I have a book by the Audubon Society on building bird houses and for each bird they show a breeding, wintering and all year range.

Do the birds only breed in their breeding range, or in both breeding and all-year range?

For example, the northern flicker is shown as breeding in Canada, but its all-year range is in the United States. So, am I wasting my time building a bird house for a northern flicker in the United States which is south of the breeding range, but inside the all-year range?


An all-year range for a bird species is obviously a range where a population exists year round, and since birds generally breed each year, there will be individuals of the species breeding within this range. Precisely speaking, this is part of the breeding range of the species, but maps of bird ranges commonly call this range the all-year range, and will reserve the term "breeding range" for that part of the range map where birds breed but are not present during part of the year. This is helpful since it communicates which times of the year the birds can be expected to be present.

Because in temperate zones summer is the time when breeding most always occurs, maps commonly show the summer-only breeding range in a warm color such as red. For migratory species, a range where they spend the winter but do not remain during the breeding season is usually shown in a cool color such as blue. Typically such maps will show the year-round range in a combination of these two colors, e.g. purple. (Some maps also show a migratory range, where birds transit but do not stay for long periods, in some other color.)


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.