz6
en el extremo este del cayuelo un pich6n volant6n
de Ostrero. El ave se encontr6 oculta en el diente de
perro, muy cercano al rompiente de las olas. Fue
capturada y se le realizaron mediciones morfom6tri-
cas, obteni6ndose como resultado un peso de 460 g,
largo total 370 mm, ala extendida 340 mm, largo del
tarso 64 mm y largo del pico 69 mm. En este estado
de desarrollo present6 una coloraci6n marr6n claro
en el dorso y blanco en la regi6n ventral, el pico
rojo oscuro por encima, anaranjado 6 rojo p6lido
por debajo con el extremo distal negro, patas rosado
claro y el aro orbital sin el rojo intenso que presen-
tan los adultos.
En los humedales cubanos las especies que com-
ponen al grupo de las aves de orilla son numerosas
y abundantes durante el periodo no reproductivo,
pero hasta el momento solo se conocia de seis espe-
cies que utilizan el territorio nacional como area de
cria: Jacana spinosa, Himantopus mexicanus, Cha-
radrius alexandrinus, C. wilsonia, C. vociferus y
Catoptrophorus semipalmatus (Blanco et al. 2001).
No se conoce ninguna referencia bibliogrifica pre-
via que confirme la nidificaci6n del Ostrero en Cu-
ba; sin embargo, algunos autores realizaron obser-
vaciones sobre este aspecto. Por ejemplo, Gundlach
(1893) realiz6 la siguiente anotaci6n referente a la
reproducci6n de la especie en Cuba: "Habiendo
visto la especie en los distintos meses del aio, julio,
septiembre, enero, etc., supongo que anidar6 en los
cayos, pero nada he podido observar sobre su propa-
gaci6n". Por otro lado, Raffaele et al. (2000) inclu-
y6 a Cuba como uno de los posibles sitios de repro-
ducci6n de la especie en las Antillas Mayores. Con-
trario a estas dos referencias, las publicaciones re-
cientes realizadas por ornit6logos cubanos no inclu-


yen a esta especie dentro de las aves nidificantes en
el territorio (Garrido y Kirkconnell 2000, Blanco et
al. 2001). La observaci6n de una pareja de Ostrero
en Cayuelo del Mono y el posterior hallazgo del
pich6n, adiciona una especie mis a la lista de aves
de orilla nidificantes de Cuba.

AGRADECIMIENTOS
Este trabajo forma parte de los resultados del pro-
yecto para el estudio de las Aves acuiticas y de lito-
ral, llevado a cabo en el Refugio de Fauna Lanzani-
llo-Pajonal-Fragoso. Reconocimientos especiales a
los participantes de las expediciones Ren6 E Torres
Sierra, Nelson E Montenegro Calder6n, Ral6 Fer-
n6ndez Rodriguez, Michael Femrndez, Jos6 R Lar-
go P6rez, Ivan Napoles P6rez, Jorge A Gonzales
Acosta, Osmani Sard6 Reyes, Alberto Guti6rrez
Carvajal y Tomds Camacho Truit.

LITERATURA CITADA
BLANCO, P., S. PERIS, Y B. SANCHEZ. 2001. Las
aves limicolas (Charadriiformes) nidificantes de
Cuba: distribuci6n y reproducci6n. Centro Iberoa-
mericano de la Biodiversidad, Alicante, Espafa.
GARRIDO, O. H., Y A. KIRKCONNELL. 2000. Field
guide of the birds of Cuba. Cornell University
Press, Ithaca, NY.
GUNDLACH, J. 1893. Ornitologia Cubana. Catalogo
Habana, Impresa La Moderna, Habana.
HOCKEY, P. A. R. 1996. Family Haematopodidae
(oystercatchers). Pp. 308-325 en J. del Hoyo, A.
Elliot, y J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds
of the World. Vol. 3. Hoatzin to auks. Lynx Edi-
cions, Barcelona.
RAFFAELE, H., J. WILEY, O. GARRIDO, A. KEITH, Y
J. RAFFAELE. 1998. A guide to the birds of the
West Indies. Princeton University Press, Prince-
ton, NJ.


Journal of Caribbean Ornithology 19(1), 2006












INFORMATION FOR CONTRIBUTORS


The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology welcomes submission of articles, notes, commentaries, book re-
views, and announcements on all aspects of avian biology within the Greater Caribbean region, including
Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin.
Language.-Contributions may be submitted in English, Spanish, or French. An abstract in at least one of
the other two languages is required but is unnecessary for submission (the editorial board will assist with
translation).
Form of Submission.-All manuscripts and materials must be submitted electronically, preferably as a
Word, WordPerfect, jpg or gif file attachment, to the editor, Floyd Hayes, at jco@puc.edu. Cuban authors
should submit manuscripts directly to the new editor in chief, Martin Acosta, at macosta@fbio.uh.cu. Each
research manuscript will be reviewed by at least two referees who will judge its suitability for publication.
Format.-Conform to the style of the most recent issue:
Font: Times New Roman, 10 point.
Spacing: single spaced throughout, with one space after a period and an extra space between sections.
Title: all caps and centered, no longer than 20 words; include scientific name(s) for any species.
Authors: small caps and centered; use superscript numbers for multiple addresses.
Addresses: italicized and centered; if multiple authors, use superscripted numbers.
Abstract: include in all research papers, including short notes; <5% of manuscript's length; heading
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Key words: up to 10 in alphabetic order and separated by commas; heading indented and italicized,
followed by a colon.
Section headings: small caps and centered.
Subsection headings: small caps and left justified.
Bird names: vernacular name followed by scientific name in parenthesis, with only vernacular name
used thereafter; vernacular name optional for French and Spanish manuscripts.
Text citations: author(s) and year (e.g., Smith 1990, Smith and Jones 1991, Smith et al. 1992); multi-
ple citations listed chronologically.
Measurements: metric units (e.g., km, m, ha, g, 1).
Dates and times: continental dating (e.g., 5 March 2005) and 24-hour clock (e.g., 08:35 hr).
Acknowledgments: precedes Literature Cited.
Literature Cited: cite only publicly available sources; please avoid citing unpublished manuscripts
and cite websites only when necessary.
Journal
Frost, M. D., and E. B. Massiah. 2003. Observations of rare and unusual birds on Grenada. Journal
of Caribbean Ornithology 16:63-65.
Book or report
Bond, J. 1985. Birds of the West Indies. 5th ed. Collins, London.
Chapter in book
Saliva, J. E. 2000. Status of Sooty Terns in the West Indies. Pp. 102-108 in Status and conservation
of West Indian seabirds (E. A. Schreiber and David S. Lee, eds.). Society of Caribbean Ornithol-
ogy, Ruston, LA.
Tables: insert on separate pages after Literature Cited; each numbered (e.g., Table 1) with a short
heading at the top; footnotes alphabetic rather than numeric.
Figures: each must be electronic and preferably embedded within the manuscript; insert on a separate
page after Literature Cited; each numbered (e.g., Fig. 1) with short headings; photos should include
photographer's name; only black and white figures will be published in the print version unless the
extra costs of printing in color are paid by the author, but color will be available in pdf files.
Appendices: insert each on separate pages after Literature Cited; each numbered (e.g., Appendix 1)
with a short heading at the top; footnotes must be alphabetic rather than numeric.





















2006


THE JOURNAL OF


CARIBBEAN ORNITHOLOGY
SOCIETY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND STUDY OF CARIBBEAN BIRDS
SOCIEDAD PARA LA CONSERVATION Y ESTUDIO DE LAS AVES CARIBENAS
ASSOCIATION POUR LA CONSERVATION ET L' ETUDE DES OISEAUX DE LA CARAIBE

Vol. 19, No. 1


SOCIETY FOR THE CONSERVATION AND STUDY OF CARIBBEAN BIRDS

The Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) is the largest single regional organiza-
tion committed to the conservation of wild birds and their habitats in the Greater Caribbean region, including Ber-
muda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. The overarching objective of the SCSCB is to in-
crease the ability of Caribbean ornithologists, resource managers, conservation organizations, institutions, and lo-
cal citizens to conserve the birds of the Caribbean and their habitats. We aim to achieve this by 1) developing re-
gional conservation projects, activities, and materials that facilitate local conservation, management, and research,
and 2) building networks and partnerships with local, national and international NGOs that share our bird conser-
vation goals. Further information about the society, including news and announcements, is available at the socie-
ty's website: http://www.scscb.org.

MEMBERSHIP
Annual membership dues are US$20.00 for individuals, US$50.00 for institutions based in the Caribbean, and
US$120 for institutions based elsewhere. Life memberships are available for US$300.00, payable in three annual
installments. Send check or money order in US funds with complete name and address to: Dr. Rosemarie Gnam,
PO Box 863208, Ridgewood, NY 11386, USA; e-mail: ilothian@msn.com

JOURNAL
The SCSCB publishes The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology, a refereed journal publishing articles, notes, com-
mentaries, book reviews, and announcements on all aspects of avian biology within the Caribbean region. Contri-
butions are welcome in either English, Spanish, or French. Since the journal's humble inception as El Pitirre, the
society's newsletter, in 1988, James W. Wiley single-handedly edited 17 volumes of the journal, which gradually
increased in quantity and quality over the years as it transformed into a reputable scientific journal. In 2003
(volume 16) the journal's name changed to The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology to better reflect the journal's
content. Information for contributors is provided on the inside back cover. Further information about the journal,
including more detailed information for contributors, archives of volumes 1-15, contents and abstracts, sample pdf
files of a recent issue, and information for advertisers, is available at the society's website: http://www.scscb.org.

SOCIETY OFFICERS
President: Mr. Andrew Dobson Journal Editor: Dr. Floyd Hayes
Vice-President: Dr. Lisa Sorenson Members at Large: Mr. Jeremy Madeiros
Secretary: Dr. Ann Haynes Sutton Dr. Lourdes Mugica
Treasurer: Dr. Rosemarie Gnam Dr. Adrianne Tossas
Past-President: Mr. Eric Carey Mrs. Carolyn Wardle


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