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Home » Archives » January 2017 » WDFW Wants Comments On Yellow-Billed Cuckoos

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01/30/2017: "WDFW Wants Comments On Yellow-Billed Cuckoos"

ig_E_Yellow-Billed_Cuckoo_greg_Lavaty-001 (49k image)
(Photo: Greg Lavaty)

Forty-three species of fish and wildlife are listed for protection as state endangered, threatened or sensitive species. State wildlife managers are seeking public input on their recommendation to list the yellow-billed cuckoo as an endangered species in Washington.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reviews the status of rare and declining species in the state. The public can comment through April 30 on the listing recommendation and status report for yellow-billed cuckoo, which is available online at

Written comments on the report and WDFW's recommendation can be submitted via email to or by mail to Hannah Anderson, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

WDFW staff members are tentatively scheduled to discuss the report and listing recommendation with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its June meeting in Clarkston. The commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW. For meeting dates and times, check the commission webpage at

Yellow-billed cuckoos are medium-sized birds with grayish-brown bodies, white underbellies and curved yellow bills. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distinguished the cuckoos in western North America as separate from their eastern counterparts and listed the western population as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2014. In Washington, cuckoos have been considered a candidate species for listing since 1991.

Only 680 to 1,025 breeding pairs of western yellow-billed cuckoos are estimated to range the western United States to northwest Mexico. Historical records suggest that the species once nested in at least six counties of western Washington �" Whatcom, Skagit, King, Pierce, Grays Harbor, and Clark. Just 20 sightings of yellow-billed cuckoos have been documented in Washington since the 1950s and likely were of birds that were not nesting in the state.

Although unlikely, this species may still rarely breed in the state given the existence of cuckoo habitat, including riparian areas, brush and fir forests. Threats to western yellow-billed cuckoos include the loss of riparian habitats and possibly agricultural pesticide use.

Tom Bauschke
John Evans
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Terra Tamai
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