With the designation of Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow (Ammodramus nelsoni) and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow (A. caudacutus) as species of high conservation priority in the northeastern United States, the need to document fully their abundance, distribution, and the extent of range overlap has become increasingly important. We surveyed saltmarshes in coastal New England for both species from 1997 to 2000. The current overlap zone extends from Parker River, Massachusetts, north to Weskeag River, Maine, which expands the previously reported range overlap of 48 km to 208 km. Among the 49 sites surveyed within the current overlap zone, both species were present at 25 sites. It is possible that the species have experienced range expansion over the last several decades, especially the Nelson's Sharp-tailed Sparrow. Our findings indicate that the nominate subspecies of the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow warrants the greatest conservation concern given its limited geographic range, a potentially expanding hybrid zone with A. n. subvirgatus, and the potential for habitat degradation from an oil spill associated with the urban/industrial centers of the Northeast.
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