Peucaea aestivalis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Peucaea aestivalis
Species Authority: (Lichtenstein, 1823)
Common Name(s):
English Bachman's Sparrow
Aimophila aestivalis BirdLife International (1990, 1993)
Aimophila aestivalis Stotz et al. (1996)
Aimophila aestivalis Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Taxonomic Notes: Use of the genus Peucaea follows AOU (2010).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Shackleford, C. & Dunning, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Capper, D., Wege, D., O'Brien, A., Bird, J.
This species has declined steadily at a moderately rapid rate. However, the rate of decline has slowed and although the species is described as rare, it may soon warrant downlisting. At present it remains classified as Near Threatened.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Peucaea aestivalis occurs on the coastal plain and Piedmont of south U.S.A., from extreme south Virginia to central Florida and east Texas. Occasional birds are reported north to south-central Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee, and it formerly occurred as far north as south-west Pennsylvania, south Ohio, Illinois and Indiana. Only the northern populations were migratory, reaching as far as North Carolina. In 1890-1915, its range expanded dramatically in response to the clearance of old pine forests and the abandonment of Mid-west farms. This expansion peaked in 1915-1920, and a gradual decline in the north of its range began in the 1930s, mostly occurring before the 1960s, because of forest succession. Maximum densities of singing males in South Carolina were 0.41-0.48/ha in occupied patches of suitable habitat, but many populations are isolated and prone to local extinction (Dunning 1993, J. B. Dunning in litt. 1999, C. E. Shackleford in litt. 1999). Since 1980, declines have been estimated at 1.7% per year, equating to 15.8% over a 10 year period. These declines and the contraction of the species's range are continuing.

United States
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Rich et al. (2004).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds in early succession pine woodlands or in mature longleaf pine. Also found occasionally in open habitats with dense grasses and forbs.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is now absent over most of its northern range and uncommon in most of the south because of timber harvesting practices, fire suppression and fragmentation of suitable habitat meaning many suitable patches of habitat are not occupied. It is also subject to disturbance by birdwatchers in parts of its range.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
Management practices for Red-cockaded Woodpecker Picoides borealis were also thought to benefit this species, but there is now evidence that this is not the case. Efforts to restore understorey plant communities in pine flatwoods have proven difficult so far and as such little suitable habitat has been restored. However, prescribed burning has been identified as a more cost-effective method of maintaining proper understorey and grass communities than mechanical or chemical control of vegetation. Furthermore, timber management changes since 2000 within the species's range may provide more habitat in future. Managing for large trees (sawtimber) is becoming increasingly viable for forest land-owners as opposed to pulpwood; in managing for sawtimber, planting densities are reduced and stand improvement activities maintain grass understorey better than pulpwood plantations (Askins et al. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Restore habitat, reinstating a natural fire regime. Continue to monitor the population and its trends. Determine the key threats to the species.

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Peucaea aestivalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 31 August 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided