Extinction and colonization of birds on habitat islands

Kevin R. Crooks, Andrew V. Suarez, Douglas T. Bolger, Michael E. Soulé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We used point-count and transect surveys to estimate the distribution and abundance of eight scrub-breeding bird species in 34 habitat fragments and the urban matrix in southern California. We then calculated local extinction and colonization rates by comparing our data with surveys conducted in 1987. We classified factors that influence extinction and colonization rates into two types: (1) extrinsic factors, which are characteristics of the habitat fragments such as area, age, and isolation and (2) intrinsic factors, which are characteristics of the species that inhabit fragments, such as body size and population density. Over the past decade at least one species went locally extinct in over 50% of the fragments, and local extinctions were almost twice as common as colonizations. Fragment size and, to a lesser extent, fragment age were the most important extrinsic factors determining extinction and colonization. Density indices of scrub birds were the most important intrinsic factors determining extinction rates, predicting the number of sites occupied, the probability, of local extinction, relative area requirements, and time to local extinction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 12 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

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