Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis)

Gary Page
Posted on: 7/18/2022 - Updated on: 7/10/2023

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Cuckoo populations in New Mexico have declined precipitously since the 1960’s as humans have altered riparian habitats (Howe 1986). Population size of The Western yellow-billed cuckoo may vary greatly from year-to-year even in undisturbed habitats, presumably due to changes in food supply. The Western yellow-billed cuckoo is considered species of high concern at risk from drought and wildfire in New Mexico by the Wildlife and Wildfire Work Group of the Governor’s Task Force on Drought. Currently, the Western yellow-billed cuckoo is designated as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (FWS, 2014).

The breeding range of the Western yellow-billed cuckoo formerly included most of eastern North America and parts of Northern Mexico (FWS 2014). The Western yellow-billed cuckoo is thought to dwell west of the continental divide at northern latitudes and west of the Pecos River at southern latitudes (Figure 1). This cuckoo species is associated with riparian habitats with willow and cottonwood (Hughes 1999). The Western yellow-billed cuckoo is restricted to riparian areas, which provide cooler and more humid environments, in hot regions.


Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus occidentalis). USDA Forest Service.

Affiliated Organizations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service is a Federal agency that manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. The Forest Service is also the largest forestry research organization in the world, and provides technical and financial assistance to state and private forestry agencies. Gifford Pinchot, the first Chief of the Forest Service, summed up the purpose of the Forest Service—"to provide the greatest amount of good for the greatest amount of people in the long run."

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