Scientific Name: Dolichonyx oryzivorus
Taxonomy Group: Birds
Range: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Last COSEWIC Assessment: April 2010
Last COSEWIC Designation: Threatened
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
The Bobolink is a medium-sized passerine. Males are black below and lighter above, while females are light beige streaked with brown and could be mistaken for some species of sparrow. The Bobolink has a conical bill, rigid, sharply pointed tail feathers and long hind toenails. Male plumage outside the breeding season and juvenile plumage are similar to that of the female. No subspecies of the Bobolink are currently recognized. (Updated 2017/08/07)
The breeding range of the Bobolink in North America includes the southern part of all Canadian provinces from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador and south to the northwestern, north-central and northeastern U.S. The species is not present in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The Bobolink winters in southern South America, east of the Andes in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. (Updated 2017/08/07)
The Bobolink originally nested in the tall-grass prairie of the mid-western U.S. and south central Canada. Most of this prairie was converted to agricultural land over a century ago, and at the same time the forests of eastern North America were cleared to hayfields and meadows that provided habitat for the birds. Since the conversion of the prairie to cropland and the clearing of the eastern forests, the Bobolink has nested in forage crops (e.g., hayfields and pastures dominated by a variety of species, such as clover, Timothy, Kentucky Bluegrass, and broadleaved plants). The Bobolink also occurs in various grassland habitats including wet prairie, graminoid peatlands and abandoned fields dominated by tall grasses, remnants of uncultivated virgin prairie (tall-grass prairie), no-till cropland, small-grain fields, restored surface mining sites and irrigated fields in arid regions. It is generally not abundant in short-grass prairie, Alfalfa fields, or in row crop monocultures (e.g., corn, soybean, wheat), although its use of Alfalfa may vary with region. (Updated 2017/08/07)
The Bobolink is a semi-colonial species that is often polygamous, depending on the region and habitat conditions. The first adults arrive from their wintering grounds in mid-May. Upon arrival on the breeding grounds, the males establish their territories, performing courtship flights and songs. Females construct the nests, which are always built on the ground, usually at the base of large forbs. Each clutch typically contains 3-7 eggs. The nestlings are fed by both parents for 10-11 days and fledglings are fed for at least one week. The Bobolink has an average life span of five years. (Updated 2017/08/07)
The main causes of the decline in Bobolink populations have been identified as: 1) incidental mortality from agricultural operations such as haying that destroy nests and kill adults, 2) habitat loss caused by the conversion of forage crops to intensive grain crops and other row crops, 3) habitat fragmentation, which promotes higher rates of predation on nests located near edges and 4) pesticide use on breeding and wintering grounds, which may cause both direct and indirect mortality. (Updated 2017/08/07)
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
The Bobolink is a medium-sized passerine. Males are black below and lighter above, while females are light beige streaked with brown and could be mistaken for some species of sparrow. The Bobolink has a conical bill, rigid, sharply pointed tail feathers and long hind toenails. Male plumage outside the breeding season and juvenile plumage are similar to that of the female. No subspecies of the Bobolink are currently recognized.
Assessment Summary – April 2010
Reason for designation
Over 25% of the global population of this grassland bird species breeds in Canada, which is the northern portion of its range. The species has suffered severe population declines since the late 1960s and the declines have continued over the last 10 years, particularly in the core of its range in Eastern Canada. The species is threatened by incidental mortality from agricultural operations, habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide exposure and bird control at wintering roosts.
British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador
Designated Threatened in April 2010.
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Over 25% of the global population of this grassland bird species breeds in Canada, which is the northern portion of its range. The species has suffered severe population declines since the late 1960’s and the declines have continued over the last 10 years, particularly in the core of its range in Eastern Canada. The species is threatened by incidental mortality from agricultural operations, habitat loss and fragmentation, pesticide exposure and bird control at wintering roosts.
Bruce Peninsula National Park (BPNP) and Fathom Five National Marine Park (FFNMP) lie at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula which separates Georgian Bay from Lake Huron. The peninsula is 90 km in length and its most prominent feature is the Niagara Escarpment which runs along the entire eastern edge. Within BPNP, the escarpment forms the Georgian Bay shoreline and is recognized as part of the core area of the Niagara Escarpment UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve.
BPNP was established by the federal government in 1987 to protect a representative example of the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Lowlands natural region. Because of the fragmented nature of the park properties, many of the stresses on the park’s ecosystem originate from outside its boundaries. For this reason, First Nations, local residents, non-governmental organizations, and other groups and land users play an important role in managing, restoring, and protecting the northern Bruce ecosystem.
The Multi-species Action Plan for Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada and associated National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the four sites: Kouchibouguac National Park of Canada (KNP) and other land managed by Parks Canada in the Northern New-Brunswick Field Unit offering adequate habitat for the species targeted in this action plan (Fort Beauséjour – Fort Cumberland National Historic Site of Canada (NHS), Beaubassin – Fort Lawrence NHS, Grand-Pré NHS). The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species at Risk Act (SARA) (s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in KNP and associated NHS.
The Multi-species Action Plan for Point Pelee National Park of Canada and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of the two sites: Point Pelee National Park of Canada (PPNP) and the Niagara National Historic Sites of Canada (NNHS). The NNHS is being used as a term to collectively refer to two locations in the Niagara region that consist of three National Historic Sites: Fort George National Historic Site, Battlefield of Fort George National Historic Site, and Butler’s Barracks National Historic Sites of Canada. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PPNP and at NNHS.
The Multi-species Action Plan for Prince Edward Island National Park of Canada applies to lands and waters occurring within the gazette boundaries of Prince Edward Island National Park (PEINP), as well as, Crown lands located adjacent to the park that are owned and administered by Parks Canada, including Greenwich.. The plan meets the requirements for action plans set out in the Species At Risk Act (SARA s.47) for species requiring an action plan, and that regularly occur in these sites. Measures described in this plan will also provide benefits for other species of conservation concern that regularly occur at PEINP and on associated federal lands.
The Multi-species Action Plan for Thousand Islands National Park of Canada is a Species At Risk Act action plan (SARA s.47) for four species: American Water-willow (Justicia americana), Butternut (Juglans cinerea), Deerberry (Vaccinium stamineum), and Pugnose Shiner (Notropis anogenus). The plan also outlines measures to monitor and manage 30 other species of conservation concern that regularly occur in the park. This plan applies only to lands and waters occurring within the boundaries of Thousand Islands National Park of Canada.
His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Minister of the Environment, acknowledges receipt, on the making of this Order, of assessments done pursuant to subsection 23(1) of the Species at Risk Act by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada with respect to the status of the species set out in the annexed schedule.
Biodiversity is rapidly declining worldwide as species become extinct. Today’s extinction rate is estimated to be between 1 000 and 10 000 times higher than the natural rate. Biodiversity is positively related to ecosystem productivity, health and resiliency (i.e. the ability of an ecosystem to respond to changes or disturbances), and, given the interdependency of species, a loss of biodiversity can lead to decreases in ecosystem function and services (e.g. natural processes such as pest control, pollination, coastal wave attenuation, temperature regulation and carbon fixing). These services are important to the health of Canadians, and also have important ties to Canada’s economy. Small changes within an ecosystem can lead to a loss of individuals and species resulting in adverse, irreversible and broad-ranging effects.
Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”.
During the past year, COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings and reviewed the status of 79 wildlife species (species, subspecies, populations). During the meeting of November 2009, COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of the status of 28 wildlife species. COSEWIC assessed or reviewed the classification of an additional 51 wildlife species (species, subspecies and populations) during their April 2010 meeting.
For species already found on Schedule 1 of SARA, the classification of 32 species was reviewed by COSEWIC and the status of the wildlife species was confirmed to be in the same category (extirpated - no longer found in the wild in Canada but occurring elsewhere, endangered, threatened or of special concern).
The wildlife species assessment results for the 2009-2010 reporting period include the following:
Special Concern: 17
Data Deficient: 1
This report transmits to the Minister the status of 46 species newly classified as extirpated, endangered, threatened or of special concern, fulfilling COSEWIC’s obligations under SARA Section 24 and 25. A full detailed summary of the assessment for each species and the reason for the designation can be found in Appendix I of the attached report.
Since its inception, COSEWIC has assessed 602 wildlife species in various risk categories, including 262 Endangered, 151 Threatened, 166 Special Concern and 23 Extirpated. In addition, 13 wildlife species have been assessed as Extinct. Also, to date, 46 wildlife species have been identified by COSEWIC as Data Deficient and 166 wildlife species were assessed as Not at Risk.
This year has been a particularly productive year for COSEWIC’s Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge (ATK) Subcommittee. In April 2010 COSEWIC approved the Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge Process and Protocol Guidelines, providing clear and agreed principles for the gathering of Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge to carry out COSEWIC functions as required under Section 15(2) of SARA (See Appendix III of the attached report). We are grateful for the rich and enthusiastic contribution made by community elders and experts in helping the ATK Subcommittee prepare the ATK protocols.
As part of its strategy for protecting wildlife species at risk, the Government of Canada proclaimed the Species at Risk Act (SARA) on June 5, 2003. Attached to the Act is Schedule 1, the list of the species that receive protection under SARA, also called the List of Wildlife Species at Risk.
Please submit your comments by
February 4, 2011 for species undergoing normal consultations
February 4, 2012 for species undergoing extended consultations.