The Purple Martin (Progne subis) is a colonial-nesting neotropical migrant songbird, the largest member of the swallow family (Hirundinidae) occurring in North America. Purple Martins breed in parts of the USA and southern Canada and winter in South America, typically in Brazil. The Western Purple Martin (P. s. arboricola), the subject of this report, is the only subspecies occurring and breeding west of the Rocky Mountains in southwestern British Columbia, with a limited breeding distribution extending south into the USA west of the Rocky Mountains to southern California and possibly into northern Mexico. It has been separate and genetically isolated from the eastern subspecies for 200,000 – 400,000 years...
The Western Purple Martin was Red-listed (Threatened) in British Columbia until 2006 and is now Blue-listed (Special Concern, formerly Vulnerable). It is classified as of Special Concern or a Candidate Species for listing as Threatened throughout the remainder of its breeding range in the western USA. The North American and world breeding population of the Western Purple Martins is estimated at <5,000 breeding pairs...
The proposed at-risk western arboricola subspecies is not recognized or ranked separately in British Columbia from the comparatively abundant eastern subspecies that does not nest here. However, while the provincial rankings and priorities are listed at the species level, they are based on a subspecific level assessment – they are reported at the species level as there is only one taxonomic unit in British Columbia. The current management recommendation of “No New Action required”, is predicated upon the current volunteer conservation and recovery efforts with nest boxes continuing and the many colony sites on abandoned pilings remaining and being maintained for the foreseeable future, neither of which is assured.
Bruce Cousens, J. Charlene Lee. 2012. Status Report on the Western Purple Martin [Progne subis arboricola] in British Columbia. Province of British Columbia
Topic: Species status
Keywords: PUMA, western subspecies, P. s. arboricola, British Columbia Conservation Framework, BCCF, International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN, G5, GS 4, COSEWIC, SARA, S2S3B, British Columbia
Scientific Name: Progne subis
English Name: Purple Martin
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