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Critical habitat designated for Yellow-billed Cuckoo

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Late last month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally designated 298,845 acres as critical habitat for the western population of the Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). The final designation included 39% less critical habitat than the February 2020 proposal, and includes areas in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah.

The final critical habitat designation focused on “selected areas used for breeding,” according to the USFWS, and did not include all habitat where the birds breed, feed, migrate, or and stop over. The February 2020 proposal would have included 493,665 acres across seven Western states as critical habitat for the bird. An earlier proposal, published in 2014, would have included 546,335 acres. 

According to the USFWS, the primary threats to Yellow-billed Cuckoos are habitat loss and degradation from altered watercourses, livestock overgrazing, encroachment from agriculture and conversion of native habitat to nonnative vegetation.

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The Ornithological Council is a consortium of 10 scientific societies of ornithologists; these societies span the Western Hemisphere and the research conducted by their members spans the globe. Their cumulative expertise comprises the knowledge that is fundamental and essential to science-based bird conservation and management. The Ornithological Council is financially supported by our 10 member societies and the individual ornithologists who value our work. If the OC’s resources are valuable to you, please consider joining one of our member societies or donating directly at Birdnet.org. Thank you for your support!


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