Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, September 29, 2015

Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190,

Rare Puerto Rican Bird Proposed for Endangered Species Act Protection

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— In accordance with a landmark settlement agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed the Puerto Rico’s elfin-woods warbler for Endangered Species Act protection. The warbler has lost significant amounts of habitat due to urban and agricultural development.

“This tiny bird represents wild Puerto Rico, and its population decline reflects unchecked habitat destruction and fragmentation,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s not too late for the elfin-woods warbler — this species has a chance of recovery with the help of the Endangered Species Act.”

The elfin-woods warbler, Setophaga angelae, is a 5-inch bird discovered in the dwarf forests of El Yunque National Forest in the 1970s.The predominately black-and-white warbler is extremely active.

In 2004 the Center petitioned to list the elfin-woods warbler as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The Service had previously listed the bird as a candidate for listing from 1982-1996; at that time it was removed due to a lack of information on the species. In 1999 the Service again listed it as a candidate species due to high magnitude threats.

The decision is part of a historic settlement agreement between the Center and the Service that expedites decisions on protection for 757 species around the country and has, to date, resulted in endangered species protections for 142 species and proposed protection for another 66, including the warbler.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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