We propose a foraging guild classification for North American inland, coastal, and pelagic birds. This classification uses a three-part identification for each guild—major food, feeding substrate, and foraging technique—to classify 672 species of birds in both the breeding and nonbreeding seasons. We have attempted to group species that use similar resources in similar ways. Researchers have identified foraging guilds generally by examining species distributions along one or more defined environmental axes. Such studies frequently result in species with several guild designations. While the continuance of these studies is important, to accurately describe species' functional roles, managers need methods to consider many species simultaneously when trying to determine the impacts of habitat alteration. Thus, we present an avian foraging classification as a starting point for further discussion to aid those faced with the task of describing community effects of habitat change.
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