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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Setophaga chrysoparia
POPULATION: 21,000 individuals
IUCN STATUS: Endangered
HABITAT: Breeds in mature juniper-oak woods; winters in mountain pine-oak forests
The distinctive Golden-cheeked Warbler, also known as the “Gold Finch of Texas,” is a specialty of that state, nesting nowhere else in the world. It shares its breeding areas in the Edwards Plateau of central Texas, locally known as the Texas Hill Country, with another federally endangered species, the Black-capped Vireo.
Like Kirtland’s Warbler, Golden-cheeked Warblers are especially vulnerable to human-caused threats because of their already-limited range and small population. Habitat loss and fragmentation and brood parasites such as Brown-headed Cowbirds have driven this species close to extinction.