Multiscale habitat selection by long-billed curlews (numenius americanus) breeding in the United States

Sarah T. Saalfeld, Warren C. Conway, David A. Haukos, Mindy Rice, Stephanie L. Jones, Suzanne D. Fellows

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Long-billed Curlew (Numenius americanus) populations have declined during the past 150 years in part due to destruction and fragmentation of grasslands used during the breeding season. Here, multiscale habitat characteristics best predicting number of Long-billed Curlews, detected during range-wide surveys conducted throughout the United States in 2004 and 2005, were determined. Long-billed Curlews were most often observed in habitats classified primarily as grassland habitat and secondarily as shortgrass or pasture/rangeland, all with low vegetation heights (i.e. 4-15 cm). Numbers of Long-billed Curlews were positively associated with wetland habitats on a local scale and hay/pasture areas on a landscape scale, but negatively associated with shrub/scrub on local and landscape scales and evergreen forests on a landscape scale. The study confirmed the importance of grassland, cropland, pasture and wetland habitats for breeding Long-billed Curlews across its geographic range in the United States. These results reinforce the need to conserve, manage, or create contiguous tracts of grasslands containing emergent wetlands for Long-billed Curlews throughout the breeding season and their range in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)148-161
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Breeding
  • GIS
  • Grasslands
  • Habitat characteristics
  • Long-billed Curlew
  • Nesting
  • Numenius americanus


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