California Partners in Flight Riparian Bird Conservation Plan
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas)
Photo by Peter Knapp
Prepared by: Tina Chouinard (Tina_Chouinard@fws.gov)
U.S. Fish and
Division of Migratory
Menges, T. 1998. Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas). In The Riparian Bird Conservation Plan: a strategy for reversing the decline of riparian-associated birds in California. California Partners in Flight. http://www.prbo.org/calpif/htmldocs/riparian_v-2.html
SUBSPECIES STATUS: Geothlypis trichas sinuosa - Salt-marsh Yellowthroat
MANAGEMENT STATUS: (G. t. sinuosa) California Species of Special Concern
HISTORICAL BREEDING DISTRIBUTION
CURRENT BREEDING DISTRIBUTION
This review is based on mist-netting information, BBS data, and expert opinion (sources noted individually).
The following is a compilation of MAPS stations from 1989-1996 where COYE have been recorded with accompanying breeding status (Institute for Bird Populations, D. Desante, H. Smith)- Lat/Long of MAPS sites with COYE breeding status (Table 1). 25 of the 70 MAPS stations have captured COYE (IBP 1997). COYE attempted to breed at only 10 of these stations, and an occasional breeder at 3 stations (IBP 1997).
Table 1. Latitude and Longitude of current breeding status of Common Yellowthroats at MAPS locations throughout California from 1989-1996 (IBP 1997). This is based on birds captured in mist nets only. Refer to IBP for interpretation of breeding status codes.
Latitude/Longitude Breeding status
40 50 -124 00 Transient
37 47 5 -119 52 Transient
40 45 1 -123 17 Transient
39 42 -120 27 Transient
41 10 -123 30 Transient
41 10 -123 30 Transient
41 10 -123 30 Transient
41 10 -123 30 Transient
41 10 -123 30 Transient
36 10 -121 40 Transient
34 27 -118 51 Occasional breeder
40 06 3 -122 08 3 Occasional breeder
39 41 1 -121 57 5 Breeder
35 40 3 -118 18 1 Breeder
38 55 3 -121 34 5 Occasional breeder
33 22 5 -117 19 2 Breeder
38 15 1 -121 26 2 Breeder
38 15 1 -121 26 2 Breeder
37 12 -120 48 Breeder
37 30 2 -122 29 5 Breeder
36 32 2 -121 55 Breeder
32 52 4 -117 00 2 Breeder
41 27 0 -120 31 4 Breeder
41 10 -124 00 Transient
41 50 -123 10 Transient
Breeding Bird Surveys from 1966-1996 Source: (B. Peterjohn)
I reviewed point count surveys (Provided by B. Peterjohn) from 1966-1985 and 1986-1996 to determine if differences existed in distribution. Common Yellowthroat (COYE) were either seen or heard singing/calling during the breeding season at many locations throughout the state. COYE were recorded in at least one location within each of the 10 Bioregions in California. However, only one location in the Sacramento Valley bioregion had recorded COYE . All other regions had > 2 locations. This is a compilation of all BBS routes in the state of CA. Review rough maps with COYE detected at stations. I highlighted all of the historic and current routes that detected COYE (See Very Rough Maps with Bioregion in black).
Break down by Bioregion (Mist net, BBS, and expert opinion):
Pacific Northwest Bioregion: COYE appears to be historically more common. They were recorded on 17 BBS routes from 1966-1985 whereas from 1986-1996 only 10 routes recorded COYE. Mist netting data indicates COYE as a transient in this region and a fall migrant (C.J. Ralph, IBP).
Northeast Bioregion: COYE was recorded in five areas in the Northeast Bioregion from 1966-1996. Mist netting data confirms that COYE breeds in this area. However, COYE has not been recorded on BBS routes in the southwest portion of this Bioregion (this may be due to the topography). Further investigation is warranted.
Sacramento Valley Bioregion: COYE is a confirmed breeder in this region. However, in the upper and lower Sacramento and Feather rivers, COYE populations have decreased (Gains 1974). Data are inconclusive for the southern portion of this region.
San Joaquin Valley (SJV) Bioregion: COYE has been recorded on BBS routes in the northern SJV, but not in the southern portion. Approximately 15 breeding territories were recorded along the San Joaquin River and Salt Slough (PRBO 1997). COYE also was detected on incidental surveys as far south as the Mendota Wildlife Area, Fresno County. The status of COYE in the southern portion of the SJV needs further investigation.
Bay/Delta Bioregion: Confirmed breeder in the western portion of this region. Also recorded on BBS routes throughout this region. The Bay/Delta Bioregion supports the listed G. t. sinuosa subspecies.
Central Coast Bioregion: According to recent BBS surveys, COYE seem to be absent from the northern portion of this region. Historically, BBS routes detected COYE, but have failed in recent years. However, COYE have been captured in mist nets in this area (see Table 1).
Sierra Nevada Bioregion: BBS routes and reports of COYE in Inyo County indicate that it is a common migrant and breeder (Heindel unpublished). COYE appear absent from the northern portion of this region. However, BBS routes have detected COYE in the southern portion of this bioregion (Peterjohn).
South Coast and Colorado Desert Bioregion:According to MAPS data, BBS routes, and expert opinion (B. Kus and P. Unit), COYE is common in this area.
Mojave Bioregion: COYE seems to be absent from the eastern section of this region, whereas the western region reports numerous observations. B. Kus indicated that only a few COYE in highly optimal habitat exist near Victorville along the Mojave River. Further investigation is warranted in this area.
AVERAGE TERRITORY SIZE
Evens et al. (1997) report 1.04 territories per hectare and 5.48 territories per km when design data is pooled (i.e., burned and unburned plots) for G.t. sinuosa at Point Reyes National Seashore. In Michigan, home ranges vary from 0.3-0.7 ha (Stewart 1953). In New York, COYE were spaced 2.0-2.4 ha. In the San Francisco Bay, 0.2-2.0 ha spacing reported by Foster (1977).
TIME OF OCCURRENCE AND SEASONAL MOVEMENTS
Woodrey and Chandler (1997) indicate no significant difference between adults and immatures in timing of passage at any site studied. However, this varied between year and site. Grinnell and Miller (1944) indicate COYE is a summer resident from mid-April until September in northern CA, and is a winter resident in central and southern CA. Nevertheless, they are uncommon in CA during the winter months (Grinnell and Miller 1944).
Sally and gleaner of insects, spiders, and caterpillers (Bent 1953).
COYE needs tall, emergent herbaceous wetlands (Timossi 1990).
Vegetation Surrounding the Nest
Need more info.
Height of Nest
Ground level to 3 m, but most commonly found between ground level and 0.6 m.
Height of Nest Plant
0-3 m (based on height of nest).
Plant Species Concealing Nest
The nest contains dead grasses, leaves, ferns, etc., and is lined with fine grasses and hair (Harrison 1978, Zeiner et al. 1990).
Percent Nest Cover
Needs analysis (from Evens et al. 1997).
Open-cup nestBREEDING BIOLOGY
Flight song and perch song (Kowalski 1983).
Generally 3-6 eggs
DEVELOPMENT AT HATCHING
Altricial development (Harrison 1978).
9-10 days (Harrison 1978).
Both male and female tend young.
NUMBER OF BROODS
2 (Ehrlich et al. 1988)
COYE is a common Brown-headed Cowbird host. A study in Michigan reported 10 of 22 nests parasitized (Stewart 1953). In the Central Valley of California, 7 of 14 nests were parasitized (Geupel et al. 1995-1997, Draft Progress Reports).
The COYE is found from sea level to at least 450 m in Bishop, California. More information needed.
No information on the effects of fragmentation on COYE.
Territory/home range size is reported as 0.4-1.2 hectares, suggesting there may be a minimum wetland size for breeding. However, more information is needed.
Livestock grazing intensity, loss and destruction of wetland habitats (Airola 1990). COYEs are sensitive to destruction of wetlands and grazing, especially in certain parts of California. However, more data are needed to fully assess this issue, perhaps concentrating on the Central Valley where wetland loss is documented.
ADJACENT LAND USE
Although this species primarily uses marsh habitats, riparian habitat may be important as a corridor and for other activities (Birds of North America).
Information is lacking on the effects of pesticides on this species.
Studies in the northern prairies of Canada and North Dakota have shown that incidental depredation may be harmful to ground-nesting birds (Vickery et al. 1992). Snakes, accipiters, and small mammals are known predators. COYEs also are parasitized frequently (Bent 1953, Ehrlich et al. 1988).
DEMOGRAPHY AND POPULATION TRENDS
MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND OPTIONS
EXOTIC SPECIES INVASION/ENCROACHMENT
ASSOCIATED BIRD SPECIES
HABITAT AND POPULATION OBJECTIVES
MONITORING METHODS AND RESEARCH NEEDS
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