Dendroica chrysoparia


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Dendroica chrysoparia
Species Authority: Sclater & Salvin, 1861
Common Name(s):
English Golden-cheeked Warbler

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2012-05-03
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Komar, O., Ladd, C., Lockwood, M., Lyons, J., Peak, R., Sterling, J. & Reidy, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Symes, A.
This species has a very small and fragmented occupied breeding range, which is declining significantly. Although conservation action may have ameliorated some of this decline, the species still qualifies as Endangered.

2012 Endangered

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Dendroica chrysoparia is a local breeder in mature juniper-oak woodlands in the Edwards Plateau, Lampasas Cut Plain and Central Mineral Region, Texas, USA (Ladd and Gass 1999). It occurs at an average density of 15 males/km2 in c.350 km2 of occupied habitat, and the population was estimated to number 21,000 individuals in 2004 (Rich et al. 2004). There was a 25% loss in available territories between 1962 and 1981 (Ladd and Gass 1999), and the population has clearly declined. It winters in southern Mexico (Chiapas), Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Honduras, where it is uncommon to fairly common (Ladd and Gass 1999, Jones and Komar 2007). There are recent reports/records from Costa Rica (Garigues 2002) and Panama (Jones and Komar 2006).

El Salvador; Guatemala; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; United States
Belize; Panama; Virgin Islands, U.S.
Present - origin uncertain:
Costa Rica
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Rich et al. (2004). There is no reliable current estimate (J. Reidy in litt. 2012).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It breeds in juniper-oak woodlands, where it depends on Ashe Juniper Juniperus ashei bark for nesting material (Lockwood 1996). Nest building begins in late March, and eggs may be laid until mid-May (Ladd and Gass 1999, J. Reidy in litt. 2012). In winter, it occurs in mixed-species flocks, foraging at sites with a high density of "encino" oaks (in comparison to pines and other oak species) at 1,500-3,000 m (Thompson 1995, Ladd and Gass 1999, Rappole et al. 1999). It was thought to have a wider winter habitat tolerance (and may be tolerant of moderate levels of logging and grazing [Rappole et al. 1999]), but this requires substantiation (J. Sterling in litt. 1999).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Breeding habitat is under clearance for land development and agriculture (Ladd and Gass 1999). Fragmentation impairs gene flow (Lindsay et al. 2006) and nest survival decreases with increasing forest edge density (Peak 2006, Reidy et al. 2009). However, the main cause of decline may be logging and firewood-extraction, and agricultural conversion for cattle reducing pine-oak habitats in southern Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras (Ladd and Gass 1999, J. Lyons in litt. 1999, Rappole et al. 2003, Ecoregional Plan for conservation of Central American pine-oak forest and its birds 2007). Predation of incubating females by rat snakes (Elaphe spp.) appears to be an important contributor to adult mortality, accounting for perhaps 15% of breeding female deaths (Reidy et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
In the USA, it is listed as Endangered and has a recovery plan (Ladd and Gass 1999). There is a cowbird trapping programme in Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Texas (Sexton 1997, Ladd and Gass 1999) and regional habitat conservation plans have been approved or are under development in Travis, Hays, Comal, and Williamson counties, Texas (Ladd and Gass 1999, J. Lyons in litt. 1999). Various reserves are managed for the species in Texas (J. Lyons in litt. 1999). Surveys in 1993-1995 improved knowledge of its wintering distribution (Ladd and Gass 1999). It is known or suspected from Rancho Nuevo and Lagunas de Montebello National Parks, Mexico, Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala, and Celaque, Cusuco and Santa Bárbara National Parks, Honduras (Thompson 1995, Ladd and Gass 1999). Currently there is an ongoing effort involving Pronatura Sur, Defensores de la Naturaleza, and Salva Natura to gather information on the warbler south of the US, including details on its wintering habitat, and a community education initiative is underway. Surveys to monitor breeding populations are ongoing. The Leon River Restoration Project in central Texas is working on a habitat restoration project with Golden-cheeked Warbler and Black-capped Vireo as the primary focus.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor winter distribution and habitat quality. Monitor breeding populations. Better define ecology and habitat availability (Ladd and Gass 1999). Control cowbird populations where appropriate. Protect a highland pine-oak corridor in Mexico and north Central America (Lyons 1990). Implement community education schemes in the breeding range (Ladd and Gass 1999). Restore connectivity between northern and southern breeding populations to promote gene flow (Lindsay et al. 2006).

Citation: BirdLife International 2013. Dendroica chrysoparia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <>. Downloaded on 27 March 2015.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided