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Published in NEBRASKA BIRD REVIEW 47:1 (March 1979), pp. 3-16. Copyright 1979 Paul Johnsgard.


This brief annotated list of Nebraska's breeding birds is the direct outgrowth of the work involved in the preparation of a forthcoming book titled "The Birds of the Great Plains," which will include range maps for all species except extinct or extirpated ones, and will also provide information on breeding habitat, nest location, clutch size, incubation period, and breeding biology. The purpose of the present compilation is to provide a convenient summary for Nebraska alone, amplifying some of the more general statements of that book, and pointing out uncertain or interesting situations needing further attention from field ornithologists. It includes 201 species of birds-believed to currently breed or have bred in the state, as well as 14 extinct or apparently extirpated species, 5 unsuccessfully introduced species, and 13 hypothetical breeders.

The only recent summary of Nebraska's bird fauna (Rapp et al., 1958) does not always provide a clear distinction between breeding and non-breeding species, and additionally not only accepts some old statements of breeding that now appear to have been unwarranted, but also the most recent findings are of course excluded. (The supplement through 1970 did not attempt to bring up to date the comments on the breeding status made in the 1958 edition.)

The present paper includes state and regional literature through the March 1978 issue, Volume 46, of Nebraska Bird Review, and the 1977 volume of American Birds, plus unpublished information on the 1978 breeding season that became available to me through various sources. The annual breeding bird survey data published in Nebraska Bird Review was surveyed and summarized through 1977 for me by Christi Nordeen as a special undergraduate project, and Dr. Calvin Cink kindly provided me with still unpublished information on the breeding birds of Dundy County. The papers by Short (1961, 1965a) have proven especially valuable in estimating western range limits for a number of eastern species. Other useful county summarys are those for Gage County (Fiala, 1970), and Lincoln County (Tout, 1947), and Rosche (1977) has provided a very helpful summary for the northwestern counties. Mr. Rosche has also provided me with a number of unpublished records.

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