Coastal California gnatcatcher
Polioptila californica californica

Status: Federally Threatened

CAGN 1 Whittier 2010  CAGN habitat

The coastal California gnatcatcher occupies a small range, found only in southwestern California and northern Mexico. It is found in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Ventura Counties. Due to the fact that the coastal California gnatcatcher resides year round in coastal sage scrub habitat, development pressures have led to the decline of this species.

The coastal California gnatcatcher is a small blue-gray songbird which measures only 4.5 inches (11 cm) and weighs 0.2 ounces (6 grams). It has dark blue-gray feathers on its back and grayish-white feathers on its underside. The wings have a brownish wash to them. Its long tail is mostly black with white outer tail feathers. They have a thin, small bill. The males have a black cap during the summer which is absent during the winter. Both males and females have a white ring around their eyes. It belongs to the old-world warbler and gnatcatcher Sylviidae family…. Read more

Suitable Habitat

The coastal California gnatcatcher reside in coastal sage scrub habitat that is typically dominated or at least co-dominated by California sagebrush (Artemisia californica), typically also with California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), black sage (Salvia mellifera), white sage (Salvia apiana).  They can also be found in chaparral or grassland/ruderal habitats as well.  Nest placement is typically well hidden in a shrub, usually in a fork that is 1.5 to 4 feet above the ground.  When the slopes get too steep or the vegetation too dense the likelihood of utilization by coastal California gnatcatchers drops off.

California Gnatcatcher USFWS Survey Protocol & Requirements

Official Survey Protocol from USFWS can be found here.

Critical Habitat Information

Information on Critical Habitat is here.

More Images

More images can be seen here.

More Resources

USFWS California Gnatcatcher Minimum Qualifications

SDNHM Bird Atlas Species Profile

California Partners in Flight- CAGN Species Profile