STATUS: Endangered without critical habitat.|
DESCRIPTION: 4.5 to 5 inches long with a wingspan of 7.75 inches. The male has a black back, throat, and cap; and yellow cheeks with a black stripe through the eye. Females are similar, but less colorful. Lower breast and belly of both sexes are white with black stripes on the flanks.
HABITAT: This species' range is within the Edwards Plateau and the lampasas cutplain. Habitat can be characterized as oak-juniper woodland. Mature Ashe junipers (cedar) provide nest substrate and various oaks apparently provide essential foraging substrate. Predominant woody species used include live oak, Texas oak, scaly bark oak, cedar elm. Mexican persimmon, hackberry, Texas ash, bald cypress, Arizona walnut, big-tooth maple, Lacey oak, and sycamore.
Present: Breeds exclusively in Texas; mainly in the Edwards Plateau, west to Edwards and Kinney counties, east to Bexar, Travis, and north to Hood and Palo Pinto counties. Is present from early March to mid-August. Winters from southern Mexico to Nicaragua.
THREATS AND/OR REASONS FOR DECLINE: Habitat loss and fragmentation (due to urban encroachment and clearing junipers as a range management practice). Brood parasitism by brown-headed cowbirds (Molothrus ater) and predation may also be accentuated by habitat fragmentation.
Historic: Same as present, but also including Dallas, Lee, McLennan, and Tom Green Counties.
OTHER INFORMATION: Strands of Ashe juniper bark are a specific nest-building material required by the warbler. Average nest height is 15 feet above ground, ranging from 5 to 32 feet above ground. The species may return to the same nest site after wintering in Mexico and Central America. It is the only bird species (not considering subspecies) whose entire nesting range is confined to Texas. This warbler feeds almost entirely on insects.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. August 1992. Threatened and Endangered Species of Texas.
Endangered Species Office, Albuquerque, New Mexico