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North America's Endangered Birds

Updated on February 20, 2018

California Condor

The California condor is the largest bird in North America and it remains on the list of critically endangered animals.  Lead-poisoning is a major threat to their continued existence.
The California condor is the largest bird in North America and it remains on the list of critically endangered animals. Lead-poisoning is a major threat to their continued existence. | Source

North America's Endangered Birds

  • This hub celebrates the beauty of the endangered birds of North America. When possible, we use photos taken by amateur (and professional) photographers, and not photographs you have seen in publications by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency which maintains a list of the threatened and endangered species here in the United States.
  • Before a bird can be placed on the endangered species list, it is studied thoroughly by scientists who strive to estimate how many are remaining in the population. They also try to determine the problems threatening the species, so the listing process could take years.
  • Please watch the videos included in this hub. They are exceptional and allow you to see these magnificent creatures in the wild.
  • Believe it or not, the Fish and Wildlife Service currently lists 90 birds as endangered (as of 2017, there were 101 on the list). I have tried to track down interesting photographs of several of them.

The California Condor is the Elvis Presley of endangered species. It is huge, it is iconic, it is worshipped and despised … The condor is the soul of the wilderness.

— John Nielsen, Journalist in Residence at the World Wildlife Fund

Mississippi Sandhill Crane

The Mississippi sandhill crane are listed as critically endangered and they are found in the wild only on, and adjacent to, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi.
The Mississippi sandhill crane are listed as critically endangered and they are found in the wild only on, and adjacent to, the Mississippi Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge in Gautier, Mississippi. | Source
This is a photo of a marbled murrelet in flight.  Loss of habitat is the biggest threat these birds face, as the trees they use for nested are targeted for logging.  They are found in California and Washington in North America.
This is a photo of a marbled murrelet in flight. Loss of habitat is the biggest threat these birds face, as the trees they use for nested are targeted for logging. They are found in California and Washington in North America. | Source

Masked Bobwhite Quail

The masked bobwhite quail is on the endangered list and is found only in the Sonoran Desert and semi desert regions of southern Arizona, and northern Sonora in Mexico.  It is the only species of quail on the endangered list.
The masked bobwhite quail is on the endangered list and is found only in the Sonoran Desert and semi desert regions of southern Arizona, and northern Sonora in Mexico. It is the only species of quail on the endangered list.

The Whooping Crane

The whooping crane is the tallest North American bird and is so named because of the whooping sound it makes.  It remains endangered, but conservation efforts have increased the numbers over the past several years.
The whooping crane is the tallest North American bird and is so named because of the whooping sound it makes. It remains endangered, but conservation efforts have increased the numbers over the past several years. | Source

Some of the Endangered Birds of Hawaii

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This is a photo of the Hawaiian petrel bird, an endangered seabird that resides in the central subtropical Pacific Ocean and has been known to breed only within the major Hawaiian Islands.The critically endangered palila bird is a small songbird in the forests of Hawaii.  Today, they are found in a very small percentage of their historic range, primarily due to the loss of native dryland forest habitat.The 'Akeke'e bird is rare and found only on the only the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project was established to facilitate the recovery of this bird and two others in Hawaii, the Puaiohi,  and the Akikiki.This is the small Kauai thrush bird, also knowns as Puaiohi.  It is is drastic decline on the island of Kauai in Hawaii where it is a native bird.The I'iwi bird has a long, downward-curving bill which is perfect for sipping nectar from tubular flowers.  Climate change and diseases such as malaria have caused this beautiful bird's numbers to decrease over the years.The endangered Hawaiian stilt, which has very long pink legs and a black beak.  This stilt is a very slender wading bird found only in Hawaii.This is the endangered Hawaiian akepa bird.  It's habitat has been drastically reduced by a virulent disease that has destroyed several thousands of acres of the Ohi'a trees, upon which they depend for survival.
This is a photo of the Hawaiian petrel bird, an endangered seabird that resides in the central subtropical Pacific Ocean and has been known to breed only within the major Hawaiian Islands.
This is a photo of the Hawaiian petrel bird, an endangered seabird that resides in the central subtropical Pacific Ocean and has been known to breed only within the major Hawaiian Islands. | Source
The critically endangered palila bird is a small songbird in the forests of Hawaii.  Today, they are found in a very small percentage of their historic range, primarily due to the loss of native dryland forest habitat.
The critically endangered palila bird is a small songbird in the forests of Hawaii. Today, they are found in a very small percentage of their historic range, primarily due to the loss of native dryland forest habitat.
The 'Akeke'e bird is rare and found only on the only the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project was established to facilitate the recovery of this bird and two others in Hawaii, the Puaiohi,  and the Akikiki.
The 'Akeke'e bird is rare and found only on the only the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii. The Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Project was established to facilitate the recovery of this bird and two others in Hawaii, the Puaiohi, and the Akikiki. | Source
This is the small Kauai thrush bird, also knowns as Puaiohi.  It is is drastic decline on the island of Kauai in Hawaii where it is a native bird.
This is the small Kauai thrush bird, also knowns as Puaiohi. It is is drastic decline on the island of Kauai in Hawaii where it is a native bird. | Source
The I'iwi bird has a long, downward-curving bill which is perfect for sipping nectar from tubular flowers.  Climate change and diseases such as malaria have caused this beautiful bird's numbers to decrease over the years.
The I'iwi bird has a long, downward-curving bill which is perfect for sipping nectar from tubular flowers. Climate change and diseases such as malaria have caused this beautiful bird's numbers to decrease over the years. | Source
The endangered Hawaiian stilt, which has very long pink legs and a black beak.  This stilt is a very slender wading bird found only in Hawaii.
The endangered Hawaiian stilt, which has very long pink legs and a black beak. This stilt is a very slender wading bird found only in Hawaii. | Source
This is the endangered Hawaiian akepa bird.  It's habitat has been drastically reduced by a virulent disease that has destroyed several thousands of acres of the Ohi'a trees, upon which they depend for survival.
This is the endangered Hawaiian akepa bird. It's habitat has been drastically reduced by a virulent disease that has destroyed several thousands of acres of the Ohi'a trees, upon which they depend for survival. | Source

The Incredible Whooping Crane

The Crested Caracara

The crested caracara can be found in North America in Mexico and only on the southern parts of the United States, including Florida, where it is considered a threatened species.
The crested caracara can be found in North America in Mexico and only on the southern parts of the United States, including Florida, where it is considered a threatened species. | Source

More Endangered Birds

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The short-tailed albatross is the largest of three albatross species found in the North Pacific Ocean.  They are distinguished mainly by their large, bubblegum-pink bill that has a bluish-colored tip.Who wouldn't love to see an ivory-billed woodpecker in their yard, pecking away?  They are also called "the Grail Bird," because to see one is considered "The Holy Grail" of birding.A thick-billed parrot in flight.  This stunning bird has been on the endangered list since 1970 and are found in Arizona and Mexico.Wood storks are beady-eyed, long-legged wading birds found primarily in Florida.  The National Audubon Society calls this bird “the barometer of the Everglades.”The Inyo California towhee are only found in California and very small regions of Nevada.  At this point, they are only threatened, but let's make sure they don't get on the endangered list.
The short-tailed albatross is the largest of three albatross species found in the North Pacific Ocean.  They are distinguished mainly by their large, bubblegum-pink bill that has a bluish-colored tip.
The short-tailed albatross is the largest of three albatross species found in the North Pacific Ocean. They are distinguished mainly by their large, bubblegum-pink bill that has a bluish-colored tip. | Source
Who wouldn't love to see an ivory-billed woodpecker in their yard, pecking away?  They are also called "the Grail Bird," because to see one is considered "The Holy Grail" of birding.
Who wouldn't love to see an ivory-billed woodpecker in their yard, pecking away? They are also called "the Grail Bird," because to see one is considered "The Holy Grail" of birding.
A thick-billed parrot in flight.  This stunning bird has been on the endangered list since 1970 and are found in Arizona and Mexico.
A thick-billed parrot in flight. This stunning bird has been on the endangered list since 1970 and are found in Arizona and Mexico. | Source
Wood storks are beady-eyed, long-legged wading birds found primarily in Florida.  The National Audubon Society calls this bird “the barometer of the Everglades.”
Wood storks are beady-eyed, long-legged wading birds found primarily in Florida. The National Audubon Society calls this bird “the barometer of the Everglades.” | Source
The Inyo California towhee are only found in California and very small regions of Nevada.  At this point, they are only threatened, but let's make sure they don't get on the endangered list.
The Inyo California towhee are only found in California and very small regions of Nevada. At this point, they are only threatened, but let's make sure they don't get on the endangered list.

California Condor Video

Spectacled Eider and a Pair of Short-Tailed Albatross Birds

In North America, this spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri) is found only in the state of Alaska.  Like many other arctic birds, it has been the victim of climate change, as its numbers have gradually decreased.
In North America, this spectacled eider (Somateria fischeri) is found only in the state of Alaska. Like many other arctic birds, it has been the victim of climate change, as its numbers have gradually decreased. | Source
This is a pair of short-tailed albatross birds, found in Alaska.  Commercial hunting in the state has driven this bird almost to extinction.  Elsewhere - in Japan, this bird is considered a natural national monument.
This is a pair of short-tailed albatross birds, found in Alaska. Commercial hunting in the state has driven this bird almost to extinction. Elsewhere - in Japan, this bird is considered a natural national monument. | Source

The Spectacled Eider Duck in Action

Northern Aplamado Falcon

This handsome, endangered northern aplamado falcon is only found in the states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.
This handsome, endangered northern aplamado falcon is only found in the states of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico.

Banding the Aplomado Falcons

Kirtland's Warbler

This is the endangered Kirtland's warbler, a songbird that nests in young jack pine stands.  They have been seen in several states, including  Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wisconsin
This is the endangered Kirtland's warbler, a songbird that nests in young jack pine stands. They have been seen in several states, including Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, and Wisconsin | Source

Declining Populations of Common Birds

This is the list of 33 common birds identified by scientists from the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) as being in steep decline. Their report was published in the State of the Birds - 2014.

  1. Northern Pintail
  2. American Wigeon
  3. Cinnamon Teal
  4. Greater Scaup
  5. Long-tailed Duck
  6. Scaled Quail
  7. Northern Bobwhite
  8. Purple Gallinule
  9. Franklin’s Gull
  10. Herring Gull
  11. Black Tern
  12. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  13. Snowy Owl
  14. Short-eared Owl
  15. Common Nighthawk
  16. Chimney Swift
  17. Loggerhead Shrike
  18. Horned Lark
  19. Bank Swallow
  20. Verdin
  21. Varied Thrush
  22. Snow Bunting
  23. Cape May Warbler
  24. Blackpoll Warbler
  25. Wilson’s Warbler
  26. Field Sparrow
  27. Lark Bunting
  28. Grasshopper Sparrow
  29. Eastern Meadowlark
  30. Rusty Blackbird
  31. Brewer’s Blackbird
  32. Common Grackle
  33. Pine Siskin

Keeping common birds common, while we

still can, is as important as preventing extinctions of rare species.

— From the State of the Birds - 2014

References

  1. Hasegawa, H., and A.R. DeGange (1982). The short-tailed albatross, Diomedia albatrus: Its status, distribution, and natural history. American Birds 6(5):806-814.
  2. https://seaduckjv.org/meet-the-sea-ducks/spectacled-eider/. Retrieved 02/19/2018
  3. http://www.ducksg.org/ Retrieved 02/18/2018
  4. http://www.pwlf.org/ Retrieved 02/18/2018
  5. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/the-ten-most-endangered-and-distinctive-birds-in-the-world/ Retrieved 02/19/2018
  6. https://www.birds-of-north-america.net/Endangered_Birds.html. Retrieved 02/20/2018

The Call of the Sandhill Cranes

© 2009 Mike and Dorothy McKenney

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    • profile image

      Garfield hummingbird feeder 

      7 years ago

      It's sad that birds can become endangered like this. I love the birds, so I put hummingbird feeders in my back yard, and I love to watch them come out every evening.

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