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1 March 2018 Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana Swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods
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Abstract

We described past and present distribution and abundance data to evaluate the status of the endangered Mariana Swiftlet (Aerodramus bartschi), a little-known echolocating cave swiftlet that currently inhabits 3 of 5 formerly occupied islands in the Mariana archipelago. We then evaluated the survey methods used to attain these estimates via fieldwork carried out on an introduced population of Mariana Swiftlets on the island of O'ahu, Hawaiian Islands, to derive better methods for future surveys. We estimate the range-wide population of Mariana Swiftlets to be 5,704 individuals occurring in 15 caves on Saipan, Aguiguan, and Guam in the Marianas; and 142 individuals occupying one tunnel on O'ahu. We further confirm that swiftlets have been extirpated from Rota and Tinian and have declined on Aguiguan. Swiftlets have remained relatively stable on Guam and Saipan in recent years. Our assessment of survey methods used for Mariana Swiftlets suggests overestimates depending on the technique used. We suggest the use of night vision technology and other changes to more accurately reflect their distribution, abundance, and status.

Nathan C. Johnson, Susan M. Haig, and Stephen M. Mosher "Assessment of distribution and abundance estimates for Mariana Swiftlets (Aerodramus bartschi) via examination of survey methods," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 130(1), 23-39, (1 March 2018). https://doi.org/10.1676/16-106.1
Received: 3 July 2016; Accepted: 4 March 2017; Published: 1 March 2018
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