golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia)

Federal Register | Recovery | Critical Habitat | Conservation Plans | Petitions | Life History

Listing Status:   

Where Listed: WHEREVER FOUND

General Information

The golden-cheeked warbler (Dendroica chrysoparia, GCWA) is a small, neo-tropical songbird weighing about 10 grams (0.34 ounces) and is about 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) long (Pulich 1976, pp. 126-128). Adult GCWA males have yellow cheeks outlined in black with a thin black line through each eye and extending backwards from the eye (Oberholser 1974, p. 750; Ridgway 1902, p. 565). Upper breast, throat, and back are black, and the lower breast and belly are white with some lateral black spotting or streaking (Oberholser 1974, pp. 750, 753; Ridgway 1902, p. 565). Wings are blackish with two white wingbars, and tail feathers are black, except the outermost tail feather on each side is white with a black shaft line (Oberholser 1974, p. 753; Ridgway 1902, p. 565). The beak, legs, and feet are black, and eyes are dark brown (Oberholser 1974, p. 753). Adult GCWA females are similar to adult males but less strikingly marked (Pulich 1976, p. 121). For example, the cheeks and center of the throat of females are yellowish, grading to pale buff or white on the abdomen (Oberholser 1974, pp. 750, 753; Ridgway 1902, p. 566). Additionally, the back is dark olive-green with thin black streaks (Oberholser 1974, p. 750; Ridgway 1902, p. 566). Sides of the throat are black with feathers tipped in white, and the flanks (sides) are covered with black streaks (Oberholser 1974, p. 753; Ridgway 1902, p. 566).

  • States/US Territories in which the golden-cheeked warbler, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  Texas
  • US Counties in which the golden-cheeked warbler, Wherever found is known to or is believed to occur:  View All
  • USFWS Refuges in which the golden-cheeked warbler, Wherever found is known to occur:  Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge
  • Countries in which the the golden-cheeked warbler, Wherever found is known to occur:  El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
 
Current Listing Status Summary
Status Date Listed Lead Region Where Listed
1990-05-04 Southwest Region (Region 2) Wherever found

» Federal Register Documents

Federal Register Documents
Date Citation Page Title
2006-04-21 00:00:00.0 71 FR 20714 20716 5-Year Review of 25 Southwestern Species
2002-04-25 00:00:00.0 67 FR 20545 20545 Receipt of a Permit Application (Blairwood/Silver Oak) for Incidental Take of the Golden-Cheeked Warbler
1991-01-11 00:00:00.0 56 FR 1228 (Correction) ETWP; Dendroica chrysoparia (Golden-cheeked Warbler) as Endangered; 56 FR 1228
1990-05-04 00:00:00.0 55 FR 18846 18849 ETWP; Proposed Rule to List the Golden-cheeked Warbler as Endangered; 55 FR 18846 18849
2016-06-03 00:00:00.0 81 FR 35698 35701 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 90-Day Findings on Two Petitions
2000-04-25 00:00:00.0 65 FR 24222 Notice of Availability of an Environmental Assessment and Receipt of a Safe Harbor Application To Enhance the Propagation and Survival of the Black-Capped Vireo and the Golden-Cheeked Warbler in the Hill Country of Texas
1990-12-27 00:00:00.0 55 FR 53153 53160 ETWP; FInal Rule to List the Golden-cheeked Warbler as Endangered; 55 FR 53153 53160
1990-05-04 00:00:00.0 55 FR 18844 18845 (Emergency) ETWP; Emergency Rule to List the Golden-cheeked Warbler as Endangered; 55 FR 18844 18845
1982-12-30 00:00:00.0 47 FR 58454 58460 Review of Vertebrate Wildlife for Listing as End. or Thr. Species

» Recovery

Current Recovery Plan(s)
Date Title Plan Action Status Plan Status
1992-09-30 Golden-cheeked Warbler View Implementation Progress Final
Other Recovery Documents
Date Citation Page Title Document Type
2006-04-21 71 FR 20714 20716 5-Year Review of 25 Southwestern Species
  • Notice 5-year Review, Initiation
Five Year Review
Date Title
2014-08-26 Golden-cheeked warbler 5-Year Review

» Critical Habitat

No critical habitat rules have been published for the golden-cheeked warbler.

» Conservation Plans

Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP) (learn more)
HCP Plan Summaries
0189 Jones (formerly McCullough
Adler, Stephen-E
Anderson, David Charles
Andrus Subdivision
Baggett, Richard (Long Canyon)
Baker, Robert A. (Rob Roy on Lake)
Balcones Canyonlands (BCCP)
Baldwin Ranch Amendment #1
Baldwin Ranch [previously 6 D Ranch & Balfour ]
Barclay, Douglas
Barton Creek Community
Beasley, Larry (Lot owner) (Lake Travis Subdivision)
Bee Cave Oaks (Bee Cave Oaks Dev. Inc.)
Bell, Wayne (Blue Hills)
Blum, Richard (Lake Georgetown)
Bosque Canyon Ranch
Brubaker, Lance (Cardinal Hills)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #15, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #17, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #18, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #19, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #20, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #21, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #22, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #23, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #24, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #25, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #27, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #28, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #33, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #34, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #35, Jester Estates)
Burris, Howard L. Jr. (Lot #36, Jester Estates)
CA 1100, LTD (Silverado Tract II)
Canyon Ridge
Canyon Ridge Amendment 1
Cassin
Caster, John & Christine - Renewed
Cedar Park Waterline
CEMEX Balcones Quarry
Cibolo Canyon HCP - Lumberman's Investment Corp.
Clinton, Chuck (Yucca Mtn)
Comal County RHCP
Comanche Canyon Amendment # 1
Comanche Canyon Development, Inc. Amendment # 2
Comanche Canyon (Theriot)
CT 620 Partnership, Ltd. (Richard P. Henderson)
Davenport Ranch
Davenport Ranch, Amendment #1
DiJoy, David (Rob Roy on Lake)
Dixon, Charles (Long Canyon)
DR Horton
Ethridge, Cecil E.
Fleur Land Ltd. (Marshall, Bob) [aka Leander]
Four Points (TPG Four Points Land, L.P. [formerly PW-B Joint Venture; amended 2/27/01])
Franzetti, Anthony
Goulding, Jim (Belle Mountain)
Goynes, Janis (Cardinal Hills)
Graci, Albert (Lot #17, 620 Oaks)
Graci, Albert (Lot #18, 620 Oaks)
Graci, Albert (Lot #19, 620 Oaks)
Grandview Hills (Toman Parke Inc.)
Grason Volente Amendment # 4
Grason Volente Investments, Ltd. - Amendment # 5
Gray Mountain, Ltd.
Gray Mountain, Ltd. -- Amendment # 1
Great Hills Reserve, Yaupon Great Hills, LP
Great Hills Reserve, Yaupon Great Hills, L.P., Amendment 1
Greenshores Subdivision (Eppright, Russell)
Hausman, Louie
Hays County Regional HCP
Herbert, Jim (Westlake Highlands)
Hogan, Mark and Brenda
Horizon (GDF Realty, Riordan Properities)
Hunt, John & Jim
Hurst, Jane Marie (Bullick Bluff)
James, Larry W. (Long Canyon)-E
Koster, Ralph (Cardinal Hills)-E
Lake of the Woods Ltd. (Thomas L. Luth)
Lake Pointe/Don Walden - Amendment #2
Lake Pointe IV (Bon Terre-B Ltd.)
Lake Pointe (Southwest Travis Co., Ltd.)
Lake, Ralph J., # 1
Lake, Ralph Jr.
Lake, Ralph Jr. # 2
Lake Travis Bluff, L.P.
Lakeway Highlands, Ltd.
Lakeway Rough Hollow Ltd.
Lakeway Vista Royale Ltd.
Las Ventanas Land Partners, Ltd. - amendment 1
Las Ventanas Land Partners, Ltd. - amendment 2
Locus, Paul A.-E
Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Transmission
Madere, Steven (Long Canyon)-E
Martin, Kendel
Martin, Kendel B.
Mayberry, Brent
McIntyre, Earlynn G.
Milam, Chris (Lot #1, River Hill)-E
Milam, Chris (Lot #2, River Hill)
Milam, Chris (Lot #3, River Hill)
Milam, Chris (Lot #4, River Hill)
Mill, Joseph (Lodge Acres)
Mirzadegan, Jalil/Judith
Murski, Paul/Angela
Oncor HCP
Overlook at Cat Mountain
Park 22
Pratt, Carolyn (Windmill Bluff)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #1, West Lake Hills)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #2, West Lake Hills)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #3, West Lake Hills)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #4, West Lake Hills)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #5, West Lake Hills)
Pressler, Bette (Lot #6, West Lake Hills)
R2 Development (Lake of the Woods)
Ribelin Ranch
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #01, Canyon Mesa))
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #02, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #03, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #04, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #05, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #06, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #07, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #08, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #09, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #10, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #12, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #13, Canyon Mesa)
Richland SA, Ltd (Lot #14)
Rivers, Rex (Critter Canyon) B. -E
Russell Park Estates (Rockledge, Inc.; Leon A. Whitney; Gray Mountain, Ltd.)
Russell Park/Rockledge amendment 1
Scarpato, Thomas V. and Neybund-Scarpato, Janet E.
Schleuter 33 Commercial Development (2222 Research Park)
Schlumberger Amendment # 1
Schlumberger Technology Corp
Shadow Canyon
Shelley, Daniel O.
Silver Oak (Blairwood Ltd.) Property
Slover
Smith, Richard J.
Solidago
Spicewood at Bull Creek Amendment 4
Spicewood at Bull Creek (formerly Richland Bull Creek Assoc.)
Spicewood at Bull Creek (Jack Bray) Amendment 1
Stein Amendment 1
Stein, Fred P.
The Crossings Property (Beck, Kenneth)
Thomas, Bobby (L. Georgetown)-E
Treetops/Jefferson Treetops L.P. (formerly JPI Texas Development) (see Ward)
TXU Electric, Copperas Cove to Ding Dong
Van Cuylenburg, Peter-E
Volente Group Amendment 1
Volente Group Amendment 2
Volente Group Amendment 3
Volente Group (Francois Denise)
Wallace Tract
Westminster Glen (MaBe, Inc.)
White Water Springs
Williamson County Regional HCP
Woods of Greenshores (R2 & Lake of the Woods)
Safe Harbor Agreements (SHA): (learn more)
SHA Plan Summaries
Environmental Defense, Inc. Texas Hill Country SHA

» Petitions

» Life History

Habitat Requirements

Nesting: Typical GCWA nesting habitat is found in tall, closed canopy, dense, mature stands of Ashe juniper mixed with trees such as Texas oak, shin oak, live oak, Lacey oak (Q. laceyi), post oak (Q. stellata), Texas ash (Fraxinus texana), cedar elm, hackberry (Celtis reticulata), bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum), sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), little walnut (Juglans microcarpa), and escarpment cherry (Prunus serotina) (Oberholser 1974, p. 751; Kroll 1974, pp. 20, 34; Pulich 1974, pp. 65-66, Campbell 2003, p. 1). This type of woodland generally grows in relatively moist areas such as steep-sided canyons, slopes, and adjacent uplands (Keddy-Hector et al. 1998, p. 3; Riskind and Diamond 1988, pp. 1-3; Kroll 1974, p. 34). GCWAs can also be found in drier, upland juniper-oak (i.e. Texas oak, live oak, post oak, blackjack oak (Q. merilandica)) woodlands over flat topography (Oberholser 1974, p. 751). While GCWA nesting habitat is a combination of mature Ashe juniper and hardwood trees, the composition of woody vegetation varies within suitable GCWA habitat across the range with Ashe juniper often, but not always, being the dominant species (Pulich 1974, pp. 65-66; Kroll 1974, p. 34). Mature juniper trees vary in age and growth form, depending on site factors (Kroll 1974, p. 6; Pulich 1974, p. 65). Generally, trees required for nesting habitat are at least 4.6 meters (15 feet) tall with a trunk diameter of about 15.2 centimeters (6 inches) at 0.6 meters (2 feet) above the ground (Kroll 1980, pp. 63-64). The essential element is that juniper trees have shredding bark, which happens at the base of the tree around 20 years old and at the crown around 41 years old (Kroll 1974, p. 17). Wintering: Golden-cheeked warblers winter in the mountainous regions (highlands) of southern Mexico (Chiapas) and Central America (Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua) (Oberholser 1974, p. 750; Ridgeway 1902, p. 566; Pulich 1976, p. 62; Rappole et al. 1999, pp. 768-769; Komar 2008, p. 7). GCWA wintering habitat is steep with numerous small drainages and is characterized as mature pine-oak woodland (Rappole et al. 1999, p. 765; Kroll 1980, p. 64). These woodlands consist typically of two pine species - ocote (Pinus oocarpa) and pinabete (P. maximinoi) and two groups of oaks called “encino” and “roble” (Rappole et al. 1999, p. 765; Kroll 1980, p. 64). Encino oaks have shiny narrow, elliptical, or oblong leaves (Q. sapotifolia, Q. eliptica, Q. elongata, Q. cortesii) and roble oak leaves are large and lobed (Q. segoviensis, Q. purulhana, Q. rugosa) (Rappole et al. 1999, p. 765; Kroll 1980, p. 64). GCWAs have also been documented using artificially planted pine groves and shrub, which includes brush and young shrubby trees (Vidal et al. 1994, pp. 685-686). The understory is dominated by young oaks, both encino and robles, but also includes sweetgum (Liquidambar styracilfua) (Kroll 1980, p. 64; Rappole 1996, p. 7). This type of habitat, and therefore GCWAs, are typically found at elevations between 1,300 to 1,500 meters (4,265 to 4,921 feet) (Rappole et al. 1999, p 765; Kroll 1980, p. 64). However, GCWAs have been found as low as 1,070 meters (3,510 feet) and as high as 2,350 meters (7,709 feet) (Rappole 1996, p. 7). Golden-cheeked warblers are associated with mixed species flocks, typically consisting of other warbler species, on the wintering grounds (Rappole et al. 1999, pp. 767, 769; Kroll 1980, p. 64). Usually there is just one GCWA per flock; however, as many as twelve have been observed together in one flock (Rappole et al. 1999, p. 767; Kroll 1980, p. 64). The low number of GCWAs per flock is thought to occur because of intraspecific competition, similar to the territoriality on the breeding grounds (Rappole et al. 1999, p. 768).

Food Habits

Golden-cheeked warblers eat only insects, including caterpillars, spiders, and beetles typically found on foliage (Pulich 1976, p. 113; Oberholser 1974, p. 751). In Texas, the birds are thought to take advantage of insect blooms, large insect populations, associated with different plants as the growing season progresses (Kroll 1974, p. 41). For example, broad-leaved trees, especially oaks, are particularly important in providing habitat for insects during the first part of the nesting season (Oberholser 1974, p. 751; Kroll 1974, p. 41; Pulich 1976, p. 113). Later in the season, GCWAs are frequently seen foraging in Ashe juniper, young live oaks and Texas (Spanish) oaks (Quercus buckleyi), and shin (scalybark) oak (Q. sinuate) brush where increases in insects have been documented (Beardmore 1994, pp. 32-33; Kroll 1974, p. 41; Wharton et al. 1996, pp. 9-10; Griscom and Sprunt 1957, p. 142). On the wintering grounds, GCWAs prefer feeding in oaks, even when the dominant tree species are pines (Thompson 1995, p. 12; Rappole 1996, p. 15).

Movement / Home Range

In the period July-August GCWAs migrate southward from Texas through the pine-oak woodlands of eastern Mexico through the Sierra Madre Oriental (Oberholser 1974, p. 750; Ridgeway 1902, p. 566; Pulich 1976, pp. 55, 58; Perrigo and Booher 1994, p. 15). The latest record of a GCWA in Texas is August 18 in Kerr County (Pulich 1976, p. 55). The earliest arrival date in Chiapas, Mexico, is August 5 (Vidal et al. 1994, p. 686; Pulich 1976, p. 57). GCWAs begin returning to Texas in late February, but have been documented in Chiapas, Mexico as late as April 13 (Vidal et al. 1994, p. 686). The earliest arrival date on the breeding grounds in Texas is March 2; however, most arrive mid-March (Pulich 1976, p. 54).

Reproductive Strategy

Golden-cheeked warblers breed exclusively in the mixed Ashe juniper/deciduous woodlands of the Edwards Plateau, Lampasas Cut-Plain, and Llano Uplift regions of central Texas (Pulich 1976, pp. 67-68; Oberholser 1974, p. 751; Kroll 1974, p. 45). The birds are dependent on Ashe juniper (Juniperus asheii) for fine bark strips used in nest construction (Pulich 1976, p. 86; Kroll 1980, p. 61). Although nests may be placed in various species of trees, such as juniper, live oak (Quercus fusiformis), and cedar elm (Ulmus crassifolia), all nests contain strips of Ashe juniper bark typically woven together with spider webs and lined with feathers, fine grass, or hair (Oberholser 1974, pp. 751, 753; Kroll 1974, p. 44; Pulich 1976, pp. 83, 86-87; Griscom and Sprunt 1957, p. 143). Within suitable nesting habitat, male GCWAs occupy an area, called a territory, which is vigorously defended against all other male GCWAs (Pulich 1976, p. 76; Kroll 1974, pp. 28, 43). Nesting territories are typically from 1.2 to 2.4 hectares (3 to 6 acres), depending on habitat quality. Over multiple years, site fidelity to a particular territory has been observed (Pulich 1976, pp. 77, 80, 130; Maas-Burleigh 1998, pp. 12-13; Keddy-Hector et al. 1998, p. 6). Male GCWAs can often be located through their territorial song, described as a rather hurried, buzzy “tweah-tweah-twee-sy” (Oberholser 1974, p. 752). Single, sharp “chipping” calls can frequently be heard by both male and female GCWAs (Oberholser 1974, p. 752; Pulich 1976, p. 119; Keddy-Hector 1992, pp. 2-5-2-6). The female GCWA does most of the work of nest building and incubating the eggs (Pulich 1976, p. 82; Oberholser 1974, p. 751). Nesting in the same tree for two or more years in succession has been noted (Pulich 1976, p. 82). The cup-like nest is commonly in the upper two-thirds of the available canopy foliage (typically 15 ft. or higher), neatly tucked into the fork of a vertical limb, and camouflaged to blend with the bark of the tree (Pulich 1976, pp. 85, 87-88; Oberholser 1974, pp. 751, 753; Kroll 1974, pp. 29, 45; Pulich 1976, p. 87). The male stays close by singing his distinctive song and defending his territory (Pulich 1976, pp. 82-83). During April, a single clutch of three to four eggs is laid (Pulich 1976, pp. 90, 92; Bent 1953, p. 319). GCWAs usually nest only once per season, unless a nest is lost to accident or predation (Pulich 1976, pp. 88, 95). The eggs hatch in 12 days, and both parents care for the young (Pulich 1976, p. 96; Oberholser 1974, p. 751). After the young hatch, male singing declines, although they can still be heard into June (Oberholser 1974, p. 751; Pulich 1976, pp. 52, 119). Nestlings fledge (leave the nest) eight or nine days after hatching, but remain in the vicinity of the territory for at least four weeks while being cared for by both parents (Pulich 1976, pp. 107, 110; Oberholser 1974, p. 751; Kroll 1974, p. 28). Golden-cheeked warblers have been found in patches of habitat smaller than 10 hectares (24.7 acres); however, successful reproduction doesn’t occur in patches less than 20 hectares (49.48 acres) (Arnold et al. 1996, p. 19; Butcher 2008, p. 28). Reproductive success of GCWAs has been shown to be greater in larger, unfragmented patches of habitat over smaller, fragmented patches (Maas-Burleigh 1998, p. 16; Coldren 1998, pp. 74-75). This can be a result of things like increases in predators near edges, a reduction in mate attraction as a result of a reduction in vocalization by males due to the presence of those predators, or a reduction in attracting a female due to lower suitability as a nesting site (Coldren 1998, pp. 95, 97, 102; Arnold et al. 1996, p. 25).

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