Welcome to the Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program
Lower Colorado River Multi-Species Conservation Program Balancing Resource Use and Conservation

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Wildlife Activities

      Species Information

Least Bittern - Great Basin Bird Observatory - Amy LeistA biologist holds an elf owl captured at the Bill Williams NWR in April of 2010 - ReclamationRelict leopard frog seen during a survey at Red Rock Spring, NV - Reclamation
  • BIRDS
  • MAMMALS
  • AMPHIBIANS
  • REPTILES
  • INSECT

The birds that LCR MSCP studies include riparian, marsh, and owls. The following table includes information on each of these birds.

RIPARIAN
Species Description Photo
Arizona Bell's Vireo

The Arizona Bell’s vireo is a small neotropical migrant, and both males and females have similar plumage color year-round.  It is a summer resident and typical breeder of the streamside fringes of willows and mesquite along the lower Colorado River.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on neotropical migrants can be found here

 

Arizona Bell's Vireo
Gila Woodpecker

The Gila woodpecker is a noisy, aggressive, and conspicuous medium-sized woodpecker.  It is found in the arid deserts of the southwestern United States and northeastern Mexico, and utilizes saguaro cacti and riparian woodlands. Within the LCR MSCP area, the Gila woodpecker is found along the river and washes in cottonwood-willow habitat.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on cavity nesters can be found here

 

Gila Woodpecker - Great Basin Bird Observatory - Amy Leist
Gilded Flicker

The gilded flicker is a large woodpecker and is associated with mature saguaro cactus in most of its breeding range. Along the LCR, gilded flickers are associated with cottonwood-willow riparian areas and breed mostly in saguaros and Joshua trees.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on cavity nesters can be found here

 

Gilded Flicker drills its hole in the saguaro - Photo by Harold T. Coss, Jr., - National Park Service
Sonoran Yellow Warbler

The Sonoran yellow warbler is a medium-sized, foliage-gleaning wood warbler. They have a preference for moisture-loving deciduous trees which leads them to use cottonwood and willow dominated riparian areas in the arid West.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on neotropical migrants can be found here

 

Sonoran Yellow Warbler
Southwestern Willow Flycatcher

The southwestern willow flycatcher is an endangered small neotropical migrant that primarily lives along riparian corridors in dense trees and shrubs. It catches insects while flying, or gleaning from limbs. Within the LCR MSCP area it is mainly found in cottonwood/willow or tamarisk habitats.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on this species can be found here

 

Southwestern Willow Flycatcher
Summer Tanager

The summer tanager is a large tanager, with males having red plumage and females having yellow plumage.  The summer tanager is a rare to uncommon summer breeder along the LCR. They forage primarily for large insects in the canopies of tall riparian trees.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on neotropical migrants can be found here

 

Summer Tanager Pair
Vermilion Flycatcher

The vermilion flycatcher is a small flycatcher, with adult males displaying bright vermilion red on the top of the head and underparts.  On the LCR, vermilion flycatchers are most often found in riparian woodland dominated by willows and cottonwoods with mesquites and pastureland frequently near-by.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on neotropical migrants can be found here

 

Male Vermilion Flycatcher - Great Basin Bird Observatory - Amy Leist
Yellow-Billed Cuckoo

The yellow-billed cuckoo is a slender, long-tailed bird that primarily lives along riparian corridors and nests in dense stands of cottonwoods.  Its prey is mainly larger insect species.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on this species can be found here

 

A  yellow-billed cuckoo that was captured in a net and banded in August 2008 fed a cicada prior to release back into cottonwood willow habitat on the Bill Williams National Wildlife Refuge, near Parker, AZ - Southern Sierra Research Station

MARSH
Species Description Photo
California Black Rail

The California black rail is one of five subspecies of the black rail that are found in North, Central, and South America. The black rail is the smallest rail in North America. The plumage of the California black rail is different between males and female, but the sexes are similar in size.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on marsh birds can be found here

 

California Black Rail - USGS - Dr. Courtney Conway
Least Bittern

The least bittern inhabits freshwater and brackish marshes and breeds in low-lying areas associated with large rivers, lakes, and estuaries. The least bittern is the smallest member of the heron family and is one of the most inconspicuous of all marsh birds.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on marsh birds can be found here

 

Least Bittern - Great Basin Bird Observatory - Amy Leist
Yuma Clapper Rail

The Yuma clapper rail is an endangered species.  It is one of the smaller subspecies of clapper rails but is the largest rail found along the lower Colorado River and is the only one to inhabit freshwater marshes in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on marsh birds can be found here

 

Yuma Clapper Rail - USGS - Dr. Courtney Conway

OWL
Species Description Photo
Elf Owl

Elf owls are the smallest owl in the world.  In most of its breeding range, the elf owl is associated with mature saguaro cactus. Along the LCR, elf owls are associated with mesquite woodlands and cottonwood-willow riparian areas.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on cavity nesters can be found here

 

A biologist holds an elf owl captured at the Bill Williams NWR in April of 2010 - Reclamation

Updated December 15, 2017

The mammals that LCR MSCP studies include bats and rodents. The following table includes information on each of these mammals.

BATS
Species Description Photo
California Leaf-Nosed Bat

The California leaf-nosed bat is a gray-furred, medium-sized bat with a leaf-shaped structure on its nose. These bats do not migrate or hibernate; instead they maintain a year-round presence by roosting in a cave or mine that maintains a high temperature, usually due to geothermal heating.

  • It is an evaluation species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on bats can be found here

 

California Leaf Nosed Bat - Reclamation
Pale Townsend's Big-Eared Bat

The Pale Townsend’s big-eared bat is a medium-sized bat with very large ears, and two large glandular lumps on each side of the nose.  They roost in mines, hibernate in the winter, and use riparian woodlands to forage.

  • It is an evaluation species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on bats can be found here

 

 Townsend's Big-Eared Bat
Western Red Bat

The western red bat is a medium-sized bat with fur that is usually mottled reddish and grayish, but can range from bright orange to yellow-brown.  They are found in desert riparian areas and primarily roost in trees, primarily in cottonwoods.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on bats can be found here

 

Western Red Bat
Western Yellow Bat

The western yellow bat is a medium to large-sized bat, whose fur is yellowish-tan to light brownish, with fur tipped with gray or white.  They are known to roost in the dead palm frond skirts of fan palms, which may be preferred due to closely matching their fur coloration.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on bats can be found here

 

Western Yellow Bat

RODENTS
Species Description Photo
Colorado River Cotton Rat

The Colorado River cotton rat is a thick bodied rodent, with a medium-length tail slightly shorter than its head and body. Their ears barely project above their fur, and their tail is sparsely haired. They are known to feed primarily on grasses. It uses riparian thickets with moderate to dense grass cover, but may also use drier grassy areas.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on small mammals can be found here

 

Colorado River Cotton Rat
Desert Pocket Mouse

The desert pocket mouse is a medium-sized pocket mouse with a long, heavily crested, and tufted tail.  It has fur-lined cheek pouches that it uses when gathering food.  Its diet is comprised of a variety of seeds, including mesquite.

  • It is an evaluation species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on small mammals can be found here

 

Desert Pocket Mouse
Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat

The Yuma hispid cotton rat is a thick bodied rodent, with a medium-length tail slightly shorter than its head and body. Their ears barely project above their fur, and their tail is sparsely haired.  They are active all year, feeding mainly on grasses and vegetation. Hispid cotton rats utilize runways through dense herbaceous growth and nests are built of woven grass.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on small mammals can be found here

 

Yuma Hispid Cotton Rat

The amphibians that LCR MSCP studies include the lowland leopard frog, relict leopard frog, and the Colorado river toad. The following table includes information on each of these amphibians.

AMPHIBIANS
Species Description Photo
Colorado River Toad

The Colorado River toad is a large semi-aquatic, nocturnal toad.  It has leathery skin that ranges in color from olive brown to black with a few, low rounded bumps and enlarged glands on the back of the limbs. Females contain reddish-colored warts in straight lines on the back.

  • It is an evaluation species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here

 

Colorado River Toad - Photo by Joe Hildreth
Lowland Leopard Frog

The Lowland leopard frog is tan, brown, light green to bright green above and has large dark spots on its back. Typically there are no spots on the head in front of the eyes. It is yellowish below, including underside of the legs. Lowland leopard frog individuals can live up to 3 years.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here

 

Lowland Leopard frog - AZGFD - C.S. Painter
Relict Leopard Frog

The relict leopard frog is a relatively small leopard frog that is very similar in appearance to the lowland leopard frog. Relict leopard frogs have a reticulate pattern on the rear of the thigh that may be fuzzy or quite bold, usually no spots on the snout, and relatively short legs.  The color on the back and head ranges from light brown, tan, and dark olive-brown, to charcoal.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here

 

Relict leopard frog seen during a survey at Red Rock Spring, NV - Reclamation

The reptiles that LCR MSCP studies include the desert tortoise (Mojave population) and the flat-tailed horned lizard. The following table includes information on each of these reptiles.

REPTILES
Species Description Photo
Desert Tortoise (Mojave Population)

The desert tortoise has a high domed shell, brown in color, yellow underneath without a hinge, and a pattern and prominent growth lines on the lower and upper shell. They are also characterized by stocky limbs, forelimbs covered with large scales, and a short tail. The desert tortoise reaches its maximum size at 5-10 years of age, and demonstrates a delayed maturity and long life.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here

 

Desert tortoise scat found on land in the Chuckwalla Bench Desert Wildlife Management Area. The scat was detected during surveys conducted in June 2010 - Reclamation
Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard

The flat-tailed horned lizard is a moderate-sized, flat-bodied lizard, with a white belly, a narrow dark stripe down the back from head to tail base, and a flattened tail. The back coloration is gray, tan, reddish-brown, or whitish with small spines. The lizard has eight horns that extend from the back of the head.

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here

 

Flat-Tailed Horned Lizard - Photo by Shelby Howard

The insect that LCR MSCP studies is the MacNeill's sootywing. The following table includes information on the MacNeill sootywing.

INSECT
Species Description Photo
MacNeill's Sootywing

The MacNeill’s sootywing is a small butterfly (wingspread 23 mm) with dark-brown and black mottled wings. MacNeill’s sootywing populations have been detected along the lower Colorado River.  They require stands of their host plant quailbush .

  • It is a covered species in the LCR MSCP
  • Detailed species information can be found here
  • A fact sheet on this species can be found here

 

MacNeill's Sootywing