Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered Bird Trends

California West       

ESA Population Trend Determined:

 

Aleutian Canada goose

ALEUTIAN CANADA GOOSE (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia)

Aleutian Canada goose
Aleutian Canada goose, Branta hutchinsii leucopareia, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 8,184%

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1967

Downlisted: Final 1990

Delisted: Final 2001

Recovery plan: 1991

SUMMARY
The Kirtland's warbler population declined due to fire suppression, nest parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds, and loss of forest habitat to development and agriculture. It was listed as endangered in 1967, and by 1971 there were only 201 surviving singing males. In response to habitat protection and restoration, as well as cowbird control, the population grew steadily to 2,365 pairs in 2015.


American peregrine falcon

AMERICAN PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus anatum)

American peregrine falcon
American peregrine falcon population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 4,131%

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1970

Downlisted: Final 1984

Delisted: Final 1999

Recovery plan: 1991

Critical habitat: 1977

SUMMARY
The American peregrine falcon was threatened by the use of DDT and other organochlorine pesticides, which caused eggshell thinning that led to reproductive failure and population declines. The banning of DDT, captive breeding efforts, and nest protections allowed the falcon to increase from 39 breeding pairs in the lower 48 U.S. states in 1975 to 1,650 pairs as of 1999, the year in which the species was delisted.

Bald eagle, continental U.S. DPS

BALD EAGLE, CONTINENTAL U.S. DPS (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

Bald eagle, continental U.S. DPS
population graph for bald eagle, continental U.S. DPS, Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 1,896%

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1967

Downlisted: Final 1995

Delisted: Final 2007

Recovery plan: 1999

SUMMARY
The bald eagle declined throughout the lower 48 states, and was extirpated from most of them, due to habitat loss, persecution and DDT-related eggshell thinning. The banning of DDT; increased wetland protection and restoration; and an aggressive, mostly state-based reintroduction program caused eagle pairs to soar from 417 in 1963 to 11,040 in 2007, when the bird was removed from the endangered species list.

California brown pelican

CALIFORNIA BROWN PELICAN (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus)

California brown pelican
California brown pelican population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 1464%

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1970

Delisted: Final 2009

Recovery plan: 1983

SUMMARY
The California brown pelican declined due to habitat loss, reproductive failure from DDT-related eggshell thinning, and toxic exposure to the pesticide endrin. The banning of DDT and protection of nesting areas are responsible for the species' recovery. The bird was listed as endangered in 1970 with 748 nests, but continued declining to a low of 466 in 1978. Since then, the species has increased, though inconsistently, having reached 11,695 nesting pairs when it was delisted in 2009.

California clapper rail

CALIFORNIA CLAPPER RAIL (Rallus longirostris obsoletus)

California clapper rail
California clapper rail population graph

Status since listing: Declined

Growth since listing: -77%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1970

Recovery plan: 2013

SUMMARY
The California clapper rail was initially threatened by hunting until the Migratory Bird Act was passed in 1913. Contemporary threats to the species, including agriculture and salt ponds, affect the bird’s salt-marsh habitat. Its total population fell from 5,100 birds in 1970 to about 500 in 1991. Since then, population numbers had climbed to an estimated 1,167 for 2009 through 2011.

California condor

CALIFORNIA CONDOR (Gymnogyps californianus)

California condor population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 391%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1967

Recovery plan: 1996

Critical habitat: 1976

SUMMARY
The California condor was nearly driven to extinction by DDT, lead poisoning from ingested bullet fragments, and wanton killing. Lead poisoning is currently the primary factor limiting its recovery in Southern California, Arizona and Baja California. Listed as endangered in 1967, condors numbered 55 in the wild and one in captivity in 1968. In 1987, all the wild birds were captured to save the species from extinction. It was reintroduced in 1992 and grew to 270 wild and 167 captive birds in 2015.

CALIFORNIA LEAST TERN (Sternula antillarum browni)

population graph for California least tern, Sternula antillarum browni

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 1,835%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1970

Downlisted: Determination 2006

Recovery plan: 2001

SUMMARY
The California least tern declined dramatically in the late 19th century under intense pressure from the millinery trade. Twentieth-century declines were driven by development, recreational crowding at beaches, and human-induced predator expansion. When listed in 1970, just tern 225 pairs remained. Intensive habitat protection, predator control and recreation management increased the population to 1,200 pairs in 1988 and a high of 7,117 in 2009. The species has since declined to 4,353 pairs in 2013.

coastal California gnatcatcher

COASTAL CALIFORNIA GNATCATCHER (Polioptila californica californica)

coastal California gnatcatcher
population graph for coastal California gnatcatcher, Polioptila californica californica

Status since listing: Unknown

Growth since listing: Unknown

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 1993

Critical habitat: 2000

SUMMARY
With its population declining, the coastal California gnatcatcher was listed as threatened in 1993 due to habitat loss caused by urban and suburban sprawl and agricultural expansion. It was locally common in the 1940s but very rare by 1961. The only available rangewide U.S. population estimate (thought to be reasonably accurate) stood at 2,562 in 1993. As of 2016, efforts were underway to obtain a second rangewide estimate.

LEAST BELL'S VIREO (Vireo bellii pusillus)

Least Bell's vireo
Least Bell's vireo, Vireo bellii pusillus, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 777%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1986

Downlisted: Determination 2006

Recovery plan: 1998

Critical habitat: 1994

SUMMARY
Once one of California's most abundant birds, the least Bell's vireo declined to near-extinction due to habitat loss and brood parasitism by the brown-headed cowbird. Since around the time of its listing and critical habitat designation, there has been an increase in the number of estimated territories, from 291 in 1985 to 2,968 as of 2005.

Light-footed clapper rail, U.S. DPS

LIGHT-FOOTED CLAPPER RAIL, U.S. DPS (Rallus owstoni)

Light-footed clapper rail, U.S. DPS
Light-footed clapper rail, U.S. DPS population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 111%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1970

Recovery plan: 1985

SUMMARY
The light-footed clapper rail declined due to loss of salt marshes and wetlands. It remains threatened by predation, small population size, climate change, severe weather events, poor habitat quality and automobile strikes. The U.S population has fluctuated since listing in 1970, but it shows a clearly increasing trend, going from 250 pairs of birds in 1976 to 528 pairs in 2014.

San Clemente Bell’s sparrow

SAN CLEMENTE BELL'S SPARROW (Artemisiospiza belli clementae)

San Clemente Bell's sparrow
San Clemente Bell's sparrow population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 1,645%

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 1977

Recovery plan: 1984

SUMMARY
The San Clemente Bell’s sparrow declined due to overgrazing by introduced sheep, cattle and pigs. It recovered greatly following their removal but remains threatened by disturbance, predation, fire and climate change. Its population grew from 93 birds in 1976 (the year before it was listed as an endangered species) to 1,623 in 2012. New survey methods and increased survey areas resulted in estimates of 4,533, 6,386 and 4,381 birds in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.

San Clemente loggerhead shrike

SAN CLEMENTE LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus mearnsi)

San Clemente loggerhead shrike
San Clemente loggerhead shrike population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 224%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1977

Recovery plan: 1984

SUMMARY
The San Clemente loggerhead shrike's habitat was severely degraded by sheep, pigs, deer and goats beginning in the late 1880s. Nonnative grazers have been eliminated, but nonnative predators remain a threat. The bird was listed as endangered in 1977. About 50 shrikes remained in 1975, and only 14 were left in 1998. A captive-breeding and reintroduction program was initiated in 1999, causing the population to steadily increase to a minimum of 185 breeding birds in 2009. In 2013 there were at least 136.

Short-tailed albatross

SHORT-TAILED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria albatrus)

Short-tailed albatross
Short-tailed albatross population graph

Growth since listing: Increased

Status since listing: 1278%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1970

Recovery plan: 2008

SUMMARY
The short-tailed albatross was decimated by commercial collection during the 1940s. More recent threats include volcanic activity, landslides, typhoons, climate change, longline fishing and oceanic plastic pollution. The seabird was rediscovered in 1950s, with 10 breeding pairs. The species was listed in 1970 and estimated at 64 pairs in 1973 and 882 in 2011. The first chick hatched outside of Japan was on Midway Atoll in 2011, where breeding has since continued.

Southwestern willow flycatcher

SOUTHWESTERN WILLOW FLYCATCHER (Empidonax traillii extimus)

Southwestern willow flycatcher
Southwestern willow flycatcher population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 137%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1995

Recovery plan: 2002

Critical habitat: 1997

SUMMARY
The southwestern willow flycatcher declined due to habitat modification and destruction such as stream channel modification, floods, drought and climate change, and parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds. Due to habitat restoration and acquisition, cattle and cowbird reduction and improved reservoir management, known territories increased from 549 to 986 to 1,299 in 1996, 2001 and 2007. The largest increases were in the Gila and Rio Grande river basins.

Western snowy plover, Pacific DPS

WESTERN SNOWY PLOVER, PACIFIC DPS (Charadrius nivosus nivosus)

Western snowy plover, Pacific DPS
population graph for Western snowy plover, Pacific DPS

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 96%

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 1993

Recovery plan: 2007

Critical habitat: 1999

SUMMARY
The snowy plover declined on the Pacific Coast due to habitat loss, disturbance of nest sites, and encroachment of European beach grass. It remains threatened by predation, disturbance and climate change. When listed as endangered in 1993, its U.S. population was estimated at fewer than 1,500 adults. Protection efforts caused the population to increase to 2,938 estimated adults in 2015.

Extinct or Extirpated Prior to ESA Listing:

 

Santa Barbara song sparrow

SANTA BARBARA SONG SPARROW (Melospiza melodia graminea)

Santa Barbara song sparrow

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1973

Delisted: Final 1983

SUMMARY
The Santa Barbara song sparrow was driven to extinction by ranching, farming, the effects of non-native species, and a catastrophic fire that followed after the practice of fire suppression. Despite significant threats, the sparrow's population remained reasonably healthy until a fire wiped the bird out in 1959, consuming most of its habitat. The sparrow was delisted in 1983.

Listed Under the ESA Less Than 10 Years:


YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO, WESTERN DPS (Coccyzus americanus)

Yellow-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus, population graph

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 2014

SUMMARY
The yellow-billed cuckoo is threatened primarily by the destruction and degradation of its native riparian woodland habitat due to invasive species, grazing and water management practices. Its range contracted dramatically during the 1900s. As of 2013, there were estimated to be 423 breeding pairs (1,705 individuals) remaining in the United States. The bird was listed as threatened in 2014.