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American Coot

"Marshbirds" is a general term for birds that inhabit emergent wetland habitats known as marshes.

In the context of the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initiative, the term is used to encompass non-colonial, non-waterfowl aquatic species including loons, bitterns, non-colonial grebes, rails, gallinules, coots, limpkin, and cranes. It is not really an appropriate term for all of these species, as some do not prefer the emergent wetland habitats known as marshes. View species list for initiative.

Secretive or inconspicuous marshbirds are those that because of their nature are often easier to hear than see, and include rails, bitterns, moorhens and gallinules.

Marshbird Species Conservation Status Assessment
Expert assessment of the conservation status of 43 solitary-nesting waterbirds is now available. View a Poster reviewing the results of the assessment. Read more on how the assessment was conducted.

Monitoring the Secretive Marshbirds
Inconspicuous marshbirds are difficult to detect and inhabit areas that are often not readily accessible. While geographically-focused monitoring programs exist or are under development, range-wide, marshbirds generally have been poorly surveyed by traditional monitoring programs.
Read more on moving ahead on Continental-scale Monitoring of Secretive Marshbirds.

Additional Links

2001 Denver Marshbird Workshop: The Waterbird Conservation for the Americas initative was originally limited to colonial-nesting species, but was expanded (in 2000) to include solitary-nesting species, informally referred to as "marshbirds." In August 2001, a workshop was held in Denver, Colorado, USA to address marshbirds. The workshop was advertised particularly to those organizations already active in planning and managing harvested or threatened marshbird species, e.g., the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) Migratory Shore and Upland Game Bird Committee, States/Provinces, Flyway Councils, Joint Ventures, and recovery plans under the Endangered Species Act. See the full notes from the marshbird workshop for more information.

Webless Migratory Game Bird Research Program A source of cooperative funding for migratory game birds other than waterfowl (e.g., cranes, rails).

Northern Prairie Biological Resources page on the USGS Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center site. A good source of literature syntheses on North American wetland birds, including marshbirds.







Last Updated November 30, 2007
U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) is supporting the Waterbird Conservation for the Americas Home Page as part of its contribution to North American Waterbird Conservation Plan (NAWCP). It is being served by the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Information provided in this site does not necessarily have the endorsement of the USGS.