PROTECTION STATUS: Not listed federally; made candidate species under California Endangered Species Act in 2015

PETITIONED: 2004 (California and national), 2014 (California)

RANGE: Primarily California’s Central Valley; also found in Riverside, Colusa, San Diego, Siskiyou, and Alameda counties; has been reported in Oregon and Baja California with rare sightings in Nevada and Washington

THREATS: Destruction of habitat due to agriculture, urban development, and wetland draining; predation; competition with other species; and possibly direct removal of birds from private property

POPULATION TREND: The population of tricolored blackbirds in the Central Valley declined by at least 50 percent between the 1930s and early 1970s, and an additional decline of about 56 percent of the remaining population was reported from 1994 to 2000. Comprehensive surveys showed the statewide population of tricolored blackbirds went from an initial count of 395,000 birds in 2008, to 259,000 in 2011, to only 145,000 in 2014 — the smallest population ever recorded.

Photo courtesy USFWS