California Gnatcatcher

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image: CACoastalGnatcatcher.jpg

Common Name: California Coastal Gnatcatcher

Scientific Name: Polioptila californica

Size: 4.5 inches (11cm)

Habitat: Found only in Southern California from Ventura to Baja. Prefers wetlands and grassy areas.

Status: Threatened due to habitat loss.

Diet: Insects and spiders.

Breeding: It builds its nest from plant material and makes a compact cup attached to branches of shrubs.

Cool Facts: It was in 1988, that the California Gnatcatcher was found to be a different species than the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher. The California Gnatcatcher lives in lowland costal sage shrubs from Baja California to Ventura County on the coast of California. It lives primarily on insects and spiders found on twigs and foliage.

The Audubon Society labeled it a species of “special concern” in 1982 when it was still believed it was a subspecies of the Back-tailed Gnatcatcher. The northern California subspecies of the California Gnatcatcher was designated “Endangered” in 1991. The California Coastal Gnatcatcher is endangered because of urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation. The remaining birds live on coastal golf courses and housing tracts that haven't been developed yet. Although the population of this bird is less than many on the “Endangered” list and the threat of extinction is very real, it has failed to make the list because of intense and heated debate from real estate developers and government officials.

Found in Threatened Endangered Extinct

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