Animal Science Department


Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Animal Science. Under the Supervision of Professor Mary M. Beck. Lincoln, Nebraska: July, 2000 Copyright (c) 2000 Jacqueline Canterbury.


Non-game birds comprise 93% of the 831 species recorded in the U.S; of these, forest birds and neotropical migrants have received considerable attention. To develop a management plan for non-game birds in Nebraska, historically a predominately grassland ecosystem, it was necessary to determine species in need of conservation and assess their respective habitat status. Using BBS and PIF databases, we developed a prioritization scheme that identified 44 breeding species in need of conservation in Nebraska; 20 of the 44 are grassland birds. Because several species in need of conservation known to occur in the state were missing from these databases, we evaluated rare and/or endemic species. A rarity index established that most rare breeders in Nebraska are at the edge of their ranges. We identified 12 grassland endemic species; 8 breed in Nebraska and 7 of these are declining surveywide. Results highlight 39 priority species for Nebraska and indicate a need to increase attention to endemic grassland species, at least in times of limited resources when the luxury of including edge-of-range rare species may not be feasible. Recommendations for conservation of the endemic grassland species include use of Bird Conservation Areas as a model.

Advisor; Dr. Mary M. Beck