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Revisiting methods for estimating parrot abundance and population size

  • Author(s): Dénes, FV
  • Tella, JL
  • Beissinger, SR
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2018 BirdLife Australia. Estimating abundance and population size is essential for many ecological and conservation studies of parrots. Achieving these goals requires methods that yield reliable estimates, but parrot traits can make them difficult to detect, count, and capture. We review established and emergent sampling and analytical methods used to estimate parrot abundance and population size, focusing on their assumptions, requirements, and limitations. Roost surveys are cost-effective if all roost locations in a region are known and stable, which is uncommon. Capture-recapture methods incorporate detection probability, but capturing, marking and resighting parrots can be difficult. Distance sampling estimates detection probability and surveys multiple species simultaneously, but is sensitive to the spatial distribution of individuals and excludes birds in flight. Roadside transects can cover large areas and survey multiple species, but habitats near roads may differ from the surrounding areas, biasing abundance estimates. Occupancy surveys and hierarchical models usually require spatially and temporally replicated datasets. Both allow estimation of detection probability; the former dispenses with count data, while the latter is a versatile set of methods that can incorporate multiple processes influencing detection and abundance. Finally, passive acoustic surveys can sample multiple species simultaneously, but identification of vocalisations can be difficult and time-consuming.

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