Last Friday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) published its final rule listing the western yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The species is an insect-eating bird found in riparian woodland habitat. The final rule lists loss of riparian habitat as the primary threat to the species and notes that conversion to agriculture, dam construction, river flow management, and overgrazing have all contributed to loss of the species’ habitat over the last several decades. The species has been listed in twelve western states throughout which it breeds – Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, and Washington.
The Service has proposed to designate 546,335 acres of critical habitat for the species throughout nine western states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. Comments on the proposed critical habitat rule are due on October 14.