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Birds as Indicators of Riparian Vegetation Condition in the Western U.S.

Riparian Obligate Species

These are species that place >90% of their nests in riparian vegetation or for which >90% of their abundance occurs in riparian vegetation during the breeding season. They may forage outside riparian vegetation. Without riparian vegetation in good ecological condition, these species will not occur in a given area. Some species may be classified as obligates in one geographic area but not another.

Obligate Species1
Conservation Action Required in Geographic Region3
Vegetation Layer(s) Used4
Northern Rockies
Great Basin
Arid S. West
Co. Plat./S. Rockies
Abert's Towhee
American Dipper
American Redstart
Bald Eagle
Bell's Vireo
Belted Kingfisher
Black Swift
Broad-billed Hummingbird
Brown-crested Flycatcher
Common Blackhawk
Common Yellowthroat
Elegant Trogon
Gila Woodpecker
Gray Hawk
Green Kingfisher
Lincoln's Sparrow
Lucy's Warbler
Northern Beardless-tyrannulet
Orange-crowned Warbler
Orchard Oriole
Painted Bunting
Rose-throated Becard
Song Sparrow
Streak-backed Oriole
Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher
Summer Tanager
Thick-billed Kingbird
Tropical Kingbird
Varied Bunting
Vermillion Flycatcher
Violet-crowned Hummingbird
Willow Flycatcher
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Yellow-breasted Chat

1Species is considered to be Obligate (see definitions) in at least one geographic region (see map).
3The Western Working Group of Partners in Flight determined that conservation action is needed now for the species in the geographic region(s) indicated.
4The vegetation layer(s) used most by the species. The species is most useful as an indicator of the ecological condition of the layer(s) used.
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