Center for Biological Diversity

Endangered Bird Trends

Great Plains 

ESA Population Trend Determined:

 

Attwater's greater prairie chicken

ATTWATER'S GREATER PRAIRIE CHICKEN (Tympanuchus cupido attwateri)

Attwater's greater prairie chicken
Attwater's greater prairie chicken, Tympanuchus cupido attwateri, population graph

Status since listing: Declined

Growth since listing: -91%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1967

Recovery plan: 2010

SUMMARY
The Attwater’s greater prairie chicken has primarily been threatened by loss of tall grass prairie habitat from agricultural, urban and industrial expansion. Disease, parasites and severe weather may also have contributed to its decline. Historically, an estimated 1 million birds occupied vast coastal prairies in Texas and Louisiana. The population had dropped to 1,118 by 1967 and fewer than 1,000 by 1986, plunging below 100 between 1996 and 2013. In 2016 there were 126 birds.

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.

Black-capped vireo

BLACK-CAPPED VIREO (Vireo atricapilla)

black-capped vireo, Vireo atricapilla, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 7,346%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1987

Downlisted: Determination 2007

Recovery plan: 1991

SUMMARY
The black-capped vireo is threatened by habitat loss; cowbird brood parasitism; vegetational succession; and overgrazing by domestic, native and introduced species. Threats have decreased since it was listed as an endangered species in 1987. The estimated number of territorial males in its four largest populations increased from 153 in 1987 to 11,392 in 2013. A portion of this growth is due to survey effort; regardless, the species is known to have increased substantially as a whole.

Brown pelican, western Gulf Coast population

BROWN PELICAN, WESTERN GULF COAST DPS (Pelecanus occidentalis)

Brown pelican, western Gulf Coast DPS population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 421225%

ESA status: Delisted

List year: 1970

Delisted: Final 2009

Recovery plan: 1980

SUMMARY
The western Gulf Coast brown pelican population declined to near-extinction in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi due to unregulated hunting, habitat loss, and reproductive failure from DDT-caused eggshell thinning. It was listed as endangered in 1970. The population increased from four nests in 1970, to 21,266 in 2005, declined to 12,037 in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, then increased to 16,853 in 2007. It was delisted in 2009. There were 16,317 nests in 2010 prior to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe.

Golden-cheeked warbler

GOLDEN-CHEEKED WARBLER (Dendroica chrysoparia)

Golden-cheeked warbler
Golden-cheeked warbler, Dendroica chrysoparia, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 238%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1990

Recovery plan: 1992

SUMMARY
The golden-cheeked warbler declined due to destruction, degradation and fragmentation of mature south Texas woodlands in favor of urban, agricultural and livestock development, as well as because of declining oak populations. Territories on Fort Hood, Camp Bullis and Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge decreased from 3,526 in 1994 to 3,099 in 2000, then increased steadily to 11,920 in 2012; survey effort was a factor, but the bird's actual growth is substantial.

Least tern, Interior DPS

LEAST TERN, INTERIOR DPS (Sterna antillarum athalassos)

Least tern, Interior DPS
Least tern, Interior DPS, Sterna antillarum athalassos, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 603%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1985

Delisted: Determination 2013

Recovery plan: 1990

SUMMARY
The interior least tern's main threat at the time of its listing was the destruction of habitat due to channel engineering. The species has proven resilient to changes in habitat and has benefited from management. No range-wide threats persist. Since it was listed as endangered in 1985, its population has increased from an estimated 1,970 birds to 13,855 in 2012. Furthermore, the species is now known to inhabit a larger range than originally thought.

Northern Aplomado falcon

NORTHERN APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis septentrionalis)

Northern Aplomado falcon
Northern Aplomado falcon population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 2,700%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1986

Recovery plan: 1990

SUMMARY
The northern Aplomado falcon declined due to brush encroachment of savanna because of fire suppression and livestock grazing; agricultural conversion; stream channelization; pesticide exposure and predation by brush-loving species. It was extirpated from the United States by 1960, listed as endangered in 1986, and reintroduced to the coastal plain of South Texas in 1993. The breeding population increased from one pair in 1995 to 44 in 2005, then declined to 28 in 2012 and 2013.

Piping plover, Atlantic DPS

PIPING PLOVER, ATLANTIC DPS (Charadrius melodus)

Atlantic piping plover
Atlantic piping plover, Charadrius melodus, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 212%

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 1985

Recovery plan: 2003

Critical habitat: 2001

SUMMARY
The Atlantic piping plover initially declined due to hunting and the millinery trade. With these eliminated it increased in the first half of the 20th century, but began declining after 1950 due to development, beach crowding and predation. It was listed as threatened in 1985. Intensive habitat protection and predator control grew its U.S. population from 550 pairs in 1986 to 1,679 in 2015. The 1,600 pair recovery goal was met in 2007 and 2012 through 2015 (although 2014 data is lacking).

Piping plover, Great Lakes DPS

PIPING PLOVER, GREAT LAKES DPS (Charadrius melodus)

Great Lakes piping plover
Great Lakes piping plover population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 295%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1985

Recovery plan: 2003

Critical habitat: 2001

SUMMARY
The Great Lakes piping plover initially declined due to hunting, egg collecting and the millinery trade. More recent declines are the result of development, predation and human recreation in plover nesting habitat. When the plover was listed as endangered in 1985, only 19 pairs remained in the Great Lakes region. The species continued to decline to 12 pairs in 1990 before increasing steadily to 75 pairs in 2015.

Piping plover, northern Great Plains DPS

PIPING PLOVER, NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS DPS (Charadrius melodus)

Northern Great Plains piping plover
Northern Great Plains piping plover,Charadrius melodus, population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 180%

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 1985

Recovery plan: 2016

Critical habitat: 2002

SUMMARY
The Northern Great Plains piping plover was listed as endangered in 1985 due to threats from habitat loss, predation and disturbance. The plover's numbers in the Northern Great Plains region increased from about 525 breeding pairs in 1986 (the year after it was listed) to 1,468 breeding pairs in 2008.

Whooping crane

WHOOPING CRANE (Grus americana)

Whooping crane
Whooping crane population graph

Status since listing: Increased

Growth since listing: 923%

ESA status: Endangered

List year: 1967

Recovery plan: 2007

Critical habitat:1978

SUMMARY
The whooping crane declined precipitously in the late 1800s and early 1900s due to hunting and habitat loss. It remains threatened by habitat degradation, collisions with power lines, and oil and gas development. When listed as endangered in 1967, the whooping crane consisted of 43 wild and 7 captive birds. Thanks to extensive conservation efforts, the species had grown to 440 wild and 161 captive birds by 2014.

Listed Under the ESA Less Than 10 Years:

 

Lesser prairie chicken

LESSER PRAIRIE CHICKEN (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus)

Lesser prairie chicken
population graph, Lesser prairie chicken, Tympanuchus pallidicinctus

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 2014

Delisted: Final 2015

SUMMARY
The lesser prairie chicken declined due to habitat destruction, degradation and fragmentation by energy, agriculture and other development. It declined significantly throughout the 1900s. Between 1970 and 2015, the estimated population fell from 300,000 to 29,000. It was listed as an endangered species in 2014.

Rufa red knot

RUFA RED KNOT (Calidris canutus rufa)

rufa red knot

ESA status: Threatened

List year: 2014

SUMMARY
The rufa red knot is threatened by climate change, shoreline development, and interferences with prey availability. Data on the bird are sparse and incomplete. While the subspecies’ precise numbers through time are uncertain, decreases in the late 1900s and 2000s were apparent. The knot was listed as threatened in 2014.