Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo Gains 298,845 Acres of Protected Critical Habitat in Seven Western States

TUCSON, Ariz.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at this time designated 298,845 acres in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas and Utah as vital habitat for the western yellow-billed cuckoo.

“We’re thrilled these stunning birds are lastly receiving protections for his or her streamside houses,” stated Brian Segee, a senior legal professional on the Heart for Organic Variety. “Whereas not good, this designation consists of lots of the cuckoo’s most essential remaining nesting areas in Arizona, New Mexico and different western states.”

The imperiled songbird as soon as ranged broadly within the western United States however has declined precipitously, with solely an estimated 800 pairs remaining. The Heart has labored for the birds’ safety for greater than 20 years, first submitting a scientific petition to record them below the Endangered Species Act in 1998, and most lately reaching a settlement with the Service requiring this ultimate vital habitat designation.

After greater than a decade of delay, the Fish and Wildlife Service lastly listed the western cuckoo as threatened in 2014. The company additionally proposed the safety of greater than half one million acres of the species’ vital habitat however did not finalize the designation. Immediately’s designation stemmed from a smaller proposal below the Trump administration and was additional decreased by greater than 172,000 acres of “exclusions” within the ultimate designation.

“We’re disenchanted the Fish and Wildlife Service willingly excluded so many key areas slightly than give the cuckoo much more habitat safety,” stated Segee. “This failure displays the true want for the Biden administration to usher in new management and reform the company.”

The yellow-billed cuckoo will depend on wholesome streamside areas for breeding, nesting and feeding. Its disappearance from huge expanses of its former habitat is due largely to the damming of rivers, improvement, water withdrawal and livestock grazing. Local weather change additionally threatens the cuckoo with elevated drought. Pesticide use and collisions with communication towers and different tall constructions additional imperil the hen.

Crucial habitat designation requires federal companies to keep away from actions that lead to harm or destruction of the hen’s habitat.


The western yellow-billed cuckoo winters in South America and summers within the western United States and components of Mexico and Canada. Its vary has drastically contracted, with the species not occurring in a lot of the northern half of its vary within the West.

Immediately the hen survives in scattered places in small numbers, together with alongside California’s Sacramento, Eel and Kern rivers; the Colorado, Gila, Verde and San Pedro rivers in Arizona; New Mexico’s Gila and Rio Grande rivers; and scattered places in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, Wyoming and Utah. Traditionally the cuckoo was frequent from the shores of Lake Washington in Seattle to the mouth of the Colorado River.

The cuckoo is a visually putting hen whose lengthy tail has flashy white markings. It’s considered one of few species that may eat spiny caterpillars, comparable to tent caterpillars, which adults and their chicks gorge on in spring and summer time.

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