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10 of America's Most Imperiled Birds [Slideshow]

Loss of habitat and climate change are pushing 178 species toward extinction in the continental U.S.

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BONUS: Akekee

This small, energetic bird on the Hawaiian island of Kauai relies on prying open the leaf and flower buds of the native ohia tree. Disease and habitat loss have recently sent it into a rapid decline. ....[ More ]

Buff-breasted sandpiper

This shorebird migrates from Alaska to Argentina every year and has dwindled from a 19th-century population of millions to roughly 15,000 today. Not protected by the ESA.....[ More ]

Black rail

This tiny bird relies on shallow, grassy wetlands on both coasts as well as inland spots like the U.S.'s southern Great Plains. Despite this broad range, the rail finds its habitat disappearing everywhere.....[ More ]

Reddish egret

This leggy bird calls the disappearing saltwater marshes of the U.S. Gulf Coast home, as do many new developments for human housing. Not protected under the Endangered Species Act.....[ More ]

Red-cockaded woodpecker

Another southeastern woodpecker that may soon join the ivory-bill in legendary status, this insect-eater lives in the heavily logged longleaf pine forests. Restoring those forests—or protecting the ones that still exist—will prove key to its avoidance of that fate.....[ More ]

Kittlitz's murrelet

The small seabird dives for fish in the areas of Alaska where tidewater glaciers meet the ocean. Besides suffering the damage from oil spills and other pollution, as the glaciers recede due to climate change, so have the numbers of this species.....[ More ]

Ashy storm-petrel

A denizen of fog-bound islands off the U.S. west coast, the dark petrel has been hit by competition from increasing numbers of gulls as well as ocean pollution and overfishing, thereby reducing the food supply.....[ More ]

Kirtland's warbler

Confined to the jack pine forests of northern Michigan during breeding season, this small songbird almost disappeared with its diminished habitat and an onslaught of cowbirds. But counts of singing males have recently increased from just 200 to more than 1,400 and have begun to spread to neighboring states.....[ More ]

Whooping crane

The twin perils of hunting and habitat loss almost eliminated North America's tallest bird. But innovative conservation strategies—including leading young birds in migration via an ultralight plane—have helped the species recover.....[ More ]

California condor

The largest soaring bird on the continent nearly disappeared by the 1980s, but a captive breeding program has restored their numbers to several hundred individuals.....[ More ]

Lesser prairie chicken

Known for its energetic dances and booming songs, these ground-dwelling birds have been reduced to several isolated populations in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas. Not protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).....[ More ]

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