Wildlife and Habitat

Bear Cubs in tree 520w W and H Page header

Bayou Cocodrie NWR serves as a corridor for the Louisiana black bear between Tensas River NWR and Red River Wildlife Management Area. Bears may be spotted at any time of year.

  • Hardwood Forest

    Hardwood Forest 150w W and H

    The Bayou Cocodrie area has some of the least disturbed bottomland hardwood forests in the southeast and significantly contributes to the biological diversity in the region. Pictured is a reforested habitat.

  • Cypress Swamp

    Cypress Swamp

    Cypress swamps and hardwood forests are host to oak, gum, elm, ash, and comprise more than three quarters of the refuge.

  • Bottomland Hardwood Swamp

    Bottomland Hardwood Swamp

    Conserving some of the last remaining, least disturbed and largest stands of bottomland hardwoods in the Lower Mississippi River Delta, Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge offers a variety of ecological niches for wildlife. This bottomland hardwood swamp supports or harbors more than one hundred and fifty species of birds and many other types of wildlife, including several species threatened with extinction, such as the Louisiana population of black bears. 

  • Wetlands

    Wetlands W and H 150w

    Wetlands on the refuge provide much needed wintering waterfowl habitat to fulfill the refuge’s role in the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Seasonal rains fill depressions and basins throughout the refuge creating a protected wintering ground for waterfowl as well as unique habitat for other forms of wildlife. Natural water bodies and secluded beaver ponds create an ideal home during spring and summer for native wood ducks.

  • Louisiana Black Bear

    Black Bear and cubs

    Because of its large contiguous stand of bottomland hardwood forest, Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge was designated as critical habitat and serves as a corridor for the Louisiana black bear between Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge and Red River Wildlife Management Area. Bears may be spotted at any time of the year.

  • Waterfowl

    Waterfowl W and H 150w

    Waterfowl such as mallards, shovelers, pintail, and teal use the refuge as a migratory stop during the winter months. Wood ducks call the refuge woodlands home throughout the year, nesting in both natural cavity trees and wood duck boxes.


    One of the reasons that Bayou Cocodrie NWR was established was to manage and provide habitat for wood ducks.

  • Migratory Songbirds

    Northern Parula W and H 150w

    A small warbler of the upper canopy, the Northern Parula can be found in two rather distinct populations. The southern population nests primarily in hanging Spanish moss, while the northern population uses the similar-looking old man's beard lichen.


    In addition to mammals and waterfowl, Bayou Cocodrie provides a place for woodstorks, herons and egrets to live. These long-legged waders can be seen stalking small fish and large insects along the water’s edge. Ospreys and swallow-tailed kites can occasionally be seen swooping down on prey in open waters and fields. The refuge also plays a role in providing much needed habitat for declining species of migratory songbirds such as Kentucky, Swainson’s, hooded and prothonotary warblers. 


    Three protected species use the refuge from time to time. Bald eagles and peregrine falcons can be observed usually during the winter months perched in high trees.

  • Birds of Prey

    Swallow-tailed Kite W and H 150w

    A strikingly marked raptor of wetlands in the southeastern United States, the Swallow-tailed Kite captures flying insects or plucks insects and lizards from the tops of trees.