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    Long-term research at Bahia Kina

    Ellen Paul
    • Author: Stephanie Jones

      In this edition of the Editor's Choice series, Stephanie Jones, Editor of Waterbirds, highlights an article from the December 2015 issue of Waterbirds (vol. 38, no. 4), titled Diversity, Abundance and Nesting Phenology of the Wading Birds of Bahía Kino, Sonora, México.

    The Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies in Bahía Kino, Mexico, has been conducting research on the wading bird colonies in the region for many years. The center has also spearheaded the designation of Estero Santa Cruz as a wetland of international importance under the United Nations Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. They have published the results of their surveys from 2009-2013 in the December, 2015 issue of Waterbirds [38(4):355-363].

    Diversity, Abundance and Nesting Phenology of the Wading Birds of Bahía Kino, Sonora, México

    Emily W. Clark, Abram B. Fleishman and Mark F. Riegner


    Abstract.--The occurrence and nesting phenology of Ardeidae species and other wading birds were documented from 2009–2013 in the Bahía Kino bioregion of western Sonora, México. Two active colonies were surveyed: in a mangrove (
    Avicennia germinans
    Rhizophora mangle
    ) estuary and on a nearshore desert island. Thirteen species of nesting wading birds were recorded, 11 of which are year-round residents and two occurring only during the breeding season; two additional species were documented only in migration. The most abundant species was the Snowy Egret (
    Egretta thula
    ), which had a peak of 234 nests in 2012. Of particular conservation interest is the Reddish Egret (
    E. rufescens
    ), which had a peak of 149 nests in 2012. Potential prey of wading birds in the estuary was also sampled, with special focus on brachyuran crabs, which constitute the main prey items of the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron (
    Nyctanassa violacea
    ). The rapid development of the region, and especially the establishment of large-scale mariculture operations along Estero Santa Cruz, has the potential to impact local wading bird populations, and thus an understanding of wading bird diversity, abundance and habitat use may prove critical to inform future management and conservation initiatives.


    The Kino Bay Center for Cultural and Ecological Studies is a Prescott College field station in Bahía Kino, a small town in the Mexican state of Sonora, on the Gulf of California. Each year the Kino Bay Center hosts over 1,000 researchers, students, resident fellows and community visitors from dozens of institutions and community groups from Mexico, the United States and other parts of the world.

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