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ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT PROFILE

PROTECTION STATUS: Delisted

PETITIONED: 1992; re-petitioned 2007

YEAR PLACED ON LIST: Endangered 1997; delisted 2006

CRITICAL HABITAT: None (732,000 acres designated 1999, removed 2001)

RECOVERY PLAN: Draft 2002; withdrawn

RANGE: The desert habitat of southern Arizona and in northwestern Mexico, mostly in the ironwood forests northwest of Tucson and Marana

THREATS: Habitat destruction from urban sprawl and agriculture, logging, woodcutting, and livestock grazing

POPULATION TREND: Once very common, the pygmy owl could be found in Arizona from the New River north of Phoenix to the Mexican border. Now it can only be found between Tucson and points south. Since 1993, no more than 41 pygmy owls have been found in Arizona in any year, and in recent years fewer than 30 have been documented. In northwest Tucson, only one owl was found in 2006. Although there are more birds in Sonora, pygmy owls in northern Sonora have declined by 26 percent since 2000. Mexico has few habitat protections, and hundreds of thousands of acres of pygmy owl habitat have been, and are being, converted to monocultures of African buffelgrass to support livestock grazing. The pygmy owl risks extinction in Sonora as well as Arizona.

Photo by Robin Silver