Species of Greatest Conservation Need

1279 species
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Species of Greatest Conservation Need (Updated: 01/31/2024)
Common Name Scientifc Name Taxonomic Group Federal Status State Status Global Rank State Rank Endemic General Habitat Type(s)
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3B,S5N False Year-round: Winter: coastal in Texas - mixed grass, coastal prairie; coastal sandy beaches, intertidal mudflats, salt marshes, coastal and inland pastures and farmlands, freshwater wetlands, salt ponds, and agricultural pastures; Former Breeding: panhandle in Texas - shortgrass prairie; playas may be important
sooty tern Onychoprion fuscatus Birds Not Listed T G5 S1B False Primarily an offshore bird; does nest on sandy beaches and islands, breeding April-July.
Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3B False Breeding: Bottomland hardwood forests and woods near streams with dense understory and dense ground cover for ground nesting: large contiguous forest patches covering 600-1000 hectare (ha) in a two kilometer-radius area (50-80% of 1250ha) with small patches of shrubland and successional habitat scattered through the forested landscape 5-15% of the area (60-180ha in 1250ha)
Harris' Hawk Parabuteo unicinctus Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3B False Year-round: Mesquite woodlands with a prickly pear understory; yucca-cactus-creosote bush; few in juniper-oak habitat; other South Texas habitat components - blackbrush, cenizo and guaijllo, mesquite, hackberry, live oak and large yuccas
Painted Bunting Passerina ciris Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S4B False Breeding: Mid-successional shrubland to savanna with some shrub component; thickets, shrubby areas with scattered trees and bushes; woodland and forest edges where shrubs thicketize; overgrown fields, thick diverse brush invaded pastures (not monotypic invasions typical of overgrazed/overbrowsed lands), savanna or pastures with scattered clumps of shrubby second growth. Shrub species is less important than thick, diverse widespread structure
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos Birds Not Listed Not Listed G4 S2B,S3N False Breeding: Texas breeding population (200-500 pairs in the Laguna Madre) well-isolated from the nearest northern breeding population in northern Colorado; Texas breeding population may be the only non-migratory population in North America spoil islands: bare ground along the periphery of great leadtrees (Leucaena leucocephala); North Bird Island halophytic grasses and subshrubs to 0.5 m (1.6 ft), annuals and shrubs to 1 m (3.3 ft), and scattered prickly-pear (Opuntia sp.) to 1 m (3.3 ft); South Bird Island loose sand and shell fragments, halophytic grass and subshrubs to 0.5 m (1.6 ft), prickly-pear to 1.0 m (3.3 ft) and yucca (Yucca sp.) to 2.5 m (8.2 ft); Spoil Island 81 nests are on bare sand, dense baccharis (Baccharis sp.) on higher parts, and dense bushy sea ox-eye (Borrichia frutescens)
Brown Pelican Pelecanus occidentalis Birds Not Listed Not Listed G4 S3B False Largely coastal and near shore areas, where it roosts and nests on islands and spoil banks. Feeds in lagunas and shallow seaward waters.
Bachman's sparrow Peucaea aestivalis Birds Not Listed T G3 S1B False Open pine woods with scattered bushes and grassy understory in Pineywoods region, brushy or overgrown grassy hillsides, overgrown fields with thickets and brambles, grassy orchards; remnant grasslands in Post Oak Savannah region; nests on ground against grass tuft or under low shrub
Botteri's sparrow Peucaea botterii Birds Not Listed Not Listed G4 S3B False Two allopatric subspecies occur in Texas. The arizonae subspecies found in the Trans Pecos is considered to be a vagrant because there is just one record from Presidio County in 1997. The other subspecies, texana, can be found regularly in sacahuista habitat (or cordgrass flats) in counties that along the lower coastline like Kenedy, Willacy, and Cameron counties, but also rarely in Kleberg and Brooks counties. This migratory species does not overwinter in Texas. Breeding birds return in spring and sit fairly visibly on (low) commanding perches like fence posts or mesquite limbs where males sing vigorously throughout summer.
Summer Tanager Piranga rubra Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S5B False Breeding: Open mixed oak and other hardwood woodlands; in more western areas of the state (and their entire range), cottonwood, willow, sycamore riparian woodlands; sometimes found in orchards, parks
white-faced ibis Plegadis chihi Birds Not Listed T G5 S4B False The county distribution for this species includes geographic areas that the species may use during migration. Time of year should be factored into evaluations to determine potential presence of this species in a specific county. Prefers freshwater marshes, sloughs, and irrigated rice fields, but will attend brackish and saltwater habitats; currently confined to near-coastal rookeries in so-called hog-wallow prairies. Nests in marshes, in low trees, on the ground in bulrushes or reeds, or on floating mats.
American Golden-plover Pluvialis dominica Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3 False Migrant: Coastal tidal flat and shoreline, short grasslands, pastures, golf courses, mudflats, sandy beaches, and flooded fields
Prothonotary Warbler Protonotaria citrea Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3B False Breeding: Permanently to seasonally flooded bottomland hardwood forests and riparian areas, swamps, bayous; stands with a canopy height of 16-20 m, extensive overstory canopy cover (50�75%), and sparse understory cover due to standing water; may avoid forests that are <100 ha or riparian strips that are <30 m wide; mature standing snags and trees with secondary cavities are necessary
King Rail Rallus elegans Birds Not Listed Not Listed G4 S3B False Year-round: Near sea level to about 1100 m (3700 ft) in freshwater or brackish marshes and swamps; nests in aquatic vegetation (cattails, rushes, sedges)
black skimmer Rynchops niger Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S2B False Year-round: Coastal waters, including bays, estuaries, lagoons and mudflats in migration and winter; quiet waters of rivers and lakes; loafing on mudflats, sandbars, beaches; Nests primarily near coasts on sandy beaches, dredge spoil islands, shell banks, coastal and estuary islands, on wrack and drift of salt marshes (especially where traditional beach nesting areas have been lost or where predacious gulls have become abundant), and locally, on gravelly rooftops
American Woodcock Scolopax minor Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S2B,S3N False Winter (some breeding during that time): Moist soil, primarily loamy sands and sandy loams (forage: earthworms); dense thickets by day, open areas, primarily very young pine plantations, overgrown pastures, and recently burned fields, to feed, court, and roost
Louisiana Waterthrush Seiurus motacilla Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S3B False Breeding: Restricted to mature shaded deciduous woodlands and forests with water: streams, lakes or swamps, but prefers flowing water; mature or fallen deadwood is important in the system (roots of an upturned stream-side tree or under a fallen log)
golden-cheeked warbler Setophaga chrysoparia Birds LE E G2 S2S3B False Ashe juniper in mixed stands with various oaks (Quercus spp.). Edges of cedar brakes. Dependent on Ashe juniper (also known as cedar) for long fine bark strips, only available from mature trees, used in nest construction; nests are placed in various trees other than Ashe juniper; only a few mature junipers or nearby cedar brakes can provide the necessary nest material; forage for insects in broad-leaved trees and shrubs; nesting late March-early summer.
tropical parula Setophaga pitiayumi Birds Not Listed T G5 S3B False Semi-tropical evergreen woodland along rivers and resacas. Texas ebony, anacua and other trees with epiphytic plants hanging from them. Dense or open woods, undergrowth, brush, and trees along edges of rivers and resacas; breeding April to July.
Dickcissel Spiza americana Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S4B False Breeding: Mixed-grass and tall-grass prairie (particularly with forbs and limited-but-present shrub or isolated tree structure), near sea level to 1150 m (3800 ft); native prairie grasslands, native and nonnative hayfields, oldfields, fencerows, hedgerows, road rights-of-way, planted cover (e.g., Conservation Reserve Program [CRP] fields and dense nesting cover), and moderately grazed and idle prairie
Field Sparrow Spizella pusilla Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S5B False Year-round: Brushy pastures, second growth scrub, oak woodland and hardwood-pine forest openings and edges, orchards, nurseries, and roadsides and railroads near open fields; preference for early successional shrub/woodland habitat with some grassland in the matrix; grass type affects habitat suitability, with warm-season grasses supporting higher abundance, nest density, and productivity than cool-season grasses
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S5 False Year-round: Coast and inland reservoirs; grassy islands in coastal bays; salt, brackish or freshwater marshes; marshy borders of lakes, islands, or streams
Least Tern Sternula antillarum Birds Not Listed Not Listed G4 S2B False Sand beaches, flats, bays, inlets, lagoons, islands, river sandbars and flat gravel rooftops in urban areas.
Mexican spotted owl Strix occidentalis lucida Birds LT T G3G4T3T4 S1B False Remote, shaded canyons of coniferous mountain woodlands (pine and fir); nocturnal predator of mostly small rodents and insects; day roosts in densely vegetated trees, rocky areas, or caves
Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna Birds Not Listed Not Listed G5 S5B False Year-round; subspecies lilianae added for CHIH; Grasslands, savanna, open fields, pastures, cultivated lands, sometimes marshes (wetland availability may be important?)