Birds of Seabrook Island





Species Acct.
NW Warblers


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Species Accounts
  Full Accounts                     NOTES
  Abbreviated Accounts          NOTES
Species Accounts
  At the top of subsequent pages dealing with species found or expected on Seabrook Island, there is a reference to the Order and Family to which the species belongs (see Classification). There has been some mobility in the placement and boundaries of these higher taxa (groups) in recent years as new information (including DNA hybridization and DNA sequencing) has become available. The order of species used here follows the current listings found in the Check-List of North American Birds, prepared by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union, 1998. This order is also followed by Potter, E. F., J. F. Parnell, R. P. Teulings, R. Davis. 2006. Birds of the Carolinas (cited simply as Potter in the descriptions.). The Sibley Guide to Birds follows this order closely but departs within some groups to contrast similarities and differences among species that look much alike. The number of species and genera (and some alternative taxonomic placements) come from Sibley, D. G. and Burt L. Monroe, Jr. 1990. Distribution and Taxonomy of Birds of the World, Clements, J. F., 2007, The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, (also the official world checklist of the American Birding Association), and Dickenson, E. C., 2003, The Howard and Moore Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Information on range, breeding, diet, and voice comes from a variety of resources including Alderfer, J. (ed.). 2006. National Geographic Complete Birds of North America, Kaufman, K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds, and The Birder's Handbook, contained within the software package, a Guide to Birds of North America (Thayer Birding Software with the Laboratory of Ornithology). [See Resources.]
  Full Species Accounts
     A full species account begins with the SI (Seabrook Island) code, common name, scientific name, and on-line references linked to data bases at Cornell, Patuxent, and within Wikipedia (Wiki), the Tree of Life, and Encyclopedia of Live - if available. The SI code is used to indicate the status of the species on our Field Check List, Birds of Seabrook Island, SC and Vicinity, Seabrook Island Natural History Group (no date). Click for a .pdf copy
   ■ This species is listed on the Seabrook Island list (remember that species rarely encountered are possible but are not included)..
   □ This species is listed on the Kiawah Island list.
  SPECIES NAME. When naming species, ornithologists (by convention) use capitals for the species name, e.g., White-throated Sparrow, but small letters for incomplete names (e.g., white-throat, or sparrow). Incomplete names may have other problems - for example, "white-throat" could refer to our White-throated Sparrow, an emberizine. However, The "Whitethroat" is a European species (Common Whitethroat, Sylvia communis - an Old World warbler, a sylvid). Thus short-cuts for names may be ambiguous (but are usually understood in context)...
   In the US, we generally follow a standard for common names - the AOU Check-list or the ABA Checklist (Clements, 2007) - see Resources. The emerging world standard, however, may be represented by the Encyclopedia of Life which does use some different names (e.g., the Barred Owl is known as the Hoot Owl, etc.)... I have included some of the variants used by the Encyclopedia of Life and Tree of Life although most names are the same from all sources.
   It is also crucial that the complete scientific species name be used - it consists of the genus (e.g., Sylvia) combined with a specific epithet to form the species name (Sylvia communis). The specific epithet cannot be used alone - it is an adjective like "brown" or "big," etc., and may be used in many scientific names. You may, on occasion, see the species name abbreviated, S. communis. This is permissible if there is no confusion about the possible genus (e.g., within a paragraph discussing sylvid warblers belonging to the genus Sylvia,, a list where the species is included with other members of the the genus, etc.).
   Cornell links you to an All About Birds (Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology).
   USGS links you to the Patuxent Bird Identification InfoCenter (US Geological Survey).
   Wiki links you to Wikipedia, a broad source of information on birds of the world. [While anyone can contribute to Wikipedia, the coverage is good and mistakes tend to be corrected quickly.]
   ToL links to information on taxa found in the Tree of Life Web Project.
   EoL links to information in the developing Encyclopedia of Life Project.
   Attempts will be made to keep these links current - if you don't get to the species, use the indexing provided within the resource.
The presence of the species under discussion is indicated in the following format:
    The first line indicate when you should look for the species and indicates how likely it will be that you find the species: first in coastal (tidewater) South Carolina (not necessarily on Seabrook), and second on Seabrook. Thus,

      "WINTER, MIGRATION - Common/Uncommon (more common during migration)"

means that the species is most likely to be seen during the winter and migration periods (spring and fall). While generally common along the coast, it is uncommon on seabrook (but more common during migration)... Species may be "abundant," "common," "fairly common," "uncommon," "occasional," "rare," or "accidental." "Hypothetical" means that it might occur but you'd better get a picture and expert verification. This assumes you are looking in appropriate habitat for the species. Keep in mind that after storms, it may also be possible to find unusual birds in inappropriate places...   
   On the second line you will find some description of where (general habitat, location) where you could look for this species in coastal areas in general and then (in some cases) on Seabrook specifically, e.g.,


For the less common species on Seabrook, these general designations could well be misleading or less than helpful. Seabrook lacks certain habitats where birds listed as common in coastal areas normally occur (cypress swamps, extensive fresh water marshes, longleaf pine uplands, etc.) so species may be absent or rare transients here while being common elsewhere in suitable coastal habitats. They might be found in less than typical habitat on Seabrook. For example, we do not have the cypress swamps where Prothonotary Warblers typically breed. However, during migration, it might be possible (but not very likely) to find this species in wet brushy areas near water on Seabrook (it has been recorded in counts on the Golf Course).
   Note that the individual checklists from coastal areas do not always agree on season or abundance in the coastal areas. Differences in occurrence may be real - for example, you wouldn't expect a loon inland at Caw Caw while it is common along the beaches in winter.
    DESCRIPTION. The first full text paragraph generally describes the identifying characteristics of the species (with reference to Sibley's Guide and personal experience) and sometimes remarks about the species on Seabrook or its behavior and, on occasion, an aside I couldn't resist.
   There may then be pictures (I'm adding new images as they become available). Many of these images are not elegant - go to your field guide or the internet references for better pictures.
   Following one or two pictures, paragraphs describe: 
    RANGE (from Sibley and Kaufman) - for a map, click on Cornell's on-line reference or look in Sibley's Guide.
    BREEDING information - nest, incubation, parental care, etc. (from the Birder's Handbook from the Laboratory of Ornithology - Thayer software; Kaufman, Lives of North American Birds; and Potter, et al., 2006, Birds of the Carolinas). These sources don't always agree on clutch size, incubation period, age at fledging, etc. When they are close, the extremes are cited - when they differ, both values are given. The developing Encyclopedia of Life would be expected to provide documented information and should be consulted.
    DIET (also from the Birder's Handbook and Kaufman).
  VOICE (from experience, checks of calls in Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology's Guide to Birds of North America (Thayer Software), and Sibley's descriptions in his Guide)
  NOTES (see an example)
      (1) The first cluster of data indicate whether the species is listed as occurring in any of the published lists for nearby areas along the coast -         "Checklists"
      (a) Status on adjacent barrier islands -
         Seabrook - Birds of Seabrook Island, SC and Vicinity. SINHG. No date.
         Kiawah - Checklist for the Birds of Kiawah Island, updated April 2010              
         Edisto - The Birds of Edisto Beach State Park. State Park Biologist, Columbia, SC
      (b) Status in coastal areas of South Carolina -
         Coast - Birds of Coastal South Carolina, 2005. Dennis M. Forsythe. (Coastal South Carolina is defined as the area from US Highway 301
               east to 100 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.)
         Hilton Head - Birder's Guide to Hilton Head Island, SC and the Low Country. Graham C. Dugas, Jr.; revised by Ann Daniels, Barry Lowes,
              Paige Mulhollan. 4th ed., 2001. Hilton Head Audubon Society.
         Cape Romain NWR (including Bulls Island) - Birds of Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge. US F&W Service. Jamestown, ND. Northern
             Prairie Wildlife Refuge Center Online. Version 22 May 1998. Click for a copy.
         Huntington Beach State Park, Murrells Inlet - Birds of Huntington Beach State Park. South Carolina State Park Service. Last revised 2006.
Click for a copy.
      (c) Status in nearby inland sites -
         Caw Caw - The Birds of Caw Caw Interpretive Center, Ravenel, SC. Perry E. Nugent. 11//11/06. Click for a copy.
         Hollings ACE Basin NWR - Ernest F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge Bird List. Michaelle Aldenderfer. No date. Click for a copy.
     If a site is missing from any of these first three lines the species is not listed. The Seabrook list does not include occurrence information. In the Kiawah, Cape Romain, Caw Caw, and ACE Basin lists occurrences are given for spring/summer(breeds)/fall/winter. C = common, u = uncommon, o = occasional, r = rare (not seen every year), and x = accidental (very few records). Only the revised Kiawah, Cape Romain, Caw Caw, and ACE Basin sites list breeding/potential breeding information. Abundance is cited by month at Huntington Beach State Park. I've tried to add inferences about populations breeding on Seabrook.
      (2) Kiawah Island banding includes data generated by wildlife biologists and volunteers working for the Town Of Kiawah Island. These data are copyrighted by the town and are used with permission. © The town reserves all rights. See Birds were captured at several locations on Kiawah. The number banded and (number of recaptures) are indicated roughly by season (months).
    Thus 2 (1 recapture) Oct-Nov 2009 indicates 2 new birds were banded and one was recaptured within the indicated months..
    The recapture of banded birds include those found dead or banded by another bander (at a different site). This is known as a recovery. A bird recaptured at a different season but at the same site is a return. A bird recaptured in the same season at the same site is a repeat. Most (if not all) of the Kiawah recaptures are "repeats."    
      (3) The next cluster of information is labeled CBC and includes data from the
      Christmas Bird Counts
(National Audubon Society)  2003-4, 2004-5, 2005-6, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011.
         Data beyond 2011 are included on the spreadsheets linked below (2011-2012 had no count at Winyah Bay). In 2011-12, a count was made
             in the Sea Islands (Seabrook, Kiawah, Johns, Wadmalaw) and these data are available on the Kiawah site.
         For the aggregated data for more southern sites - St. Helena/Fripp, Hilton Head, and Sun City/Okatie - click here.
         For the aggregated data for central sites -  ACE Basin, and Charleston - click here.
         For data from more northern sites - McClellanville, Winyah Bay, and Litchfield/Pawley's Island, click here.
         Data are clustered to include information from the
            (1) the nearby ACE Basin and Charleston counts (Seabrook is in Charleston Co.),
            (2) more southerly sites such as St. Helena and Fripp Islands, Hilton Head, and Sun City/Okatie, and
            (3) more northern places such as McClellanville, Winyah Bay, and Litchfield/Pawley's Island.
                   Note that counts did not begin at Winyah Bay until 2005-06 and at St. Helena and Fripp Islands until 2009-2010.
                   Note that no counts were made at McClellanville in 2007-08.
       If all data are missing for a site, the species was not reported in any of the winter counts at that site.
             x - year before counting began at that site
             cw - a representative was seen during the count week but not on the count
             nc - no count for that year (weather, other problems, etc.)
      The most useful presentation of Christmas Count Data is found in the USGS link given for each species - click CBC Map to see an aggregate
          presentation of the data...
      (4) SCBBA - South Carolina Breeding Bird Atlas. A 1989-1995 project to systematically survey and confirm breeding in South Carolina. Here are the coastal counties and some of the features of the coast:
     (5) Coastal/tidewater notes from
      P&G - Post and Gauthreaux
, Status and Distribution of South Carolina Birds. Contr. XVIII Charleston Museum, 1989; and
      M&P - McNair and Post , Supplement to Status and Distribution of South Carolina Birds. Contr. 8, Charleston Museum, 1993.
         See Resources.
      Avendex is a data base that summarizes published or trusted records for the state. See Resources. It is more useful for less common Species that are more likely to be reported in the published literature than for common ones - e.g., occurrence data for the American White Pelican is useful but the few records from the much more common Brown Pelican are essentially worthless. It may also be misleading for species common at one part of the year (e.g., winter) because publication will concentrate on exceptional sightings (when the species is rare) so using Avendex alone may lead to a skewed view of occurrence.

     (6) Information from Potter, et al., 2006 (Resources) is paraphrased with particular reference to the coast. Combined with information found in the Status and Distribution papers from the Charleston Museum (above), a the likelihood of finding a given species along the coast can be established. Note that this may not reflect observations on Seabrook which may lack certain critical habitats (e.g., old rice fields and their associated reserves, cypress-tupelo gum swamp, longleaf pine stands, etc.)
     (7) Finally, the last paragraph(s) (●) cite my own experiences, observations, expectations, etc., if any, here or elsewhere.
    Abbreviated Species Accounts
    Many of the species accounts for less likely sightings are abbreviated. The Seabrook Island Status (if any) is indicated prior to the species name, links, and occurrence information. The species is then described briefly and their range is indicated along with other pertinent/interesting facts. Some of these accounts have images but many do not. Most of these accounts are of  species included in Potter, et al., with at least one record somewhere in the Carolinas. However, seeing individuals of these species on Seabrook would be unlikely.
   Note that range maps don't always help and judgments about whether to present a full or abbreviated account have been difficult, especially for many species not currently on our list. Input would be appreciated.
    NOTES also follow both abbreviated accounts (see above). [In many abbreviated accounts, only information from Avendex, Potter's book, and my comments may be included since the species is not very likely to be seen on Seabrook.]
    One or two images are presented where available with the species account. Additional pictures may be included in a gallery that follows the species page. Click on MORE PICTURES or View More Pictures to see more pictures.