Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia)
Among the endangered plants and animals is the Setophaga chrysoparia, more commonly known as the Golden-cheeked Warbler. It ranks as one of five endangered species of interest that occurs in the Brazos River basin.
The Golden-cheeked Warbler is listed as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Fragmentation and destruction of habitat and nest parasitism by Brown-headed Cowbirds contributed to population declines.
Current Range Map
Click here to view map of counties where Golden-cheeked Warbler breeding occurs.
Golden-cheeked Warblers nest in mature Ashe juniper/hardwood forests and woodlands near and within ravines or canyons. The peeling bark found only on mature juniper trees is required by these migratory birds for nest building, making them extreme habitat specialists. Golden-cheeked Warblers breed exclusively in Central Texas.
Golden-cheeked Warblers begin nesting in March. They rear young into summer before migrating back to Central America during late July, early August. Females lay three or four eggs in a cup-shaped nest constructed from shredded juniper bark, spider webs, moss, and lichens. The eggs are incubated for 12 days.
Ongoing Conservation Efforts
The United States Department of Defense, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other agencies, and private landowners engaged in confidential, voluntary conservation easements have all contributed to land and habitat acquisition and management of Golden-cheeked Warbler breeding habitat. Common practices on these lands are simple; preservation of old-growth dense woodlands and forests, and population monitoring. Other suggested efforts to improve the habitat for these birds includes wild pig trapping, cowbird control, native and exotic deer control, and prescribed fire, which reduces accumulated brush piles near habitat edges.
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Read more about the other endangered species of interest here.