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Golden-cheeked Warbler Dendroica chrysoparia
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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.

Taxonomic source(s)
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

12.5 cm. Smart black, yellow and white warbler. Adult male black above with yellow supercilium and cheek-patch split by black eye-stripe extending from bill through eye to rear auricular region where it joins with black nape (Pyle et al. 1987, Ladd and Gass 1999). Wings black with two white wing-bars and fringing to the flight feathers, black chin, throat and streaks down flanks on white underparts. Female similar but olive to gray streaked black on crown and mantle, chin and centre of throat yellow or white surrounded by variable amounts of black mottling along the sides. Immature drab with indistinct streaking and black eye-stripe. Similar spp. Black-throated Green Warbler D. virens, but first-winter female D. chrysoparia has more distinct, dark eye-stripe, no auricular patch, darker, less olive and usually faintly streaked blackish upperparts and no yellow in vent. Voice Multiple songs: the “A” song is a variable and buzzy zee zee zeedee-zee, while the “B” song is lazy-daisy (or variations); numerous other vocalizations (J. Reidy in litt. 2012). Hints Best located by voice in canopy. Forages in mixed flocks in winter.

Distribution and population
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).

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

Trend justification
Nesting habitats are being cleared in the breeding grounds for land development, ranching and agriculture; and habitats are being lost in the wintering grounds primarily owing to deforestation for livestock grazing and fuel wood collection. Therefore, the population is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate.

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).

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 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).

Alliance for the Conservation of Mesoamerican Pine-oak Forests. 2007. Conservation plan for the Central American pine-oak forest ecoregion and the golden-cheeked warbler. Fundación Defensores de la Naturaleza Technical Series 5: 1-98.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Curson, J.; Quinn, D.; Beadle, D. 1994. New World warblers. A&C Black/Christopher Helm, London.

Garrigues, R. 2002. First Costa Rican record of Golden-cheeked Warbler.

Jones, H. L.; Komar, O. 2006. Central America (in The Regional Reports: The Winter Season, December 2005 through February 2006). North American Birds 60: 296-299.

Jones, H. L.; Komar, O. 2007. Central America (in The Regional Reports: The Winter Season, December 2006 through February 2007). North American Birds 61: 144-148.

Ladd, C.; Gass, L. 1999. Golden-cheeked Warbler Dendroica chrysoparia. In: Poole, A.; Gill, F. (ed.), The birds of North America, No. 420, pp. 1-24. The Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia and the American Ornithologists' Union, Philadelphia and Washington, DC.

Lindsay, D. L.; Barr, K. R.; Lance, R. F.; Tweddale, S. A.; Hayden, T. J.; Leberg, P. L. 2006. Genetic diversity of the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) in central Texas. Wings without borders: IV North American Ornithological Conference, October 3-7, 2006, Veracruz, Mexico, pp. 194. American Ornithologists' Union, Waco, TX, USA.

Lockwood, M. W. 1996. Courtship behavior of Golden-cheeked Warblers. Wilson Bulletin 108: 591-592.

Lyons, J. 1990. Winter habitat survey of the Golden-cheeked Warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) in Guatemala.

Peak, R. G. 2007. Forest edges negatively affect Golden-cheeked Warbler nest survival. Condor 109(3): 628-637.

Pyle, P.S.; Howell, N. G.; Yunick, R. P.; DeSante, D. F. 1987. Identification guide to North American passerines. Slate Creek Press, Bolinas, CA, USA.

Rappole, J. H.; King , D. I.; Vega Rivera, J. H. 2003. Coffee and conservation. Conservation Biology 17(1): 334-336.

Rappole, J. H.; King, D. I.; Barrow, W. C., Jr. 1999. Winter ecology of the endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler. Condor 101: 762-770.

Reidy, J. L.; Stake, M. M.; Thompson, F. R. III;. 2009. Nocturnal predation of females on nests: an important source of mortality for Golden-cheeked Warblers. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(2): 416-421.

Reidy, J. L.; Thompson, F. R. III; Peak, R. G. 2009. Factors affecting Golden-cheeked Warbler nest survival in urban and rural landscapes. Journal of Wildlife Management 73: 407–413.

Rich, T.D.; Beardmore, C.J.; Berlanga, H.; Blancher, P.J.; Bradstreet, M.S.W.; Butcher, G.S.; Demarest, D.W.; Dunn, E.H.; Hunter, W.C.; Inigo-Elias, E.E.; Martell, A.M.; Panjabi, A.O.; Pashley, D.N.; Rosenberg, K.V.; Rustay, C.M.; Wendt, J.S.; Will, T.C. 2004. Partners in flight: North American landbird conservation plan. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY.

Sexton, C. W. 1997. Cowbirds and vireos: a short course and a success story. Bird Conservation: 14-15.

Thompson, D. E. 1995. Observations of Golden-cheeked Warbler wintering in Guatemala and Honduras.

Further web sources of information
Audubon WatchList

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Recovery Plan

Text account compilers
Bird, J., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Symes, A.

Komar, O., Ladd, C., Lockwood, M., Lyons, J., Peak, R., Sterling, J. & Reidy, J.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Dendroica chrysoparia. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Parulidae (New World warblers)
Species name author Sclater & Salvin, 1861
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 19,700 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species