The yellow-billed cuckoo will soon be listed as a threatened species in parts of 12 western states under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced on Thursday. The insect-eating bird migrates between South and North America and lives in riparian woodlands, including among the willows at the Barka Slough near Orcutt and River Park in Lompoc, according to sbcobirding.com. It receives federal protected status on November 3 because its western U.S. habitats are experiencing severe losses from the conversion of riverside areas to agriculture, the building of dams, river flow management, and riverbank protection.
As safeguards in these habitats are already in place for other species, Fish & Wildlife’s Ren Lohoefener, director of the Pacific Southwest Region, did not anticipate “any significant new water-related requirements as a result of this listing decision.” He added that good land management for livestock grazing benefits riparian restoration practices. Identifying the yellow-billed cuckoo’s critical habitat is next on the “to do” list, as is a recovery plan.