Tricolored Blackbirds Advanced to Candidate Species
The number of tricolored blackbirds (Agelaius tricolor) has severely declined in recent decades and recently they received some protection from the California Fish and Game Commission. On December 10, 2015, tricolored blackbirds were advanced to a candidate species under the California Endangered Species Act. The species will be protected for a year before a final decision is made on the listing status. This species has been impacted by changes in land use and loss of habitat. They historically nested in large cattail and tule marshes, but more recently large colonies have moved to other substrates such as flooded spiny or thorny vegetation or working lands such as silage crops where they are vulnerable to agricultural practices (e.g., harvesting and weed control activities). Because these habitats are unprotected, and the species frequently changes nest sites annually, conservation efforts are complicated (Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Nature Institute 2014). Tricolored blackbirds have been observed at several preserves that the Center for Natural Lands Management (CNLM) owns, manages, or protects with a conservation easement including Dublin Ranch, Windemere Ranch, Mehrten Ranch, Lokern, Semitropic Ridge, and Panoche Valley, among others.
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Center for Biological Diversity and Wild Nature Institute. 2014. A petition to list tricolored blackbird (Agelaius tricolor) as endangered under the California endangered species act and request for emergency action to protect species. Authors: Lisa Belenky (Center for Biological Diversity) and Monica Bond (Wild Nature Institute). October 8, 2014. https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/tricolored_blackbird/pdfs/Petition_2014.pdf