Western Hummingbird Partnership

RESEARCH NEEDS

Despite the wide distribution and cultural popularity of hummingbirds, knowledge of their basic life history and biology has many fundamental gaps. For example, all of the Birds of North America (BNA) accounts for hummingbirds identify information gaps in breeding biology as a priority for future research. Nests are undescribed for over 60% of the 48 currently threatened or endangered hummingbird species (Wethington and Finley 2009). There is a paucity of demographic information, including information on birthrate and mortality. The physiology of hummingbirds during reproduction is almost completely unknown. Habitat requirements for all life phases are not fully understood for most species.

Due to hummingbirds’ small size, rapid movement, high-pitched vocalizations, unique flight abilities, and other factors, techniques used to monitor most landbirds generally fail to provide adequate hummingbird population information. Long-term population trend data are considered adequate for only four of the 16 species that regularly breed in the USA and Canada (Rich et al. 2004). Population trend data for other hummingbird species in the Western Hemisphere are insufficient or non-existent.

REFERENCES

Rich T D, Beardmore C J, Berlanga H, Blancher P J, Bradstreet M S W, Butcher G S, Demarest D, Dunn E H, Hunter W C, Iñigo-Elias E, Kennedy J A, Martell A, Panjabi A, Pashley D N, Rosenberg KV, Rustay C,Wendt S and Will T. 2004. Partners In Flight North American Landbird Conservation Plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

Wethington, S. M. and Finley N. 2009. Addressing Hummingbird conservation needs: An Initial Assessment. In Proceedings of the Fourth International Partners In Flight Conference.: Tundra to Tropics