Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 1055–1061 | Cite as

Territoriality and Survivorship of the Sierra Madre Sparrow in La Cima, México

  • Adán Oliveras de Ita
  • Héctor Gómez de Silva


We studied the life-history of the Sierra Madre sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi) in a subalpine grassland-agriculture mosaic south of Mexico City. From March to early September 1999 we captured and color-banded 53 adults with mist-nets and mapped the breeding territories of 21 males. We again mapped territories in the same spot in April and May 2000. The number of breeding territories was found to be the same in the two consecutive years and interannual survivorship was found to be relatively high. Breeding territories were restricted to the bunchgrass-covered areas. We used the density of territories and the amount of remaining habitat to estimate a total population size of 5,380–6,150 adults for this species. Using this and other recent data, we recommend raising the Sierra Madre sparrow to the status of critically endangered using BirdLife International criteria.


Mexico Restricted range Critically endangered Sierra Madre sparrow Survivorship Territoriality Xenospiza baileyi 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



Financial support for this project was awarded by the Neotropical Bird Club Small Grants Program. Dr. L. Bojórquez and his students assisted us in obtaining the aerial photographs of the study area; Adriana Garza helped with figures; Dr. R. Medellín, UNAM, and Fundación UNAM provided A.O.I. with a scholarship; B. Milá of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory provided mistnets, vernier, and one pair of binoculars; We give special thanks to E. Núñez and Don Chava, who live 1 km from out study plot and kindly hosted us when we had to spend the night at La Cima; and to V. Smith of Eagle Eye Tours who lent us a telescope for the territory mapping. I.␣Azcona, C. Bueno and Manuel Grosselet assisted in the fieldwork on several occasions.


  1. Brown J (1995) Macroecology. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IllinoisGoogle Scholar
  2. Bibby C, Burgess N, Hill D, Mustoe S (2000) Bird Census Techniques, second edition. Academic Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  3. BirdLife International (2004) Threatened Birds of the World 2004. CD-ROM. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UKGoogle Scholar
  4. Cabrera L (1999) La avifauna del sur del Valle de México: aplicación de un enfoque sinecológico-paisajístico para su conservación. Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  5. Collar N, Gonzaga L, Krabbe N, Madroño Nieto A, Naranjo L, Parker III T, Wege D (1992) Threatened birds of the Americas. The ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. Smithsonian Institution Press /International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, United KingdomGoogle Scholar
  6. Collar N (1999) Risk indicators and status assessment in birds. In: del Hoyo J, Elliott A, Sargatal J (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World, Barn-owls to Hummingbirds, vol 5. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, pp 3–28Google Scholar
  7. Colwell R (1997) EstimateS: statistical estimation of species richness and shared species from samples. Version 5. Cited 4 April 2006
  8. Daniel S, Walters J (2000) Between-year breeding dispersal in Red-cockaded woodpeckers: multiple causes and estimated cost. Ecology 81:2473–2484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. DeSante D, Grady D, Burton K, et al (1998) The monitoring avian productivity and survivorship (MAPS) program sixth and seventh annual report (1995 and 1996). Bird Popul 4:69–122Google Scholar
  10. Dobson A (1990) Survival rates and their relationship to life-history traits in some common British birds. Curr Ornithol 7:115–147Google Scholar
  11. González C (2000) Identificación de las áreas críticas para la conservación del gorrión serrano (Xenospiza baileyi). Dissertation, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoGoogle Scholar
  12. Instituto de Geografía (1997) Videografía aérea de la Ciudad de México. Instituto de Geografía, UNAM. México, D.FGoogle Scholar
  13. Koskimies P, Vaisanen R (1990) Monitoring bird populations; a manual of methods applied in Finland. Zoological Museum, Finnish Museum of Natural History. University of HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  14. Lockwood J, Fenn K, Caudill J, et al (2001) The implications of Cape Sable Seaside sparrow demography for everglades restoration. Anim Conserv 4:275–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Martin T (1995) Avian life history evolution in relation to nest sites, nest predation, and food. Ecol Monogr 65:101–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Nice M (1964) Studies in the life history of the song sparrow. Dover Publications, Inc, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  17. Oliveras de Ita A, Gómez De Silva H, Grosselet M (2001) Population dynamics and natural history of the Sierra Madre sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi) at La Cima, México. Cotinga 15:43–47Google Scholar
  18. Oliveras de Ita A, et al (2003) El Gorrión Serrano (Xenospiza baileyi). In: Gómez de Silva H, Oliveras de Ita A (eds) Conservación de Aves en México. CIPAMEX, NFWF, CONABIO, México, D.F., pp 65–167Google Scholar
  19. Oliveras de Ita A, Rojas-Soto, O (2006) A survey for the Sierra Madre sparrow (Xenospiza baileyi), with its rediscovery in the state of Durango, Mexico. Bird Conservation International. DOI 10.1017/S0959270905000687Google Scholar
  20. Perkins D, Vickery P (2001) Annual survivorship of an endangered passerine: Florida grasshopper sparrow. Wilson Bull 113:211–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ryder, R (1986) Songbirds. In: Cooperrider A, Boyd R, Hanson S (eds) Inventory and Monitoring of Wildlife Habitat, pp. 291–312Google Scholar
  22. Sandercock B, Jaramillo A (2002) Annual survival rates of wintering sparrows: assessing demographic consequences of migration. Auk 119:149–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Sillet T, Holmes R (2002) Variation in survivorship of a migratory songbird throughout its annual cycle. J Anim Ecol 71:296–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Vickery P (1996) Grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum). In: Poole A, Gill F (eds) The Birds of North America Vol 239. Academy of Natural Sciences and American Ornithologists Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  25. Wheelwright N, Rising J (1993) Savannah sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis). In: Poole A, Gill F (eds) The Birds of North America Vol 45. Academy of Natural Sciences and American Ornithologists Union, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adán Oliveras de Ita
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Héctor Gómez de Silva
    • 1
  1. 1.Instituto de EcologíaUNAM, Ciudad UniversitariaMéxicoD.F. México
  2. 2.Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas (CIECO)UNAMMorelia, MichoacánMéxico
  3. 3.Instituto de EcologíaMéxicoD.F.México

Personalised recommendations