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1. Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)

Male Rufous Hummingbird feeding on flower. Credit: Dean E. Biggins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  
Male Rufous Hummingbird. Credit: Dean E. Biggins/ U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service  

Less than four inches long and weighing slightly more than a penny, the Rufous Hummingbird is small but mighty. These hummingbirds drink nectar from flowering plants in addition to eating small insects. Most Rufous Hummingbird nests are made of lichens, moss and fragments of bark, bound together with strands of spider web and lined with soft downy plant material. Hummingbirds are native only to the New World and are especially abundant in Mexico and southern Arizona. Threats to hummingbirds include habitat loss and pet trade.

General information about the Rufous Hummingbird

The Rufous Hummingbird is on the Birds of Conservation Concern (BCC) produced by the Migratory Bird Program. The BCC list includes birds deemed to be the highest priority for conservation actions.

The Rufous Hummingbird also appears on the Partners in Flight Watchlist as one of the species of migratory birds in the United States that is most in need of conservation action.

All hummingbird species were listed in Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in 1987. CITES is implemented through the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead agency on CITES issues for the Department of the Interior. The Divisions of Management Authority and Scientific Authority regulate International Wildlife Trade in hummingbirds and other CITES-listed species, to ensure that such trade is not detrimental to the survival of wild populations. Since listing, CITES trade records indicate that international trade in this species has been quite small – with fewer than 15 specimens shipped internationally – most of which were for scientific purposes. More information on the International Affairs Program.

8. Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Monarch butterfly  
Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus)  

This is a shared species, between Canada, the United States, and Mexico. Several U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Programs are involved in monarch butterfly conservation, including the National Wildlife Refuge System and the International Affairs Program.

Interagency monarch butterfly website.

Wildlife Without Borders - Mexico, a Regional program within the Division of International Conservation, has a Monarch Butterfly Program that has funded projects to conserve and restore monarch butterfly habitat through capacity building. Other projects have convened several international scientific meetings to focus on monarch butterfly conservation. Since 2001, Wildlife Without Borders - Mexico grants have provided over $550,000 for monarch butterfly conservation. Much of the work supported by these grants has focused on the Monarch Biosphere Reserve, which has trained over 2,000 local farmers in sustainable natural resource use, including reforestation, restoration, and ecotourism to protect the monarch’s wintering habitat in Mexico. Wildlife Without Borders has also provided over $160,000 for fruit bat (another important pollinator) conservation in the Mexico and Latin America and Caribbean regions. More information on the International Affairs Program.

12. Karner blue butterfly (Lycaeides melissa samuelis)

Male Karner Blue Butterfly  
Male Karner Blue Butterfly. Credit: Paul Labus.  

The Karner blue butterfly’s habitat currently ranges from New Hampshire to Minnesota. Their populations are only found in specialized habitats, such as oak savannas and pine barrens, where their larval food plant, the wild blue lupine (Lupinus perennis), is found.

General Information about the Karner blue butterfly.

This subspecies was listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) in 1992. The Service’s Endangered Species Program is responsible for indentifying, protecting and recovering endangered and threatened species. Endangered species are those that are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are those that are likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. The Endangered Species Program works in partnership with other Service programs, other agencies, and members of the public to solve conservation challenges and create opportunities to recover listed and at-risk species. Efforts to recover species include restoring and acquiring habitat, removing introduced animal predators or invasive plant species, conducting research, monitoring populations and breeding species in captivity and releasing them into their historic range. Find out more about efforts to recover the Karner blue butterfly or view the species profile.

Last Updated: September 9, 2009