eWestern BirdsThe Quarterly Journal of Western Field Ornithologists
Vol. 40, No. 1
Western Field Ornithologists
The Winter Distribution of the Western Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica vanrossemi)
Kathy C. Molina, Kimball L. Garrett, Keith W. Larson, and David P. Craig
ABSTRACT: We surveyed 73 sites along the Gulf of California and Pacific coasts of mainland Mexico during five nonbreeding seasons from December 1999 to January 2007 to clarify the winter status and distribution of the western North American subspecies of the Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica vanrossemi), a taxon of conservation concern. We located birds at 44 of the 73 sites, (60%) with the largest numbers found around coastal lagoons with extensive tidal flats in southern Sonora, Sinaloa, and extreme northern Nayarit. Local concentrations were also noted at other sites from the Colorado River delta of extreme northwestern Sonora south to Guerrero. Resightings of birds banded as chicks at California breeding colonies establish the first evidence of connectivity to specific wintering sites in Mexico as far south as southern Sonora and possibly into Nayarit.