Wildlife & Habitat

Cypress snag in marsh

Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge contains a wide variety of wildlife habitat, including bottomland hardwoods, freshwater and brackish marshes, lagoons, canals, borrow pits, and natural bayous.

  • Migratory Waterfowl

    Black-bellied whistling ducks in flight

    Opportunities for bird watching abound on the refuge. A mix of habitats including hardwood forest, scrub/shrub, fresh marsh and tidal marsh create the opportunity to observe a broad variety of bird species within a small geographical area. 

    Neotropical migrants thrive during the fall and spring migrations and many species nest on the refuge. Shorebirds are present year round and the refuge supports a wading bird rookery which may contain over 5,000 nesting pairs. 

    Each winter thousands of waterfowl make their home on the refuge and mottled ducks are common summer nesters.

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  • Great Blue Heron

    Great Blue Heron


    With the ability to adapt to almost any wetland habitat, great blue herons can be found throughout most of North America. However, if fish-bearing waters freeze up, some herons will migrate. In the temperate Southeast, they remain year-round residents, enjoying a rich availability of food sources.


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  • American Alligator

    American Alligator

    Breeding season begins in the spring. Although alligators have no vocal cords, males bellow loudly to attract mates and ward off other males during this time by sucking air into their lungs and blowing it out in intermittent, deep-toned roars. 

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  • White-tailed Deer


    The white-tailed deer is an easily recognized large mammal. 

    Feeding solely on a variety of plant materials makes them herbivores.  They browse on leaves, fruits stems, soft shoots, and woody shrubs, and graze on grasses and other low vegetation.  They will eat between 5 to 9 pounds of food per day.

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  • Habitat

    Aerial view of marsh

    The refuge contains a variety of different habitats, including freshwater and brackish marshes, coastal hardwood forests, lagoons, canals, borrow pits, cheniers (former beach fronts) and natural bayous. The diverse habitats meet the needs of over 340 bird species during various seasons of the year. Peak waterfowl populations of over 25,000 use the wetland areas during the fall, winter, and early spring months.

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