Grassland Pollinators

Grasslands are often overlooked when it comes to pollinators, but grasslands support thousands of pollinator species, including bees, beetles, wasps, flies, moths, butterflies, and hummingbirds. In the United States, wild pollinators provide services estimated at four to six billion dollars annually. 

Dakota skipper. Photo by Luke Toso, USFWS

In particular, grassland pollinators are dependent on the diversity of wildflowers for food and vegetation cover for shelter. The widespread loss of native grasslands also means a significant loss of these critical resources for pollinators. The worldwide decline of pollinators has garnered recent international attention as a result of habitat fragmentation, pesticide use, the spread of pathogens, parasites and predators, all of which is exacerbated by the changes to local and global climate patterns. Pollinators are in dire need of grassland restoration and conservation efforts to reverse the habitat loss and help these species recover.  

Read about the Service’s efforts to conserve grassland pollinators: 

Grassland Birds

Over the last 40 years, North American grassland bird populations have declined faster than any other group of birds. Over 75% of grassland bird species have shown significant population declines, and 53% of their population has been lost - more than 720 million birds. Habitat loss and the use of agricultural pesticides are contributing to the decline of grassland birds and pollinators. 

Thick-billed longspur. Photo by John Carlson, USFWS

The JV8 Central Grasslands Initiative represents over 72 federal, state, provincial, non-profit, and industry conservation partners from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico — all collaborating to stem grassland losses and the negative impacts to migratory birds. The JV8 is implementing grassland conservation programs across a landscape of 500 million acres and across multiple nations with the goal of reversing or stabilizing the decline of bird populations in the central grasslands of North America. 

Our Species

A plump barred prairie-chicken raises his tail feathers and struts in the short grass.

Just over 100 years ago, the sounds of male Attwater’s Prairie-Chickens could be heard throughout the gulf coast prairies of Texas and Louisiana, when they numbered up to about 1 million birds.  However, through the 1900s, the Attwater’s Prairie-Chicken’s numbers dwindled to the edge of...

FWS Focus

The Baird's Sparrow is a small brown streaked sparrow of about 12 cm in length. This Baird’s Sparrow has a distinctive song that easily distinguishes it from other birds. Adults have a yellow color on their heads, display dark and whitish colored streaking on the throat, and have a flat-shaped...

FWS Focus
A male lesser prairie-chicken in the fading sunlight

The lesser prairie-chicken is a species of prairie grouse endemic to the southern and central high plains of the United States, commonly recognized for its feathered tarsi (legs), stout build, ground-dwelling habit, and lek mating behavior. The LEPC is closely related and generally similar in...

FWS Focus
A white and black bird with long legs and a long curved beak standing on snowy ground

The Long-billed curlew is a large, long-legged shorebird with a very long, decurved bill. Body plumage is rich buff throughout tinged with cinnamon or pink, and with upperparts streaked and barred with dark brown; underwing-lining contrasting cinnamon, and upper surface of remiges contrasting...

FWS Focus
a rusty brown/grey bird with white breast standing on narrow tan legs

The Mountain Plover is about the size of a Killdeer (Charadrius vocierus) but with longer legs and more erect posture. Sexes are similar in both size and plumage coloration, remaining drably colored most of the year and lacking black breast bands typical of many other plovers.

...

FWS Focus
The Upland Sandpiper is a medium-sized shorebird of about 28-32 cm in length. Some distinguishing features of the Upland Sandpiper include its dove-like head, thin neck, long thin legs, camouflage olive-brown coloring, and yellow bill with a black tip. The under parts of the Upland Sandpiper are...
FWS Focus
The Arkansas River shiner (ARS) is a small, streamlined minnow with a small, dorsally flattened head, rounded snout, and subterminal mouth. The ARS is silver in appearance with a dark blotch at the base of the dorsal (top) fin. Adults attain a maximum length of about 2 inches (Miller and Robison...
FWS Focus
A pallid sturgeon swims along a rocky stream bed. The fish is long and slender, with whiskers and small ridges along its back and sides.

The pallid sturgeon was first recognized as a species different from shovelnose sturgeon by S. A. Forbes and R. E. Richardson in 1905 based on a study of nine specimens collected from the Mississippi River near Grafton, Illinois (Forbes and Richardson 1905). They named this new species...

FWS Focus